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Our Lady Peace - 04.10.12

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Our Lady Peace - 04.10.12Much like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Our Lady Peace seems to be in a rebirth of sorts with their new record Curve. I was able to shoot off some questions to the band, and guitarist Steve Mazur was there to answer some things about Curve, the influence of Spiritual Machines on Curve and how Jason Lader helped push the band this time around.

You’ve sold out a good number of dates on the Urban Grind Tour, how does that reflect upon your expectations for Curve?

Well it's a great feeling at the beginning of a tour for a new album. Yes, we haven't done a tour in a couple of years, but there seems to be a tangible excitement in the air at these shows so far, a genuine excitement for the new songs, and not just because we haven't played in a while. So it is a great echoed sentiment for the excitement that we are currently feeling in releasing this record.

How has playing some of the new material gone on this tour?

The new songs have gone over really well. We're currently playing I think 6 songs from the new record every night. There are two songs, "Find Our Way", and "Rabbits" that I wondered how would go over with people live, especially if the person hasn't heard the songs yet, and they've ended up being so dynamic live so far that we can't envision not playing them anymore.

Given the longevity of this band, what does it mean to you to still see people coming out to see Our Lady Peace, and not only that, but also get into the new material you’re putting together as the years go on?

It means a lot. All of us in this band were bit by the music bug at a young age and the reason that we keep making music is because we are chasing that feeling, that buzz that you get from making music that moves you. If we weren't feeling those feelings or didn't have the desire to chase after them anymore, we wouldn't still be doing this. The fact that our fans are as excited as ever for new material from us is one of the greatest things that I can imagine; the fact that we have passionate recipients to what we are putting out there musically. We have no interest in being just a heritage act or greatest hits touring band.

Do you honestly see any bit of difference when you guys cross the border into the united states as far as the enthusiasm of the fans coming out?

Enthusiasm, no. We are very blessed with very enthusiastic fans everywhere we go. In some parts of the US we don't have as many people at shows as others, but the enthusiasm always seems to be there.

You guys last released Burn Burn in 2009. How would you say this album shows not only growth from what you did on that record, but also how it fits into the sound of what you’ve written in the past?

This record feels like a huge growth from Burn Burn to me. Curve is very much a record, while Burn Burn in retrospect seems more like a collection of 10 separate songs. Curve goes deeper and further into uncharted territory for us than Burn Burn did. The focus on Burn Burn was more about just good songs and not as much with experimentation and challenge. Curve has great songs, but there is also a lot of exploration, deep-digging, and challenging ourselves in it.

It's been said by Raine that this is the most experimental record you’ve done. how would say that specifically compares with say Spiritual Machines where there was a concept to the album?

The 'spirit', for lack of a better word, of Spiritual Machines, was influential somewhat in the making of Curve. We did a tour a couple of years ago where we played the records Clumsy and Spiritual Machines in their entirety. The connection that we felt from performing Spiritual Machines was more intense, for the most part, than performing Clumsy was. Clumsy is a great record, but it doesn't have the common focus and flow that Spiritual Machines has. That, mixed with the depth and intensity that we felt from the crowd on the Spiritual Machines night, bolstered our belief that if we just make music that we love and that moves us, that it will move our fans as well, regardless of whether if it gets on radio, etc., because for the most part Spiritual Machines received little airplay. Curve was made with no focus on radio singles.

How do you think curve specifically shows how perhaps you’ve grown as a musician in the past few years?

I think that it hopefully shows that I've grown in terms of songwriting and arranging. On Burn Burn, I brought in guitar ideas and if there were full band ideas, they were worked up usually with Duncan and Jeremy. On Curve, I brought in a few things where I played bass and drums to fully realize the idea and we ended up going with some of those feels and vibes. Also I pushed myself to study more adventurous chord progressions and harmonies, and one of the things that resulted from that was "Window Seat."

Musically, what were some of the things you feel influenced you while you were writing for this record?

Jason, our producer on this record, pushed me to explore the harmonic elements of a lot of the artists that I love. Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, The Talking Heads. He also encouraged me to listen to Wagner. I sat with some Wagner and analyzed his melodic and chordal movements in order to push myself and the band into some new territory.

You worked with Jason Lader on this record although you also sort of self-produced this one as well. how did jason come into to the picture and how did he help shape what you as a band were doing?

Jason has been a friend of ours for a long time. He did some editing work on Healthy in Paranoid Times and has always popped in to see what we have been up to. We all respect him immensely as a musician, producer, and engineer. While producing Burn Burn by ourselves, and with Raine, was great for us, it put a big strain on Raine. To have to watch over and guide songwriting, lyrics, production, engineering, editing, etc., is a lot to take on, and I think that he recognized that and was willing to let someone else share the load. Jason was the perfect choice because we wanted to challenge ourselves musically and creatively, and Jason brings a spirit that is very pure to the room with him. He helps to put you in a good zone. He's not gonna start talking about business strategies with the music. He doesn't come from that world.

How did stepping away from the producers you worked with in the past work into Curve and what does it mean at this point in your artistic career to have control over what you’re doing?

Well, the band had pretty much always had creative control until Healthy in Paranoid Times, when the label started to want to hear stuff and be more involved, and the result of that was not a very good atmosphere. This band wouldn't be where it is today without the great support of a major record company, but when that business edge started creeping into the songwriting and production, it just didn't gel. So now we're back to having full creative control, which beside that period we've always had, and it's great. We make the music that moves us and then we put it out. What more could anyone ask for?

Though you’re touring now, how excited are you to be able to tour on this album and for us to hear the rest of what you’ve done with Curve?

Very excited, especially as we only finished the record a couple months ago!! There is a much shorter turnaround time these days with digital, so these songs are still very fresh to us. Making this record was a very creative experience. Now shifting that momentum to live performance is a different and exciting endeavor.

After the Urban Grind Tour concludes, where can we expect to see our lady peace when it comes time to hit the road again? plans for the rest of the year?

We're doing a handful of festivals in Canada and going to Europe in the summer. Come fall will be US and Canada full tours. We really hope to get to more markets on this record. We've already gotten to some places that we haven't been to in years. We're excited and having fun. Those usually are good signs, I think.
 
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12:53 PM on 04/27/12
#2
icynova
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Interesting interview. Where he talks about not having some control over their records from "Healthy" and onward, I thought they didn't have much control over "Gravity" either though, that's why they never revisited that sound afterwards, feeling like it was too influenced by Bob Rock? Oh well, either way, good interview man. Thanks for the read.
03:38 PM on 04/27/12
#3
OurLadyCoolbean
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Interesting interview. Where he talks about not having some control over their records from "Healthy" and onward, I thought they didn't have much control over "Gravity" either though, that's why they never revisited that sound afterwards, feeling like it was too influenced by Bob Rock? Oh well, either way, good interview man. Thanks for the read.
Well Bob produced Healthy too so I don't think they had much of a problem with him (after Gravity anyway)
09:30 PM on 04/27/12
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smowashere
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Great interview
09:42 AM on 04/28/12
#5
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Really enjoyed the interview, love curve. After being really dissapointed by healthy in paranoid times and burn burn, it was nice to see them move in a bit of a different direction. Im not a huge bob rock fan as a producer, I feel he makes bands become very generic
03:47 AM on 04/29/12
#6
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I have no disappointment whatsoever when it comes to you guys. You surpass everything I hope for from my favorite band. I can't wait to see you live again and I am ecstatic to see Steve mention a full tour in the U.S. in the Fall. I know the crowd wasn't huge in San Francisco, but I bet the love for you guys surpassed anywhere else! I was not surprised to see the enthusiasm from the band even though the crowd was small. You guys truly love us. That sets you apart. You are so special. That's why I love you so much.
03:37 PM on 03/31/14
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03:38 PM on 03/31/14
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