Still Life Still: Experienced youth

Experienced youth

Still Life Still: Team spirit
Photo: Norman Wong

Still Life Still win over Kevin Drew and Arts & Crafts, and make Girls Come Too

Still Life Still, the latest signees to Canada’s biggest little label, Arts & Crafts, are still very much on the come-up: The group’s principal songwriter, Brendan Saarinen, is calling me during his lunch break.

"I do landscaping and construction. Another guy from the band works here and the others work at grocery stores and stuff."

Despite their young age – all of the band’s members are in their early 20s – the core of the group has been playing together for almost a decade.

"We met in junior high school – we didn’t even really have instruments, drummer Aaron Romaniuk played on pots and pans, but year after year we always ended up in Aaron’s basement, jamming."

As often happens with bands, the years and years of playing music are often punctuated with important, defining moments and places. Saarinen is quick to point out theirs.

"We started playing shows at this thing called Elvis Monday [Toronto's longest-running indie showcase, which, in its 25-year history, has provided a stage for more than 3,000 bands]. It’s like a free starving artist night, and through that we eventually met Kevin [Drew, of Broken Social Scene] and we had a bit of buzz going and Kev liked it and it sort of went from there."

Drew signed Still Life Still to Arts & Crafts and, along with Martin Davis Kinack, recorded the group’s debut album, Girls Come Too.

"We never really thought about labels, but of course we all loved Arts & Crafts and the music that comes out of there. It was pretty much the only label we’d talked to."

This connection to the Broken Social Scene scene is one that the guys are going to have to get used to hearing for the time being.

"Honestly, every single thing that’s been written about us has the name Broken Social Scene in it. What can you do? That’s what people hear, I guess."

In the people’s defence, there is a somewhat shared musical aesthetic there – a similarly loose and expansive quality to the music. But this sound, according to Saarinen, may have changed by the time the next record rolls around. "We’re working on the next record right now, I don’t really know how to describe what the new songs sound like, but it’s different. Some of the songs from Girls Come Too are five years old and we feel like we’ve grown a lot since then."

Still Life Still
w/ Wooden Sky and DJ Heidy
At Divan Orange (4234 St-Laurent), Aug. 21

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