Focus Wales is inching it’s way ever closer and MIMR previews continue with another superb act playing this year’s event, which commences next month.
Lab Coast are a 5-piece pop-rock band hailing from Calgary, Alberta and their show at Focus will be one not to be missed.
MIMR spoke to the band about the tour and what to expect from them this year.
MIMR: Its with great pleasure that we welcome Lab Coast to MIMR, how’s your year been for the band so far?
LB: The year has been a busy one so far! Aside from the UK/Euro tour in May that encompasses our visit to Wales, we’re doing a short of tour of the middle part of Canada this month (April), focused around some shows in Toronto during Canadian Music Week. And along with that tour we’re also issuing a new EP on our own private imprint, Tranist, called In Real Life, which you can download or order on cassette from our Bandcamp. The EP features various live recordings of the ever-shifting Lab Coast live lineups from over the years; the A-Side is a recent set of songs from the band’s last appearance on CJSW 90.9FM, Calgary’s amazing campus radio station, and the B-Side is a collage of different recordings of the same song (‘Waiting’) over the course of five years and seven Lab Coast members.
MIMR: MIMR enjoyed your last record immensely and is still on constant repeat. Is there any news on your next release?
LB: Ah, thanks! Glad you liked it. Our next major release is the Lab Coast album, being released on Brighton’s Faux Discx Records on May 12. It’s a compilation of tracks, newly mastered, from our first four Canada-only albums. We met Faux Discx head honcho Dan Reeves a number of years ago via our guitarist Henry, who at the time was playing in a band called Friendo. Friendo was co-led by Mike Wallace, who was also a member of the sadly-defunct band Women. Dan’s band Cold Pumas had shared some bills with Women, and from that relationship came the offer for Friendo to do a split 7” for Dan’s label Faux Discx, with another band of their choosing. Lab Coast and Friendo were buddy-bands in Calgary at the time, and with Henry also joining Lab Coast around this time, we were a good fit for the split 7”. This was all around 2011.
Lab Coast toured the UK in 2013 and Dan helped us set up most of it, resulting in an excellent trip, and since then we’ve stayed in touch. While we did discuss coordinating an overseas release for Remember The Moon last year, the timing just didn’t pan out. But we both still wanted to make something happen, so Dan suggested the idea of a sort of “introductory LP” for our music, and we ran with it. Some of the older material has never been on LP before, and the new mastering job on the whole thing is very solid, so we’re really happy to have this coming out.
MIMR: Your heading over to the UK for some dates very soon including your show at this year’s Focus Wales in May. What can we expect from your live show?
LB: Well, something that not a lot of people realize is that the band, as one sees it on stage and in pictures, does not usually appear on the recordings; the albums are largely put together by Dadge and Laing in the studio, so the live show is kind of like hearing the songs with a new perspective, through a new lens. All the parts and bits that one will come to know from the recordings are there, but where the albums take advantage of sonics that are better appreciated coming out of a pair of headphones or a stereo system, the live show focuses on making the most of these songs in an in-person scenario. So, really, the live band themselves are the draw here: Samantha Savage Smith on guitar (also an amazing solo artist in her own right), Ryan Bourne on bass (also of Chad VanGaalen’s band, Sleepkit, Ghostkeeper), and Henry Hsieh on bass (Crack Cloud) are rippers, and bring the songs to life onstage beautifully. We’ll be playing most of the songs from Lab Coast, peppered with some other choice back catalogue tracks, and maybe a new track or two.
MIMR: What kind of music do you guys listen to between gigs?
LB: Ah, quite a variety here, everyone has their own pockets of interest. From three of us:
Sam has been dipping deep into the recent Solange record; Angel Olsen, Cate Le Bon, and Heaven For Real make frequent appearances; and she also recently re-discovered the brighter moments of Pink Floyd’s Meddle.
Dadge has worked in record stores for more than a decade, and has subsequently amassed a ton of music; favourite areas include free jazz, 80s guitar pop (dBs, Let’s Active), Richard Youngs, Jim O’Rourke, Graham Lambkin’s work and everything from his amazing label Kye, longform minimalist music in the vein of Elaine Radigue, Dennis Johnson, and Folk Raabe, to name a few.
Over the last few years, Henry has gone deep into the world of electronic & dance music citing Omar-S, Galcher Lustwerk, Bjarki, and Umfang as some of the cream of his discoveries, and has located steady streams of quality action from labels such as Dark Entries and 1080p, the latter of which provided some killer road music on our west coast tour last summer.
Between actual gigs on the road, we tend to keep it to music that sounds good on the highway to the most number of ears possible. Lots of guitar pop, Henry’s techno, classics like Teenage Fanclub, Television, Big Star, Petty, the Singles soundtrack, other Canadian buddy-bands like Cousins, Monomyth, Knots, Jon Mckiel, Jay Arner, Fountain, Un Blonde, and also podcasts such as the mighty WTF with our old pal Marc Maron.
MIMR: Thanks for chatting with us on MIMR. See you at Focus. How can everyone keep up to date with the band and listen some music?
LB: Thanks for askin’!
You can catch them playing here at the festival: