Weaves Cover Pop in Grime

Photo by Brendan George Ko

With the current state of affairs life has become a roller coaster no matter who you are. Turning all that chaos into some amazing rock is Toronto band Weaves. After over a year on the road, with Juno and Polaris nominations in their pockets, the band is keeping the train moving with their upcoming record Wide Open. Filled with tones of pop while keeping all the insanity and noise they've become known for, Weaves is ready for their next step. We chatted with writer and singer Jasmyn Burke ahead of their album release and set at House Of Targ on October 10 to talk about their newfound pop sheen, reacting to politics and organizing chaos.

Ottawa Life: I understand you decided to write on acoustic guitar rather than looping pedals this time, how did that changed your writing and overall scheme of tackling a song?

Jasmyn Burke: It was funny. Morgan had my tuner and looping pedals, we couldn't coordinate things to get them back. So I would just send him demos of me on my acoustic or playing an electric guitar without loops, then it would help me trick my brain. I just made it up as I went. For this tour I'll be playing some acoustic guitar which is fun and nerve-racking. It's just funny that we couldn't coordinate things and I wrote like that.

Noting how much more focused the record seems to be on the lyrics and more personal topics this time, was cutting out the noise a little a conscious move?

Lyrically I grew a bit, so Morgan's said, the songs and lyrics were already there so we wanted to make the production simple so people could taste our music easily. We felt this sense of calmness writing, and we didn't feel that we had to make noise amongst the noise, we settled into ourselves to make songs that were really direct. If you make a song that's super pop and straightforward like "Walkaway" then you can do something extreme like "Scream." The first album was pretty loud and in-your-face so wanted to keep that while challenging ourselves to make it more linear.

How did your collaboration with Tanya Tagaq on "Scream" come about and how did writing this during the presidential election influence your attitude for this song?

We met her in Iceland a few years ago, and we were staying in the same hotel. We hit it off right away, and our two bands partied over the weekend, and we kept in touch after that. It was all pretty organic, I wrote "Scream," and then Morgan and I demoed it, then we asked her to perform on it. She was super gung-ho to sing on it. It happened super quickly, so it sounds like our live show because we didn't really rehearse it that much prior, and improvised the ending where it gets really crazy. We don't like to over think our music, or sit down to try and make the perfect song.  The vocals are panned so you hear her vocals on left and right, so she engulfs the song in a way. It was a reactionary piece for me, I think people are confused and sad about what's happening in the news. That song just came out from what I was feeling in the moment, it's the sentiment of the album, no metaphors, just say what you want to say. The whole album came together pretty fast so there was really no time to over think it.

How did Leon Taheny help guide you guys in the studio and what appeals to you about trying to flesh these songs out in the studio rather than rehearsals?

Everyone is pretty free in this band. We could never get it together enough to just sit down and write together, because we're all strong personalities. We're better when we're live off the floor. Even picking dinner on tour is difficult because everyone wants their own things. So it's always better to really just go in and see what happens. Morgan and I demo so the guys will just add their own flavour. Leon is good for keeping energy high, he's there as support and probably keeps us in line a bit, I imagine it's pretty crazy recording with us. If it was premeditated it wouldn't be Weaves because our sound is kind of combustion.