Toronto vintage-pop band The Bicycles threw a Record Release dance party at Lula Lounge on Thursday – a literal dance party that had everyone jumping, dancing, or at least tapping their toes for the entirety of their set.
They’re donned “bubble-gum pop” but, with a little more rock this time, the original lineup is back and in the full swing of things with a new album, their third, called Stop Thinking So Much, released on Fuzzy Logic Records on April 2, 2013. I sat down with drummer Dana Snell to talk about where The Bicycles came from, how they conceived their new rock-pop harmonies, and whether or not they actually play baseball.
Toronto is amorous over the return of The Bicycles, but why’d they disband in the first place? “We’d already been a band for 10 years,” Snell said. “We just needed a break and bands are crazy and we were just not getting along and there was all kinds of pressure so we wanted to take a break to see what happens.”
Unsure of whether or not they’d ever get back together, Snell said they began hanging out as friends which struck a musical cord for all of them to start writing together again. “Without all the pressure, it was a lot easier to relate to each other. Time went by and I was listening to the stuff they were doing alone and playing with Drew on his solo project and we were hanging out all the time and listening to each other’s stuff and we thought it might be time to try it again.”
A completely organic regrouping, Snell agreed, and it’s this prescription that has definitely attributed to the sense of camaraderie and delight that is present in their new album and during their live shows.
A year of sending songs back and forth with all five members writing and contributing, time recording at Nassau 6 in Kensington with producer James Anderson, and doing the overdubs in their own homes (“That part takes forever, ever, ever,” Snell said) shaped Stop Thinking So Much, an album ready to be eagerly pressed and partied to. But it wasn’t that easy…
In 2012, the re-release of the Beatles albums on vinyl backed up the vinyl plants and The Bicycles had to push their record release to 2013. “It’s pretty crazy to think that the Beatles are still running things,” Snell laughed. “It’s hard to have the iron in the fire and then have to wait.”
In the mean time the band made a music video for “Nap Trap” directed by Winston Hacking and Andrew Zukerman (watch it below!) with a small team of about 12 crew and Maria Bui, the one woman wonder at Fuzzy Logic Records, who did Snell’s makeup. Working with Hacking, “he was a practical guy and super nice. It was funny for me because I had to act and even the slight amount of acting I had to do was pretty weird for me,” Snell said. “I’m not an actor but it was fun to try it out. I just had to act pretty sleepy.”
“I hit my head on that table so many times,” she added.
All (playful) work aside, these guys are friends and their recent branding as a baseball team truly represents where they stand. “It’s the Bui Jays, like Maria Bui [of Fuzzy Logic]. It’s not official but it’s just people who get together to play baseball,” Snell said. “We’re all coming back and working together as a team. Someone the other day said something really interesting to me after a show. They said, ‘You guys are like a real band. There’s not a lot of real bands anymore.’”
“There are and there aren’t,” she added, “but because everyone sings and we have different song writers it’s more like a band… a team.”
On their new album, The Bicycles (namely Matt Beckett, Andrew Scott , Drew Smith, Dana Snell, and Randy Lee) collaborated with local artists like Matthew Sweeney (The Elwins), Laura Barett, and Andy Lloyd (Born Ruffians) who wrote the piano in Appalachian Mountain Station (Andrew has a new side project that Snell recommends: Fresh Snow). You can check out Stop Thinking So Much (and grab your copy) on bandcamp, follow the team on twitter @The Bicycles, and become their fan on Facebook.
Originally published April 2013 by Andrea Wrobel for Toronto Social Review | Permalink