Any band named after a Vietnamese militant group is sure to come up against a little controversy. Case in point? Viet Cong – the critically acclaimed Calgary-based, post-punk foursome.
Despite the band issuing a statement dismissing any intent to cause offense – explaining they naively chose the name knowing little about the Vietnam War – it’s definitely rustled some feathers among Vietnamese-American communities.
Even with the name controversy, Viet Cong continues to sell out shows. They recently returned from an extensive European tour, where they performed to packed venues on a nightly basis.
But this wasn’t always the case. Lead singer and guitarist Matt Flegel – previously part of the punk band Women – says that before their debut self-titled album dropped, the band went on a mini-tour that involved playing to a lot of sparsely populated audiences. This time on the road allowed them to lock down their sets and really get to know each other.
“We were testing the waters just to make sure the four of us could get along in an enclosed space for that amount of time,” Flegel says.
Flegel appreciated the chance to flex his muscle as a lyricist. He describes the songwriting process as long but says it was about more than finding themes – it was about getting it right: “I can deal with putting a lot of time into the lyric writing because I didn’t want to fail.”
Flegel admits that the repetitive nature of performing has some pull over the tracks that will get produced. “I go into recording thinking, ‘Okay I’m probably going to have to play this song 250 times this year,’” he says. “So we try and keep it interesting for ourselves.”
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and
Listening to any track on EDEN’s debut album, vertigo, is like visiting your favourite city for the fiftieth time except nothing is quite where you remember it. The hotel is on the river, not by the park, and city hall is upside down. The Dublin-raised singer/songwriter/producer who began his career as The Eden Project, melted the best of indie, hip hop, and electronica into 13 deconstructed tracks for vertigo. Following two successful EPs, a shout-out from Lorde, and mid-way through the vertigo world tour, we caught up with EDEN to talk about his new record, and the musical evolution that brought him to it. G—From The Eden Project to the EPs to vertigo, you’ve had some pretty big changes in style. Does it feel that way to you or does it just kind of feel like you’re constantly evolving? E—I definitely see that. There are similarities [between I think you think too much of me and vertigo]—my voice still sounds the same (laughs) and there are various instruments that I just like using—but it’s about progression for me. I could never be someone to make End Credits 2 or something like that. It’s not interesting to me to stay