Bruce Peninsula: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: New folk traditions
File Next to: Snowblink, Fleetwood Mac, Pentangle, Anthology of American Folk Music
Playing next: WL620 @ Polish Combatants’ Hall with Del Bel and Delta Will.

Our city was once forests, then fields — all relentlessly chewed up by the living creature of our social fabric. Ravines and parks and other topography remind of of how the land used to look, and if you squint right you can sometimes feel the ghosts of workers, farmers and rounders of centuries gone by. Bruce Peninsula know how to see them, but they can also pivot and see us, here right now, as the ghosts of the future, those ghosts tend to find their way into the band’s songs. Joe Strutt chatted oneline with guitarist/singer Matt Cully.

Hello and welcome back. Wait… is “welcome back” le mot juste? Things have been quiet on the BP front, but I guess you haven’t formally been away.

Yep. We’re slowly re-entering the atmosphere. It was all a very natural dissipation. We had spent several years trying to push our musical boulder up the hill… and after some serious touring in support for Open Flames we just needed to take a step back. No point in playing shows if you don’t have new music to share. And now we do!

What have the Bruce Peninsula crew been up to in the meantime? Any bands or books or babies keeping folks busy?

We’ve all been doing our own thing… sometimes I take for granted the fact that we have so many talented folks in the BP family (past and present)… we roll so deep. Don’t mess with us! We will cut you! Neil is recently engaged and is hard at work preparing solo material that’s gonna wow the world. Misha is working on a brand new collection of stories and working, studying, dreaming in London. Steve had a baby boy and has finished another awesome solo record that will be coming out real real soon. Andrew has also finished another heavy Lake Vernon Drowning record and is working around the city as a church organ tuner. Tamara has just released a beautiful new EP, is touring her butt off with Bahamas and has a full length Weather Station LP ready to rock for the spring. Kari is still enriching the lives of young folks as the number one teacher in Toronto and giving the best back rubs ever. Ivy Mairi just dropped a gorgeous record called Nonbeliever that you should all pick up right this minute. Daniela is Snowblink. Do you not know who Snowblink is? Get with it! They’re almost ready to start mixing their brand new tunes which will make life much more livable for everyone. And me? I’ve been playing lots of shows with Misha as EONS & working on finishing up writing the follow up to Arctic Radio. We also all have, you know, jobs and stuff. But that’s boring. Wow. That was really hard to keep brief.

Is it true that there’s some new material being worked out? Did I hear somewhere that you retreated to ancestral homelands [say, Scarborough] for inspiration?

Misha, Neil and I have been stealing away the last little while and secretly writing tunes. We find it most productive to set aside several days and just do the work… usually somewhere remote and conducive to creativity (like Scarborough, naturally). We have about seven songs now and are looking to make another record when we can. So far they are all sort of sketches on the computer and we are currently trying to flesh them out with the band. We will be playing a new song at the show on Friday and more will trickle into the set over time.

This show at Polish Combatants Hall brings back some pleasant memories…

 Yes indeed. We released our first record there, in conjunction with Wavelength as well… so it’s gonna be a pretty nostalgic show. Hard to believe that was five years ago now. P.S. We are also very happy to be playing with Del Bel… their new record is seriously sick.

What else is going on in T.O. that’s inspiring you?

1) Jennifer Castle’s Pink City. 2) Toronto Island (always). 3) music festivals and unique cultural events that get better every summer. 4) the rise of foodie culture and the proliferation of fine local cuisine, and 5) That nebulous word… “the community!”.

I was recently talking to some friends from outside of Canada… and they sort of marvelled at the community of artists who live and work here. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to truly appreciate how good we’ve got it. Everyone is hustling to make a life for themselves… and it alleviates the anxiety and pressure when you can see that there are other folks making exceptionally beautiful things with almost no promise of recognition or reward. I think everyone in the community thrives on that support and it helps us all to keep moving forward.

Thanks for your time!