ctznshp: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Emotionally invested pop-rock that’s going to make it impossible for you to stay still.
File next to: Mother Mother, Mates of State, Broken Social Scene.
Playing: WL 616 – Saturday Sept. 13 at Smiling Buddha.

Montreal-based, live-performance-loving band ctznshp is playing this Saturday and you should be there. Not only are the tunes off their newly released album, Doom Love,utterly captivating, they’ve got an even newer EP that much of their stage time will be spent playing. This self-described “ruthless” songwriting trio is releasing the first song of their newest EP Swan Dive sometime this week. That means you’ll be some of the first to hear the album. Pretty. Freaking. Dope.

I’m always interested in how artists describe their sound. What’s your three-sentence answer to the inevitable question, “Oh, what kind of music do you play?” that comes after revealing you’re a musician.

Anthemic, honest, heart-melting rock music.

How did you guys meet each other?

We were sat next to each other by chance on a transatlantic flight. After six hours of talking music, movies, travel and complimentary drinks we decided to start the band.

How would you say your sound or approach to music has changed since then?

When we started the band, the idea was to be a five-piece with a bass player and keyboard player and I would just sing. We had trouble finding other people we meshed with at that time, so I started playing bass and we spent the next two years writing and playing as a three-piece. When it came to writing our new album, we went back to the original idea and wrote the songs we wanted to write without worrying about the live performance. We have since found players to help us out live and it’s really changed the band for the better. Like they say, your first idea is usually the best one!

I’m interested in hearing about your songwriting process as a band. Can you articulate how you write?

For Doom Love (our first record), we wrote all the songs together in our rehearsal space. For the new record, I wrote a lot of the foundations of the songs on my own before bringing them to the band. After Florent (drums) figured out where he wanted to take a song rhythmically, Scott (guitar) would then work on the melodies and the orchestration. After we had the song where we wanted it, I would finish up the lyrics. We work very well together. We rehearse a lot, we write a lot, and we throw out most of what we make. We are pretty ruthless with our own songs.

Your online presence is minimal, almost enigmatic, with very little info about ctznshp as a band. Is this a conscious choice?

Yes and no. We try to get info on the band out there as much as we possibly can, but we do shy away from social media a little. I like a little mystery in my rock music. I like those, “Holy shit what is this playing?” moments where you fall in love with a song or a record. I think it creates a special bond between the listener and the band. That bond creates fans. Fans go to shows and stick with you. Knowing too much about the band can get  in the way of that connection. At least it does for me.

You released your album preview for Doom Love in March 2013, but the album wasn’t released until almost a year later. What happened?

Yeah, that was unfortunate. Basically we had a couple people interested in the record at the start so we followed those leads and held off releasing it ourselves. They didn’t end up working out, but by the time we realized that we were going to have to self-release in the end, there wasn’t enough time to do it properly last fall. We had to sit on it over the winter and put it out this March. By that time, we had started recording our follow-up and the band was moving in a different direction, so we didn’t make a big deal of its release. I am really proud of that album and it’s too bad we weren’t able to reach a larger audience with it. We still play a couple of those songs live, though I am hoping if people get into our new one they will go back and discover Doom Love. It’s a great, fuzzy, heart-on-your-sleeve kind of album where we were starting to figure out who we were as a band.

What’s your favourite part of live performance?

All of it, although I’ve been a nervous wreck before every show we have ever played! Once we get on stage there is nothing in the world that beats it. We are live band through and through.

If you could tour with any other artist or band, who would it be?

Phoenix or The War On Drugs.

What bands are you listening to that readers may not know but should know?

L.A. Foster, Country, Freelove Fenner, Silver Dapple, Diamond Bones, Hellenica.

What’s next for ctznshp?

Our new record!! It’s called All Things To The Sea and we are very proud of it. We recorded it at Breakglass Studios here in Montreal with Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes. He produced, engineered and mixed it. Our first single “Low Lives” is coming out this week, so we are pretty excited about that. We will be releasing either with a label or independently by next spring and we will be hitting the road in support of it. After the Wavelength show, will be heading back home for a couple awesome shows at POP Montreal, our favourite festival (no bias ha!). Then we will be doing some October dates, which will include New York and hopefully Toronto again as well. We are also working on a video for our second single and rehearsing the band for upcoming shows. Things are really exciting for us right now.

— Interview by Shannon Roszell