Pick A Piper: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: Indelible polyrhythmic electronic anthems.
File next to: Caribou, M83, Aphex Twin.
Playing: WL #750, Sunday March 18 @ Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar. Get your tickets here!

Dreamy global-electronic trio Pick A Piper combine catchy dancefloor grooves with atmospheric polyrhythmic production to create an entrancing and uplifting sense of wonder. Playing Wavelength’s 750th show at the Gladstone will be an intimate chance to feel the full trance-like effect in close proximity! Wavelength’s Dora Boras caught up with Brad Weber (also the drummer for Caribou) to talk travel and the new album.

How is this album different from your previous releases? Was the creating process any different? What kind of listening experience were you hoping to create?

More of the album was creating remotely than previous releases. A lot of the ideas I made on a plane or in the back of the van while I was on tour, at an airport gate, etc. Those moments of downtime that you can’t control are wonderful opportunities for getting an idea out of your head. I would start a few basic loops at these points and then once I was home, I went through everything and and picked my favourites to elaborate on. Once they had a little TLC at home, I sent bits and pieces out to vocalists/producers that I really respected and some of those connections became key parts of the album. I love the process of really nurturing a track and then suddenly giving it away for someone to add or change it as they see fit. That starts a conversation between us which often leads to something much better than I could have conceived on my own.

The opening track on the record is often introduced anecdotally as the result of an accidental email. Did this feeling of serendipity carry throughout the rest of the album?

I think the fact that we work with a lot of guest singers and musicians leaves a lot of room for chance. I love seeing what other people hear in a track, especially when I’ve heard it countless times and don’t have the same perspective they do. I love passing around tracks to friends to get random ideas from them as well. I think working with others has been a cornerstone of Pick a Piper since the beginning.

The album took a lot of influence from your travels and the emotions that arise out of a vagabond experience. Sonically, did you have any influences from other artists when creating this album?

I think the influences of this record didn’t necessarily imprint themselves on the overall sound of the album but rather inspired me to want to make music day in and day out. I was listening to a lot of old and new cumbia, lots of early ambient synth records from the ’70s and ’80s as well as various Brazilian stuff and Turkish psych. It’s hard to say what translated from those records to our record, perhaps it was just a feeling or a rhythmic idea. But listening to incredible music is what drives me to continue to create.

What was behind your decision to make a 360 VR music video for “Still Awake?” Can you tell us a little more about the process? Why did you choose this medium specifically for “Still Awake?”

My good friend Fezz Stenton, who is also an amazing techno producer and DJ, works for a VR company in Toronto (Occupied VR). They have done everything from Jaguars in the Amazon, to short features with Flying Lotus. He is one of the most creative people I know and I was very curious to see what he saw in that track. At first I didn’t necessarily set out to even do something VR. He’s also amazing at creating 2D visuals. I just wanted to send him the song and see what his visual interpretation of it was. In the end, the VR world he created was perfect. Being able to look around your environment and catch new things every time you watch it was very appealing to me.

What would be your ideal venue to perform “Distance” in? Do you have any favourite venues to perform in in Toronto?

We did our album release show at the Baby G, which is kinda the perfect size venue for us. I love small intimate spaces. I’d much prefer people to feel like they are actually a part of the experience instead of an observer. I’d love to do more shows in DIY/pop-up spaces. Other venues that have been kind to us in the past include: The Drake, Handlebar, Round, Rivoli, Garrison, Yauca’s Lounge, etc.

Don’t miss Pick A Piper in the intimate confines of the Gladstone Melody Bar TONIGHT!!