The World Provider: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Catchy, low fi tracks perfect for your next road trip. Awkward car dancing guaranteed.
File next to: The Shins, Guided by Voices
Playing: WL 622 – Saturday Oct. 11 at Handlebar

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… The World Provider! A super-heroic music project from Montreal’s Malcolm Fraser. Come for the catchy garage rock beats, stay for the stage theatrics. The World Provider has been gracing our ears with tunes since 1999, and has collaborated with familiar names like Peaches and Feist. Their music catalogue has evolved some over the years as they’ve moved from basement recordings to studio sessions, but the tunes have held on to that light-hearted sense of play that makes The World Provider so endearing. Take their tracks on an adventure with you! They’ll keep a smile on your face and are great for an impromptu dance party. Just what can you expect from The World Provider’s show at Handlebar? Raina Hersh had a chat with Malcolm Fraser to find out.

How long has it been since you’ve played a show in Toronto? Anything you’re looking forward to upon your return?

The last WP show in Toronto was in September 2011. I’m not sure how those years flew by without a visit, but I love playing in Toronto and I’m looking forward to it very much. The last show was very fun and memorable. I look forward to seeing old friends and playing for a new audience. Sometimes when we’ve played in T.O., it’s been a total love-fest and other times we’ve had to work very hard to win the crowd over. Either way, we will deliver a top quality show — that’s the WP guarantee.

Tell me a little about The World Provider. You call him your super-heroic alter ego. What made you decide you needed him? And what is his super power, exactly?

It’s always a bit strange for me when people ask me to describe the “character” of the WP in the third person. In a lot of ways, I think it’s the opposite of how it might seem — to me, the way I am onstage is a truer reflection of my real self, and the way I am in everyday life is the persona. As far as the superpower, it just has to do with transforming on-stage into something larger-than-life. At the same time, it’s unleashing a kind of “inner child” or uninhibited self. Many people have told me that my dance moves are like the moves people make when they’re alone in front of the mirror. I don’t know if this answers your question, but I try not to over think or overanalyze these things too much!

Your discography dates back to the early 2000s. How has the scene changed for you over the years?

In some ways it’s totally transformed. I was 25 when I started the WP and I’m 40 now, so I’m in a whole different phase of life in almost every way. And the technological upheavals alone have completely changed so much about the music community! In other ways though, the “music scene” is just kind of circular. You see a lot of artists, bands, genres, technology, media and other trends come and go. I’ve had the chance to be part of some “scenes” that were considered to be cool for a while and that was fun, but those moments are fleeting and when they pass, that’s when you have to reconsider what’s important and what music means to you on a personal level beyond the “scene.”

Lets talk about your live shows. “Over the top” seems to be a recurring description. What can the uninitiated expect to see from you guys up there?

High energy, low-budget glam. and choreographed dance moves! What I strive for is the complete synthesis of artistic self-indulgence and Broadway/Vegas/Vaudeville-style crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Now I’ve got to ask – what’s your favourite dance move?

I can’t pick favourites among my own moves! I can’t reveal any of them ahead of time, people will have to see for themselves. I do have one trick I do with a straight mic stand; we’ll have to see if that makes it into the Toronto set.

Your last album was released in 2011, any plans to put out another record?

I just finished a batch of new songs, and right now I’m staring into the void of what it means to release music in 2014. I am definitely going to put them out in some form, just reflecting and scheming on what makes the most sense. I am releasing one of them as a video — it is premiering on the Exclaim site on Thursday (Oct. 9) in advance of our Toronto show. [Here it is!!]

Catch the World Provider live on Saturday (Oct. 11) at Handlebar as part of WL 622, alongside The Almighty Rhombus, The Lord Almightys and Bardos!