What A Trip It’s Been — Interview with Spencer Schoening of Said the Whale

Photo by Vanessa Heins
Photo by Vanessa Heins

Photo by Vanessa Heins


Vancouver rock band Said The Whale has spent the last few years touring heavily across Canada and the US to promote its albums. CBC went so far as to make a documentary “Winning America” of the band’s trip to SXSW and its Juno award for Best New Group in 2011. Most recently, their fourth studio album hawaiii (the three i’s are not a typo). was released this past September. The band is stopping in Montreal in support of the new release. Drummer Spencer Shoening took some time to talk to Montreal Godzilla about his current experience on the road bringing hawaiii to new places.

Montreal Godzilla (MG): So you guys are on the road again with a new album. How’s that going?

Spencer Schoening  (SS): What can I say? Hawaiii is taking up all of our time. We’re finally getting a chance to play these songs in front of people. We started off the Canadian tour in Fredericton. Then we spent the last couple of weeks at home getting ready. And we’re excited to play some shows in Canada again.

MG: What’s it like bringing new songs before an audience for the first time?

SS: All the songs that are really exciting. We play all the songs from the record. It was the first time we played some of them in front of people last night for a few of the tracks. For anybody who has seen us before, the show will be all new.  Playing them is figuring them out and seeing how they sound.

MG: Can you elaborate on that?

SS: I got the chance to record us playing our whole set the day we did our show and listen back and hear how they come across. With songs you’ve been playing for five years, you don’t have to think about it.  Now, we’re hearing how the new ones come across and figuring out how to make them come across better. We’re refining them. When we see you, we’ll probably have them all figured out.

Said the Whale Photo by Vanessa Heins

Said the Whale
Photo by Vanessa Heins

MG: Do you find that there’s a big difference between playing in the US and Canada?

SS: We’ve been playing in Canada for six years and the US for two. You really can sense how much bigger that country is. It’s a bit like our first couple of years in Canada – tons of lowly attended shows. But now, coming back to Fredericton, we’ve spent so many times on both sides of the country.

MG: Was it good to be back home?

SS: It feels like we’re in the middle of a really long tour, even though we had a month at home. It feels like we’re just picking up where we left off. We’re all in the mood of being on tour, and very used to being on tour. We’re in our van every day, and in a hotel every night.

MG: What about Montreal – any thoughts about coming here?

SS: I’m excited to come back there. I love Montreal. My brother lives there now and I’m bummed we can’t spend more than one day there. We’re excited to see a new venue, and last time was really great there. It has an interesting live music scene.

Helpless Son Video

Helpless Son Video

MG: Your new video, Helpless Son has been getting some attention

SS: Yes, Tyler had a good time putting that video together. He did the whole thing himself. He was inspired by social media. Also, its easy to follow along with the words and the song. It’s pretty self-explanatory and literal. I remember hearing the song for the first time and feeling all the strong emotions attached to it. I’m happy to see that people pick up on that too. It makes it feel like we accomplished what we set out to do – to make something with some impact.

Said the Whale plays on Nov 12, 2013 at La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent) with Kopecky Family Band and Alvvays. 9 p.m.  $15

About Rachel Levine

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