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Feature A problem of geography Close Talker on moving past Timbers and making new music while living two provinces apart by Alex J MacPherson C lose Talker is a band divided, just not in the conventional sense. Because two of the band members spend most of the year living in British Columbia, the band has been forced to spend the last year working in short, frantic bursts. They recorded their 2012 debut, Timbers, over just a few days in December of last year, one of just a few times the four musicians were together in the same city. This winter, the band will reunite for shows in Saskatoon and Regina, and in the spring they plan to record a new album. According to Matthew Kopperud, who plays guitar and keyboards, punctuating long periods of idleness with moments of frenzied activity is extremely disconcerting. “It’s been interesting,” he says with a wry laugh, speaking from his temporary home in B.C. “We’ve been inactive in the sense that we haven’t been playing together with instruments at all, but at the same time we’ve still been really busy. We’ve been doing a lot of menial tasks to plan for when we are in the same province. But it’s difficult, doing all those menial tasks as a labour of love when we haven’t been playing together, which is our greatest love.” Close Talker emerged from a basement in the north end of Saskatoon little more than a year ago. Since their first show, the four young musicians — Kopperud, Will Quiring, Chris Morien, and Jeremy Olson — have made a big impression. After recording and releasing Timbers, a process hastened by an unforgiving deadline and the imminent departure of Quiring and Kopperud, who attend a bible college near Vancouver, the band began generating attention and praise in equal measure. Blending straightforward guitar rock with spacey atmospherics, Timbers captures both sides of the band that made it, transforming what would otherwise be simple pop songs into the highs of the last year. “Playing music is what we love, and that’s sort of the foundation or the common ground as to why we’re in a band. And then all this background stuff is all those things that kind of go with being in a band, and it’s been a challenge to maintain that motivation.” But while the members of Close Talker have been unable to actually play music together, they haven’t stopped working. Earlier …ultimately this next record will reflect our ambitions to challenge ourselves and to push the songs… matthew kopperud sprawling, spiralling anthems. And by casting the cascading orchestral sounds of the coast against the gritty bleakness of a prairie rock song, Close Talker bridged the gap between their two homes. But the high generated by Timbers and the band’s subsequent success in the CBC’s Searchlight music contest was short-lived: after touring western Canada in the waning days of summer, the band’s two guitarists returned to B.C. and Close Talker entered a period of hibernation. “To maintain momentum is challenging enough for any band, and it becomes increasingly challenging because of our geographic locations,” Kopperud says, hinting at the depths of the low that followed this year the band met in Saskatoon and recorded several new songs at the Avenue Recording Company. In September, Morien and Olson traveled to B.C. to shoot a video for the band’s forthcoming single, a complex and evocative blend of punchy rock guitars, stratospheric synthesizers, and moments of jarring dissonance called “Heads.” The surrealistic video, which was shot by Nathan Boey, who also made the video for Royal Canoe’s “Bathtubs,” captures a landscape that is at once familiar and profoundly distorted — a fitting parallel for the band’s musical vision. According to Kopperud, Close Talker avoided playing new songs while promoting Timbers, but now that the album cycle is drawing Continued on next page » 16 Dec 13 – Dec 19 culture contents local editorial comments q+a arts feature food + drink music listings film nightlife comics timeout homes

Verb Issue S270 (Dec. 13-19, 2013)

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