By Julia Gunst
CALGARY — Saskatchewan quartet Close Talker is breathing new life into Canadian indie rock. They were finalists in CBC’s Searchlight competition for Best New Artist in 2013 and their second album Flux has been garnering favourable reviews nationwide. Close Talker’s meteoric rise in the span of two years, from forming the band to embarking on a North American tour on the heels of releasing Flux on Nevado Records, is nothing short of astounding.
Months before the recording process began, the songs on Flux were written during Christmas break when Will Quiring (vocals, guitar) and Matt Kopperud (guitar, vocals) returned from school in B.C. Their trip back home created a short window of time when the four lads could cram themselves into Matt’s garage to hammer out tunes.
Vocalist and bassist Jeremy Olson explains: “There were definitely days when the 10th hour of trying to come up with something or adding new parts gets exhausting. It is pretty crazy that we didn’t kill each other because we spent more time together in that little room than we do in the van on tour.”
The close proximity incubated a new method.
“We took a lot more collaborative approach this time. We’d all sort of build on an idea together,” Olson says. Frequent long distances from each other also had an impact Close Talker’s sound, giving room for new perspectives to immerge.
“Half of us were in B.C. and half of us were in Saskatchewan [at times]. We are exposed to different scenes and bands, and we try to take the best of both worlds and sort of combine them.”
Close Talker’s trip this past spring to Montreal to record Flux at Breakglass Studios with The Besnard Lakes’ Jace Lasek helped tighten their sound.
“He has an unreal ear, as an unreal producer and engineer. He added so much to the record sonically,” says Olson of Lasek. Encouragement from Lasek to take time off to watch Game 6 of the Habs in the Playoffs helped ease the edge of time constraints off.
“This set the tone for the whole experience and none of felt that we weren’t good enough to be there. It can be an intimating experience.”
No matter where they go, Close Talker’s connections to the Saskatchewan music scene run deep.
“The scene in Saskatchewan right now is amazing. There are so many good bands from here and it is so fun to watch them grow,” says Olson.
Having a home base couldn’t be more important, especially when lives outside of music place their own demands, such as Olson’s job researching at the University of Saskatchewan.
“I go to my day job, which is super supportive, then get home and we jam for four or five hours. I’m lucky that my job has been flexible. Our friends, family and relationships have also been supportive,” explains Olson. Support can come in many forms, and as Olson notes, “There is a good tight-knit community and we get good support from SaskMusic.”
Close Talker is deserved of the support: they are known for tightly knit rhythms and melodic hooks that garner comparisons to the likes of Local Native and Bombay Bicycle Club.
“To be mentioned even in the same sentence as any of those bands is pretty incredible. We definitely have them playing in the van quite a bit.”
Olson concludes, “We try to come up with our own ideas. Hopefully there are things we are doing that are super unique that people can appreciate as well.”
Close Talker will play with Jung People and Mike Edel on December 5 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Bar.
AB, Alberta, Close Talker, Palomino