A band on the verge prioritizes immediacy in Nap Eyes’ recording

By Liam Prost
Nap Eyes use physical distance between the band to make spontaneous music. Photo: Colin Medley

Nap Eyes use physical distance between the band to make spontaneous music.
Photo: Colin Medley

CALGARY — Halifax is one of Canada’s finest music cities, which makes it all the more discouraging when excellent bands move to Toronto or Montreal, if for no other reason than to eliminate the 12-hour drive to start any reasonable-length tour of the most populated sector of the country. Nap Eyes are a band sitting at that exact moment in their career, teetering between being a full time touring band and being simply ‘Hali-famous.’ BeatRoute spoke to Nap Eyes songwriter Nigel Chapman, who is the last Haligonian holdout of a band split between Halifax and Montreal, but even he is “open to the idea of moving.”

Being torn between the two cities however, is what made their excellent new record Thought Rock Fish Scale so immediate and fresh. “When we do meet up,” Chapman suggests, the band ends up “learning and recording at the same time.” Chapman writes songs by himself in Halifax, and often the first or close to the first time those tracks are heard by the rest of the band is in the recording studio, an approach Chapman describes as “fun an spontaneous.” The lo-fi immediacy that results is born from “working with limitations,” and it lets them make the music that they find “intuitive.” Chapman says that “if the feeling is right you can accept it.” And even if the sounds that come out aren’t perfectly clear or the vocals aren’t totally in key, it still “feels pretty good to let go.”

This sensibility and process has brought the band some attention from the right people, leading to signing with legendary New Brunswick label, the Daniel Romano co-founded You’ve Changed Records, a deal Chapman suggests they “got pretty lucky” with.

That’s not to say, however, that hi-fi sounds aren’t in their future. With a possible move to Montreal on the horizon for Chapman and the momentum from an excellent release, the band is excited for what new horizons await. It’s frustrating for Chapman when listeners are expecting something more “iPod-friendly” than what they find in Thought Rock Fish Scale, because even though it is a record they are immensely proud of, a more heavily produced Nap Eyes is not out of the cards just yet.

Nap Eyes plays the Media Club in Vancouver on March 26th, the Palomino in Calgary on March 28th, Brixx Bar and Grill in Edmonton on the 29th, Amigo’s Cantina in Saskatoon on March 30th and The Good Will in Winnipeg on April 1st.

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