By Keeghan Rouleau
CALGARY – While sitting down over a cup of coffee, arts journalist and musician Josiah Hughes talked about his band Pre Nup’s newest album, Oh Well (Debt Offensive/Jigsaw Records). Musically delivering a tongue-in-cheek, slack-jawed indie rock sound, the album wraps up pop, punk, indie, and twee in a jerky-dance inducing package.
Over many, many laughs, we examined the long process of creation and how he feels about the state of the music scene he inhabits.
After some conversation about the obvious love and passion for the art form, Hughes got to chatting about the state of modern music.
“I think people take it for granted when they have an audience,” he says in pensive observation. “Like, there’s so much content, so much streaming, so many live shows and there’s so many fucking bands everywhere. If someone’s actually paying attention to you, you should try and entertain them at least. Otherwise, it’s just sort of self-indulgent in my opinion.”
With the pop-cultured Oh Well, Hughes (who handles guitars, bass, organ and vocals) wanted to write his most honest record to date, while still keeping to his celebrated satirical wit.
“This new batch of songs is probably the most sincere, but it’s still the framework of how I see the world and how I communicate is still humourous. I figure out what I want to say and then I wrap it in a joke.”
Tongue-in-cheek nonchalance aside, Pre Nup genuinely cares about their audience. It’s an extra focus on lyrics, mixing and messaging that makes the fun and frenetic songs on Oh Well such a fetching earful. Backed by his wife, Sara Hughes, on drums and vocals; and the multi-talented Chris Dadge providing percussion, freewheelin’ harmonies and additional keys, Hughes has spent the last couple years recording, tuning, re-recording and re-tuning until the team was satisfied with what the warm and fuzzy tones they heard.
“[Oh Well] is, I think, 21-minutes long. 10 songs and we worked on it for over a year! So, we really painstakingly paid attention to each second of it. Hopefully.”
Ultimately, it was this dedication to making an album that could impress even their harshest critic — themselves — is what makes Oh Well so enjoyable.
Oh Well drops May 4; order a copy on https://prenup.bandcamp.com/. Catch Pre Nup (album release party) in performance with Lab Coast and Bog Bodies May 12 at Tubby Dog (Calgary)Lab Coast and Bog Bodies, Oh Well, Pre Nup, The devil’s in the details