By Andrew Bardsley
Tony Dekker is here to last, at least his music is. Frontman of Canadian indie band Great Lake Swimmers, Dekker and his melancholic voice have offered listeners an escape since their 2003 self titled EP. Back for a seventh album, The Waves, The Wake, Dekker and his band have chosen a different route, offering listeners with a significantly different sound than what is normally expected by the Toronto based band.
“Having a different sound was really ingrained in the process, we [Chris Stringer, the record producer at Toronto based Union Sound] really wanted to have things scaled back and minimalistic, my goal was to not use any acoustic guitar and I really wanted to make something quite different. We had brought previous albums to a certain point and that served as the jumping off point.” Dekker, who also released a self titled solo record views himself as someone always changing and evolving, much like the music he creates.
“I think I would have been more scared had I continued to make more of the same. I think I needed a new challenge.” The new album, released this year offers listeners with a more refined Great Lake Swimmers, a significantly more confident band, ready to try something unique that differers greatly from the hit 2007 album, Ongiara as well as the previously released album A Forest of Arms.
Dekker views his time as frontman as a way to evolve as a person. “I think Great Lake Swimmers is more of a song writing vehicle, it is something to help you evolve as a person and as a song writer and at the end of the day you hope you have done that.” Dekker and his bandmates have surely evolved in their decade plus journey of self discovery. “Our band is different with every record, it is who is involved at the time. We aren’t the Ramones, we are more of a collaborate project that people are passionate about.”
Dekker is trying to create something more permanent, a monument against a disposable life. A life-style that Dekker is trying to avoid himself. “I feel like we are moving into a disposable lifestyle and world and the music I try and create is more complex, I like music that you unpack and things that take a while too really figure out.”
Dekker and Great Lake Swimmers have aways tried to connect their music to the greater world, weaving their songwriting and Dekker’s own vocal stylings into the creative narrative of nature and society. “it just amazes me that we are so connected but we are just so disconnected and so I encourage anyone to just turn their phones off and just go into the woods.
The Waves, The Wake sounds like a band confident in what they are producing, but also ready to venture into that great unknown, confident in their map and their compass.
Great Lake Swimmers are performing at Festival Hall (Calgary) on September 16 and the Imperial (Vancouver) on September 21.Great Lake Swimmers