Broken Social Scene proved they are anything but broken with their return on 2017’s album, Hug of Thunder. Despite having not released a new album since their hiatus in 2010, each brass-laced beat remained fresh, giving new perspective to adult themes and crisis’, from “divorce or cancer” to death and wrestling with the realities middle-age life. Comprising of 15 of the band’s members on the record, the ever-growing faction hit the road, and talk the dynamics of working among a large group, and drawing inspiration ahead of their local dates.
What is it like working in such a large group that fluctuates members? How do you maintain peace/effective communication within a group that has so many members?
As a band you make a choice to either have the road work against you or for you. Herding cats can be extremely exhausting but [it’s] part of the job. Obviously the job is not the shows but the actual constant travel.
You have to bring your family sweaters with you so that you can be reminded that this job is for the nature of reminding people to connect to others. Communication can be next to impossible at times, but we try to leave the direct contact of purity for the stage. Also, we wear electric collars in case anyone gets out of line.
After all these years, what fuels Broken Social Scene to continue to create music?
The people. We have always been a band for the people because of the people. We believe very deeply that people are the answer to everything that needs answers to. We set out to fight the divide with distortion peddles and horn sections. These are our weapons of choice.
In writing Hug of Thunder, what did the creative process look like — was everyone involved or did certain members take control of the development of the album?
The recording process was a return to ourselves. It’s important to create a space where everyone feels welcome and can introduce honest melody without judgement. H.O.T was an exercise in memory muscle. We were only chasing ourselves as opposed to an idea of how to remain relevant with these disposable commercial times.
The relevancy of honest creation is a losing battle half the time, but at the end of the day we all have mirrors to answer to. We chose the album’s songs based on who felt the strongest connection to them. It’s an album that is very much a band’s moment of exact vulnerability within the hope of yesterday helping today come back to life.
With a large variety of experiences from multiple members, what has been the most influential life events/emotions that inspire Broken Social Scene’s music?
This question is answered somewhere in these answers.
On the title track “Hug of Thunder,” you sing “getting fed up by the hunger” — what is the hunger that drives Broken Social Scene to create songs like these?
The hunger is the heartbeat. Always has been and always will be.
Was there a specific event or turning point that broke Broken Social Scene’s “indefinite hiatus”?
The struggle. The ridiculousness. The hope. The dying connection of accepting a world ruled by man-made zeros and ones. If you’re not fighting the fight, then you’re dying a death that someone else designed for you.
How do you think Broken Social Scene will continue to change over the upcoming years; what do you think the future holds for Broken Social Scene?
The future is up to the people. We have a solid foundation of love within the work and within the band. Music is the spirit purpose and why we do it, but the struggle to fight against the closed balcony is real. Today’s day and age relies heavily on marketing and publicity. Two jobs that we believe salaries should be doubled. They have become the most important jobs in terms of finding the people within this industry’s battle of continuing to stay alive within the relevancy of people’s addiction to knowing what others are doing as they display their own joys of living.
Narcissism doesn’t pay the bills like it uses to, and the free fall of constant distractions make the nine-round rumble party harder to sit ring side for. As long as we remain friends, Social Scene is here to stay.
See Broken Social Scene playing at The Paramount in Huntington, NY April 7, and The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ April 8.