Published on February 14th, 2017 | by Craig Silliphant0
Local Music Feedback – Waitress
In this installment of Local Music Feedback, we chat with the husband and wife duo, Waitress, about their music and the music they’re listening to.
In Local Music Feedback, we take a look at prairie music. Like so many late night music conversations in a pub, jam space, or living room somewhere, we attempt to go beyond the press kit information about a band, and into a realm of getting to know their tastes and what they’re listening to.
This week: Waitress. Waitress is the husband and wife team of Kalon Beaudry and Janice Weber, and they released one of Saskatoon’s best albums of 2016, ‘Delay Our Time’. Similar, yet worlds apart (same universe, different planets?) from their earlier work in bands like The Foggy Notions, ‘Delay Our Time’ is a foray into a hazy reality, a dreamscape of swelling, creamy electropop synths and narcotic vocals.
THE FEEDBACK SOCIETY: Technically, the band is just the two of you now, coming off years of playing in full bands. Why did you decide to become a duo?
JANICE WEBER: We had to downsize because of the economy: we looked at the portability of a duo and the convenience of a queen bed. Really though, it has to do with the way we work, and write songs that didn’t necessarily fit a band structure. Our tendency to be hermits was also a contributing factor.
KALON BEAUDRY: There were many factors in deciding to pair down to a duo. The main reason for me was the compatibility of working with Janice, being my partner in life it just made sense. In terms of musicianship and taste I could never find anyone better. Mobility and ease of tour was another reason for the switch…we can pick upload our car and go.
TFS: You’ve had a ton of different bands and incarnations over the years. What is different about Waitress?
JANICE: Waitress indulges our interest in a different kind of pop music than bands we were in before. Some song ideas, in the past, had to be “adapted” to be played in bands and I think Waitress songs are a direct line to the ideas. Some bands are great at jamming out song ideas while practicing and playing, but we’ve never really been like that. I’ve always felt the process of recording was more creative for me. Ask me a question, and I like to go away and think about it, and then come back with an answer — so it’s a bit more considered. That being said, some of the recording is really from the gut too — playing around with a guitar line and capturing it while it is fresh, and maybe a bit wobbly.
I think being a duo is a reflection of the world we live in, and the illusion of infinite options. I say illusion because a person is still limited by their own preferences and instincts. But in a band you have your role as a bass player: as a duo, I can take any role the song requires, and call on any sound in the world. What if I want to quote the sound of an 808 machine, or a keyboard sound from the 70s? I can access those sounds on my computer.
It’s a good thing, and a bad thing: when Orchestral Manoevers in the Dark started they had a Korg M500 — they had to figure out how to use that machine and see what they could do within the constraints of one monophonic synthesizer. Their reactions and interactions with that machine became their very distinct sound — think of the opening of ‘Enola Gay.’
In the 21st century, with all our options, we have to become editors as well as writers because not everything is good. Not everything works. Even though you have access to ‘everything’ it comes down to the choices you make, and those make your sound what it is. If shoegazers were called that because they have so many effects they have to stare at their feet and all the pedals, I would say we’re screengaze.
(Photo credit: Josie Dabo – Waitress at CFCR Sled Island Showcase)
KALON: We have had a lot of bands with different sounds mainly because of our love for different sounds. The Foggy Notions were obviously more guitar-based, and for a while I enjoyed it…but as time went on it became apparent that I had to write songs in a certain style, which started to hinder what I really wanted to do.
The day we broke up that band I went out and bought a Moog and started messing about with that. The whole Waitress album apart from one song was written on the Sub Phatty. It all started with beats and bass, and then arranging those parts until we came up with something that resembled a song. I remember watching a documentary on OMD around the time we were making the record and they were talking about all the quirks and real time decisions they made with the synths on that record. That appeals to me…we made a strong decision to never quantize any parts on the record. I guess you could say that the Waitress sound is a more rounded sound because of the instrumentation being used.
TFS: Fascinating. I like the idea, as Janice was saying, that recording can be as creative a process as jamming. Anyway, moving along — what’s the best live show you’ve seen lately?
JANICE: This is a shout-out to a show and a venue, really. We played at the Sewing Machine Factory in Edmonton, on a really, really cold night in early January. Down some stairs there is a tiny TV playing X-Files at the door, and you could get coffee and baking or beer. Everyone there was so welcoming, friendly and open — it was packed and everyone put on a great show: Radiation Flowers, Rhythm of Cruelty, Zebra Pulse, and Cham.
KALON: Ride Til Dawn will always be my favourite live act.
TFS: One of my favourites as well. Who would be a bucket list show to see?
JANICE: I’m captivated by Nick Cave. I may not listen to him all the time, or like every single thing he has ever done, but seeing him live would be a dream. Sometimes the music you listen to every day is not the thing you dream of seeing live.
KALON: I guess the one band I would still love to see would be The Stone Roses or Ride. Those two bands were the most important to me for a long time.
TFS: What album are you stuck on right now? Something you just can’t stop listening to?
JANICE: For the past five years I have listened to music with an ear to collecting curios to play on my radio show [Ed Note: The CFCR show, Pop Rocket, which just ended]. Now that I’m not doing my show anymore (ok, it’s been a week…) I think I will listen to music differently. I feel like starting over, almost. But one album I’ve been listening to for the past couple of years is ‘Cranekiss’ by Tamaryn. I love the production, the songs are great.
KALON: I got ‘Paul’s Boutique’ for Christmas and it’s been played about 1000 times since then. Great sounding record!
TFS: What about the flipside — what’s a band or record you can’t stand hearing?
JANICE: I am a very opinionated but diplomatic person. I will borrow a phrase from my friend Chris and say “bowtie clatter.” The sooner we move away from banjos and “oh oh oh’s” in songs, the happier I’ll be.
KALON: Maybe ten years ago I would have ripped into this question, but as I get older I’m trying to hold back my disdain for other bands. I can’t believe I’m not going to get personal.
TFS: I thought you of all people would have the best answer to this question, haha. But I get it. So on a positive note, what are each of your favourite Saturday night records?
JANICE: For me, Saturday nights are about the illusion of possibility. So, I don’t like listening to things that are “me.” I want to listen to something that transports me to this world of possibility, makes me feel like I might be part of a larger world — so basically, I listen to Justin Bieber.
KALON: Not one Saturday goes by without me playing Robyn – ‘Body Talk.’ No one has topped that album.
TFS: Good call. I’m partial to the Robyn and Royksopp EP, ‘Do It Again.’ What about a Sunday morning record?
JANICE: This is easy: Bobby Gillespie [from Primal Scream] put out a compilation on Ace Records: ‘Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.’ It’s a perfect selection of songs.
KALON: Tamaryn’s ‘Cranekiss.’ My favorite record in the last ten years. And The Tyde’s second record is a Sunday classic.
TFS: Who is a local band you love listening to?
JANICE: There are a lot of people making good music here, I’m going to say that I love listening to The Relaxation Company. I love how in something repetitious you start to imagine shifts in the sound. It’s got space and texture and really great colours in my mind. Editor’s Note: Waitress also did a very cool remix of a Relaxation Company track.
KALON: OWNERS! Just recorded some tracks for them. It was live off the floor and they killed it! Can’t describe their music…no one else sounds like them. Ummmm…also really dig Lenore Maier’s URSA project…and loved the Shirley and the Pyramids tape.
TFS: Lastly, what lies on the horizon for Waitress?
KALON: The funny thing is that we released our debut record in May and it’s really just now started to gain some traction. We’ve had some lovely media coverage in the last couple months and almost secured a Netflix deal. It’s a nice feeling to have people still interested in it. The next order of business is to finish the EP, which will be out sooner then later, although it may end up being an album by the time we are done.