Sound Seekers

SOUND SEEKERS: Recording news! Producer Laurence Currie comes to the capital to work with local band Fevers

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

The band Fevers with their producer Laurence Currie. From left to right: Jim Hopkins (bass, backing vocals), Martin Charbonneau (keys, drum machines, samplers), Laurence Currie (producer), Mike Stauffer (drums, samplers), Sarah Bradley (vocals), and Colin MacDougal (guitar, backing vocals).

If you follow Canadian music at all, you likely have the work of producer Laurence Currie in your collection. He’s helmed albums by Wintersleep, In-Flight Safety, Mardeen, Inlet Sound, Amelia Curran, The Diableros, Hey Rosetta!, Holy Fuck, and Sloan as well as the classic can-rock work of The Gandharvas, among many others.

Currie plied his trade for years in Halifax, before moving to Toronto about eight years ago. This past weekend he was in the capital to record with Ottawa electro-pop quintet Fevers, working out of their studio in the Golden Triangle.

The band, which formed in 2009, is recording a full-length CD to be released in May. It will follow their debut, self-produced seven-song EP called Passion Is Dead that was released in October 2011 (you can download it for free here).

That debut has plenty of contemporary hallmarks that would draw fans of bands such as Stars and Young Galaxy. The title track is exuberant, yet lamenting and is hugely danceable. (Hear it here: The song kicked off our year-ender Ottawa Mix List, released in December).

For album number two, the band hopes to maintain a lot of that clubby feel, but with less choppiness than the EP. Currie is behind the board to provide an outside perspective and sonic cohesion along with the recording expertise from his portfolio of Canadian music projects.

“I think Holy Fuck was one of the bands that stuck in our minds, when we were approaching Laurence,” Jim Hopkins (bass, backing vocals), says. Fevers likes that band’s mix of indie and electro. The fact that Currie was willing to come to Ottawa and work in their basement studio was a huge plus.

“That’s an important aspect to us to keep our daytime jobs and still make the best record in the time we have,” Hopkins says.

Currie says that Holy Fuck has more of a randomness to their music making, whereas the members of Fevers craft their songs in detail with more attention to the arrangements. (At a weekend studio visit, they were making great progress. Four of 14 songs were check marked on the band’s chalkboard. Early previews of the song “Look Alive” show a penchant for soaring synthesizer tracks with a light dose of melancholy).

“The hard part is discovering what makes this band unique,” Currie says. Before they began recording, Currie pressed Fevers to get their goals down on paper. He asked the band if commercial success mattered. Do you want a radio hit? Do you consider yourself an indie rock band with electronica elements or vice-versa? “Why should somebody listen to them as opposed to another group of a similar genre?” Currie asks.

The first recording session allowed them to discover that path.

“It’s up to me to help them find their way, at least for this project,” Currie says. “It’s sort of turning into an epic, electro indie-band type feel. The keyboards are becoming a driving force, with acoustic instruments creeping in to add a nice texture and keep a toehold in the indie world.”

Fevers will play at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield on April 20 with The Goodluck Assembly. Watch for next week’s edition of Sound Seekers for more Ottawa Recording News.