2. Band Name
How’d you come up with the band’s
name and what does it mean?
The few of us who are originally from the Soo all got our names from
the guy who, that crazy summer, discovered funk himself and made us all mixed
tapes with P-Funk, James Brown, Sly, Prince, the Chili Peppers. He called
himself the Pope-a-funk After rehearsals
for whatever play we were all in, we would cram into our mothers cars and
cruise the city bouncing to this incredible music which was so unlike any we
had ever heard before. Down by the river we would all jump out of the cars we
and all dance together. By this point everyone wanted a funk-name for
themselves – which led to these “baptisms.”
Everyone would dance around the initiate and the Pope-a-funk would watch
them give it all they had until a name would come to him and he would scream it
out. Our friend Trish, with her long
limbs and smooth style, was the original “Elasto-citizen!” (I am trying to keep
this short but it’s hard!)
10 years later we decide to continue the baptisms on a larger
scale. Hence the pseudo-religious frenzy
of our shows.
3. Size and Money
Judging by the photo you sent and
perusing your website, ElastoCitizens as an outfit doesn’t look small to say
the least. How do you stay afloat
financially and is there enough cash to divvy up after gigs?
With a band like this, no-one is doing it for the money. All the same –
I am glad to say that with all the audience support we have in Toronto we were
able to finance the making of our own cd and we still are making enough money
to cover costs and pay ourselves – just barely mind you, but still, I am proud
to say it.
Your bio says you released your
own CD at the start of 2008. What’s it
called and how can people purchase it?
Is it available at stores like HMV?
Our first cd, produced completely independently, is called simply, The
ElastoCitizens – Album. We called it that because as it came to a close
I kept looking at pictures of us from the past three years and I began to think
of the songs as snapshots of us- frozen in time.
In TO it is avail at Play de Record (357A Yonge St.), Soundscapes (572
College St), and Rotate this! (620 Queen St. W.). It is also avail online at
puretracks.com, and itunes.
Tell me about its production and
the material on it.
Adam Harendorf and I produced the album. It was a massive effort. We wanted to do it the old fashioned way,
record the band live off the floor to get the edge and the grit, the unclean
sound. So we set up in Adam’s new studio
in the basement of his little bungalow in East York, wires hanging everywhere,
guitar cables running up through the central–vacuum system to every part of the
house. We played the songs as a band
until everyone was happy with the take. We thought we could do it in 3 weeks.
It ended up taking 3 months. A wild and wooly process. I basically lived at Adam’s
place. He has a very loving and forgiving wife.
Choosing the songs for the Album required a lot of debate. We have written a fair number over the past
three years. We ended up choosing the
songs that we thought were the best tunes – not necessarily the songs that are
the strongest in concert. As a result it is a very eclectic record – there are
songs that sound like Sharon Jones, and then there are Chili Pepper heavy
songs, Barry White songs, and songs that are could only come from us. We didn’t
want to replicate the live show. We wanted something that had depth, and
fullness, that you could listen to on your headphones and hear something new
Who does your imaging? The general reaction among people who’ve
never seen you is …
Our image is very important. I think people want to believe is
superheroes – the larger than life onstage personas of Bowie, Prince, Andre
3000 – they are a very important part of rock and roll. It is very sincere. It is still us up there-
just the sexiest, largest, fullest expression of ourselves that we can muster. And
that is what we ask of our audience. I
think our image now is somewhere between depraved-orgy-revival meeting and
sesame street live. The smiles on our
faces are for real. Good Times indeed.
The most common reaction I hear after our shows is “That is the best
concert I have seen in years!” Draw your own conclusions.
What’s your booking itinerary
like? Any details of your next gig(s)?
Our next show Toronto show is May 10 at
Lee’s Palace, with Uk
based group, THE HEAVY.
For now I am concentrating on recovery. I actually played the last show
at the Horseshoe on Feb 29 in a wheelchair 9 days after getting out of the
hospital. I broke my femur on our last Quebec road trip and spent 10 days post
surgery trying to build up my lost blood and get used to the metal in my leg.
The whole band had worked so hard for the H’shoe show I had to be
there. I was glad I did. We had a huge crowd -sold-out- and I think the good vibes will heal me faster
than anything. I told the crowd “after spending most of this month in the
hospital it’s nice to be at a party with 400 of my closest friends.”
How often do you guys get
together to rehearse, work on material?
What’s the drill like?
It depends. Prior to shows we can rehearse up to 3 times a week. Then
there are song building rehearsals. Gals rehearse on their own sometimes. In
the full band reh it can be pretty chaotic but everyone knows their stuff so
well now. When you have people you can depend on that makes all the difference.
The toughest part of being an
independent act is ….scheduling.
The best part of being an
independent act is … doing whatever you damn well please.
Do you write and produce your own
Yes. People always think we are
covering the masters. They’ll say “ Oh I love that song. Who wrote it?” We say
to them “Uhh.. we did.”
Which acts inspire you?
Someone said we were “Prince meets Beck at a ’67 James Brown show” Of course Sly, Bootsy, George Clinton,
Stevie. We also love The (exile-sticky
fingers era) Stones, Led Zep, Van Halen, Public Enemy, Rage against the
Where do you see ElastoCitizens
No one is doing what we are doing.
We are creating joyous, sex-filled, gritty rock and roll funk music that
people can dance to. People have said
that Toronto is a hard city to get people dancin at concerts. Are you kidding – people are just waiting for
the cue. People lose their minds at our shows.
Where do I see us going?.... For
now I am just grateful that it continues at all. In my wheelchair at the last
show I looked at all my bandmates and just marvelled at their talent. I really
just feel grateful for the whole ride. 3 years of creating joy and making
people dance and feel good. I hope it continues.
Anything else you’d like to add?
People, when they go out on the town, when they go to see a band, are
hoping for something special, they want to get involved. People want to party, to lose themselves, to
feel good, and when we come out on stage, man we don’t wait for the audience,
we are the party! If you want to be
alive with us for one night then come along, If you don’t then you can leave,
and we tell em that too. We are having the time of our lives up there onstage
and we don’t mind sharing.