It ain’t fiction, but a natural fact..
“Fantasy love is much better than reality love,” Andy Warhol once said. “Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.” Had this other king of pop lived to a ripe age of 82 and decided to sponsor a well-entrenched group of Canadian art rockers, he would be hard pressed to find a better group than Vancouver’s own Collapsing Opposites. While the gritty life of sex, drugs, and savants is neglected more than burgeoning sti’s of NY’s early 80’s in the band’s newest release, In Time, it does capture the tension that fascinated Warhol: the irreconcilable space between two conflicting sides who manage to create something exciting through attraction through their opposition.
Their 8th and self-released LP, complete with artwork penned by singer/songwriter Ryan McCormack, explores basic elements of the human condition. Negotiating the abundance or lack of time in one’s life, the relationship between the mind and the body, and how to come to terms with the fact that, although we might wish to be stars, we’re really just rocks (hey, they’re made of the same thing). Chatting with drummer/artist Laura Hatfield and McCormack about the new album, the two are playful and candid about it’s points of inspiration: “When I wake up I want to sleep longer, when I’m awake, I want to stay up longer... I always joke that if we could take all the money spent on war to slow down the rotation of the earth around the sun, so we could have more time, we’d be a lot better off. ”
Timing is everything on their latest offering, where reverb soaked guitar parts and pun-infused wordplay spar with darker rhythmic bass and organ droning. The interplay between Jessica Wilkin’s keys and bassist Jarret Evan bass lines provides that, at any given point, the songs can move from charming and childlike, into a void of a cyclical, manic, and detail obsessed narrator.
The use of timing and mood reflect the evolution and maturity of a band who began as a one-man act, and found a more sophisticated voice as a four piece rock outfit. And though McCormick agrees they have benefited from the compromises inherent in-group dynamics, it hasn’t been painless.
“It’s the give and take between different people that can be tricky sometimes. When it was just myself playing, a first verse could have five bars because the lyrics needed five bars, and a second verse could have 11 bars. Communicating those arrangements was a lot harder. With a band, you end up just doing 8/4/8 bars; it’s easier to communicate. Than again, with a band, I don’t even have to envision and flush out entire songs; I just put a little seed out there, and it grows.”
With plans to tour the west coast in the spring, and a Canadian and European tour in the works for the summer, it seems that Collapsing Opposites can do nothing but blossom. Ironically, it is their lack of careerist ambitions and their commitment to artistic pursuits that seem to be fueling their successes in the practical and conceptual world of music.
“If you just accept the fact that you wont make money, then you realize you can do whatever the hell you want. Everyone has hobbies, whether you’re a painter, or want to spend money on a family or smoking…! It’s about having complete control over what you do.”
Having deeply entrenched themselves in Vancouver’s indie pop scene through collaborations with the Greenbelt Collective, They Shoot Horses, and other long standing local acts, this band proves that giving up can mean getting plenty back. While residing in the tension between two opposing points can be a problematic and irreconcilable situation, it can also give birth to the kind of prolific, respected and creative reputation that Collapsing Opposites have built- and that ain’t no small feat.
Collapsing Opposites Release their LP, In Time, on July 26th@ Little Mountain Studios