“We are definitely more interested in moving someone emotionally than just kind of throwing a party”
Canadian Indie rock band Close Talker have released a new single ‘Half Past Nine’ that you need to hear. The band consisting of three life long friends found a new focus with their music by creating lyrically timeless songs from their own personal experiences. Striving to capture moments and feelings for the listener Close Talker has a sound all their own. The Indie rock band has new music they are proud of that is hitting home everything they want to say and is music you should look out for.
After successful shows at New York’s New Colossus Music Festival, GIGsoup had the opportunity to sit down with Close Talker before they head to SXSW. In the interview we talked about their new single ‘Half Past Nine’, live show experiences, their life long friendship, and go-to karaoke songs. Read all that and more in the full transcript below.
I am here with two thirds of Close Talker here in New York following the New Colossus Festival. Can you both say your names so I can identify it when I listen back?
Will Quiring: Yes this is Will.
Chris Morien: And this is Chris.
I wanted to talk to you guys first and foremost about your new single ‘Half Past Nine’. I have loved listening to it. It is a really good song. I read about you guys taking a different approach when creating this song, is that right?
WQ: Yeah definitely. Like we with our past music I think it sometimes has become cluttered and there is a lot of moving parts within the songs. I think with that it maybe dilutes the message of the lyrics in a lot of ways. So I think with our new music especially we have been trying to focus on really hitting home what we want to say. Then everything else kind of just accompanying it rather than just bombarding it.
CM: And I think in the production world we are looking to when we create an idea for the instrumentation it is committing to that feeling and if we want to have a certain vibe for a song we keep that and expand on it, instead of like try to push the song in new ways it is always trying to stay the course and expand on what that is.
WQ: Yeah I think especially with like focusing on music being timeless aspect we are always kind of interested in time. Whether it is us being fearful or excited about the future, or like reminiscing about past events whether good or bad. I think with almost every song we’ve written with like lyrically it has kind of been about that and I think maybe in some ways it is trying to combat the society of it’s very fast paced, we are always trying to look for what’s next and never really remembering what happened and like those good times. Even bad times. I feel like bad times are great to reminisce about too because you’ve grown from it. So yeah I think that that has always been something that we’ve written about that is maybe like first thing out of the gate is writing about our past experiences because it helps us remember them as well.
Cool and one of those experiences you have used to write about was something you took for writing ‘Half Past Nine’ It was from a shared experience of you guys watching a friend perform at a music festival. What is it like as you just played it at the New Colossus Festival and are heading down to SXSW next week to play a song inspired at a festival live in a similar setting?
WQ: Right I think when we wrote ‘Half Past Nine’ it was like you said a moment we all shared in the audience. I think when we play live we try to create those moments that we’ve experienced before. Like we wanna I don’t know connect with a person in the audience. Like have my words that I’m singing hit home with someone. So I think that is as we play that song kind of the goal is to like the song is about a moment we all shared at a festival that we knew right then and there that it would be special. So I think when we play that song it is kind of the same feeling and trying to reciprocate that to the audience and maybe that will happen for someone in the audience.
CM: When we are performing it is always such a hard feeling to define of what that feeling is when we get it. But I know that usually like there is a bit of eye contact with each other where we are in the middle of a song or just like a certain moment of one song that we capture that same feeling that we felt with ‘Half Past Nine’ and I think that’s just like hard to define, hard to grasp but we know it’s there. So whenever we are playing a show that is what we’re after and it is just like in the way we select the songs, and the way we perform, and interact with each other we are trying to recreate that same feeling. That is where I think we do spend our time writing these songs on these special whether they are positive or negative moments we reflect on those so much. Then when we are playing them we are doing what we can I don’t know really how but we are really trying to recreate that feeling and present that.
WQ: We are definitely more interested in like moving someone emotionally than just kind of throwing a party. Like even though our music can be loud and like big and abrasive but also quiet and subtle. We are looking for that deeper connection than just “oh this is fun.”
You talked about times you have recognized these moments with the band, are there ways you recognize that the moments are there for the audience as well? Is there a way to distinguish that?
WQ: I think it is like Chris said before and kind of hard to discern what the moment is and how it comes across I guess. But I mean if someone is like having eye contact with the band and like fully
CM: There are some visual queues.
WQ: Yeah some visual queues and you can kind of tell.
CM: And we feed of that too I think. We’ve learned just from our touring experience and when we perform we try to create that with the three of us because we can’t control what the audience does. We have played all sorts of shows where we have played for a lot of people or we have played for not that many people so uh we have learned from those times where it is like we are just playing in our jam space and we are trying to create that with ourselves. So when there is more people in the room they are giving off that energy as well and so we definitely do feed off that. You can see how people are getting into the music as well.
WQ: It for sure starts with ourselves, like if we’re not in that moment and if we’re not feeling it it wont really translate. We were even talking about this the other day like we all need to be in a good mindset going into a show. Whether it is one of these one off festivals or it is a hometown show you know? Like we always need to be at a certain mindset because we perform our best when mentally we are at our best and I think that is the best way to translate to the audience.
And what are you guys looking most forward to for the festival next week with SXSW?
CM: Tacos! (laughs)
WQ: So many tacos!
CM: That is definitely apart of it. But I think every time we have been there has been this pretty amazing music discovery. It is just like it still kind of happens and that is exciting. Growing up I would go to tons of shows and there would be lots of bands coming through and now like I still go to see a lot of performers but it doesn’t seem as easy to discover people live. I find a lot of people are going to shows more for bands more that they know or have been listening to for a long time. It is not so much as a willing to take a risk on something whereas here there is like 2000 bands here. You can go and see literally any type of music you want and there is a bit of a stumble into a venue and discover something and that is really cool.
WQ: I think also with South by I think it is one of the best places for people to get inspired. Just like what Chris was saying about seeing live music we even though we are in a band and get to play lots of times its not our first priority when we are home to go to a bar and listen to more live music. So I think that this is a good opportunity for us to see every type of band and get inspired and see what they’re doing and how they portray their show. What are they doing different from their record and their live songs? Just learning, it’s a really good learning experience.
You guys have been friends for years, what is that like performing together? And how exactly did Close Talker come to be?
CM: So Matt and I, Matt is the one that isn’t here right now. But we have been friends for over twenty years now. We grew up like a block away from each other and just like have always kind of been in each others lives in some degree. Either we are best friends or doing different things but been like family for so long. Then Will we’ve been friends for like almost as long from like school and just living in the same part of the city and getting into music quite young. That definitely brought us together as friends. Over the years we have done various musical projects, nothing as like focused or serious as this has been. But there has been like a development over the years, we have been playing Close Talker for like six years now so we have experienced a lot together and know each other very well. So we have just developed a family relationship here. It is so important and I have seen a lot of my friends bands over the years grow and become something and then kind of fall apart because it is a very complicated thing to spend every waking moment with these people and there is difficulties with that. But I don’t know we have been able to push past any challenges and we get along really well.
I was curious as well where the name Close Talker came from?
WQ: Oh man we well it’s like deep down I think it’s from a Seinfeld reference… but I mean that is just the short answer. But I do think like Close Talker has really especially in like the last three years has really grown into something more. Because I’m looking at it more like an intimate thing than like the Seinfeld cheeky funny thing. Like with our new songs we are trying to like I said to create a moment and like really connect with people on a personal level and have that closeness. And I think the name Close Talker has at least for me felt a lot more fitting with our music and what we are trying to create.
CM: I feel like band names too like sort of lose their literal meaning over time and then just becomes like so many bands I know have ridiculous names and it might have a story behind how it came up but at the end of the day when I see those words or that name I just associate it with the sound of that band and that is like the new definition for me. But for me it is just a name.
As I was preparing I saw a number of bands Close Talker has been compared to. Do you guys have a favorite band you have been compared to? Or one that stuck out?
CM: Someone said Phil Collins the other day… (laughs)
WQ: (laughs) Yeah we had like an interview or someone posted an article and they did Phil Collins, Sting, and Bryan Adams all in a sentence and I was like “What the hell? This is amazing!” (laughs) So maybe that actually, that might take the cake.
That’s great company (laughs) A few of your songs I definitely felt Glass Animals as my comparison.
WQ: Oh nice! Yeah we have had that one before and it’s cool.
So I have a question I ask every interview about Karaoke. Does Close Talker like Karaoke?
CM: Karaoke? I would say we do but we never do it. We should get into it though! We have done it a few times and it has usually been an amazing night.
I was going to say you guys seem like a fun karaoke crowd!
WQ: I think to do karaoke you need a karaoke song…
That’s perfect you said that because I was basically just setting up for my question being What is your go-to karaoke song?
WQ: Yeah you need like your go-to karaoke song. My brothers is um ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel and that’s his and it’s just like this slow five-six minute song. I know my other friends that Chris knows his is ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Rush but then there is like a three minute instrumental in the middle and no one knows what to do.
See I love karaoke and my go to songs are always the up beat ones to hide my voice. Like anything Destiny’s Child, or Beyonce. ‘Say My Name’ is a crowd pleaser every time.
CM: (laughs) Oh that is awesome!
Well what would your songs be?
CM: I would probably do a Weezer song. Probably ‘Say It Aint So’.
WQ: Now that you say Beyonce/Destiny’s Child I’m a big Beyonce song and I would probably do ‘Halo’.
Oh that is a dream song!
CM: That one would be awesome.
Well thank you so much for you time. I really appreciate it. Is there any last things you would like us to know about Close Talker?
CM: Um nothing comes to mind right now. I think the main thing that is going on right now is that we are pushing the single and wanting to share it with as many people as we can. We are really proud of the music we are putting out right now and yeah that is kind of our main focus!
WQ: Thank you!