The Nursery is making progress in Toronto’s music scene after grabbing two titles, Best Indie Band and Best Music Video, at the Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2016.
The Medium caught up with Alex Pulec from The Nursery to talk about the band’s experiences after Life After Wartime.
The Medium (TM): How has your band’s sound changed since the release of Digital Ashes?
Alex Pulec (AP): Life After Wartime is very much like the second half to Digital Ashes in an overall sense. It’s not meant to be theatrical or overly conceptual, however it certainly finishes the story that the first record starts. The whole story [Digital Ashes] begins with the end, so to speak, while Life After Wartime is left open-ended. In this second half there are more exciting highs, and way deeper lows then the first EP. This record is just so much more urgent, sprawling, and vividly coloured. The next record is going sound completely different. It’s going to be start of a much more abnormal story.
TM: What went into producing your debut album, Life After Wartime?
AP: Might as well start where it was recorded. Half in Toronto and half in a Victorian-era converted monastery in Buffalo, New York. We had a great time recording there, we got to sleep in different rooms of the studio to save money. Vic had one of the ISO booths and I got to sleep on the live room floor with this beautiful gigantic skylight that just beamed in each morning. Such a biblical and holy setting for an atheist. The room of course sounded amazing and we used it as much as we could on the album. The Hammond B3 organ and the vintage Steinway O series piano were sounds that we really got to take home from that space. The sound of those instruments echoing in the walls of that place was truly haunting. I hope some of that was captured.
Back home in Toronto we recorded with Mike Rocha and his team who mixed the album too. This is where we completed a lot of the synth work, voices and experimental stuff. Originally the songs “Everybody’s Famous” and “Human Race” weren’t going to be on the album. Which is incredibly weird thinking about it, because they have become my two favourite songs. The sessions for “Human Race” were sponsored by the Converse Shoe Company, but by the time we heard confirmation to sponsor recording time, we were finished the album. We obviously couldn’t say no to such a great opportunity so we quickly wrote a song over a weekend about mental illness. “Everybody’s Famous” was supposed be just a single, bridging Digital Ashes and Life After Wartime together, but we decided to just put it on the album because it fit so well.
TM: What was it like working with singer-songwriter Marlon Chaplin?
AP: I haven’t really worked with Marlon on any music before. I assume you mean the remix of one his songs I did for his old band Broken Bricks? They were releasing a remix album of their record at the time and he asked me to remix one of its tracks. There was a song that sounded like it could’ve been a Plastic Ono Band B-side, but I felt the production didn’t reflect that. Since I love the sonic and production of that record so much, I decided to re-produce his song “I Met a Robot” as a Plastic Ono impersonation while adding my own colour into it. I never really considered it working together. I just got the raw stems of the track and spent a night in my studio with them, and wine.
TM: What kind of messages is the band trying to convey through the music videos?
AP: Obsession, death, the beauty in decay, love, and fear are frequent themes. They’re all really bold topics and not your typical easy-to-digest belly wash stuff. We want to challenge as much as soothe. Take risks at the sake of trying something new rather than perfecting a path that has been already forged. You can’t please everybody, and if you do, it’s just milquetoast. Today we all deal with the subjects I just mentioned every day. They are a lot closer to us than you think and it’s getting harder and harder to distract from it. The more comfortable we are facing it, the stronger we become.