The first time I saw this band we shared a bill with them and Silverstein in Chatham, Ont. They instantly became one of my favourite groups. I Am Committing A Sin had musical honesty and integrity, which I think a lot of bands lack now. The music itself baffles me, and after 2 or 3 years of listening to their first record, there are still parts I’m picking up on. They aren’t a band anymore, but Paul (guitar) answered some questions for me about them, and his current band, Burst and Bloom. He has some of the best, honest, funniest answers.
1-Who are you and what was/is your job in IACAS?
-My name is Paul Marc Rousseau. I played guitar in I Am Committing A Sin, but that wasn’t much of a job.
2-According to your Facebook page, IACAS is dead…. yet you’re still playing shows here and there. What gives?
-The first show we did posthumously was of our own volition, but the other two (Dead and Divine farewell show and A Sight For Sewn Eyes Release show) were more about being with our friends on a stage that meant a lot to them. Which, in turn, meant a lot to us. We won’t do another one, though. I promise.
3-‘Grow Past Their Promises’ is one of the most cohesive records I’ve ever heard. What was the writing/recording process like for that record?
-We wrote Grow Past Their Promises over the course of a few months in the practice space we were illegally subletting from Silverstein. It was never a taxing experience because at the time there were no expectations. We casually arrived at what seemed like a cohesive batch of songs and recorded them in three or four days with Justin Koop in Burlington. We tracked drums and bass simultaneously and did the same with the guitars. It was somehow really relaxed and super easy despite the timeline.
4-The guitar parts are insane, very intricite. How do you approach guitar playing when writing songs?
-I was a pretty naive guitar player at the time, and I know that Kevin would say the same thing. That said, I know he and I approached the parts differently. I played from what can basically be described as pure instinct. Kevin was quite calculated and was insistent on trying to build on all of his parts before eventually being forced to keep one. We both, however, were acutely aware of the role of our parts and as a result were able to put together some interesting bits.
5-The tones are also nuts. What did you use to record, and use live?
-I played a 1970’s Ampeg V4 and Kevin played a Traynor Mark III from the same era- each with a Tube Screamer in front of it for added bite. We put them through a bunch of different cabs before eventually settling on custom Emperor cabs which probably looked better than they sounded. Plus, Telecasters. We loved those. The studio set up was basically the same, though on Tragedians we ran a Soldano SLO and an Orange Rockerverb in addition to the vintage amps because Koop thought our old amps were too noisy or something.
6-IACAS reminded me a lot of us as far as performance goes. Always wild. What is more important to you, playing parts verbatim and perfect, or fucking up a bit, and putting on a wild show?
-It was never really talked about. The performance came about organically, and while it was retrospectively a bit wild I always thought we sounded alright. So, I think both parts are equally important. Don’t be boring, don’t be bad.
7-You were/are signed to Verona Records, how did you guys hook up with Shane Told and his label?
-Shane decided he liked IACAS enough to put the EP out. We probably owe him some money and for that I’m mostly sorry.
8-You toured quiet a bit as well, what was it like touring across Canada?
-Canada is a big place with few cities. Apply that equation to touring and the answer is “terrible”. The drives are really long once you get west of Toronto, the terrain is either devastatingly monotonous or terrifyingly mountainous, and there’s a constant fear of hitting a moose and dying because it’s bigger than the van. All that aside, I really loved it. I recommend it.
9-You also front Burst and Bloom. Not only are you a killer guitar player, but also an amazing singer. What made you start this more pop oriented project?
-First, thank you. When we killed IACAS I wanted to keep playing but didn’t want to just release a second rate version of old work. I decided that I could probably sing, so I just wrote songs that I could sing over.
10-You’re cover of ‘Short People’ by Randy Newman is amazing. What made you decide to record that song?
-I’ve apparently had my head in the sand forever because I was completely unaware of every good song that had ever been written before 1999. I don’t remember who showed me that record, but I think it was Christian Turner who now plays in Teenage Kicks. I thought it was too funny and learned it on piano so I could record a cover of it. The best part of having done that is the number of people who confronted me about the lyrics assuming it’s my song. Those tiny people were so mad.
11-Burst and Bloom TV shorts are hilarious. I’ve watched them so many times. I learned so much about song writing and being in a band….This is less of a question, more of a statement telling you how great the videos are.
-Oh, yeah. Those were pretty weird. I actually have close to 10 full episodes written and now that I’ve had some time to think about them, they’re terrible.
12-Burst and Bloom has kind of sat dormant for a bit…. what’s the plan for the band?
-Writing pop songs is really difficult and since we released those first songs I’ve been constantly writing and demoing to try to find a groove I can stand behind. I’m closer than ever, but it still isn’t where it needs to be. Working alone is difficult because you’re forced to be critical from a perspective that doesn’t come naturally to a person who’s always played in bands.
13-The music is once again all over the map. How is writing for Burst and Bloom different then IACAS?
-I kind of touched on this in the last answer, but writing Burst & Bloom songs has been impossibly tedious. I don’t work with anyone on them, so it’s difficult to choose a path and stay motivated. I often scrap ideas prematurely in order to spare myself the agony of trying to work them out. Like I said, I’m nearing something that is more in tune with my interpretation of pop songs and I’m excited to release them. Soon, maybe.
14-I like to ask this to everyone. What is one trend in modern music you wish would die an awful death?
-I really like modern music, so this is trickier for me to answer than you may have imagined. There are a few things
I liked initially that have now been replicated so many times that their genesis isn’t even respectable. Triplet synth grooves, “put your hands up” and basically everything Katy Perry has released in the last year are all things that have worn on me pretty seriously.
15-What are your musical plans for the rest of 2012?
-I’ll write a few songs, play a few shows, go see a few more and probably call it a year. See you in 2013.
16-Every band has their go to places to eat after a show. What’s yours?
-Depends on the city, man. Toronto? Probably Sneaky Dees. It’s open late and has loads of vegan food. I’m more interested in coffee than food anyway.
17-What is the coolest venue you’ve had the opportunity to play?
-I played guitar for Silverstein in Europe last year and we played a venue in Hamburg that was built by the Nazis as a bomb shelter. The walls were 6 meters thick and it had this super elaborate network of hallways and stairwells. The architecture was mental, the vibe was eerie, the catering was good.
18-What is the worst lyrical line you have ever heard in a song?
-I’ve been singing “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates all day and I cringe every time I sing the first line. “Baby hair and a woman’s eyes”. Awful. All time winner might be “god is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”. I don’t know who sings it.
19-You have a lot of tattoos. What is one you totally regret getting done?
-I regret more the ones I didn’t get than the ones I did.
20-IACAS are kind of legends…. you guys kind of called it quits just as you were blowing up. The band was no bullshit, no gimmicks, just amazing music. What advice do you have to the younger bands coming up the ranks?
-If you’re looking to turn your band your job, live with your parents for as long as it isn’t embarrassing. Rent is expensive and honest music is a gamble. Otherwise, keep doing what your doing. Unless what you’re doing is something terrible. By no means then should you continue doing what you’re doing. Good luck.