Published Nov 04, 2016For an album recorded in just four days, Nap Eyes' sophomore effort, Thought Rock Fish Scale, has legs. Released in early February, the record was an immediate success, with publications outside of Canada like The FADER calling it "the year's first classic indie rock album" — not bad for a record written by a biochemistry technician, frontman and chief songwriter Nigel Chapman, in his spare time.
With so much buzz, it wasn't long before the band were hitting the road, meaning members Josh Salter and Seamus Dalton would have to put their other project together, Monomyth, on hold.
Now, with both bands about to head out on a ten-date trek around Europe, Monomyth are finally releasing their follow-up to Saturnalia Regalia! after a two-year wait.
Happy Pop Family is out now on Mint Records. Speaking from his current home in Montreal, Salter told Exclaim! about the band's new album, the reasons for its delay and naming it after a pile of meat.
Happy Pop Family was recorded almost two years ago.
Although the band's previous album, Saturnalia Regalia!, was released in 2014, by the following January the band were already making plans to head back out on the road, culminating with a recording session with Mike Wright (Each Other) at Montreal's Drones Club that February.
"We're always just kind of slow, honestly, unless someone is really pushing us to do something," Salter says about the delay. "We're not really super good at self-imposed deadlines."
That being said, it's important to note that two other acts associated with the band — Salter's Psychic Fair and multi-instrumentalist Scott Grundy's Heaven for Real — also released records this year, so maybe they were just too busy.
Halifax's constant construction had an impact on his writing.
In a press release for the album, Salter had this to say about the songwriting process: "At the time, I was really interested in the idea of liminal spaces. I felt like my entire city was full of holes and I kept falling into them."
"Sometimes Halifax is a harsh place," he explains, "[with] the amount of construction all over the city. I haven't lived there for a year now, but I've been back often enough; every time I go there, there's just a new giant pit. It just looks like an entrance to hell, or something. That was my feeling. I didn't understand all this construction to heritage homes and stuff."
The band recorded the album live-to-tape and mixed straight off the board to give it an organic feel.
"If you set some limitations, it definitely helps. You know, just recording analog is a limitation. You can't go back, even if you want to. And maybe we tried to do that to our own detriment after the fact, [considering] how long it took us to put out the record," he says. "We play in a rock'n'roll band. I feel like that sort of music is given to these happy accidents, or whatever, more than maybe other genres that are less forgiving."
The album isn't some kind of grand statement, which is why (he thinks) they may have named it after a popular Chinese restaurant dish.
"I named the last one, so Seamus [Dalton] got to name this one," Salter says. "He wanted 'Pop' to be in the title no matter what. And 'Happy Family' is the name of this dish from Chinese restaurants. It's a big plate of brown-y looking meat. I remember we went somewhere and took an Instagram picture of it once, and I feel like, that's probably subconsciously, or consciously, part of it, this big pile of meat. It's kind of strange.
"I think Seamus didn't want to stress any sort of real conceptual theme or anything. I think he just wanted to be, like, these are a bunch of songs — four people's songs. If there is a conceptual theme, he wanted it to be that there really is none."
Check out the time-travelling video for "Aloha" below.