As Montreal band No Joy plays its set at the Marquee on October 26, Jace Lasek, singer-guitarist for headliners The Besnard Lakes, will likely be using that time to get a feel for the room. Or to stuff his face.
"I have this weird thing where I don't really like to stray too far from the venue, so sometimes I stay behind and get the band to bring me food," he says. "I feel a need to get acquainted with the venue, even if I've been there before."
Like No Joy, Besnard Lakes are based out of Montreal and their music may or may not belong to the shoegaze genre. "I don't really mind the tag, but I feel it's often a bit lazy in describing us," Lasek says. "There's so much more going on than that. I don't deny the similarities, though."
There's enough going on that three of Besnard Lakes' four albums---including their most recent, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO---have gained the attention of Polaris Prize jurors, something Lasek takes in stride. "I just can't believe people still care about us," he says of his band's most recent Polaris nod. "Or even cared to begin with!"
While the band, comprised of Lasek, drummer Kevin Laing, guitarist Richard White and singer-bassist-Lasek's wife Olga Goreas, is excited to visit Halifax for Pop Explosion ("I hear good things about the place"), its members won't have much time to take in the sights: "We arrive for festivals or shows and then leave the next day. I would really love to have a couple days to explore."
After HPX, The Besnard Lakes will spend November touring the US and at some point will return to their daily lives in Quebec.
"We all work jobs when we come off tour," Lasek says. "Luckily I have the studio"---Breakglass, which counts The Arcade Fire, Hey Rosetta and Wolf Parade amongst its clients---"and I get lots of production and mixing work."
Lasek was inspired to take up music as a teenager marvelling at a friend's bass guitar: "It seemed so incredible to me that he could play the music I listened to. It made me realize I could do it too."
And how: Lasek's gone from curious 15-year-old to festival draw. "I love playing live for people. There is no greater feeling. And playing loud in front of guitar amps."