Kevin Drew Presents Solo Side of the Scene

For Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew, things aren't always easy. Take the band's series of solo albums, for example. "I think I didn't need to put my name with it. What I should have done is just called it Spirit If. I wasn't clearly thinking when we decided to do this...We thought that if we tried the series to see if it works, then we'd have other outlets to put out more music."

- Dara Hakimzadeh

posted December 28, 2007

Kevin Drew Presents Solo Side of the Scene

As one of nearly 20 musicians creating a record in Toronto’s Broken Social Scene, Kevin Drew suggests it’s not always easy organizing schedules, but they enjoy the challenge of making it work.

Drew, the co-founder and one of the singers for BSS, sat down briefly before his soundcheck at Capital Music Hall in Ottawa to explain the band’s “Presents” series and discussed band member Leslie Feist’s Grammy nominations.

Drew’s solo album, Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew Spirit If..., was released last September and features many BSS members, including Bill Priddle, James Shaw, Brendan Canning, Ohad Benchetrit, Emily Haines, Justin Peroff and Amy Millan.

“I think I didn’t need to put my name with it. What I should have done is just called it Spirit If. I wasn’t clearly thinking when we decided to do this,” explained Drew. “We thought that if we tried the series to see if it works, then we’d have other outlets to put out more music.”

Unfortunately, Drew said he believes most music fans don’t yet understand the concept.

“There has been a little bit of a backlash. People don’t really give a shit; they just want what they know and I realize that now,” he said.

The concept of the series is to keep within the confines of what he and Canning did with the first BSS album, titled Feel Good Lost, while also respecting all the hard work of guest members on You Forgot It in People and their self-titled album.

“We kind of made a halfway route where, instead of calling our records Broken Social Scene, with our two solo albums, we tried this ‘Presents’ series,” said Drew.

Currently, Drew and Canning are doing some soundtrack work and Canning is also working on his own "Presents" album, which will be released at the end of May or early June 2008. In 2003, the band released an album of B-sides entitled Bee Hives. Drew said the “Presents” series may have enough material to ensure another B-sides album.

“It’s nice to have this one thing and I didn’t want to go off and prove to people that I could sit with an acoustic guitar and sing about heartbreak,” said Drew, when asked why his solo album was linked to the band’s name. “I could go and do other musical projects. It’s not a problem at all.

“I don’t look at it as I’m hiding under this thing. No, no, no – it’s me! It’s musically what I love. I love playing with these people. I have no problem going off and starting a reggae calypso band with two teenage kids if that’s the way it’s going to go down.”

As for his opinion of whether Leslie Feist’s four Grammy nominations will change the band or affect his relationship with her, Drew remained nonchalant.

“It’s well deserved and I’m extremely proud,” he said, jokingly adding, “I obviously don’t know if she can dance around screaming, ‘Motherfucker, motherfucker!’ anymore. Not that she ever did."

One thing Drew said that he’s learned from being in BSS is that musicians will come and go.

“All we have in this world is time and I have no problems with people coming and going whatsoever. She might be the first person that has to go off for a while and go do duets with Kanye West and Sting,” he said about Feist.

“We’d never send her anything and be like, ‘Hey, do you want to sing on this?’ It’s completely up to whatever situations are happening, and as long as Broken Social Scene is alive she’ll always be a member.”

While Drew has been romantically linked to her in the press, he said that they’re focusing on their friendship first and foremost.

“The lifestyle is crazy and you just have to maintain your health and decide as people, ‘What’s up?’ When people wrote about us, we would always laugh and say, ‘They have no idea what we do. You people have no idea what is really going on,’” said Drew. “We’re keeping it as friends and all you can do is just support and say, ‘Make sure you eat some fruit, buddy.’”

Meanwhile, Drew said another BSS record isn’t too far off.

“Everyone is talking now. Calls are coming in and people want to get together and play,” he said.

“The best part about it is if you find peace within it. If you fight it, it’s chaos and crazy. You have to rely on other people all the time and if you don’t give it any direction and focus, it can really hurt you,” said Drew.

“All the things that Social Scene is, I love. I love this band. I love playing with the people, I love asking guests to come in and I love turning things up really fucking loud. It’s just a tiny part of my life but it has been a big part of my life in the last five years.”