The Most Serene Republic
2007 Preview Bonus Interview
Jan 02, 2007 Web Exclusive Photography by Wendy Lynch
With its 2005 debut, Underwater Cinematographer, Milton, Ontario’s The Most Serene Republic established itself as the newest band in a Canadian indie-rock scene led by the likes of Broken Social Scene, Stars, and The Dears. Though the band was still in its infancy, Underwater Cinematographer succeeded on the strength of an experimental, multi-instrumental pop sound that was as engaging as it was eccentric. With an eye (and ear) on growth, band leader Adrian Jewett and his cohorts headed back into the studio in July of 2006 to begin recording the band’s follow-up album. In an email interview with Under the Radar, Jewett shares some of his own proclivities, eccentricities, and goals for album number two.
Under the Radar: Can you first please fill me in on how recording for the new album is progressing? How much has been recorded and how much is left to record? I understand that you initially went into the studio in July to begin demoing songs.
Adrian Jewett: It is going swimmingly. We have just finished laying down some of the final tracks for many of the songs. We plan to wrap up everything before the Pagan solstice. Yes, July was when we ran our fingers through our hair as we tried to figure out how to top Paul McCartney. I think that's what every band aspires for at least once in their careers, but it’s all about time and place, and not being a post-WW-II baby with social instability makes it that much harder. It's not going to happen. He's from Liverpool, I'm from Milton post-grunge. Besides that, I find these questions very nosy. I like that. Let me give you some cheese.
UTR: Can you also provide some specifics about the album (title, producer, estimated release date, where it is being recorded)?
Jewett: Mystery my friend is all but dead, but I'll hang on to as little as I have.
UTR: You spent much time on the road since the last album was released. Were the songs you are recording now written on the road?
Jewett: They were written about the road and people. People and the road and the tease of memories.
UTR: Can you compare this second album with the first in terms of sound? Is the instrumentation similar? The songwriting style? The writing and recording process? Have you made any conscious changes?
Jewett: Coming back home after moving so much and keeping still for once, really screws up with the clocks. Especially at this age, when our biology tells us to find a mate and pop some tots. So everything, my perceptions as well as those in my band, have altered drastically and sonically. We're planted more in the ground with energy coming less from life excitement but more from fear. Life excitement songs are fine once and a year, but its from fear that we've always—as humans—created the best art. Man, Christmas is fucked up when you've grown up.
UTR: Was there anything on the first album that you were dissatisfied with, which you sought to remedy on this album?
Jewett: Underwater was really a foot in the door, and an unintentional one at that. We were writing for nobody but ourselves. Even myself at the time had a voice that breathed infancy and now, through work and progression, I've felt I've accomplished the first wall of my house. I hadn't really sung much before our first album so working on my voice has been a very rewarding thing that of course takes time like anything that really matters to you. Getting into the physiologically guttural aspect of sing has given kick to my vocal character. But enough about me. There is nothing we sought to remedy except to trust more in the good that is each other's company. Come talk with us.
UTR: Are there any lyrical themes that run through this album?
Jewett: Yes. But I can't possibly give them away. You'll have to listen for yourself. The theme is humans and everything. Possibly the absolute death of romance and the once again, primordial clan. As far as specifics go, I refuse.
UTR: We did an interview in 2005 [Under the Radar’s Fall 2005 issue], and this is what you had to say about how you were conceptualizing the second album at that time:
"With Underwater Cinematographer, it was such an amalgamation of different experiences and ideas and we had to get it out, a way to feed our constant and haunting revelry. With the second album, we are changed people from consistent growing. I lost my virginity, we got signed to Arts & Crafts, and we also have a stronger connection and idea of who are as people in the world. We are also able to harness our thoughts more for use in artistic impression—less reckless abandonment and more abandonment with a focus. We are still blurry-eyed but see the blurry in a different way."
How has this growth that you were able to identify then affected the album that you have ultimately produced this time around?
Jewett: This was just the beginning of the change. (I also got somewhat too personal on the virginity comment.) The real growth is this. We've had relatives close to us lately pass away into eternity, which only our own demise knows of. It twisted our perception of life. This sphere with people on it that search for happiness as a monkey with conscious thought. Hugging, and eating, creating, loving, self-death, believing in beings greater then our own or none at all. The Beatles, Virginia Woolf, countless others. I guess you could say everyday is a slideshow that one day we will never see again. And that while our electrons fire to burn, or while we walk the path closer to Heaven or the circle, our bodies will require warmth when cold, love when alone, art when hopeless, in an attempt to merit experience for cash-in in the afterwards, and just be for as close as 80 years as we can. Shitting and fucking in a beautiful spark that booms and never returns. The fact that there is a time limit to your everything makes anything that much more everything. What a beautiful tragedy it all is.
UTR: Similarly to the last question, can you talk about the differences in the experiences from which you were drawing in creating songs this time around?
Jewett: I draw from the beauty of women and men, and how awkward we are around each other from social skills that are no longer conditioned by being human but by being a Macbook. Or an I-POD. We are so self-conscious now, we can't even form a sentence without disrespecting our own thought-process by saying ‘Like, like, like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like like.’ And once someone says it, I get so pissed and now you know why. Respect yourself! You only get one of you.
UTR: What's the next step for Most Serene Republic? Do you get a bit of a break between the album's completion and the inevitable touring to follow?
Jewett: No break. We already have it too lazy with the Internet.
- Andrew Bird Announces New Album, Shares “Capsized,” Performs on “Conan” (News) — Andrew Bird
- Plants and Animals Announce New Album, Share “Stay” (News) — Plants and Animals
- The Monkees Announce New Album with Songs by Ben Gibbard, Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher, and More (News) — Benjamin Gibbard, Carole King, Death Cab for Cutie, Fountains of Wayne, Oasis, Noel Gallagher, Rogue Wave, Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, The Monkees
- The End: Richard Hawley on Endings and Death (Interview) — Richard Hawley
- 2015 Artist Survey: Ultimate Painting (Interview) — Artist Surveys 2015, Mazes, Ultimate Painting