By Janine Schualts
Anyone’s ego would get a boost from seeing their name printed favorably in the New York Times, Canada’s edition of Time magazine, Rolling Stone and scores of other musical tomes. Not so much for Spencer Krug, the soft-spoken yet magnificent singer and keyboardist for Montreal quintet Wolf Parade. Three years after the band formed, he is still shocked to find people talking about his music, let alone enjoying it.
“Every night you feel like, holy shit, people actually like this. You get kinda blown away, because I still can’t believe that people do,” Krug says over the phone from Montreal.
When Wolf Parade released a four-song EP in 2003, the band became buried with the good and bad effects of hype. It’s not the band’s fault its social circle contains all members of fellow Canadians and supposed saviors of indie rock the Arcade Fire. It’s also not the band’s fault Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse discovered it, scored it a record deal with Sub Pop and subsequently produced its debut album—and that album, “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” released last September, fulfills every promise the hype machine bestowed with its twelve near-perfect songs of chugging tempos and fits of uncontainable emotional outbursts.
Despite the accolades, Krug and his band mates, singer/guitarist Dan Boeckner, drummer Arlen Thompson, “blibitty blabitty bloop” guy Hadji Bakara and newest member Dante Decaro, formerly of Hot Hot Heat, are nonchalant about their career trajectory, although they each give each other a swift kick in the ass from time to time to keep things moving.
“All of us are a little too relaxed to some extent in some cases. We keep each other going. Everyone is excited about different aspects of it. I really like songwriting and so does Dan. And Arlen [is] really excited to record,” Krug says. “We have our things that we want to do that will just sort of keep the band perpetuating forward.”
The speed of Wolf Parade’s progression is still up for grabs. Mere days before our conversation, the band finished building a studio close to home where it will inevitably record a follow-up album. “We’ll record ourselves at our own pace. That being said…I have no idea when this record will be out,” Krug says, unable to contain his laughter. “But theoretically it’s supposed to happen and there are songs to record. It’s just a matter of when we actually do it. It will take as long as it takes until we’re happy with it.”
From the beginning, Wolf Parade laid down the law for Sub Pop about not being a “workhorse band” and touring a year’s length. “We try to keep it as humble and as small and as DIY as possible,” Krug says. “Sub Pop is a pretty big machine, but… they’re quite understanding with us.”
Wolf Parade hits the road this month by van as its mode of transportation. “We decidedly are stuck in a van,” Krug says. The band isn’t trying to retain any street cred since success started chasing them down the road—Krug and co. just prefer to keep to their own timetable.
“I think we like to be able to take care of ourselves. We’re friends so we’re fine being in a van together and you just sort of do things at your own pace,” Krug says. “Leave when you want to and if you want to stop and pick up swimming or something, you can.”
Krug won’t miss the luxury of satellite television by not traveling on a tour bus since he finds the medium “evil,” except somehow he became smitten with HBO’s “Deadwood.” “I stole the first [season] off the Internet and I’m just watching it,” he says.
Television appearances make Krug cringe because of the insincerity inherent in the process. Wolf Parade reluctantly did the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” on CBS. “We never met that guy and it’s done at eleven in the morning to a bunch of Texas university tourist kids…that don’t know who you are and they get warmed up by a stand-up comedian and then you just play on cue your one song and they clap and you leave and they splice it all together later,” Krug says breathlessly.
“But in the end who cares if we were reluctant or not, we still did it. You can’t be a hero after the fact and be like, ‘yeah we did it, but we didn’t like it.’”
Despite his strong distaste for late-night talk shows, if David Letterman comes a-calling, Krug says the band would probably oblige. “And like why?” he asks himself. “I don’t know why we would. It’s strange. It’s a strange world.”
Wolf Parade plays August 7-8 at Metro, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, at 7pm (Aug 7) and 9pm (Aug 8). $18.