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Friday December 3rd

Diversions

Q&A with Japandroids

Brian King and David Prowse’s indie rock band, Japandroids, became famous virtually overnight following the release of their first album in 2009. Now, three years later, the band is touring again for their newest album Celebration Rock, and stopping at the Cat’s Cradle Wednesday. Prowse spoke with Summer Arts and Diversions Editor Samantha Sabin about how the band formed, the origin of the band’s name and their growing popularity.

Diversions: How did you and Brian meet?

David Prowse: We met in the first year of university and started playing shows together. Then two years down the road, we started a band together.

Dive: Why did the two of you decide to limit the band to only two people?

DP: It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision that we wanted to be a two piece. We both had similar ideas about the kind of music we wanted to make and the kind of band we wanted to be.

The only time we really made much of a search for another band member was when we wanted to get a singer, but we didn’t really feel a lot of pressure to add another instrument. We were pretty satisfied with the amount of racket we could make just the two of us. And we wanted to get up there and start playing shows, so at a certain point in time, it was just kind of pragmatic (to be a two person band). We wanted to play shows, and we didn’t want to wait to play with more people.

Dive: Where did the name Japandroids come from?

DP: I wanted to call the name “Japanese Scream” and Brian wanted to call it “Pleasure Droids,” and we both kind of hated each other’s idea, but we were sick of trying to find anything we could agree on. So we just kind of smashed the two names together, and we came up with Japandroids.

When it comes to naming your band, you don’t necessarily think you’re going to be in that band for seven years. So I don’t think we gave it too much thought, and we had to put a name on the poster.

Dive: Was the recording process for Celebration Rock any different? And if so, how?

DP: We recorded Celebration Rock in the same studio we recorded Post-Nothing. It’s called The Hive, and it’s sadly about to close down. And it’s been a Vancouver institution for over a decade now. Lots of our friends have recorded there, and lots of great Vancouver music has been made there.

We recorded there again, and we recorded with the same guy — a wonderful gentleman by the name of Jesse Gander. In a lot of ways, it was a very similar recording process — it’s still just drums, guitar and our voices. It’s still pretty basic recording, and we wanted to sound live.

But at the same time, it was a vastly different experience, just because when we made Post-Nothing, nobody had any idea who the hell we were; we were virtually unknown. We were very minimally known in Vancouver, and even more minimally unknown in other parts of Canada. Basically, we were just two dudes who were producing a record. And then with Celebration Rock, we played a couple hundred shows, and we toured in a lot of places and had attracted the attention of things like Pitchfork and Spin magazine.

Making Celebration Rock, it was very clear that a lot of people were going to hear this record. Whereas with Post-Nothing, there was a certain innocence involved because we were mostly just making it for ourselves.

Dive: The band became famous overnight in 2009 after the release of your first album, and your fame has continued to grow since then. So, what has been your favorite part of this whole experience been?

DP: Playing live, getting to travel, and sharing your music with people — that’s just a pretty amazing thing to be able to do. There’s a lot of great bands that I know personally who make great music, but don’t get the same opportunities that we get. So I’m quite aware of how lucky we are that we get to travel all over the world and do this now. That was the reason I started playing in a band in the first place. I wanted to tour, I wanted to play live for people.

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