Music Interview: City and Colour

By Kate Foote

Acting as an outlet for excess creative sparks, side projects can also be a good indication of whether an artist could set the charts ablaze on their own. In many instances, solo success leads to the dissolution of the original band. Some go the way of Genesis’ Phil Collins–infinitely more successful on his own–while others wind up co-starring in sex tapes with Kid Rock (read: Creed’s Scott Stapp). The November release of Dallas Green’s Sometimes, under the moniker City and Colour, has Alexisonfire fans fearing the worst, though whether Green will have any close encounters with Kid Rock remains to be seen. The success of Sometimes, however, indicates otherwise.

“I never thought it would be anything more than just what I do in my spare time,” says Green of Sometimes’ warm reception. “It’s not like I’m going to quit [Alexisonfire] or anything. This is just something on the side.”

Assuaging the fears of Canadian screamo kids, Green holds that Alexisonfire is still his main focus. He prefers to tour with the company of his band mates rather than flying solo. In fact, once the City and Colour tour winds up, he will reunite with the band to tour in support of a new album due out this summer.

“We spent all of February working on it,” recalls Green. “It’s just about finished now. George is just recording some vocals, and then it’s done.”

Despite his current solo trek, when Green hits Calgary this weekend he’ll be in the company of the rest of Alexisonfire. The band was asked to participate in the Canadian video game championship taking place at Chinook Centre. While not exactly a gamer, Green plans to be a source of moral support for his more enthusiastic bandmates.

“Theo and George are really into video games,” laughs Green. “They’re going to be pretty competitive. I’ll just be cheering them on.”

In addition to following the video game championship across the country, the tour schedule is strategically plotted to allow Green to promote his album while doing PR with his band. Cramming photo shoots and interviews mercilessly into his days, it’s been a while since Green has seen any downtime, and he’s just fine with that.

“Unlike me, [the rest of the band] like[s] to take their time off,” says Green. “Wade is in Guatemala right now with his father. Every day I just have so much going on. It’s really crazy.”

Green’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed on the Canadian music scene. When producer Daniel Victor was looking for talented musicians to feature on his Neverending White Lights project, a massive, changing collaboration between many artists, Green fit the criteria perfectly.

“He was looking for singers, and he preferred Canadian singers because he is Canadian,” explains Green. “So he sought me out and we became pretty good friends while doing it.”

The Canadian music scene sits in a precarious position, oft threatened by dominating American imports. As Neverending White Lights demonstrates, the musicians themselves, however, tend to band together. Citing the Arts and Crafts family–Broken Social Scene, Metric, Feist, Raising the Fawn–as a strong example, Green believes there is a unique camaraderie among Canadian acts.

“It’s like us and Moneen and some other bands from around here,” elucidates Green. “You spend a lot of time with them. We tend to spend more time with bands like that than we do with our own families.”

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