Woodpigeon have always been a huge proponent of Calgary's culture and music scene. With track titles like "Our Love Is As Tall As The Calgary Tower" it's surprising their third album Die Stadt Muzikanten is inspired by a place far across the Atlantic Ocean.
The band's lyrics have often centered on the life and thoughts of lead singer and main lyricist Mark Hamilton. On their new album, Hamilton turns to his Austrian ancestors for inspiration.
"I was thinking about how their journey took them from Europe to Canada and my journey keeps moving me from Canada to Europe, like we're going in opposite directions," says Hamilton. "I never really thought that they were ready to leave Europe. I mean the entire time that I knew them they often talked about how important Austria was to them."
Hamilton began writing Die Stadt Muzikanten while living and working in Berlin. There, he thought about his family's history.
"[I was] thinking a lot about the people in my family that were from there. It was incredibly inspiring thinking a lot about all those things," says Hamilton. "You can't go to Germany without thinking about history because it is all around you."
Many of Die Stadt's lyrics concern leaving home. Ships are a constant theme on the album, mostly because they were the typical way people crossed to Canada from Europe, explains Hamilton, noting he would like to take an extended boat trip sometime.
"The other records that I've made have been about the painful idea of leaving somewhere, but I think that there's really a romantic idea about leaving somewhere and being a person who doesn't really have a set destination," says Hamilton.
Hamilton is also taking a film studies degree at the University of Calgary. As a result of touring with Woodpigeon, Hamilton misses quite a bit of school. The band will be touring Quebec and Ontario during February, yet he remains more studious than many.
"Two of us are full-time students and we bring our books with us and kind of keep each other on time, so while everybody else is kind of going out and doing whatever it is people do after shows, which I don't know, I'm usually in the hotel or whatever reading a book or writing an essay," he says.
Hamilton is in his last semester and hopes to do a Masters degree or go on a full-fledged tour after graduating. He has also been working on a novel and recently published a short story anthology in the United Kingdom.
"I put it down for a year at a time and then it usually calls me back and then I rewrite the whole thing and get my friends who also write books to read it and they think it's done but I just haven't felt like it's finished yet," explains Hamilton.