The adage goes that Canadians are super nice. And Sam Roberts, a Montreal native, is no exception. He’s more than eager to share his motivations, inspirations and admissions as the current golden child of Canadian rock music, pining to win the hearts of American audiences. And if there’s an adage that applies to artists–being true to yourself and hammering on until your dreams are brought to fruition–that applies to Mr. Roberts too.
His first EP, The Inhuman Condition, burst into the Canadian music scene in 2001. And later spun out his debut album, We Were Born in a Flame, two Juno awards (a coveted Canadian music award) and commercial success in his native land. Five albums later, including the most recent, Lo-Fantasy, he’s still chipping away at the old block.
“There’s a gap between how you want to live and how you are living,” Roberts proclaims. “I still have a feeling of ‘never enough’, but it’s not negative. It’s a motivation in trying to fill your finite life and existence with as much living as you can.”
Tonight marks the first of a slew of shows across the U.S. and Canada through the end of August. For any other touring artist, such a stretch of time on the road would be daunting. But for Roberts, it’s an opportunity to further evolve songs and share his music with new audiences.
“When you’ve just put out a new record, it feels fresh; hot off the press,” he explains. “You want to play it. You want to wrestle it down. Touring gives an opportunity to breathe more life into the songs. It keeps them liquid.”
On Lo-Fantasy, Roberts wrote and chiseled away at songs for a year, until he brought them to the filters of bandmates, Dave Nugent (lead guitar), Eric Fares (keyboard), James Hall (bass), Josh Trager (drums), and Chet Doxas (horns), to apply their own rock hammers.
“A song’s a spirit and a manifesting life form. It was our goal to let them come to life on their own, the way they want. In doing that, they define themselves and you come to understand just what they are. Inspiration comes from the opportunity to live that experience of the song.”
UK producer, Martin “Youth” Glover (The Verve’s Urban Hymns) dug the song demos Roberts personally sent him, and came to Montreal to place the final touches.
From Roberts initially pulling the songs from the air, to his bandmates applying their chisels and Youth leading them to life, the next step of the journey begins on tour, by sharing them with fans and discovering what the chaotic moments of live performances will add to them.
“Every new record we make becomes the most important record we’ve ever made. Now my focus is on the audience, and galvanizing the fighting spirit of our band. Each tour we see more passion. And as long as I take another step forward creatively, things keep getting better and better.”
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