I don’t know how many people are in the Choir Practice. I asked Shane Turner to name the other members as fast as he could, but I was really just taking him at his word. I checked the tape afterwards, though, and I don’t think he said ‘Alf’ or ‘Dikembe Mutombo’ or anything sneaky like that. You should come see (and count) them for yourself at the Victory Square Block Party before they run away to record their second album somewhere in the prairies.
ONLY: The obvious territory to cover here is the connotation of choir, the high school thing, and also comparisons with mainstream groups like the Polyphonic Spree. What do you think about the expectations that you’re up against?
Shane: I think the Polyphonic Spree comparison is pretty weak. We’re really nothing like that to anybody who’s seen us live or heard us. I mean, Broken Social Scene doesn’t get compared to the Polyphonic Spree, and they have as much in common with them as we do. For instance, they’re an orchestra. They have what, nine, ten singers and a twenty-piece band? They’re like a Broadway show. We’re more like ‘60s pop groups with a lot of vocalists. [Pause] Actually, we do wear matching outfits. That’s one similarity we have.
ONLY: Did you sing in a choir before this?
S: I think every single person [in the band] was in choir during high school. Actually, choir is what saved me in high school when I stopped going to some classes. I had five choir classes – two jazz choirs, I kinda taught my own choir for extra credit, and two other choral choirs – so no matter what I still had about a 99% average.
ONLY: Are the band’s numbers set in stone now?
S: Well, it got a little more serious when Mint released our record. We stopped adding people because whatever the press was, they wrote about those members and used those photos. But now, I think, as we go further we’ll start adding a couple more people. No one’s really quit, so . . .
ONLY: How quickly can you name all of the other people in the band?
S: I can name them quick enough, I think.
ONLY: I’m going to time you.
S: Shit. If I fail this, I’m going to look like a shmuck.
ONLY: Okay, go.
S: Larissa, Scotty, Chris, Kristen, Coco . . . shit, Karin, Shira, Liv . . . I’m so slow, man, I can’t . . .
ONLY: Should we stop? [20 seconds have passed.]
S: Yeah. I failed that test.
ONLY: That’s okay. I wanted to ask about Carl Newman’s song “Failsafe,” which appears on your record as well as the New Pornographers’ Challengers, which just came out this week. How were you able to cover his song before the original was released?
S: It was actually our song, and they covered it.
S: Well, it was kind of our song. Carl wrote it while he was on tour with Coco in AC Newman, which she played in. And he gave the song to her. We’ve been doing it for the last couple of years. We actually did a video for it where we’re all standing in Stanley Park – which was originally going to be us naked around a fire. It evolved into us having clothes on.
ONLY: Did someone veto the naked idea?
S: It’s a family park. We couldn’t really pull it off. And it was cold, I think.
The Choir Practice plays the Victory Square Block Party on September 3rd.