PS I Love You
"There isn't a movie called Death Dreams, is there?" Paul Saulnier asks over french fries and pints, hours before PS I Love You play their Canadian Music Week gig. The bearded 'n' bespectacled singer/guitarist for the Kingston, ON band is about to learn that the title he's given his new album, as well as two of its songs, shares a name with a piss-poor 1991 TV movie thriller starring the late Christopher Reeve and C.S.I.'s Marg Helgenberger.
"Nothing's original anymore," chimes in the band's other half, drummer Benjamin Nelson.
After describing the film's laughable trailer to the two band members, they are intrigued, but also a little thwarted.
"I never thought to Google it," Saulnier adds. "I should have."
PS I Love You have had some remarkably bad luck when it comes to choosing names. Aside from Death Dreams and their band name ― which was later spoiled by the Hilary Swank/Gerard Butler rom-com ― they've recently been informed that the namesake for their debut album, Meet Me At The Muster Station, has been changed.
"A kid came to a show after our last tour, I think around Halloween, dressed as a muster station. It was pretty cool. [But now] they've changed the sign on the Wolfe Island ferry to 'assembly station,' which is annoying," says Nelson. "I don't know why. It takes a little bit away from our album now."
"Meet Me At The Assembly Station doesn't sound as good," Saulnier adds. "The muster station on the Wolfe Island ferry is near the front of the boat, so when you stand there you can see the entire city when you go to the island. That album is almost the same length as the ferry ride, so I always told people that the ultimate experience was to listen to that album while you ride the ferry, look at Kingston and see if you feel anything in your black heart. And now that's all ruined because they changed the name to assembly station."
During a 2011 North American tour, Paul Saulnier had a crazy "death dream" that inspired him to write the title track and as a result, name the album. In the "death dream" that haunts him, Saulnier is a ghost trapped outside of his old elementary school in Gander, Newfoundland, where he grew up. He keeps running around the block, but is unable to escape. Hardly competition for Frederick Charles Krueger, but enough to get the creative juices flowing.
"It's scary because there is no actual event of death," he says. "I just realize that I'm already dead and no one can see me. I do have a lot of vivid dreams about my own demise. But being followed around by death is what inspired the song."
"Death Dreams" and "Death Dreams II" are instrumentals that drone with just enough cinematic quality to evoke visions of Saulnier running scared with a sheet over him. "Death Dreams" is admittedly a recreation of the melody played by a death march band in Saulnier's dreams. There is a reason why they are lyric-free though.
"I mostly sing about wanting to get more out of life because I've wasted so much time until now," Saulnier explains. "And girls. I sing about girls. Those are the two major themes and now they're more informed by this subconscious paranoia that it is all going to end."
One lyric you will hear throughout the album is "all I want is more than I ever had." Appearing on half of the songs, the phrase became somewhat of a personal and musical mantra for Saulnier after he discovered it in one of the most unlikely places.
"Our U.S. tour with Diamond Rings had a lot of influence on this record," says Saulnier. "We were shopping at this roadside stop near South Carolina with all of this crazy crap for sale, including this novelty license plate that read 'All I Want Is More Than I Ever Had.' I freaked out when I saw it, because who writes that? For me it was something I've never said, or even thought. So the idea of thinking that became exciting and I started saying it in my songs because, well, it's easier than coming up with other lyrics. But I also sort of applied that statement to a lot of aspects of my life. We aren't that young, but we're growing up and I thought maybe I should start doing something about the things I want in my life. That's an important step for anyone. It fits in with my living in the moment, not giving a fuck sort of ideals. But mostly it was funny. And so I started carrying this thing around, and it's still in our tour van. And of course, Colin [Medley] named a book after it. It sort of became this saying we adopted."
Once upon a time there was a four-piece band from Kingston with the magnificent name of Magic Jordan. Self-described as "high-energy, dance punk music," the band featured Saulnier (bass/yelping), Nelson (drums), and friends Jeff Barbeau (electronics) and Jenni O'Neill (synths/vocals).
"We bonded over nostalgic stuff, like basketball stars of the '90s," says Nelson, who preferred Air Jordans to Saulnier's Converse Weapons. "[Paul and I] came up with Magic Jordan at the coffee shop where he worked and thought, 'Well, we had better start a band.' It was during that era of group vocals."
May 02, 2012@Barbs201312604