Ayla Brook After The Morning After

Ayla Brook After The Morning After
After The Morning After isn’t a record for the moment. And it sure as heck isn’t a record that you’ll simply shelve away on your mind’s CD rack. Rather, this catchy, pop-infused folk album follows you into those long-term relationships and filters into your future-bound emotions. Ayla Brook, better known as the singer-songwriter for Edmonton’s AA Sound System, wasn’t sure if he’d have a band to play with when AA’s Marek Tyler moved to Victoria and Lane Arndt plotted to move to Toronto (but started a music school instead). So, in lieu of spare time and an empty band nest, he recorded After The Morning After, a solo project that includes a handful of old songs and a bunch of new ones. There’s a humbling sense of community and musical honesty felt throughout the entire record, with handclaps, foot stomps and creaking floors adding to its organic aura. Brook is a wonderful songwriter and an even better vocalist. Listening to "Wake Up Early” is akin to cuddling into a loved one on a bright Sunday morning. "Maybe I Could Be Your Man” has that signature Danny Michel sprightliness (no coincidence there, considering Michel produced the record) and "After The Morning After” just feels so dang good. Even though the other AA boys aren’t on the record, there is no weakness to After The Morning After. There’s only a genuine prairie boy in a bowler hat singing for the sake of song.

First of all, why a solo record?
I wanted to make a record that was a bit more stripped down and a bit more acoustic, even though AA Sound System are only a three-piece. I also wanted to get out on the road. Just because of logistics and time issues and stuff it’s easier to go out by yourself. I just wanted to get out and get myself around a bit easier. It’s just confusing to bill it as AA and have a different band all the time. This isn’t to say that Lane and I won’t ever work together again [but] this is just the project right now and so I needed to focus on the solo thing. There’ll probably be another AA record but whether it’ll be under my name or AA itself, that’s still up in the air.

Were these songs first intended for AA Sound System?
I don’t know. We’ve always done whatever songs I’ve brought to the table. Some of them are a bit more bluesy and country, and the AA stuff is a bit more poppy. These are just kind of the odd ducks. All of the rough edges are definitely still on my songs; it’s fresh.

Did you have a specific theme you were going for or that developed on the record?
It’s hard to say because the songs are coming from such distinct times. But I guess the common themes would be about the clichéd conflict of home. I was on the road when I wrote most of the songs. There are lots of songs about leaving but then there are newer songs about trying to figure out where home is and wanting to get there. And there are a few happy songs on there, which is good. Maybe I’m not totally depressed all the time. The next record is a party record though, for sure.

You recorded with Danny Michel again, who most recently worked with you on the last AA record, Laissez-Faire. Do you guys have each other’s numbers on speed dial yet?
No, but I did talk to him on the phone yesterday. One of my day jobs is to work at an indie record store here in the city, and since he decided not to use a distributor for his new record, Feather, Fur & Fin, I’m kind of the consignment guy who’s been selling his CDs and sending him cheques, which is kind of funny.

Any plans on making a record together?
Oh, we talk about it so we’ll see what happens. I’m definitely open to the option. I want to make a party record, and hanging out with him is always a party, so we’ll see. (Saved by Radio)