Published Aug 15, 2011Now that Vancouver rock outfit Portico have broken up, songwriter Lyn Heinemann has moved on to form Drawn Ship, a duo with ex-Hinterland drummer Gregg Steffensen. The pair will release their debut album, Low Domestic, on September 6 via Scratch Records. As the musicians explain to Exclaim!, they formed Drawn Ship as a way to keep things simple.
"I have a hatchback," Heinemann says with a laugh. "I was like, 'Fuck it, I hate renting vans for touring.' Two people will fit in a hatchback."
Steffensen was also attracted to the idea of a two-piece. "I personally like it stripped-down," he says. "It's almost like a gear thing, it's funny. Simplification was really a draw, physically, as well as artistically."
As the duo set about writing their first record, they kept the songs short and the arrangements basic. Many of the tracks feature little more than Steffensen's drums and Heinemann's guitar and vocals. This bare-bones style meant that they were able to work fast, and the timekeeper estimates that they completed the entire 11-song collection (plus a handful of B-sides) in "six or seven days in total" at Mushroom and District Four studios in Vancouver.
"I had this country/blues vibe in my head all the time," notes Steffensen. "Just dirtier, unkempt sounds. I would start whacking on the rims of the drums, which I never did in the past. It seemed to fit the aesthetic of the songs."
While the songs don't display an obvious country or blues influence, there's no mistaking the stripped-down grit of Low Domestic. "Glass Eye" is a chilling tale of abuse and addiction set to a sparse and slinky groove, while "Sick with the Sound" blends twisting time signatures with crunchy distortion and refrain of "I just want to be your fuck."
Despite the emphasis on simplicity, the duo opted to recruit some outside talent to contribute vocals during the sessions. Buzz-worthy Canuck songstress Hannah Georgas stopped by to sing harmonies on several songs. Mother Mother leader Ryan Guldemond also pitched in, but the track he sung on didn't make the final cut.
"It's this over-the-top breakup-love-duo-ballad thing," Heinemann says of the song. "I was like, 'We need a boy who can sing high and kind of pretty.'"
This is one of four tunes that the band recorded but ultimately decide to axe from Low Domestic. "They're super poppy and didn't fit with the rest of the sound," the singer says, adding that the tracks may eventually be released as an EP or unveiled one at a time.
In addition to planning the possible release of their extra tracks, Drawn Ship are preparing to hit the road in support of the LP. They plan to tour Western Canada in September (see the dates below), but don't expect the duo to travel to the rest of the country just yet.
"We can't go longer because I'm pregnant. I'm like five and a half months," Heinemann reveals. "I'll be touring when I'm seven and a half months pregnant, which is going to be interesting."
Once she has the baby, she will put the band on hold, but not for too long. Look for Drawn Ship to return with more shows and new material in 2012. "We want to bounce back from it with another bunch of songs as quickly as possible," says Steffensen.
In the meantime, listen to a number of album cuts below.
9/8 Edmonton, AB - The Haven Social Club
9/9 Bruno, SK - Bruno Arts Bank
9/10 Saskatoon, SK - Jale
9/15 Winnipeg, MB - The Lo Pub
9/16 Regina, SK - O'Hanlon's
9/17 Calgary, AB - The Palomino
9/24 Vancouver, BC - ArtBank
Glass Eye by DRAWN SHIP. Uploaded with BandPage by RootMusic
Sick With The Sound by DRAWN SHIP. Uploaded with BandPage by RootMusic
Silent Auction by DRAWN SHIP. Uploaded with BandPage by RootMusic
Fists, Hooves, Claws by DRAWN SHIP. Uploaded with BandPage by RootMusic