Montreal-based dream poppers Young Galaxy have been eerily quiet since the debut of their self-titled debut album in 2007. Now, with the release of their sophomore effort Invisible Republic coming up fast, they're speaking out about the changes within the band, as well as their departure from popular Canadian indie imprint, Arts & Crafts.
"The long and the short of it was we couldn't see eye to eye about putting the second record out," says vocalist/guitariest Stephen Ramsay of the split in a recent interview with Exclaim!
Upon intially signing with Arts & Crafts, Ramsay, girlfriend Catherine McCandless and a few now-former touring members had never played a show before as Young Galaxy. They were shocked with the label's decision to sign them, but like any band, their excitement took priority. However, the debut album ended up losing, rather earning, the label money, and the offer towards the group's sophmore effort wasn't as helpful as the band had hoped. "As two businesses trying to work together, we couldn't accept the offer," says Ramsay.
However, he admits the split was amicable, and there are parts of business, such as publicity, that they have kept intact. "They're totally responsible for being able to launch us as a band in the first place," Ramsay says of Arts & Crafts.
As an independent act, Ramsay and company initally had trouble finding a new label, until Fontana North opted to distribute Invisible Republic. This came as a blessing, as well as a test of strength for an eager band.
"Most bands are inherently conservative and afraid to take risks," says Ramsay. "When it comes to the business side of things, it's very easy for a band to be a scapegoat for other people for not being successful and there's nothing bands love to do more than complain about labels and the people they work with. But they are terrified of going out on a limb and doing it themselves. We actually don't mind, we're into the idea of living and dying like this - basically being responsible for our own terms for success. That was one of the hard parts about the first record, feeling like our successes weren't successes in Arts & Crafts' eyes, and vice versa. This time, success can only be measured by us.
"There are thousands and thousands of people who would think we were nuts for leaving that label, but we're not the kind of people that wanted to be in that position."
At the moment, Young Galaxy hopes success is waiting for Invisible Republic, which includes new member Max Henry, as well as Stephen Kamp, who has stayed on with the group full time. Liam O'Neill drummed on the album but has since left the band, leaving James Lynn as a touring drummer. And now with a fresh new line-up and a new mentality of everyone bringing the ideas in together, a third album is already in the making.
"We've been working a lot with computer-generated sounds, synthesizers, a lot of sequence music like Depeche Mode or Kraftwerk, where everything is tight and robotic," says Henry. "We've been captivated with this idea with this kind of less impassioned, more kind of motored-machine, electronic-groovey vibe and kind of stripped down. A lot of stuff that we're working with now [with] electronic drums, it's very tightly done. We've got some really exciting things coming."
Young Galaxy's Invisible Republic is due out via Fontana North on August 25.
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