Published Feb 01, 2000Outside of Halifax, fans across Canada following the musical activities of former Super Friendz members have probably had the hardest time tracking down the debut CD by Neusiland, the band that features Charles Austin and Drew Yamada on guitars and vocals. "We didn't really have anyone to put it out at the time, and we didn't really shop it around," says Austin. "I feel like I should have done more to get it out, to justify all the work [the band] did."
The good news is that there's a new Neusiland project in the pipe, once again featuring Andrew Glencross (who is also contributing songs) on keyboards, Tim Stewart on bass, and Joel Plaskett on drums. (At the Halifax Exclaim! party, Plaskett's former Thrush Hermit band-mate Cliff Gibb will be pounding the skins while Plaskett is on tour in England.) "We've been recording something that we started in the fall. I'd like to have it done in the spring." The new record promises to be more widely distributed (possibly by Brobdignagian Records), and less experimental-sounding than the debut CD.
"It's a little more concise and song-oriented. I heard people were calling the band NoodleLand behind our backs," says Austin with a laugh. "It's hard to make friends when you're trying to fuse Kraftwerk and King Tubby and Willie Nelson. Whatever fan base we had, we kind of eroded it."
But don't expect Neusiland to retreat to snappy little retro-pop numbers. "We had a couple of songs that we scrapped because they just sounded like Halifax circa '96." The new record has been evolving over a series of sessions at Austin's Ultramagnetic Recording studio, otherwise known as The Mullet, with Ian McGettigan and Yan Raymond engineering. And although Austin would like to be done with it in the spring, he's unlikely to release a follow-up CD that he's not completely satisfied with.
"The Flaming Lips took two years to record The Soft Bulletin," he notes. "It bankrupted the band, but it's an awesome record. It's proof that you can make something that's weird and accessible at the same time, and be successful."