Toronto rockers Weaves shocked many by announcing their sophomore album, Wide Open, barely a year after releasing their self-titled debut. The album was recorded mere months after finishing a lengthy series of tours, but despite the short turnaround time, Wide Open was originally set to be much longer.
Sitting down with Exclaim! in Toronto's Dovercourt Park, vocalist Jasmyn Burke and guitarist Morgan Waters spoke about their large amount of new material. "We have three different albums that we recorded, so it's funny to think that people say, 'Oh, this was fast,' but we did three albums," reveals Waters.
The prolific output started with Burke's sudden burst of songwriting, which had been stifled by the band's touring schedule. "I don't write on the road," Burke admits. "I have to be alone in a room."
Waters estimates that the singer was developing six songs a day during the band's time off, which led to their productive recording sessions. "We knew we wanted to put out new music quickly just because, when you're in it and momentum's going, why not?," she says.
While they were able to cull their recordings into a single release, it took a lot of whittling down before the comparatively lean Wide Open began to take shape. "We had so many songs actually, for a while it was like, 'Is this a double? What's going on here?'" said Waters. "We kept adding more and more songs to the record and then it was like, 'Shit, we have 25 songs.'
"At a certain point, it was like, 'Okay, let's cut it down to one picture, and keep it cohesive,'" he adds. "There's a bunch of stuff that was live off the floor. There's a couple things that are improvised, things that are very free improv craziness, and we left it off of this just so this could be a more cohesive, singular thing."
According to Burke and Waters, the band don't feel the pressure to consistently release comprehensive statements; they're content to let each release focus on specific aspects of their sound. "Each album doesn't have to represent all parts of us. This is just one little snapshot of this type of vibe," says Waters.
Even if only a sliver of their material, Wide Open encapsulates Weaves' long-standing duality between hooky rock and ramshackle, arty punk. As Waters sees it, "I feel like the record starts out like a bar band playing tunes, and then the bomb hits. And the back end of the album is picking up the pieces."
Weaves are content to focus on Wide Open for now, but they don't rule out the possibility of the shelved material seeing the light of day at some point in the future. "There are some things that are definitely as good as the stuff that's on the album, [but] just didn't fit into the picture," says Waters.
While the band are excited for a series of upcoming tours, which will take them across North America and Europe, there's a strong part of them that's looking forward to getting back in the studio. "We're ready for the next album," says Burke. "I think two days after [finishing Wide Open], I sent [Morgan] a demo. I was like, 'I've been working on this…'"
Wide Open is out October 6 on Buzz Records.