Published Aug 30, 2010The new answer to John Hughes, in terms of Canadian musicians, can easily be Winter Gloves and their newest album, All Red. Out September 7, the record tackles the awkward high school years, making them into something fun to dance to. But it wasn't exactly what frontman Charles F intended to go for.
"It happened naturally," he says in a recent interview with Exclaim! "I didn't want to make a high school record; I'm not talking about that in every song. Every song is a different topic, but sometimes it's 100 topics at the same time. Sometimes I just don't even understand myself. When I'm playing music, I write songs about high schools. Not like I liked or miss high school; I hated it. But there's something awkward about it."
F says that some of the motivation to write about those years comes from his relationship with his 15-year-old brother, who is about 14 years younger than him.
"I can see my life through his life, which is really great," he says. "When he tells me about high school stuff, I just realize how awkward all this is. I remember stories about high school, like I needed prescription glasses, but I didn't know about it. Then the whole time I was looking at people not knowing who they were and they were thinking I was a super-snob. I was trying to avoid them for years, and I just realized I needed glasses and I could see them! I didn't really like high school."
Another thing that F did and didn't like was producing All Red himself. The four-piece (including Patrick Sayers, Vincent Chalifour and Nico Ormiston) recorded the album at their studio Spinning Plates Industries in Montreal. They had worked on about three-quarters of the album already, hoping to release it in April, but were given an extension to go over the tracks again (if only high school were so kind). In that time, F learned how to work with each musician separately and discover their strengths, as well as what he wanted to do with the album as producer. Though he liked the experience, he hopes that for the band's third album, they will be able to have a professional producer again.
"I would like to do it, one day, but now, for the money we have, it made more sense to do it myself," he says. "I'm just starting. I wish I would have been more dangerous with recording, bolder with some ideas. A couple of ideas were played safe, to me. But I think for the next one, I'll know what to do."
Winter Gloves will depart on a North American tour with Born Ruffians at the end of September. F says that the dates released are only about half of the tour, so expect more soon.
For an advance listen of All Red, the album will be streaming here all week on Exclaim.ca, starting Tuesday (August 31), before it gets its official release via Paper Bag Records.
8/14 Cumberland, BC - Cumberland Village Works Festival
9/4 Montreal, QC - Jacques Cartier Pier (M for Montreal)
9/5 Ottawa, ON - Camp Fortune
9/17 Kingston, ON - The Grad Club
9/22 Peterborough, ON - Red Dog
9/23 Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
9/25 Montreal, QC - Il Motore
9/28 Rochester, NY - Bug Jar *
9/29 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs *
9/30 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse *
9/1 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *
9/2 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
9/3 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas *
9/4 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar *
9/5 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
9/6 Charlottesville, VA - Random Row Books *
9/7 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 *
9/8 Atlanta, GA - The Earl *
9/9 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree *
9/10 Orlando, FL - Blackbooth *
9/11 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *
* with Born Ruffians