Published May 06, 2013When asked what inspired the title of the Besnard Lakes' fourth album, Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO, Jace Lasek laughs like no one has bothered to inquire before. "All the credit for that goes to Google Translate," he says. "We did a show in Paris and afterward our label rep emailed a review and the translation from French contained that sentence. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever read describing us, and I knew I had to use it for something."
Indeed, it's been difficult to conventionally describe the Besnard Lakes ever since Lasek and his wife Olga Goreas formed the band in 2000 upon moving to Montreal from their native Saskatchewan. But even though Until In Excess explores the furthest reaches of space-rock, much like its critically acclaimed predecessors, Lasek admits the album emerged out of unexpected circumstances over a year ago.
"The studio has a mind of its own," he says. "This record was tough. We started with about 13 pieces of music and we ended up throwing half of them away. There was one point when we only had three or four songs that we believed in and it seemed like the record would never get finished."
One of those early songs that survived was Goreas' "People of the Sticks," which Lasek says surprised everyone by its potential as a single. However, the band got bogged down chasing after ultimately discarded ideas until Lasek wrote "Colour Yr Lights In," a majestic epic that's sure to assume a spot among the Besnard Lakes' signature tracks. "We started to get some momentum back after that," Lasek says. "It felt like we were making an album again and we finished it a couple of months later."
While coming up with new material remains in many ways an instinctual process for Lasek and Goreas, he says his skills as a producer have become much more finely honed. That opened the door for some significant guest appearances on Until In Excess: Moonface's Spencer Krug and Mike Bigelow, the Barr Brothers' Sarah Page and others.
"One of my biggest goals for this album was to have Sarah play harp and dulcimer on it," Lasek says. "We had to be patient, since Sarah had gotten really busy with those guys. But once she had a day off, we got her in the studio. Just seeing the harp there was inspiring."
It's hardly surprising to hear Lasek praise the most celestial of instruments, as there is actually more to the story of the new album's title. As he explains, it's always important to keep an eye on the sky. "A month ago, our drummer Kevin [Laing], was standing on his terrace when he saw three glowing orbs in the sky. He didn't want to tell anyone, because he figured people would just think it was a marketing ploy for the album, but we tracked down another guy in Montreal who saw them too. At the very least, I'm taking that as a good omen."