The Japandroids in Toronto tonight for big Massey Hall concert
The Japandroids play Massey Hall Oct. 24 with Cloud Nothings
There has always been something of a mystery to the Japandroids story, and, according to one half of the Canadian musical duo, Brian King, there is little chance that's going to change anytime soon.
"With the Japandroids, you're never going to get the gold standard of band schedules, although we are trying to get better," says King, the Toronto native in the band, just a day before his hometown show. "We've never been that band that sells themselves 24 hours a day on social media. There's always going to be a bit of a mystery."
The band plays Massey Hall on Oct. 24 with Cloud Nothings.
Perhaps exacerbated by a lack of social media outreach, the band all but fell off the proverbial pop culture map a few years back following the release and tour of their massive Celebration Rock album. As it turns out, the duo were simply grinding it out on the road playing hundreds of shows, before taking a short break and getting back to work on their follow-up, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, released early this year.
"We do our own thing, in our own way, on our own schedule," says King, of the decision to take a short break and get back at it when inspiration struck. "We weren't going to just dive right back in. We wanted to wait until we were super-excited."
The new album marks something of a departure from the band's previous efforts that had a raw and youthful edge and garnered comparisons to post-punk bands such as Fugazi.
With a greater concentration on production and a fuller sound. King explains that the pushing of sonic boundaries was partly a result of having more time and money available for studio work, and partly an innate desire for him and David Prowse to see what they were capable of doing.
"We've been a band for a long time, and we were interested in seeing what else we could do together," he explains. "As your career develops, it's natural to experiment and expand."
Celebration Rock was, of course, a massive breakout album for the band that formed in 2006 after meeting as students at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, including being named one of "The 10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time" by Rolling Stone magazine. So the break, and change in direction, was a bit of a gamble, but certainly nothing new for a band that prides itself on going left when the world says right.
The new album has been well-received, and the band is in the middle of a massive tour that has seen them pretty much circle the globe. So, what does the world know?
"We've been blown totally away, " says King. "It's been a wild ride, we've been touring a year straight since last October, a hundred shows, so much has happened."
And that brings the band back to Toronto for the third time in the last 12 months or so following a small club gig at the Horseshoe and a big show at the Danforth Music Hall last December. Now, they are excited, and maybe even a bit nervous, to step out onto that venerable Massey Hall stage tonight.
"Everything that goes into a gig like this, the venue, the history, part of me just really wants to play well," says King. "We've seen so many incredible shows there, so there is a little ore put into this one."
Tonight's concert, with Cloud Nothings opening, is part of the Live at Massey Hall series, which continues on Nov. 23 with Andy Shauf and Dec. 5 with Emily Haines & Soft Skeleton.