Kevin Drew gets plenty of help on latest project
Is Spirit If... a Kevin Drew album, or are we being fed a load of BSS?
The Broken Social Scene core member confounded the masses when he released the disc in the fall under his name, pre-empted by the handle Broken Social Scene Presents. Sure it was sold as Drew’s first solo effort, but he had lots of help from the Toronto indie rock collective’s alumni —— an extensive who’s who list of talent including Feist, Metric’s Emily Haines and Do Make Say Think’s Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit. The latter two co-produced the album, helped write tracks and Benchetrit offered Drew his house as a space to record over a two-year process. Even Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and CanCon icon Tom Cochrane lent their high-profile hands.
So what exactly makes this a solo work? Drew says he acted as a sort of benevolent dictator, wielding the final say in shaping Spirit If…’s lush, symphonic scenes of romance versus realism and love versus loss.
“It was just the idea of how it was made and a direction that I was able to take it in. There was really no democracy to it in my mind and that alone made it something solo,” says Drew. “I like going inside the painful, perverted minds of people, into their bedrooms.”
But not his own, evidently. Drew claims it’s uncomfortably difficult to explain where his ideas and emotions come from. He blames this on his tremendous fear of celebrity, which he says he often disguises as aloofness.
“It just scares the shit out of me,” he says of the media scrutiny. “A lot of times I become a little sucky baby and retaliate against that with, ‘Aw, fuck it, I’m better than that.’ But at the same time I feel it belittles the work that I’ve done. It’s becoming more of a responsibility to describe what it’s about, and I have a very hard time with that. I came from the place where you made it what it was about to you.”
Maybe the B in BSS means broken hearts. Certain members of the group (Drew just snickers when asked specifically who and why.) took exception to the “Presents” tagline on the album, the tip of an iceberg of infighting over the band’s future direction.
“This ‘Broken Social Scene Presents’ has irked a couple of people within our family. And there’s going to be a bit of damage control,” he says. “But I do believe in everyone. I would never want to have that separate us. It’s always a communication problem with our band. It always has been.”