Montreal garage-pop musician Dany Laj is on a journey.
While he may happily indulge in the modern conveniences of buying music, he fondly reminisces of days past when your next favourite band was discovered in your local record store, not on the internet.
“I remember growing up in Kirkland Lake, Ont. and going to the record store there on the day that Weezer released their second album, Pinkerton,” Laj says. “I was just so excited to get my hands on that album, I arrived at the store only to find out they had sold out of the CD. As disappointed as I was, the music meant so much to me that I ended up buying the cassette.
“Even with advent of music being available digitally, I think giving the record-buying public an experience like that is totally attainable. Just look at Spin-It Records in Moncton. It is places like that which are committed to helping people indulge in that. It’s really something quite special to a music lover.”
He is a firm believer that music is something to be consumed and truly digested, an experience he says is hard for many to replicate in an age where people have the option of having more than 10,000 songs on their phones.
“I am a big proponent of the vinyl format, but not because I am a purist or anything like that. When you drop the needle on a record, before the actual music starts playing, I like to see that as an important part of the record-listening experience. It’s like those few seconds help set your mind in place, helping you get ready for what you’re about to hear.
“We made our new album with the vinyl experience in mind. We recorded the album to tape, as opposed to digital, because we wanted to make sure we were delivering that experience to listeners, that when they drop the needle on our record, they are treated to something true to the format,” he says.
Since their formation, Laj and his band, which includes bassist Jeanette Dowling, drummer Alexandre Bigras and multi-instrumentalist Alexandre Fecteau, the group has been spreading garage-pop influenced melodies all over this great country we call home.
He says that bands shouldn’t underestimate the importance of playing live, something he feels can strengthen the bond and chemistry amongst band members both on and off stage.
“It’s something I see quite often where bands practice for six to eight months, play one live show where something happens, which in turn ruins the show. Conversely, if you were a band that played as often as you could, you’d know how to deal with those bumps and with each other. As a band, you’re not always going to see things eye to eye, but as you gain experience from playing live, you learn how to disagree and argue without it bringing on the end of the band. You’re not going to get that experience anywhere else.”
The newest album from Dany Laj and the Looks, Word On The Street, was released this past May. An album boasting an abundance of melodic hooks, it is the group’s third release, following up their 2012 effort Telepathic Voices and 2010’s Match EP.
Laj says that they didn’t purposely wait three years to issue a follow-up release, but do not necessarily regret having done so in hindsight.
“We spent a lot of time touring, but ultimately were just looking for what we thought was the ideal kind of situation for the band to get into,” he says, noting that revived Canadian indie label Squirtgun Records was the lucky label to release the album. “We wanted to get something as close to a handshake deal as possible, which is something that we were able to secure with Squirtgun.”
What: Dany Laj and the Looks
When: Monday July 6 & Tuesday July 7, 9 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton