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Interview with Broken Social Scene: Justin Peroff

Ten years ago Broken Social Scene literally broke into the scene, creating waves of acclaim for their ranging sounds. Five years have passed since the group’s last record, during which Canada has produced tons of new great artists. Withstanding time, the group’s open-door policy continues on their new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, which features familiar faces like Leslie Feist (Feist), Emily Haines (Metric) and Amy Millan (Stars). Before their May 1st performance at The Fillmore, drummer Justin Peroff spoke to SF Station.

SFCritic (SFC): So I saw that you're blogging. It’s called Pfffftt.

Justin Peroff (JP): Yeah--it’s hard to pronounce. It wasn’t my choice to name it that. It seems sort of tongue and cheek, but you know—internet culture.

SFC: How’s that going? Do you enjoy it?

JP: I enjoy it. It started actually really casual, and then I started to hit up bands I really like on my own, and say, “I got this blog that I do, can I ask you some questions and interview you?”

SFC: What is it like to be on the other side of the interview?

JP: Well I always consider some of the questions I ask some of the bands. I’m pretty inquisitive as a person as it is, so it’s not a departure from me as an individual, but I guess I’m sensitive to the questions that I ask. I’m in the situation sometimes.

SFC: I was looking for interviews with you, and couldn’t find many. Are you interviewed often?

JP: I don’t do a ton. At first when we started touring, almost ten years ago now, when we started to get interviews and what not, I chose not to. Now I’m totally into it.

SFC: Over the years with the band you’ve seen some solo projects really succeed, while others didn’t receive as much attention, have there been any troubles with egos when the group gets all together?

JP: No. I think it’s more an issue of scheduling. If anything at all, and eventually, it depends on what error or chapter you’re talking about.

SFC: Alright, now for you. How the heck do you manage keeping a rhythm with so many artists on stage?

JP: A nicely dialed in monitor, no, I’m just kidding. I just expect everybody to be listening to everybody. When I’m on stage, in my monitor I have Kevin. I have his guitar, and I think it’s just a matter of channeling what I know those songs are to be as written tunes sort of in my bones and in my heart. We all wrote those songs together without as many people on stage, without as many people in studio at that time, and then eventually, mixing and refining those songs in the studio.

When I play those songs, it’s not a matter of anchoring four guitars on stage, or whatever the case may be, it is just playing those songs. I think those guitars are looking more daunting, and a little more like a guitar harmony than they actually are. Each of those guys have very individual parts, doing their own thing, whether it be a little lick here, a strumming there, they’re all doing their own thing.

SFC: So who has the best butt when you’re standing at the back?

JP: Whiteman has got some good cheeks. His ass is a little higher you know. He’s got a nice ass for sure.

SFC: Is Canada producing so much good music because they have universal health care?

JP: [laugh] The answer is yes. I don’t know. I feel the same thing about California these days. There is a lot of awesome music coming out of California.

SFC: We’re really close to legalizing marijuana, which I think is part of the reason. I don’t know much about Canada’s Factor endowment system, but that seems like it has played a huge part in the music scene now.

JP: Yeah, Factor is huge. The whole government grant system is really, really healthy. I think it encourages bands to go into the studio, make a record properly, and ultimately follow that up with a video, which can also get funds from Factor Video.

SFC: Can you tell me a little about the album title? I know there was some discussion about maintaining some political relevance, but not sounding like a knock off of R.E.M.

JP: I’d say that any Broken Social Scene record that has been made is a love letter in many different ways, shapes, and forms. I think in any love letter, or in any of those particular love letters the word forgiveness can, may, and usually pops up at some point. I think this is a love letter that definitely doesn’t necessarily rotate around the theme of forgiveness, but forgiveness is important in this particular album, and this particular love letter in the Social Scene chapter.

SFC: My final question, what are two truths and a lie about the Broken Social Scene.

JP: Ok. One, Murray Lightburn the vocalist of The Dears doesn’t make an appearance on the opening song on the self-titled record. Two, I make a vocal appearance on the new record. Three, Michael J. Fox was supposed to make a vocal appearance on the new record.

SFC: Oh wow. I’ll leave that for the fans to answer.

Broken Social Scene performs at the Fillmore on May 1st. Tickets are $25. The performance starts at 9pm.

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