Electro-pop/rock duo Handsome Furs – Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner and his wife Alexei Perry – have just released their third album Sound Kapital via the consistently brilliant label Sub Pop.
Alexei bore the brunt of our inquisition and was good enough to riposte ahead on the band’s show in Whelan’s, Dublin on Thursday September 15th – tickets are priced at €16.50, available from Ticketmaster and on the door.
Who are you and where are you from?
Handsome Furs from Montreal Canada.
Who are your favorite artists from home?
If you specifically mean Montreal then some of the musicians I like are in Jerusalem of my Heart, Thee Silver Mount Zion, USA Out of Vietnam, Suuns and Grimes. But if you more broadly want a nationwide list it would also feature Diamond Rings, Crystal Castles, Black Mountain, Fucked Up, Austra, Little Scream, Basketball and Holy Fuck. And I also love the visual art being created by my sister Erin Perry, Matt Moroz, Jessica Moss, Nadia Moss and Corri-lynn Tetz to name just a random selection of the talented people I know that happen to live in Canada.
What’s it really like touring?
I love touring. I feel really lucky that I get to do what I love for a living while getting to see increasingly more of the world. There is no better job in the world for me.
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
We tour our asses off and choosing favourites is nearly impossible for me. I love Beijing’s Club D22, I love Bucharest’s Control, I love Helsinki, I love New York. We played a gun club in Belgrade that was amazing. Skopje is fucking fantastic. Croatia is a dream – every where. We most recently had a surreal show in Austin, Texas at the Mohawk. Dubliners have the best stories – even as heckles. There’s always fashionistas in Paris. My heart felt home in Sarajevo. Brazil was wild. Bangkok knows how to party. I had the most meaningful week of my life in Myanmar. And I could go on and on and on. Really I could.
Sweaty club gig versus festival appearance?
We make even the festival appearances sweaty. I think it’s important to treat every show like it’s your own show and with the intention of making it the best night of your life – whether you are at a shitty dive bar, whether you are opening up for terrible headliners, whether you are being cattle-herded at festivals. You have the power to make them all special if you have the energy for it.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
I would bring some friends in No Age and Health and Spoon and Zola Jesus and Dum Dum Girls and Liars and Grinderman and Crystal Castles and Joensu 1685. I would bring some people back from the recently deceased like Jay Reatard and Broadcast and Vic Chestnut. I would resurrect some disbanded bands like LCD Soundsystem and Skinny Puppy. The Chromatics and Hercules and Love Affair. I would invite Patti Smith and The Clash and Fugazi and Otis Redding and Jesus Lizard and Throbbing Gristle and Dead Moon and The Damned and Bowie and Huskur Du and Lady Saw and Warrior Queen and Springsteen and Suicide and Kraftwerk and Tina Turner. I would invite some bands I love from Beijing like Car Sick Cars and White and Offset Spectacles and Av Akubo and PK14 and Queen Sea Big Shark and Sulumi. I’d ask Serbia’s Repetitor and Thai Sonnet and Alcohol and Finnish Islaja and Burmese Side Effect. I might put Robyn and Beyonce in there too. If we were in the desert, like I am now (in Arizona) I’d probably throw the Meat Puppets up there too.
Tell us a tour story…
When we were in HCMC Vietnam, the promoter put Dan and I on separate xe oms (motorcycle taxis) before we’d had the chance to get out any currency or find out our hotel address or anything. Dan got taken out to a scary district many many miles from the centre with nice prostitutes and angry pimps before he convinced a taxi to take him back to town. When that taxi driver realized Dan didn’t have cash he was taken into an alleyway where the cabbie’s friend showed up and he had to fight at all costs to keep his life. I spent that night in terror. We also witnessed a knife and gun fight in Kuala Lumpur. There are oodles of stories I could share but I’d rather do so over a glass of whiskey where I could fully gesticulate and intersect my own tales with amazing tidbits and geographical information and poetic insight!
What has been your biggest achievement of the year?
I’m getting better at Mandarin. I think that will be pretty important for me.
What do you do to relax?
Relax? Who the fuck has time for that? But when I can I take every opportunity to swim.
What are you reading?
Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway and Robert Fisk’s Pity The Nation simultaneously. And I just finished Yan Lianke’s Dream of Ding Village. And I’ve got Anna Politkovskaya’s final dispatches at the ready.
How about TV, anything good on the box?
I like Damages and Sons of Anarchy and Louis CK. But if I’m being honest, I’m lucky to get CSI in the hotel room. Anything in English will suffice when I’m on the road.
Do you have a favourite YouTube video?
No. If I did I would tell you but I really don’t. Oh wait: those Chloe Sevigny parodies are pretty great. I think that guys’ impersonation is dead funny. I just remembered being shown that.
Record – I suck at favourites. I’m too moody for them. Sometimes it would be Big Youth or Dr Alimantado, sometimes it would be Fugazi’s In On the Killtaker, and sometimes it would be Roy Orbison and sometimes it would be the Ramones. Sometimes the X’s Aspirations.
Song – ‘These Arms of Mine’ (by Otid Redding below) or ‘White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)’ and ‘This is a Man’s World’.
Lost classic song – I think it’s a shame that Azra’s catalogue didn’t make it outside of Ex-Yugoslavia much. That shit is all classic.
Record label – Kompakt Records are dope. And obviously I’m friends with everyone at Sub Pop. They came to my wedding.
A new artist that you are most excited about?
I’m waiting for the Class Actress record to leak.
What was the last great gig you have seen?
Repetitor playing at Terraneo Festival in Sibenik, Croatia.
What should we expect from your Irish shows?
The best night of your life. Hopefully you’ll get pregnant. If that’s what you want.