Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Five albums later, Sam Roberts still feels like a musical newbie

  • Print

Music is akin to the fountain of youth for Sam Roberts.

"Rock SSRqn' roll is an older man's game, but it keeps you young -- then it kills you. It's very final and very sudden," the singer says with a laugh over the phone from his Montreal home.

Roberts, 36, has been in the game since he was a teenager, but it took the release of the 2001 Inhuman Condition EP and 2003 full-length We Were Born in a Flame to make a mark on music fans and critics.

He finds it amusing he's considered something of a veteran Canadian artist and has to answer questions about longevity in the business when he feels he's still got a long way to go himself.

"I get questions like, 'What advice would you give younger bands?' but in my mind I'm still in infancy, or maybe travelling to the preadolescent stage in my career," he says. "I don't want to occupy that space in any way... I don't want to impart anything. I can tell you what it's like to travel in a van for 10 years with the same guys, or how on a musical level I'm still trying to tap into what's inside."

What's inside for Roberts is different every album. His first releases were full of jangly, hook-filled pop-rock. He switched things up on 2006's Chemical City by showcasing lengthier jams and psychedelic flourishes that reflected the Sam Roberts Band live show, while its followup, Love at the End of the World, was rooted in classic rock.

For his new album, Collider, the first release to have the Sam Roberts Band moniker on the cover, Roberts and his bandmates left Montreal to record with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Josh Ritter) in Chicago, where they soaked up the city's atmosphere, reflected on the CD by the addition of horns and some soul-funk flourishes.

"When you're trying to move your music into uncharted territories, I want to do it in uncharted territories...There's trepidation bound up in that exploration of the unknown, but you just have to blaze forward without fear of leaving something out," says Roberts, a married father of three kids aged four, two and seven months.

On Collider, he tried leaving plenty out. In the past Roberts admits he would "overwrite" and overly complicate arrangements with up to 10 different guitar tracks that he would then whittle down to the finished product by removing things.

This time he consciously moved away from that approach by writing less, leaving room for things to be added later to fill out the sound instead.

"I was going in with a minimalist approach, but Brian was 10 times more minimalist than I am," Roberts says. "He was into stripping back the layers of what was in his mind and our minds to get to what was at the heart of the song and where the soul of the song resided. He said, 'Let's act on it, but not over-embellish it with the bells and whistles of the studio because we can, but because it's adding to the song.' He was one of the first producers I've work with who has really voiced an opinion on a creative level like that.

"You can hold on too tightly to a song, so I had to learn to take criticism and get knocked around."

rob.williams@freepress.mb.ca

Concert preview

Sam Roberts Band with Zeus

Centennial Concert Hall

Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $35.75 and $52.25 at Ticketmaster

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2011 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Red River flooding north of Selkik at McIvor Lane

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

Ads by Google