If you ask the Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan where the idea came from for the title track of the electronic duo’s fourth album, It’s All True he’ll tell you it was inspired by an unfinished Orson Welles movie of the same name.
“Basically, (Welles) went to Brazil and made these bizarre films while working for the state department during the war. They just never got released because he was too busy getting fat and drunk and impregnating women. It was a good fit because a lot of the album’s themes are about questions of truth and honesty. That was a big theme of his movie F for Fake that I became pretty obsessive about. I wanted to reference him in the title in some way” says Greenspan.
“I watched the movie and I was dealing with all sorts of issues, how to make it in an industry where people’s attention spans can be fleeting, and in an industry that as you get older you feel more and more irrelevant quicker and quicker, and I sort of thought, do I really want to talk about that? How do you talk about that without sounding jaded or finished? And so I saw Welles as this model for how to do it, because that’s what he talked about in almost all of his movies.”
Greenspan took a trip to China to visit his sister and decided to record part of the album there.
“I was very eager to start work on the record,” says Greenspan. “I wrote a lot of the lyrics while I was there. I had so much time on my own, walking around in strange places, and I was in a really reflective mood.”
He even had help from a Chinese musician, playing a traditional stringed instrument called the pipa on a few tracks, notably “Itchy Fingers” which features it prominently.
“I knew it would be weird and pretty foreign, and I knew I’d probably have a hard time finding people to work with,” says Greenspan. “But that was the appeal of it. It’s completely modern, but in its own way on its own terms. There’s really no place on Earth, with the exception of India, where they have society that is so historically and culturally rich that has no connection to our western history. It felt like going to another planet Earth. There’s a billion and a half of them and ultimately I, and we as a culture, don’t know anything about it, and they similarly don’t know much about us.”
Greenspan says being so removed from his culture helped him be creative. “It’s a good place to go if you’re feeling lots of pressure in your own narrow insignificant experience. For me, being in the indie-dance music world, it’s pretty incredibly insignificant and it’s pretty far removed and it makes you realize you’re not on the radar of a lot of people, which is a really positive thing when you’re tying to create something, because ultimately, when you’re trying to make art, who wants to be thinking about your scene?”
The duo, made up of Greenspan (vocals, keys) and his partner Matt Didemus (synths) will be accompanied by drummer Dale Butterfield originally of Nelson, B.C.
Vancouver’s indie-rock/dream-pop band Young Galaxy will be opening the show. M
With Young Galaxy
Sun. Sept. 18th 9:30pm. Doors at 8pm. Tickets $15 in advance at ticketweb.com, Ditch Records and Lyle’s Place.