Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek on UFOs, Spooky Album Art, and the Polaris Music Prize
Wherever it is along the sonic plane that shoegaze collides with post-rock, Montreal quartet Besnard Lakes thrives, cooking up haunted, atmospheric sprawls that tickle the introspectively inclined.
Their fourth release, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, also marks their third nomination for the Polaris Music Prize. They have yet to win, but this year, their friends/former collaborators Godspeed You! Black Emperor grudgingly accepted the award, tossing the money to charity and saying, "Maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlord." We called up Jace Lasek, who is married to bandmate Olga Goreas, to ask him about his synchronistic album art, Canadian music, UFOs, and his mixing console that might've once belonged to Led Zeppelin.
Up on the Sun: Hey, Jace, great to be talking with you. I know you're on tour. Where are you now?
Jace Lasek: Spokane. We'll be in Seattle tomorrow.
Where are you playing?
The new album [Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO] is really great. I'm a big fan of texture, these drawn-out spirals that are really rewarding. I feel a lot of bands can kind of make it routine, but you guys are seemingly doing something that keeps it refreshing.
Your album title comes from a French Google-translated article, but I'm still curious: Have you ever seen a UFO or had a close encounter?
No, I haven't, but Kevin [Laing] our drummer saw a UFO. It's weird, every time we make a record, like with Dark Horse, there was a bunch of weird shit that happened just before it came out. When Roaring Night came out, we'd just finished painting the cover of the album, with the flames, and Kevin got third-degree burns on his face while he was cooking.
It was a month before this album [Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO] came out. He was sitting out on his deck in Montreal and looks up into the sky, and he saw three yellow-orange globes floating on the horizon line. He said he watched them for half an hour, just sitting there.
A few other people in Montreal ended up seeing it as well, but I was like, "You're full of shit! There's no fucking way. We're about to release this record called Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO and he fucking saw a UFO. He was like, "Dude, I didn't even want to tell you, but that's exactly what I saw." So we posted it on Facebook and Twitter.
I think most people were like, "What a bunch of fucking idiots." That's not true, but [Kevin] says he still looks up in the sky hoping he's gonna see them again.