Broken Social Scene
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets from $16.50
Broken Social Scene is a band whose name perfectly describes the group’s origin: a gathering of friends from the highly communal, broken-in Toronto music scene. And with an album titled Forgiveness Rock Record slated for a May release, their tendency to thrive in being literal will likely be preserved, describing things as they are without pretension.
Counting Canadian chanteuse Feist and members from bands like Stars and Destroyer among its ranks, the Toronto-based collective is a musical force brimming with artistic talent and ambition.
In advance of Broken Social Scene’s stop at the Michigan Theater, The Michigan Daily recently spoke with drummer Justin Peroff about the new record, the band’s upcoming summer tour and whether the band’s commonly defined “supergroup” status really holds weight.
Peroff has played alongside founding members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning since the late ’90s — before the band’s inception — and, like the rest of the band, he is a product of the incestuous Toronto scene.
“The Toronto music scene is very supportive of each other,” Peroff said. “You see other bands attending shows of other bands. And now that Internet culture is really dictating — at least to some people — what’s good and what’s bad, or what’s happening and what’s not happening. There’s definitely more activity and more support than I’ve ever seen.”
The large following the band has steadily amassed in the past decade has earned it slots at numerous music festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and All Tomorrow’s Parties in Britain.
In gearing up for May, which Peroff describes as a “more dense, live-show-heavy” month, the band will be playing a few dates in April — its Ann Arbor stop at the Michigan among them — to acquaint themselves with the newer material in a live setting.
“It’s more like cutting our teeth with the live show and banging out some new ones,” Peroff said.
In 2002 came the band’s commercial and artistic breakthrough with the now essential You Forgot It In People. The record won the band a Juno Award and has since ended up on numerous best-of-the-decade lists.
“I’m personally really proud of that record in particular,” Peroff said. “It gives me goose bumps to read those decade-ending lists. It makes me smile a pretty big smile, but I also know how hard it was to make that record.
“For it to get the kind of praise it’s gotten … I’m ecstatic.”
Forgiveness Rock Record will be the band’s first “proper” release since 2005’s eponymous Broken Social Scene. The band has since released a handful of albums as part of the “Broken Social Scene Presents…” series, essentially solo albums from Drew and Canning with a number of the band’s musicians supporting (including Peroff).
The album was recorded with veteran post-rock drummer and producer John McEntire at Soma Eletronic Music Studios in Chicago. Peroff was admittedly star-struck.
“As far as a drummer and a producer, he’s one of my heroes,” Peroff said. “To actually work with him and now consider him a friend is pretty mind-blowing.”
The band has so far released three tracks off the new record, offering a hint of what fans can expect in its upcoming live shows. Of the Forgiveness sound, Peroff couldn’t be more blunt.
“I think it sounds like a Broken Social Scene record,” he said simply.
Forgiveness Rock Record — a title that’s maybe as ironic as it is direct — found its name fairly early in the recording process.
“It’s something that Kevin (Drew) was kicking around and proposed early on. … Somehow it seemed appropriate,” Peroff said.
Peroff has his own interpretation of what the new album signifies, tying its blunt title to more immediate concerns.
“Records, maybe ours in particular, are kind of like love letters,” Peroff explained. “In any love letter you can sort of allude to forgiveness in a way. I think there’s a lot going on in the world right now, there’s a lot going on in everyone’s lives — this is the forgiveness rock record.”
This summer, the band will play a string of shows in both the United States and Europe, playing outdoor festivals like the Sasquatch! Music Festival and Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival in May.
“All I know is that I’m going from Spain to America in 48 hours with two shows to play,” Peroff said. “There’s some crazy stuff in the future, for sure.”
Broken Social Scene will be playing the Michigan Theater tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from $16.50.