This post is about the band Said the Whale. I’m going out on a limb to say that none of our readers know about this Canadian group. So before my interview with Jaycelyn Brown of Said the Whale here’s a bit about Vancouver’s next big band. Said the Whale was formed in 2007 as a collaboration with songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worchester, then in 2008 the group settled into a quintet rounded out by bassist Nathan Shaw, drummer Spencer Schoening and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown (interview below). From 2009 accolades include nomination for artist of the Year at the 2009 XM / The Verge Music Awards. Playing at the Olympics in Vancouver, and that same year placing second at the 2010 Peak Performance Project, walking away with a $75K grant toward future music projects. In March of 2011 the band embarked on their first major tour of the USA. A CBC film crew followed Said the Whale to capture footage for the documentary “Winning America” premiering TONIGHT AT 7PM ON CBC. Their most recent accomplishment was taking top honors in their nominated category of “New Group of the Year” at the Juno Awards in Toronto. Today Said the Whale is currently working on their next record in their home town of Vancouver, due out in 2012. Don’t quote me on this, but being famous is a harbinger for Said the Whale
The OFFICIAL “UNOFFICIAL” Interview with keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown of Said the Whale:
First off what’s a Juno award? And what’s with Canada and Juno (name of D-Day beach in WWII, the Award?)
~The Junos for Canada are pretty much like the Grammy’s in America. The award is given out to a Canadian musician, or band, for their achievements in all aspects of music. Nominees are chosen by an initial vote by members of CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), followed by a second vote by the jury in conjunction with sales.
~”Juno Awards” wasn’t the initial name of this Canadian ceremony. It was first a simple poll published in a Canadian magazine called “RPM” in 1967, with results determined by readers. An award ceremony, called the “Gold Leaf Awards” was soon established in 1970 where the awards were physically given out. Later that year, RPM decided to invite their readers to re-name the awards, and “Juneau” (representing Pierre Juneau, the first head of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission) was submitted. It was then shortened to “Juno” in 1971.
What kind of music do you play?
~My band is generally described as “indie-rock”, but that’s so vague because there are so many different styles of indie-rock. It’s always so hard to describe our sound but we tend to fuse rock, pop and folk. Our music is great for all ages and our fans range from kids to parents. In my spare time I also like to play jazz, classical, and even dubstep (strange? yah you’d never guess, but my new microkorg synth keyboard is rad for dub)
How old are you and where you from?
~I’m 23 from Vancouver and I’ve lived here my whole life. We’re so close to the mountains and water, I don’t think I could ever leave this beautiful city!
When did you get into music?
~I started learning classical piano when I was 5 years old, and I’ve been playing piano ever since.
When was Said the Whale created?
~It was in high school that our two lead singers/guitarists, Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, started playing in bands together. In 2007, the two of them formed “Said the Whale” and later rounded off the band with adrummer, bassist, and keyboardist. Several member changes later, we have an awesome lineup that works really well together: Tyler Bancroft, Ben Worcester, Spencer Schoening (drummer), Nathan Shaw (bassist), and me (keyboardist). I’ve been in the band for 3 years now.The guys always like to joke and say I’m only in the band for looks. Thanks guys! There are some advantages to being the only girl in the band. I get a lot of attention! But with a van fully of smelly boys, stinky feet and farts can start to get intolerable. I’m quite used to it by now…
Who influences you?
~As a band, a lot of our influence comes from other Canadian bands. We have a lot of friends in the industry (Aidan Knight, We Are the City, Shad, Hey Rosetta, Hey Ocean, Dan Mangan, and many more) who are constantly creating amazing music and inspiring us to do the same. As for myself, I tend to be inspired by other pianists, including Count Basie, Jamie Cullum, Patrick Watson, and Emily Haines
Most memorable moment of your career?
~Definitely winning the Juno award for Best New Band! We were up against 4 other bands, including our friends Hollerado from Manotick, Ontario. We didn’t have our hopes up at all. We were convinced that if it wasn’t us, then Hollerado would win and we would’ve been so happy if they did. But we were ecstatic and unbelievably stoked when they said our name!
Favorite Food ?
~Come on, this question is so hard! I think I’m in love with pasta and will always be. All types of pasta dishes! Pad Thai, Udon, Chow mein, Lasagna, ok this is making me hungry.
~I’ve always liked purple. Deep purple. But I don’t think I have any purple clothes. I mainly wear turquoise, coral, grey, and black.
Skiing or Snowboarding?
~Yikes, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been skiing or snowboarding in forever. As a kid I was great at skiing, and then snowboarding became popular in high school so I switched over. But I didn’t go often enough so I never got past the beginners stage. Then at the end of high school I was afraid of hurting my wrists because I was completing my final piano exams. And now I’m in a band that is constantly playing shows and traveling but I’m determined to learn again! I still have my board and boots, so snowboarding it is!
Whistler or Blackcomb?
~I’m pretty sure I used to ski Blackcomb
MTV or Much Music?
~I’d say MTV because they promote us by playing our songs on some of the shows, and I secretly (now not so secretly) like watching some of those crappy shows when I don’t feel like thinking and have nothing else to do.
~Dogs! By far my favourite animal. Right now I have puppy fever and I can’t stop looking at lab puppies for sale! I also think elephants are cool.
If you could make a music video anywhere in the world, where would you go?
~Hmmm, it would really depend on the concept of the video. I love beaches, palm trees, and sunsets, so if someone were to pitch a music video for us, I would hope that it would be somewhere tropical so we could escape to the beach after the shoot.
Advice to someone starting a band?
~Network! Really get to know people in the industry. Get your name out there! Word spreads so quickly and if your band name gets out into the world, that’s a great thing, especially when you’re touring a new country where you know there won’t be many that have heard of you. All bands start off playing in shitty bars to very few people so you have to promote yourselves as best you can. Play your hardest every time! Who knows who’s out in the crowd watching you play, it could be someone from a booking agency, record label, management company, etc. Sometimes the only person watching could be someone important! Try to be unique! There are sooooo many bands out there, and a lot of them can sound the same. Like your band mates! They’re with you during the worst and best times. Make sure you find someone who’s just as passionate about music as you are. There’s no point in having someone in your band who can’t commit to touring or playing hundreds of shows.
Favorite thing to do in your free time?
~Since being in the band is my main job now, I have more free time while I’m home. I love just spending time with my friends and family. I don’t get to see them as often anymore cause I’m always on the road.
When can we expect your new album?
~You’ll have to wait a little while for our new album because we’re still in the recording stages. We expect to finish recording by mid-August, and our album will be released March 2012. It’s Said the Whale’s third album, and I’m extremely excited for it! I love all the songs on it and I think they’re catchy as hell (way to go Ty and Ben for writing such awesome songs!). I can’t wait to hear the final product!
Favorite Pick up line?
~Oh man, I hate pickup lines, they’re way too cheesy. So I’m not even gonna say one. I prefer a simple introduction!
And lastly for all the guys. Are you single?
Why do you date Gideon?
~Hahahaha! Wow, this is my favorite question out of all of them! Besides being intelligent, adventurous, humorous, thoughtful, sexy blah blah blah gush gush gush… he’s a drummer, and music is obviously important to me! So he supports me tremendously and understands when I have to leave for tour for a month or two at a time. Plus it’s fun playing dubstep together. Oh and he didn’t use a pickup line, so I think he’s a keeper.
We at Unofficial Whistler expect to see more of Said the Whale in the near future. It’s not uncommon to see smaller bands become famous overnight, Mumford and Sons clearly falls into this paradigm.
Heres the trailer for the Documentary premiering TONIGHT at 7PM on CBC:
And if you’re interested check out two of their latest music videos: