Editors’ Notes Sometimes, a deadline helps. “It was always looking forward, looking forward, never looking back—we were never listening to previous sessions,” Corridor bassist/vocalist Dominic Berthiaume tells Apple Music of the recording process for Junior, his band’s third album and first for Sub Pop. “We recorded every idea that we had, cut those that we thought weren’t good enough. It was really, really intense.” In an effort to deliver Junior to their new label quickly enough to secure a 2019 release date, the Montreal outfit—Berthiaume, guitarist Julian Perrault, vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Robert, drummer Julien Bakvis—allowed themselves just a fraction of the time they’d usually taken to sculpt a full-length. The result is their most focused to date and one of the best rock records of the year, the sound of a band (and Sub Pop’s first francophone signing) experiencing a breakthrough. “You start a band and you don't know what you're doing and you don’t know what you want,” Berthiaume says. “But the more you go, the more you do know. As an artist, the key is to keep evolving. That’s one of the most difficult things about growing up: You just want to still be who you were, but not.” This is the story of Junior, one track at a time.
Topographe “This is a song about people observing other people from above. Jonathan is making an analogy here with someone who draws mountain maps on a 2D platform, you know? We had just bought this synthesizer, and I didn't know what to do on my bass guitar, so I just took the synthesizer and played some basslines with it. It took a while to compose this one as a group because all of us didn't know what to do on that guitar riff, but in the end, Julien came with this firecracking, explosive bass drum sequence.”
Junior “We had a show in Quebec City, three hours from Montreal, and we borrowed Julian’s parents’ car. So we did the show, and the next morning, Julian woke us up and was like, ‘Hey, guys, have you seen my pants?’ His pants were stolen during the night, and he found them maybe half an hour later, down the stairs of where we were sleeping. The car keys were in his pocket, but the pockets were empty. So we had to call his parents the day after to tell them, ‘The car keys were stolen, so you've got to come to Quebec City to give us another pair of keys so we can bring back the car to Montreal.’ It was a painful experience: You're 30 years old and you've still got to call your parents to come pick you up after your show, because you've been robbed. That's the story of the second verse.”
Domino “We have this thing when we get the rehearsing space: It's just everybody plugs into their guitar and bass and drums, and most of the time someone will start to play something and all of the others will join. We started to play this riff for maybe 10 minutes, and after we played it, we were like, ‘Oh, s**t, this is a really, really cool riff. We should do something with it.’ So we recorded it on my iPhone, to save it for later. It was months later that we actually came up with all of the other things that surround it, during another session when we were wondering what we should do next. Someone just thought, ‘Hey, you remember that jam that we played months ago that you recorded? It could fit really well on this one.’”
Goldie “It's weird: ‘Goldie’ is mainly about someone who gets pleasure through violence, satisfaction through violence. Goldie is that character. This song took so much time to actually finish. We had the main riff of the song, something we were all confident with when we wrote it. We actually had such a hard time to find any other fitting riffs that would actually work with the song. At some point, Julien had just bought a new sampling pad and he had banks of silly sounds on it. The bridge came from that box. He just started to play something that is not actually on the recording. That's how we nailed it.”
Agent double “This is the oldest song from the album. We wrote this song not long after we released our second album, Supermercado. It’s mostly about people isolating themselves. Someone like a good friend, he meets a new girl or a new guy, and then he just starts to isolate himself with this particular person and not calling his friends or his family anymore. Jonathan didn't want it on the record because he thought it would sound different, a more subtle song, but it is actually not. So we had an argument. But it made it. I'm pretty happy about that.”
Microscopie “A really fun song to create. It's pretty short and direct. We added so much other silly stuff, like vocal samples with the pitch shifted and other textures, like bubbles. Everyone in the studio played bongos on this track. We were maybe eight people in the studio, and everyone had his try on the bongos.”
Grand cheval “We were just sitting in a park, having a beer, having a good time, and this guy shows up and just tries to tell us how we should act and how we should be, trying to act like a philosopher. There's a French expression that we say: ‘Monter sur ses grands chevaux,’ which means to climb on your big horse, on your tall horse, your grand cheval. That means you are, how do you say? Not nerdy, not angry, but frustrated, when you want to explain your philosophy and you see that people are not listening to you. Frustrated. In the end, we just wanted him to go. I think it's our mellowest song, maybe our second ballad ever. It still sounds like us, but in a more calm way.”
Milan “‘Milan’ is about someone who is dead inside, someone who is really jealous and bitter about other people, someone who focuses more on the negative way of seeing things than the positive. We just thought, let's have fun in the studio. We've put another sample of a car crash, of a bottle, glass bottles falling on the ground. It just sounds way darker than any other songs on the record.”
Pow “It's funny. It was a song about getting out of our comfort zones, just trying something new, something else. In the end, I think this is what it sounds like, a Corridor song, but a little bit more out here. Less of a jangly guitar thing. All of the songs we record live, it's just we play the song as a band, and then we add some extra stuff that we couldn't play as a four-piece. Jonathan had these weird ideas of putting an arpeggio of his own voice through a computer sample. There was supposed to be maybe 10 samples of racing cars, but in the end, there are maybe four.”
Bang “‘Bang’ is a song about Jonathan himself just thinking about what is happening right now to him. He's writing a record with his band, stuff is going pretty well, we're going to be signed on Sub Pop, good things are happening. But in the end he feels very tired and frustrated about this whole process. So it's really self-reflective, and at the end, the very last sentence, we're just shouting something in French, which is translated to 'the burden of the worst assholes,' and it's just referring to him as being an asshole in this whole process, and, mostly, at the very end of this process.”
10 Songs, 39 Minutes
October 18, 2019
℗ 2019 Sub Pop Records
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