SFCritic Interview with The Besnard Lakes: Why Spy


The perfect spy is undetectable, capturing what he wants, never rising any suspicion. His goals are unknown as he lives two lives—much like a musician. With The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Nights, The Besnard Lakes continue their conceptual theme of espionage, but why, well that’s the question. SFCritic interviewed Jace Lasek, hoping to unveil the mystery behind the spy, before the group infiltrates The Independent and performs on May 10th.

SFCritic (SFC): I read that for this you had to “cleanse” yourself of your thoughts before starting the process again. What type of thoughts were you cleansing yourself of?

Jace Lasek (JL): The first two records, Volume 1 and Dark Horse, we never had any intention of anybody ever listening to them. I wanted to approach this record in the same way, but it plagued me a little because I knew in the back of my mind there were going to be people listening to this record, whether it was a 1,000 people or 10 people.

Once we sort of locked ourselves in there [studio], and started making it, I started to get really confused what it was that we were actually making. That’s when I knew we were making something good, because I felt that way with Volume 1 and Dark Horse.

SFC: Can you explain a little more about how you knew the album was going to be good because you were confused? What does that mean?

JL: I think the fact that I finally started making something that couldn’t really be pinpointed in the modern genre of music. We were making something that was kind of strange, and I felt that we were on to something, something right.

SFC: So, one thing that is strange about your music is your fascination with spies. What is it that is so exciting about spies to you?

JL: It makes a really wide topic to sing about. I like the idea of the mystery of a person knowing things about the world that other people don’t know, like a singular person being able to change the direction of world politics.

SFC: Do you ever feel like you’re a spy?

JL: No. [laughs] No, never.

SFC: Never?

JL: No, never.

SFC: I guess if you were you probably wouldn’t admit it at this point.

JL: Yeah, exactly. Next question, that’s kind of weird.

SFC: Well maybe if it’s a weird question than I’m on to something.

JL: [laughs] Maybe I am a spy. I can’t talk about it. No comment.

SFC: No comment! Within your model, who is a public figure you might deem a spy whether literally or metaphorically?

JL: That’s a good one. I’m not sure. Maybe Phil Spector was a spy.

SFC: Oh, he could hide a lot in his hair.

JL: Wasn’t the guy who ran Studio 54, he was a spy for some sort of KGB. They made a movie about it.

SFC: I didn’t know that.

JL: It’s this really cool story about this guy, and I think it’s at Studio 54. He ended up dying mysteriously in a hotel room or something. That’s pretty cool, because musicians have the same sort of experience. The “For Spy Turned Musician” which is a song off the first record, Volume 1, they travel around all the time, see different parts of the world, they got to cross the country, and carry their passports with them.

In a way you’re sneaking around trying to hide your identity because people think you’re a nice person, you know. Or you’re masking your true identity like some people like to dress up and look weird. David Bowie and his Stardust thing. So there are similarities between musicians and spies.

SFC: There is. Maybe we should return to the question Jace, are you a spy?

JL: No comment.

SFC: But again, I can’t break you. You’re good! You’re good!

JL: I’ve been practicing.

SFC: Is there anything that listeners should be searching for hidden on Are the Roaring Night?

JL: Well there is Morse code on the record. I’ve never been able to figure out what it is because of course I don’t know Morse code. I recorded it at one point from short waves and put it on the album, but I don’t know what it means. It came from a radio transmission. Maybe somebody can tell me what that means?

SFC: Maybe our readers can help. Because your album is a concept album, does that affect the order of your live set?

JL: It does actually. Our songs can be so bloody slow and plotting that if we did just the album in the order that it came, first of all we would drive ourselves fucking batty doing the same thing every night. Second of all, we would bore the hell out of people.

SFC: My final question, when you do come out finally as spy, who would you be affiliated with, and what would be your mission?

JL: [laughs] I can’t wait to read this article. I would probably be associated with the Black Lodge searching for evil.

The Besnard Lakes perform at The Independent on May 10th. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $14 at the door. Doors open at 7:30pm. The performance begins at 8pm.