Toronto folk rock/alternative band Inlet Sound drops their first LP: The Romantics today. It’s a serious album that has been in the works since first interviewed the band last year. I got a chance to catch up with vocalist and writer Michael Seth Wexler last night after he finished dropping off some copies of the album at Sonic Boom.
AW: The Romantics drops tomorrow. How do you feel?
MW: Very weird. I think that’s why I’m starting to drink (laughs). I don’t know, all along the way I thought there would be moments where I’d be supremely excited. I remember our last conversation last year… I think this is almost the turning point of The Romantics turning into the Cynics. I’m finding the moment itself isn’t that important, it’s more the process.
AW: You’ve been working on this for a full year already right?
MW: Sean and I sat down with like the concept of doing this album a year and a half ago now. I think we had this in the back of minds for a couple years.
We were writing all through the fall of last year and the winter. Once shows started to slow down we started writing more. In March, we went into pre-production for a couple of weekends on and off. We started recording in April and went into late July.
AW: Who produced the LP?
MW: Laurence Currie. He’s worked with Sloan, Wintersleep and Holy Fuck. He’s a great dude. We still have to get together for champagne. It’s really interesting working with professionals for such an extended period time.
AW: That must have felt like a huge leap then, going from the basement to having professionals work with your music.
MW: Well not only that but it’s also taking this leap of faith that associated with finances. I don’t want to say the number, but we are very deep in debt because of this record.
We just signed a distribution contract though with MAPL Music so we’ll start being in stores and online. It’s a slow process but it’s exciting.
AW: What is The Romantics about to you?
MW: I can only really speak for myself in the band. I’m obsessive in a lot of ways. I totally immerse myself in projects.
The concept of The Romantics was sort of all encompassing. Thematically and narratively it talks about this part in life and a lot of the things we’re going through: the feelings we’ve gone through and the questions we’ve had about things. It’s also been a reflective process. A lot of the themes are about the songs themselves.
It’s just been this one giant clusterfuck of a project. And I say that in a positive way.
AW: What was the writing process like?
MW: There was the one tune that started the whole record, ‘Romantics Part 1′. It was sort of a one off song I threw together in my room one day and it sort of set the tone for the whole album.
I knew at the beginning there had to be a big bombastic single, which ended up being ‘Magnetic North’. That had to encompass the vague topic of treading your own path forwards no matter what any one tells you. And this is the romanticism aspect of it. I’d gone through some shitty times in the last year and there were some songs that were inspired by relationship break ups and some other doub-related things, and I knew there had to be that low point in the record as well as songs that filled in between.
The second last tune on the record, ‘Young Hearts’ was lyrically written at the end. In my mind, we needed a song that thematically capped off the albums that talked about these highs and lows we’ve had and the fact that we’ll still be young hearts ‘til the end.
We’ll romanticize until we die. Because if you don’t dream, you don’t imagine, you don’t believe, what good is life? It’s a cheesy concept, but it’s so important to me. I just recently got my first tattoo, and it’s the sailboat on the image of the record. It’s a reminder to myself to constantly keep your head up and be positive when you don’t want to be because what else can you do? There’s no point in living if you can’t push yourself to appreciate what there is in life.
AW: Are you playing any shows any time soon?
MW: This Sunday we’re playing Soupstock at 1:00PM. And next Saturday, October 27th we’re having our album release at the Horseshoe. It’s a costume themed show for Halloween. I’ve already got mine.
May I ask?
… I’m going to be Captain Obvious. I’ve been wanting to be that for a while. I’ve got terrible humor, so it works.
Purchase the entire album on Inlet Sound’s Bandcamp.
Photo of Michael by Andrew Weir