A&E » Music

Said the Whale's business plan: Make great music

Vancouver band plays Whistler Presents at the Olympic Plaza on Sunday, June 29



They say that to succeed in the precarious world of the arts — whether it's music, painting or literature — it helps to have a businesslike approach.

Go to the "office," keep those regular hours, set the goals and execute them, even have a business plan.

Vancouver indie rockers Said the Whale, who are performing a free concert at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Sunday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m., tries to keep this in mind, says singer-guitarist Tyler Bancroft.

Since winning the Juno Award for New Group of the Year in 2011, Said the Whale has released two LPs and two EPs. Before that came a huge output of two LPs and eight EPs since the band began in 2007.

But Bancroft says this was more about keeping the creative juices flowing.

"That's more about us being excited about wanting to put more stuff out. Champing at the bit. You can certainly argue that from a business perspective it is smarter to space (releases) out a little bit, or whatever, but we try hard not to have our creative decisions influenced by business," he says.

"We pay attention to everything. We want to keep our business successful, but at the same time it's hard not to get excited when putting together a new tune."

When asked if it isn't a little unusual to describe a band as a business, Bancroft says Said the Whale keeps the music, the most important thing, front and centre.

"You have to look at playing music like a small business, but at the same time you have to separate the two because you need to make sure you are doing things for the right reasons," Bancroft says.

Along with Bancroft, Said the Whale is made up of keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown, singer-guitarist Ben Worcester, Spencer Schoening on drums and Nathan Shaw on bass.

Brown moved to Whistler a year ago.

"She loves it. Our concert is almost a hometown show," Bancroft says.

Having just returned from backing Tokyo Police Club on tour, the Whistler Presents show is part of a summer of "one-offs" for the band. Those one-offs include the Calgary Stampede, Bluesfest in Ottawa, Edgefest in Toronto, and a festival in Haida Gwaii.

"This is the way it goes with a lot of bands, you're flying in and out of places — though with Whistler it's a little better, we're so close," he says. "This summer we don't have a lot of long touring to do. It's mainly, fly to a location, do a few shows, and fly home. It's going to be a relaxed summer."

Musically, Bancroft says their latest album Hawaiii (2013) is different from their other records, and he credits this to the fact that Said the Whale has two songwriters.

"It's funny, a lot of people say it's our most pop-like record. That may be true for some songs, but it's also the most experimental record we've made and the mellowest record we've made. It's a very broad record in terms of genre, but we've always been a band who has tried to explode different genres," he says.

"As songwriters we have a lot of interests when it comes to music. Going into writing a record, there is never any goal of what it's going to be, other than our best record, which is what we always want to make."

The fans on tour have responded to Hawaiii positively.

"We went on tour about a month-and-a-half after the record came out and a lot of people were singing along to the new songs already... which is a really nice feeling. We have a pretty amazing fanbase that has stuck by us," Bancroft says.

Along with Said the Whale, Victoria's folk and reggae duo Jon and Roy play on Sunday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m.