Walter TV is probably best known for their connection with Mac Demarco and the Montreal music scene—Mac used to drum in the band and Walter TV's leader, Pierce McGarry, still plays bass in Demarco's touring band. But for all the overlap, Walter TV's weird, artful surf rock would probably confuse the standard Mac Demarco bro-fan masses.
The band released their first album in 2012, and its odd mixture of catchy riffs, drowned-out falsetto vocals, and tangential songwriting built the band a small but dedicated following. Now Sinderlyn is releasing their second album, Blessed, on July 10, and they gave us a track to premiere from the new record. The band's sound hasn't changed much in the years between albums, but they're more solid, refined, and confident this time around.
McGarry was at Bonnaroo last weekend, but he ducked away from the action long enough to chat with me about the new record. He admitted to being pretty hungover and gave cryptic, short answers to my questions, then got distracted by a vape shop, but such is the life of a successful touring musician in 2015.
VICE: This new album is all over the place, but in a great way. How'd it come together?
Pierce McGarry: For the first album, we were on tour a lot with Mac. We had tracks written up and then would record them whenever and wherever we could. Then we just slapped it all together. For this album, we did the same thing—we wrote stuff whenever we had the time and then did our best to record when we weren't touring.
I talked to Peter Sagar from Homeshake last year. He said living in Montreal makes doing creative stuff a lot easier.
Yes. There are a lot of unemployed people there! But I'm living in LA now. We got visas and decided to go to LA. Why the hell not?
Are you more productive than in Montreal?
Like Pete was saying, in Montreal you don't really have to work that much to pay for rent or food, so you have a shit ton of free time. LA is a lot more expensive, but more hustly and bustly—it's definitely harder to do stuff there.
Has Walter TV attracted a lot of fans because of the Mac Demarco craze?
There are always a few people who come up to us and say they found out about us because of Mac, but I don't know. People find out about music in very random ways these days. Who knows how that works.
What's your touring schedule like nowadays?
Fucking nonstop. We're at Bonnaroo with Mac and then we're doing a tour and getting back with Mac. Touring forever.
Are you writing a new album on the go?
It's hard to write stuff on tour, but we're doing it when we can—oh, we're in the car and just drove past a vape shop!
Do you find yourself succumbing to the vape allure?
It's a fun thing to watch people to do, but I'm not a big vape head myself. These shops are popping up everywhere. Vape culture, babe. Vapewave!
Preorder the new Walter TV album here.