When David Prowse gets behind a drum kit and Brian King straps on a guitar, and they are in a room full of amplifiers, the energy level automatically multiplies. The two Vancouver natives behind Japandroids aren’t so much in the game to geek out with music gear or mess around with production—they play to make hearts race and crowds shout along.
Japandroids were unknowns when their debut album Post-Nothing came out in early 2009. Prowse and King wanted to put out a record that they could give to friends and play live around their hometown. After a couple hundred shows and insanely enthusiastic reviews of Post-Nothing, the pair is finally coming to terms with the fact that they are a real band.
On their first hiatus from touring in a year and a half, the two are piecing together riffs and ideas for their sophomore album, which they will begin recording in March. With the new material, they have more time to think about the content and decide just how “weird” they want it to be.
“Now we’re slightly older, slightly wiser. Barely wiser,” Prowse cracks, “and hopefully we can add a bit more complexity to the way the record sounds.”
Post-Nothing was heavy on songs that captured the ecstatic joy of being young. Hazy, lo-fi fuzz takes over, the guitar blares like a siren, and the lyrics—about girls, long nights with friends—are shouted messily. It’s easy to get lost in the sensation of recklessness. Think nights of no sleep, drinking and puking and just not caring. Think spontaneity. Think ringing ears.
“I think we’ve learned that kind of model of songwriting, even from a lyrical standpoint, so well that it’s easy to write songs like that to a large extent,” Prowse says. “At the same time, I think we are different from the guys who wrote those songs and put out that record. It was a good couple years ago. I think we need to strike some sort of a balance between the things that we still feel are true to us about the songwriting and lyrical content of Post-Nothing and how we feel now. I wouldn’t expect another ‘Wet Hair.’”
They want to remain true to their recording style, which Prowse says “sounds like you basically just came to one of our shows and just threw a microphone up in the back of the room,” so they are sticking with The Hive, a studio in Vancouver where they recorded Post-Nothing and a collection of singles they released last year. Instead of keeping a consistent vocal pattern and drum sound throughout a whole album, like they did on Post-Nothing, they want each song to sound unique.
“On Post-Nothing, we’re trying to play as fast and hard as possible,” Prowse explains. “I’m trying to do as many drum fills as I can in a four-minute period. It’s really fun, and obviously, I think we both love playing those songs, but I think we both want to explore writing great songs and not necessarily just like spazzing for four minutes straight.”