(By: Sarah Chew)
Get to know the new-and-improved Canadian power-pop group The Look Back Now. Formerly known as Melbourne the Band, the four Toronto-based musicians – Elliot Gallagher-Doucette, Michael Callahan, Ezra Sherman and Michael Murad – are taking the country by storm. Along with the name change, the band is preparing for a lot of new developments this summer including the release of their first EP ‘Dweeb,’ which comes out on Spotify and iTunes on July 15, and a wave of cross-country tour dates.
RUtv News sat down with Elliot Gallagher-Doucette, the lead vocalist, rhythm guitar player and primary songwriter of the band, to find out more about band name inspiration, ‘Dweeb’ and the upcoming tour.
Why did you decide to change the band’s name?
As we worked together as a group for around 12 months with this specific lineup, we started to have a very solid and concise understanding of what our music meant to us and what it represented. We felt like it was necessary to have a name [that] did that certainty justice.
What was the process of picking this name?
For a while, we were throwing out any kind of name we could think of. For this name in particular, we were looking for something that evoked a sense of action. So “The Look Back Now” is a command to look back now, into the past. But then when you put “The” at the beginning of it, it sounds more like “The Look” which we are giving as a sort of observation. But then we’re going back into the past, which then influences the now, so it works on many levels. In that way, it’s an oxymoron because it’s talking about the past but also the present with the “Back” and the “Now”.
Very deep. Better than Melbourne the Band.
(laughs) Yes, better than Melbourne the Band.
Tell us about your EP. Why ‘Dweeb’?
Because the songs are about the way people interact with one another and, to a certain degree, every single person in the band is a dweeb. We all have our own strange social tendencies, and musical tendencies too. When you look at the songs, and the way they work together in the collection, they’re all saying the same thing: that people do one thing, and then they remember that action, and then they use their memory of it to influence what they do next. If you had some sort of social interaction and then you internalize it, you kind of end up lying to yourself about what actually happened and you create this weird misanthropic way that you look at the world. That’s why we end up being dweebs – because something will happen, and we’ll just play it up in our heads to the point where we act super awkward or weird because, uh—
Exactly, and we get self-conscious as dweebs.
Why did you choose to make an EP instead of a full-length album?
I think that the idea behind the EP is that it’s very concise. The whole thing runs like, 13 minutes (it has four songs), and so it’s not very hard for somebody to listen to the whole thing, whereas with an album — the thing is, if you record 40 minutes of music, and you haven’t already gained the attention of a widespread audience, you can just put that out and pour your heart into it and no one will ever get past the third song. People just don’t have that attention span right now, if you’re not already established. So, because this is our debut release, it just seemed like a no-brainer to have something that was short and to-the-point and could represent everything we wanted to do musically. We just wanted to be quick, like a Band-Aid. Here we are, tear it off and now you know what we’re all about.
Can you name the titles of each of the four songs on the album, and summarize them in one sentence?
1) “Underneath These Eyes” is about how people get very melodramatic because of interactions that they’ve had with other people, that then get played up in their own heads over and over again to the point where we then act in an antisocial way towards one another because we feel we’ve been targeted by something that never actually occurred in the social interaction.
2) “Collections” is about the nostalgic pit in your stomach that you get when you take a CD off the wall that you haven’t listened to since you were 12 and you can open it up as a time capsule and be transported back in time by the music that you haven’t heard in a long time.
3) “Running Away” is a crime ballad that was inspired by one of my favourite TV shows, True Detective. (See a more in-depth explanation of “Running Away” in our last interview here.)
4) “Funny Bone” is about going out for a night with your friends and getting your ass kicked because you’re young and belligerent.
What else is your band up to this summer?
We’re doing a string of shows in July to support the release of the EP. On July 8, we’re going to play another show at a brewery in Elora at the Elora Brewing Company, and we’re opening for New Swears, a really cool band from Ottawa. The following week we have three shows that we’re headlining: a show in Hamilton on July 13 at Club Absinthe, a show at The Spill in Peterborough on July 14, and then July 15 we’re celebrating the release of our entire EP at The Rivoli in Toronto. On Canada Day, our single Underneath These Eyes is coming out. Then we will play the tour with that posted online, and hard copies of our EP will be available at all our shows. Following the Toronto date on the 15th, the entire EP will be available on Spotify and iTunes. In August, we’re going to be playing Riverfest Elora on the 19th. There are some really cool bands playing including Monster Truck, Mother Mother, Gogol Bordello, MGMT [and] Sloan. Also, some really cool Canadian acts like The Dirty Nil and Hollerado are going to be there, so it’s going to be a good time.
What are your fall plans with the band?
For the fall, we’re planning some dates out in Montreal, Hamilton and London, Ontario. If everything falls into place, it’s going to be an October show series, similar to what we’re doing in July.
Have you thought of possible fan names, like what your fans will call themselves?
What our fans will call themselves? Damn, that’s a good question. Man, that’s stumping me. I don’t know. I’ve not thought about that. Maybe some day we’ll be as cool as the Grateful Dead and have like, Deadheads, but for now, I don’t have an answer for that. We’ll leave that to the fanbase.
Looking at you now, would you have predicted that you’d have an EP out at this age and at this point in your life? Is it crazy to you?
It is a little weird. … [F]or the most part, as a group, we feel really comfortable with one another and we see a long future together, but at the same time, this project started totally by accident. Now we’re planning far into the future, but when this first came together it was on such a whim to play one show, and then we had such a good time that we felt we should keep going with it. Yeah, it is a bit surreal to be releasing this EP, these collections of songs, and going on this tour, and playing our first festival this summer — it’s all happening very quickly, but [it’s] super gratifying, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the future.
Thanks for speaking with us, Elliot! Catch The Look Back Now at one of their Canadian show dates this year and look out for the upcoming release of their EP ‘Dweeb’ on July 15.
(Header photo photographed by Gianfranc Pipitone)