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Said The Whale Interview | Keloha 2012

Vancouver based indie band Said the Whale are no strangers to Kelowna. Since their formation in 2007, they have played numerous concerts in our city. They were in Kelowna again last weekend as they rocked the Island Stage on the second day of the inaugural Keloha music festival. Said the Whale consist of:

Tyler Bancroft – Guitar/Vocals

Ben Worcester – Guitar/Vocals

Spencer Schoening – Drums

Jaycelyn Brown – Keys

Nathan Shaw - Bass

In the five years since their formation Said the Whale have been no strangers to success. In 2011 they won a JUNO award for “New Group of the Year”, they have been featured in a CBC television documentary, and have toured the US playing festivals such as Sasquatch. It is fair to describe them as Canadian indie rock icons.

The band have a number of EPs, the most notable being their first release, Taking Abalonia. They have three studio albums, Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia (2008), Islands Disappear (2009) and 2012's Little Mountain. At present, they are perhaps most well known for their song Camilo (The Magician) that was on Islands Disappear. However, they do have a number of other very good tracks such as Black Day in December, Islands Disappear and Curse the Currents among others.

When they took to the stage in Kelowna, the heat was stifling, but they didn’t wilt under the high Okanagan sunshine. They put on an enjoyable show that showcased the hook rich, indie pop sound they are known for. Those that were watching the band for the first time were sure to have been taken in by the band’s live abilities.

Before they took to the stage, I had a chat with Tyler Bancroft, Spencer Schoening and Nathan Shaw of the band. Valaura Vedan of Welcome to was on hand to snap photographs.

Here’s what we got up to:

Vincent Jones: I know you have a special relationship with Kelowna, I remember when I saw you at The Habitat, you were talking about a time when you were camping [in the Okanagan] and you handed over a CD to one of your young fans. What’s special for you about Kelowna? Is there a special place you like to go? A special thing about it [Kelowna]?

Tyler Bancroft: For me personally, Kelowna is a place I have vacationed often as a teenager. I spent a good summer here after I graduated high school, so there’s that.

And yeah, meeting [the young fan], her name is Alexi; we met her on our first tour when it was just me, Ben and Spencer in the band. I’m glad she has stuck by us and that her musical tastes haven’t changed too much!

Spencer Schoening: It’s hard not to have an affinity for a place like Kelowna, to be honest. It was of the many places that we came back to many times throughout the beginning and still in our career. It’s easy to love it here!

TB: It’s also the place that Vancouverites, when they see their weather forecast, just like pissing rain and cold, we always scan down to Kelowna, because it’s only four hours away. You can just go there and escape the dreary weather.

VJ: So with Little Mountain, that was released earlier this year, was there a specific inspiration behind that? A certain book, maybe a certain time in a band member’s life?

TB: Nothing specific at all. Every song you could definitely trace back [to] an origin, but there’s not necessarily a unifying concept. If there is a concept, it’s really just the story of our lives, I suppose.

VJ: Out of all the other bands that are on the bill here at Keloha, are there any other bands where you saw the bill and were like: “yes! We get to play with these guys!”

SS: [Laughs] all the ones yesterday! We missed Tokyo Police Club and We Are the City, unfortunately.

VJ: Hey Ocean! today as well?

SS: Absolutely, but we’re also playing at the same time as them! We’re pretty excited about the lineup that is going on right now with Acres of Lions, Jon and Roy and then us, Dan Mangan and The Sheepdogs to finish it off. It’s a great…

TB: It’s actually AWOLNATION that finishes it off… I don’t know anything about them!

SS: To be honest, I don’t either.

VJ: What’s the most memorable performance you’ve done? Is it one in Kelowna or one in Vancouver?

SS: It was last May when we played at the Sasquatch music festival in Washington. It was a real crowning achievement, because most of us in the band have been there before…

TB: [adds] as fans…

SS: Yeah, as fans, so to play it! It was absolutely surreal.

VJ: Like reaching that point and thinking: “Wow, we’ve actually done something here?”

SS: Yeah, we got into the festival for free!


VJ: How much about the audience interaction effects your feeling about a show, or do you go on stage [perform] and [afterward] you’re like: “no, we played a great set there. It was really technically good.” How much of the fans being into it influences your feeling afterward?

TB: Oh man, we were actually just talking about this today! So much! As awesome as it is to play to a quiet theatre sometimes… well it’s always awesome to play to a quiet theatre, it is just so exhilarating to play to a loud, rowdy crowd. It’s so easy to feed off the energy and you don’t really worry about being a little bit sloppy because it’s more about the energy and vibe that your putting off.

VJ: Creating that feeling?

TB: Yeah…

SS: The crowd is nice and sloppy too! [In reference to the above.]


VJ: Yeah, usually!

TB: Everyone’s sloppy!

VJ: So with that in mind, you probably prefer to play in a larger venue than a smaller venue, would you say? Or am I putting words into your mouth?

SS: That might not necessarily be true, because sometimes a smaller venue has this really close energy where you can actually see the person that’s at the back of the room too.

TB: Yeah, I think there are redeeming qualities about both scenarios.

SS: Personally, I don’t think you can beat playing outdoors though…

TB: Except for the sound [can] sometimes be a total nightmare…

VJ: It has been pretty good though so far at the festival…

TB: Has it? I mean as long as there’s no wind. That’s the main thing that ruins it all.

VJ: And don’t get a sunburn but I think you’ll be alright because you’re on the stage [under cover.]

TB: [Laughs] No, because the sun’s going down that way [gestures west towards lake Okanagan.] It’s going to be the hottest at 5 o’clock! [The time they take the stage.]

SS: It’s okay, I already have a sunburn...

TB: You’ve got to get a base burn though…

VJ: When you guys are travelling, which you do a lot of, is their a specific band or a musician that you like to listen to? Who’s on the tour bus jukebox?

TB: Well first of all, it’s a tour van…

VJ: Oh, tour van, sorry.


TB: Second of all, it totally depends…

SS: On who is driving! If Ben’s driving, it’s Bob Marley. If Tyler’s driving, I’m probably picking the music…

TB: Yeah, I’m just saying entertain me, Spencer.


TB: We all have a very wide variety in tastes of music. There’s no go to.

SS: We find our common ground is usually the bands we’ve come to know and be friends with, so it usually comes back to listening to Tokyo Police Club in the van, or whoever it may be, Dinosaur Bones, it doesn’t matter…

VJ: Do you ever give a listen to Said the Whale when you’re in the van?

TB: Never, unless we’re previewing mixes, in which case, yes.

VJ: So you’ve had some moments of inspiration in the van then?

TB: It’s more like: “That sounds like shit. We need to send it back.”


VJ: Would you say Said The Whale has a single biggest musical influence, and who might that be, or isn’t there one?

TB: Musically, I don’t think so, because like I was saying, everyone has got such an array of tastes.

SS: It seems to me since Tyler and Ben are the two main songwriters, the main musical influence for them is each other. There’s a lot of feeding off of what the other person is writing.

TB: Yeah…

VJ: If you could collaborate or perform with any artist who would it be? I won’t hold you to it!

SS: I don’t know if it counts, but I think if Girl Talk remixed one of our songs I’d be happy with life.

TB: Kanye West. I love the guy. He’s a genius. He is such a hard worker and I think he could do well in any genre.

VJ: So keep our eyes out for a Kanye/Said the Whale collaboration?

TB: It’s never going to happen, but it’d be amazing…


Nathan Shaw: It’d be sweet if MSTRKRFT remixed a Said The Whale song.

SS: That is entirely possible.

TB: That’s within our reach.

SS: There’s probably a lot of collaborations too which are much more in our social circle, which we just haven’t really realized. Like working in the studio with Aidan Knight would be incredible, or Dan Mangan even… There have been a couple times like on our last album we had Ashleigh Ball from Hey Ocean! come and sing on a song and we’ve had Hannah Georgas sing backup vocals, and Erin Passmore from Rah Rah, basically all the girls with beautiful voices in the music scene.

VJ: What’s next for you guys? Obviously you’ve got Little Mountain out there, what does success for that album look like for you? Or have you already reached success in that you’re happy with the record?

TB: You can’t say you’ve reached your pinnacle of success. I hope not. That’s a horrible way of looking at things. We’re going to be touring in the fall and then hopefully chipping away at a new record piece by piece.

VJ: So you’ve already got one in mind?

TB: We’ve got a few songs on the go, and hopefully we’ll just keep writing. I think the next record will be recorded in increments. In my brain, I’d love to put it out as soon as possible, but realistically it’ll take a year or so, but we’ll do our best.

VJ: Do you do your recording in Vancouver?

TB: Historically, yes, but actually this summer we’re going to Washington State to record…

VJ: Reason for the change?

TB: Just a producer that we’re really wanting to work with.

VJ: What’s the craziest or coolest thing you’ve ever been asked to autograph as a band?

SS: Boobs.

TB: Yeah boobs, I guess.

SS: Uncomfortable really.

VJ: Is it?

TB: Yeah, I don’t really like doing it.

SS: Somebody got us all to sign their face a couple of weeks ago [in reference to the above question.]

TB: I don’t think I was there…

SS: That [signing] really baffled me.

TB: There’s nothing too absolutely strange. There’s iPod cases and shoes and all that regular stuff…

VJ: Who is the most popular band member with fans? Who is everyone screaming to talk to?

TB: Ben, obviously…

SS: Yeah, that’d be definitely Ben because he gives them the most.

TB: But Nathan’s got a lot of girl admirers…

SS: That’s true.

VJ: I was going to say either Ben or you [gestures to TB] actually…

TB: I don’t know…

SS: But then again, there’s Jaycelyn. She has half of the crowd fawning over her…

[Tyler and Spencer mention a rather cheeky anecdote from their show the night before]

VJ: You guys were in Golden last night right?

SS: Yeah. That was one of those awesome energy crowds.

VJ: So that’s all the questions I wanted to ask you guys. I really appreciate the time.

TB: No problem.

For more photos, head over to Welcome to Kelowna's Facebook Page

Want to talk to Vince? E-mail him at:







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