Starting out as a collaborative art project between Canadian composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion, Memoryhouse was never actually intended to be a full time band. Luckily for us, five years, a home recorded EP and some relentless touring later, they're currently in Europe promoting their debut album The Slideshow Effect. Never one to miss a trick, we invited Evan, Denise and drummer Daniel to our studios for a day at The Amazing Sessions. Greg Porter from Amazing Afternoons caught up with the band.
How was the session guys? You've just laid down a couple of tracks for us, was it good?
Denise: Yeah it was good, just ended so my voice is all (croaky noise) but yeah. I think it sounds good!
You're over here on tour, from Canada, I can't pronounce the place that you're from, I'm going to give it a go. I'm going to go with 'Guelph'. You guys met there around 5 years ago - and you certainly, Denise, didn't intend to ever be in a band because you're a photographer by trade. So this is all pretty weird isn't it?
Denise: Umm, I'm used to it now, but at first it was definitely very difficult for me because I'm very introverted, and becoming, like, a singer when you don't have any musical background is very difficult. Emotionally I guess more so.
I think that comes across though, from listening to your LP and from listening to the track 'The Kids Were Wrong', I think it comes across that you're introverted. (Denise laughs) and I think it sounds quite endearing that you're not you know, loud and brash.
Denise: That's good, yeah I think like even on the 'Years' EP - the EP before the album - you can definitely tell the amount of comfort.
It's been five years since, well when I said five years you kind of looked at me as if to say 'Well has it been? Has it been slightly more..?' But your LP 'The Slideshow Effect' came out last month and it must be pretty good playing that live having, you know, been together for so long trying to work out what you wanted to do.
Evan: Yeah it's so weird because we have really spent so much time with the songs and we've been playing them live for so long that it's really nice to get to play them and have people recognise them and sing along 'cause it's kind of what we've been waiting for having played them for so long.
This isn't the first time you've been to the UK is it?
Evan: No we did a tour, I guess, maybe a year and a half ago?
So it was after that initial UK tour when you went back over to Guelph, Canada, that you actually got signed, is that right?
Denise & Evan: Yup, yeah.
And to Subpop which is pretty cool. What sort of deal are you on and how did that come about with those guys?
Evan: Well they just got in touch with us, I think they liked a lot of the songs we were doing, and they liked that we could sort of handle ourselves on the road 'cause that's kind of like a rite of passage for any young, inexperienced bands; whether you can got to Europe and not completely mess it up or you know, just die or whatever... Just getting out of there alive.
Denise: And we really earned it because we came over as a 3 piece, no Tour Manager and no vehicle, and we took the train across Europe.
But this time it's more of an extensive tour of the UK. So how does that work with Subpop? Have they just said 'go and do your own thing.' or have they signed you to a couple of albums or what? What was the deal?
Evan: Erm, well we did two releases so far with them and I think we're going to work on getting another one out at some point but its pretty early since days our full length just came out so I guess no-one's really thinking of that yet.
And your drummer, Daniel, who isn't actually in the room with us now - is he a permanent drummer or do you just kind of bring him in and sub him out?
Evan: I think he's permanent, he had a pretty active role on the album - just coming up with the drum arrangements - so I think we're going to try and keep him around.
Well I've just seen him laying down some backing vocals, which were very impressive, for a drummer, now I understand, obviously you were in Dublin last night. How's the tour gone so far? How's the reaction been from your new fans.
Denise: It's good! I think culturally you have to kind of warm up to erm.. I don't know, it's a little different, I feel the crowds like, take in music differently but...
Evan: Everyone's really excited. I think that when you play in America there can be two extremes. People can be really, really rowdy and really, really wild and bouncing off the walls. Or they can just stand there, still, with their arms crossed and just like closing their eyes and you know just kind of embracing it in their own way.
Denise: Here they're like, mixed, but they're always polite, and there's always a lot of whistling instead of you know, like 'woooooooooooo.' which is like a very American thing.
What are your plans for the rest of 2012 - are you going to be back to play any summer festivals?
Evan: I think so, I think we're working on coming back maybe June/July so I think there's some festivals that are in order.
Be sure to check out Memoryhouse live this summer. You can hear their tracks from the band over on amazingtunes.com