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Q&A with Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene

Man on the Scene

Ten years ago Broken Social Scene literally broke into the scene, creating waves of acclaim for their ranging sounds. Five years have passed since the groupís last record, during which time Canada has produced tons of new great artists. Withstanding time, the groupís open-door policy continues on its new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, which features familiar faces like Leslie Feist (Feist), Emily Haines (Metric) and Amy Millan (Stars). Drummer Justin Peroff spoke to SF Station in a phone interview. The band performs at the Fillmore on May 1st.

SF Station (SFS): I saw that youíre blogging.

Justin Peroff (JP): Yeah. I had this photo blog thing, which now is just a blog that my friend Joe and I are doing. We interview bands, cover music and art and all kinds of stuff.

SFS: Itís called Pfffftt.

JP: Yeah, itís hard to pronounce. It wasnít my choice to name it that. It seems sort of tongue and cheek, but you know ó Internet culture.

SFS: What is it like to be on the other side of the interview?

JP: Well I always consider some of the questions I ask some of the bands. Iím pretty inquisitive as it is, so itís not a departure from me as an individual, but I guess Iím sensitive to the questions that I ask.

SFS: How do you manage keeping a rhythm with so many musicians on stage?

JP: A nicely dialed in monitor! No, Iím just kidding. I just expect everybody to be listening to everybody. When Iím on stage, in my monitor I have Kevin [vocals/guitar]. I have his guitar, and I think itís just a matter of channeling what I know those songs are to be as written tunes, sort of in my bones and in my heart. We all wrote those songs together without as many people on stage and without as many people in studio.

When I play those songs, itís not a matter of anchoring four guitars on stage, or whatever the case may be, it is just playing those songs. I think those guitars look more daunting, and a little more like a guitar harmony than they actually are. Each of those guys have very individual parts and do their own thing, whether it be a little lick here, or strumming there.

SFS: Who has the best butt when youíre standing at the back playing drums?


JP: Whiteman has got some good cheeks. His ass is a little higher, you know. Heís got a nice ass for sure.

SFS: Is Canada producing so much good music because of universal healthcare?

JP: The answer is, yes. I donít know. I feel the same thing about California these days. There is a lot of awesome music coming out of California.

SFS: Weíre really close to legalizing marijuana, which I think is part of the reason. I donít know much about Canadaís Factor endowment system, but it seems like that has played a huge part in the music scene.

JP: Yeah, Factor is huge. The whole government grant system is really, really healthy. I think it encourages bands to go into the studio, make a record properly, and ultimately follow that up with a video, which can also get funds from Factor Video.

SFS: Can you tell me a little about the album title? I know there was some discussion about maintaining some political relevance, but not sounding like a knock off of R.E.M.

JP: Iíd say that any Broken Social Scene record that has been made is a love letter in many different ways, shapes, and forms. I think in any love letter, or in any of those particular love letters the word forgiveness can, may, and usually pops up at some point. I think this is a love letter that definitely doesnít necessarily rotate around the theme of forgiveness, but forgiveness is important in this particular album.

SFS: My final question, what are two truths and a lie about the Broken Social Scene.

JP: Ok. One, Murray Lightburn the vocalist of the Dears doesnít make an appearance on the opening song on the self-titled record. Two, I make a vocal appearance on the new record. Three, Michael J. Fox was supposed to make a vocal appearance on the new record.

Broken Social Scene performs at the Fillmore on May 1st. Tickets are $25. The show starts at 9pm.