The High Dials

Seattle Weekly: Your newest album, War of the Wakening Phantoms [Rainbow Quartz], has a bittersweet '60s garage sound reminiscent of the Zombies. You interviewed the band and opened for them in 2001—any good advice gleaned from your conversations with them?

Trevor Anderson (guitarist and singer): They didn't give us any that specifically related to our career, but by example they've been an inspiration to us. I feel like they remain very true to themselves artistically. Odessey & Oracle, the particular album we love, is so unique. That year [1968] was full of heavy rock, rootsy Americana, and psychedelia, and they did this British-sounding, nostalgic, melancholy album. It seems they never had the success they deserved in the '60s; alternately, they had a massive hit with "Time of the Season," but it wasn't calculated. It was an album they made out of love for music. To me, it holds up to Pet Sounds and even Sgt. Pepper's.

Of Phantoms, Now magazine said, "If you're not already in love, this album approximates its euphoric stupor." How many of you were in love when you made it?

I don't know what's going on in the heads of my bandmates; I can't read their hearts. It's a romantic album from my point of view as a songwriter. It's been a turbulent time for me with relationships beginning and ending, and it's pretty obvious I wore my heart on my sleeve on some songs.

You've been to Seattle four times this year from Montreal.

KEXP really got behind the band, and it's been consistently good ever since. There's a lot of similarities between Seattle and Montreal. It's one place in America that reminds us of home.

I've spoken to musicians like Feist who received Canadian government arts grants. Are you benefiting from those programs as well?

Feist is a good example because she's so successful right now. They want to make a profit off the money they invest in the musicians; it's not just charity. There's mixed feelings about it in Canada; the whole program gets a lot of criticism. But we've definitely benefited—we were able to do a video last year and got approved for one this year, and got funding for a show in the U.K. recently.

If I were to scan the dial on Montreal radio, what would I hear?

Most likely a lot of guys with acoustic guitars strumming power-ballad chords and singing in this weird, growling, intense way. Mainstream Quebecois rock music you hear on the radio is really terrible. At the end of the day, Quebec is just about as cheesy as anywhere else—maybe more so.

The High Dials play the Sunset Tavern on Fri., Nov. 25, at 9 p.m. $7.

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