I can honestly say I’ve been waiting for this record since 2011. Three singles, two videos, and several sweaty shows and DJ nights later, electro pop group Silkken Laumann is coming together to put the finishing touches on Not Forever Enough, mere weeks before the album’s drop date on December 31st, 2013. In advance of their second annual New Year’s Eave bash, which also doubles as their album release party (finally!), I spoke with band members Rolf Klausener, Adam Saikeley and Pat Johnson on their debut record, the party, and the future ambitions of Silkken Laumann.
First and foremost, it’s a love for dance music that brought Pat, Adam and Rolf together to play under the Silkken Laumann moniker. “It’s the kind of live show we wanted to see, but none of us had played in this kind of band before.” says Klausener, who also heads the indie folk group The Acorn. Silkken Laumann played their first shows in 2011 and put out two singles in 2012.
“Pat had it from the start and Adam’s been immersed in dance music for years. Really, the most difficult learning curve was for me, I had to retrain my brain to think about composing music differently.” Klausener muses.
Over the past years, the three bandmates (now four with the recent addition of Gary Franks on bass) immersed themselves in dance music, both listening to it and DJing various parties in Ottawa. Saikeley is co-founder of the Ceremony DJ night at Mugshots (75 Nicholas) while Klausener and Johnson DJ together at Babylon’s 90s or Bust. Rediscovering dance music and playing more shows allowed Silkken Laumann’s sound to evolve over the past three years.
The three bandmates knew they needed more time before releasing their debut record; time to learn how to play as a band. “Part of the album is premeditated and some of it is very immediate.” With the addition of Franks on the bass, they think they’ve go they’ve found the missing touch. “He really does songs justice.”
Not Forever Enough is an album steeped in Ottawa and its tight-knit (sometimes too tight-knit) arts community. “Pat’s admittedly the only one in a stable relationship and over the last years, Adam and I have had interesting romantic times – being in love, falling in and out of love in Ottawa. The city’s very small and there’s all sorts of interconnectedness. The three of us spent lots of time sharing what was happening in our lives, stories about the people coming in and out of our lives.” These stories inspired the album.
The album creation process has been very different than any other album Klausener’s worked on. “It’s a very collaborative project. We write together in the moment.” It’s forced all three to accept vulnerability. The immediacy of the task of completing the album in such a short time frame has meant that ideas were deliberated on the spot. “With the Acorn, I didn’t let anyone close to the writing process” says Klausener, “but for us, everything is on the table. In some ways, it’s so crazy and stressful. Emotions are very high.”
It’s the second year in a row Silkken Laumann will be ringing out the new year at Babylon. The album release adds a special dimension to the event. For Saikaley, it will be really cathartic to play all these songs live. “We hope that people lose their mind when they here it! We also hope that people listen to it and hear the city.”
Following in the Arboretum Arts Festival footsteps, a festival co-founded by Klausener, the album release party will have an important food component with Kelly Brisson of the Gouda Life and Katie Worbeck of Harrow making hors d’oeuvres and midnight snakes. “We wanted the night to people hassle-free for everyone. Pay to get in and have everything taken care of.” What’s more, the first 200 people to enter Babylon will receive a print of the album cover.
The band will play their album followed by DJ sets from the boys. Hard Science will be providing the visuals.
Once new year’s has passed, the world is Silkken Laumann’s oyster. They are planning on doing music showcases in Toronto and Montreal and hope to tour the album. When speaking of future touring plans, Klausener reflects back on Silkken’s first few gigs – the architecture students who invited them to play, their one-hour improve session at Bowich. “We really fed off everyone’s energy. And it solidified in my mind what I hoped we’d be – sweaty, dancy.”
While the album currently has no label backing, they’d be happy to work with the right people once the record is done. They know people in the industry that are excited about what they’re doing, but they also want to share the record with folks like DFA in New York City, a label that has greatly inspired them.
First and foremost, they want to give this record to Ottawa. “The record was inspired by the dance nights in the city we love and respect. Lyrically, it’s inspired by hanging out in the kitchens of the city, the Manx…there are just so many micro-stories, single lines in the record that are different references to people.” Not Forever Enough is clearly Ottawa now – a vibrant, interconnected, full of hustle city – ready for primetime and a big sweaty dance party.
We are stoked to be giving away five passes to the NYE show. To enter for a chance to win, let us know the best place to make out in Ottawa in the comments section. The winners will be announced end of day December 29th.
The Not Forever Enough New Year’s Eve Bash takes place at Babylon (317 Bank St.), December 31st 10pm. $15 adv. / $20 door which includes hors d’oeuvres, + midnight snacks, midnight champagne, limited edition album cover print + download and more!