36?
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36?

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Art Rock

Calendar

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May
15
36? @ Vangelis Tavern

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

May
14
36? @ Shannon's Irish Pub

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

May
04
36? @ Don Cherry's Sports Grill

Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


36? — Where Do We Go From Here: A delightfully barmy, musically schizophrenic, jaw-droppingly unfettered journey through the songwriting genius/weirdness of frontman Taylor Cochrane. It’s all over the place, yet holds together remarkably as a complete post-rock statement, akin to, say, Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. Part pop, part art-rock, part psych-jazz, it’s accessible while still being somewhat insane. And it isn’t just the best Calgary album of the year, it’s the album of the year, period. - Mike Bell, The Calgary Herald


There is something so refreshing about Calgarian band 36? and their eclectic new album where do we go from here?. Like Broken Social Scene before them, the band seamlessly strings together tracks that share very little in common with exception of their undeniable creative energy. And like Broken Social Scene, instead of art house pretentiousness, the songs marry their quirky nature with completely accessible and uplifting song structures. Listening to these seventeen songs, you will be reminded of the bizarre, but positive and inviting nature of bands like Royal Canoe and Menomena (occasionally even Vampire Weekend). But don’t let the comparisons fool you, this is very much a unique offering. I can safely say I have never heard songs quite like this before (and I have definitely never heard a collection of songs like these before).

Also, don’t let the adjectives “accessible” or “uplifting” allow you to believe 36? writes trivial pop music. Despite being hidden in happy instrumentals, the subject matter of Taylor Cochrane’s songwriting is far from happy-go-lucky. kthxbye may be immersed in sunny guitar picking and peppy synth notes, but it in fact deals with the effects of over-medication on mental health. Cloud Chasers may have some beautiful male/female harmonies (Cochrane matched up with Kimberly Ilott), but it is actually depicting the recent failures the band has endured. And the raucous fun of Cpt ? (Caption Hook) may have some fist-pumping drum work (courtesy of Ryan Kusz), but it is surprisingly about a serial killer who turns people into marionettes (you know, that ol’ chestnut).

And that may be what impresses me so much about 36?: it is more than what it initially seems. Every new experience of this adventure of sound (and it is an adventure) will let you see new levels of talent. At first listen you will think “wow, these guys are fun”. Second listen – “wow, these guys are fantastic musicians”. Third listen – “wow, these guys are great song writers”. With each additional listen making you think “36? may just be incredible”.

That is the strength of where do we go from here?. It is an album that wields universal appeal but proudly displays a unique personality. It has radio ready singles and droning avant-garde pieces. It has a grounding weight with an elating lightness. It is scatterbrained and cohesive. It is an impressive display of song-crafting talent disguised as a space odyssey clusterfuck. And it is one of the most impressive this city has ever released. Be prepared to hear a lot more of 36?. - IMVERYAPE.com


Sometimes when you use clinical terms as descriptors it can come across as callous, as not being sensitive to those whom the terms and words have actual meaning.

Such it is with Calgary band 36? and their splendidly eclectic sound, one that recalls such uncategorical rock acts such as Ween, The Mink Lungs, Mercury Rev or a host of other modern oddities that start from a straight song centre and expand to the outer and every reaches.

Bouncing bravely, brilliantly and effortlessly from the psych of the Flaming Lips to the bearded folk of The Avett Brothers to the quirk pop of Pavement to the lo-fi of Sebadoh to the new glam of The Killers to the space rock of Hawkwind to the alt choral exultations of The Polyphonic Spree to the dirty, sexy, dream funk of Prince to the Canadiana feel of The Rheostatics, the quartet’s newest release Where Do We Go From Here? is an aural experience that is as mind-boggling as it is breathtakingly masterful. And it’s one of the best alt rock records you will hear all year from this or any other city — a modest masterpiece that should have a long, illustrious life.

In another time and another era one might dub it and 36? as a schizophrenic listen. Or, perhaps, a little more softened, as being manic or an ADD experience.

On that last one, Taylor Cochrane, the main creative force behind the band may just cut you some slack.

“My journey writing this was based around my growing psychotic brain in my high school years,” says the young songwriter, sitting in Cafe Beano with bandmate Scott White. “And a lot of my learning on how to write music happened then. I never slept so I was really crazy and emotional, but at the same time I was on ADD medication so I could concentrate really well.”

He laughs. “So it made for really easy to access emotions for songwriting and then really productive (periods).”

“You told me you were addicted to recording,” says White. “You had to do it, it was like a compulsion.”

Cochrane nods his head. “Yeah, yeah, totally. I would basically spend all of my time in my parents’ basement recording.”

It took some time, he says, to be coaxed out of that basement and bring his music above ground for the rest of us to enjoy, despite having produced three albums and an EP’s worth of material on his own under the 36? moniker as well as a couple more under his name.

“I’ve finally learned to share it,” the 25-year-old Cochrane says. “But it’s something I’m still working on.”

That, thankfully, happened two years ago when he emerged and assembled a band around him — initially a six-piece — to help bring his songs to life, give them a little more heft with actual instrumentation rather than the synths or whatever else the songwriter had around him.

White, who’d previously been in the local funk act Kronic Groove Band with Cochrane, was more than happy to get involved, even considering the songwriter’s rather obsessive and perfectionist vision when it comes to his material.

White laughs. “I guess he can be a difficult guy at times but these songs are really cool ... and it’s a lot of fun to get to play them and express my guitar playing,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, I feel pretty blessed to know this guy because his creative outlet is insane.”

And, both he and Cochrane are quick to note that 36? is a band — rounded out by Eric Svilpis and Ryan Kusz — with each of the musicians sticking to the blueprint set out for them, but adding their own parts to serve what White rightly calls these “great songs.”

The 17 uniformly fantastic tracks — including a whacked-out ambient, noise work in three movements titled saturdayafternoon/thedevenish — are a mixture of new songs and those culled from some of the earlier releases, rethought out, re-recorded and made that much better by two years spent reworking them.

It’s somewhat amazing that in their collective reworkings, the album, as an entity, is given a certain amount of cohesion despite the fact that Cochrane admits his influences from the good five or so years they were conceived amounts to “everything.”

“When I’m writing a song, my influences are different every single time, it just depends what I’m listening to at the time,” he says.

“It’s very, very, very seldom that I find an artist that I can completely can’t find any good part about. Some things are not the best, but I can still find the good elements in it and enjoy it.”

Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that one of the influences he points to — not necessarily stylistically — is the somewhat unheralded 2004 “rock opera” by American band Say Anything titled ... Is A Real Boy.

Cochrane says that album inspired him to instil in Where Do We Go From Here?, which they’ll release with a Saturday show at the Palomino, a sense of theatricality, and even a thematic thrust, albeit one that is, in keeping with his aforementioned inspiration, darker and a little murkier than most.

That hasn’t necessarily made the album one that doesn’t have broad appeal, as one of the tracks helped them make it into the Top 10 of local radio station X92.9’s Xposure contest, and the band will make their way across Canada for their first tour later this spring that will land them in Toronto for Canadian Music Week.

And they’re certainly not ready to rest on their still blooming laurels, not content to sit still, with two new albums ready to go, including a “reprise” version of Where Do We Go?, using household objects as percussion and acoustic instruments to make more experimental versions of the songs, and to make the 70-minute record clock in at shorter 36 minutes, 36 seconds.

Obviously, that’s intentional, as is the fact the current version of the record closes with a 36-second song, and that before the album’s sonic triptych there’s 36 seconds of silence.

36?

“When I was under the influence of all of the ADD medication I was very paranoid and I would see patterns in almost everything and think everything had some sort of divine significance,” Cochrane explains.

“And the number 36 would just appear everywhere and once I thought that it was something that appeared everywhere then it did seem like it appeared everywhere. I guess I’m my own worst enemy with that.”

“I think it’s a similar thing with obsession,” White says. “Obsessions and compulsions. That’s maybe a theme we all share, we all have obsessions and compulsions that we don’t understand.”

Taylor laughs. “I think that the number is good because people will see that everywhere and remind them of the band.”

36? release their new album Where Do We Go from Here? with a show Saturday night at the Palomino. - Mike Bell, The Calgary Herald


It is early yet, but an album like where do we go from here? begs the question: could Calgary’s 36? have created the best album of the year?

It is an exciting idea, isn’t it? That a local band, a group of underdogs that have nowhere near reached the celebrity of fellow Calgarians VanGaalen and Tegan and Sara could produce a Funeral-like debut worthy of the number one spot on international year-end lists. That Taylor Cochrane, Scott White, Ryan Kusz, and Eric Svilpis could stand triumphant beside the likes of Mark Kozelek, Beck, and whatever other giant artist makes a mark on 2014.

It is an exciting idea created by an even more exciting album. Deserving of all the praise bestowed upon it, where do we go from here? is brimming with a stunning creative energy that we haven’t heard since the aforementioned Funeral was released in 2004 (Cochrane was only fifteen then). Even in a song as understatedly beautiful as Beauty/Strong, the imaginative minds of 36? have used a bouzouki, coffee grinder, drill, and a homemade guitar found in a trashcan whose pickups they used to record vocals. And just like Funeral, their creativity is matched only by their hopeful passion. When Cochrane cries out “close your eyes, it won’t be long. Watch your breath, we’re almost done” in the final moments of Man at the Door, or when he is backed by a tidal wave of background singers chanting “lift us up now!” at this is where I draw the line’s elating crescendo, you understand the album is more than just good music. where do we go from here? has a giant beating heart that will make every spin an uplifting and moving musical experience.

So although it is still early, and I have a difficult time condoning its thirteen minutes of Revolution 9-style droning, the album has made a deep impression on me. It has all but guaranteed a spot on IMVERYAPE’s top ten albums of the year, and perhaps, if no great surprises drop from the heavens, we have found our number one. - IMVERYAPE.com


Discography

where do we go from here? - February 15, 2014 CDN
CD, digital download, iTunes

reprise - April 19, 2014 CDN
CD, digital download, iTunes

So You're Caught up in the Web and You Can't Escape: a survival guide to surviving the survivalists in a dogeatgod world - September 25, 2012 CDN
Digital download

Fistu Inhaf! - July 30, 2008 CDN
CD, digital download

Your Protest Sucks - February 14, 2008 CDN
CD, digital download

love.hate.bondage - January 1, 2007 CDN
CD, digital download

Photos

Bio

What do we do to the human experience when we try to define art?

When we qualify what we have created by the confines of the box we can fit it in does it remain a genuine form of human expression?

Why do we feel the need to do this with art?
Why can’t we just let it be?

That is the spirit of 36?. To go beyond the genre, beyond the niche,
beyond the brand to embrace the inexplicable, indefinable nature of the human experience. Milk Mountain, the bands upcoming release, is an autobiographical vignette of the lived experiences of 36? in the years following the release of their award winning record where do we go from here?. Milk Mountain carries with it an unapologetic emotional weight, moving seamlessly between moments of pure bliss into agonizing endurance. Like the lives we live, things aren’t always simple, there is a complicated ambiguity that we all endure, but it is that fragile state when we find ourselves drifting through the unknown that we discover how we truly feel.

EZFM - the first single off the record – features soft summery cynicism, a song made on behalf of our culture that sells normalcy as a warm embrace. The little voice that tells us to push away the uncomfortable and unexplainable feelings inside us, the voice that tells us to just “take it easy”.

36?’s live show is an immersive and energetic experience. Where the band and audience are in collusion on the same emotional thrill ride; coming together to have fun, to feel fragile, to feel sexy, to feel like freaking the fuck out and whatever happens in between. The band has had the wonderful experience of bringing their music around the world and has shared stages with artists of immense talent in acts both big and small. Milk Mountain marks another important milestone in the complicated and content life of 36?.

36? welcomes individuals of all walks of life to share in our emotional experience.

Because we all feel.


Band Members