Panoramic & True's sophomore album "Wonderlust" aspires to the orchestral indie-pop of similarly minded acts like Canadian collective Broken Social Scene.
There's vibrancy and immediacy to P&T's music that was inspired at least in part by the throwback recording process. Rather than working in a computerized studio and Auto-Tuning every note, the band decamped to the attic of frontman John Lennox's Pilsen apartment and recorded everything live to analog tape, which explains why the singer refers to the crew's sound as "orchestrated dirt."
Reached at home, Lennox, 32, discussed Canada's affinity for orchestral pop, his dreams of becoming a Major Leaguer and the surprising band he first started listening to as a way to meet girls.
A lot of this orchestral, indie-pop sound seems to originate in Canada. What's your perspective on that as a native Canadian (Lennox was born in Ontario and spent eight years living in Montreal)?
Yeah, you're right. I don't know why. I can't speak for Toronto, but in Montreal there's an open-mindedness to arrangements and to the things that go into making a band that is pretty unique. There's a really democratic spirit in the art scene there...and that might lead to it.
You sing, "It gets so hard to open up" on "Open Up." Are you generally a more reserved person?
Yeah. Historically I have been a bit more reserved. When you finally open up about something emotionally difficult, it is so cathartic. It's one of those wonderful feelings, so it's something that's been on my mind for a long time.
How did you ever find yourself fronting a rock band if you're so shy?
[Laughs] You know, I've always had a big enough ego to imagine myself in positions of leadership. When I was a kid I wanted to be a baseball player, and I wanted of course to be a pitcher because you're essentially the leader and you're in control and everyone is watching you. Fronting a rock band is kind of the same thing.
Being from Canada, aren't you supposed to be a big hockey fan though?
I used to be, but not anymore. I've fallen out of love with the game a little bit. The season is too long. There are too many concussions. The good players are always out injured.
How would you define the word "wonderlust"?
How do you get to that in just a couple seconds? It's this idea of being amazed by everything that happens in life and how that makes you curious for more.
What's the last thing you experienced that made you feel that way?
Oh, probably a day at the lake--just the blueness of the water and how cold it is. Long drives across country. I drive up to Canada pretty often, so cutting across southern Ontario at twilight on a hot summer's day is pretty great.
The press release for the album really plays up the analog recording process. Are you not a fan of digital recording?
I wouldn't say I'm not a fan, but we recorded "Wonderlust" with an eight-track tape machine...and I think making something unique was important to me. I'm not against digital recording at all, but I think it's hard to make digital recordings sound unique. There tends to be kind of a house sound for everyone using Pro Tools.