In their music and stage presence, Vancouver's The Organ is brooding and distant. Their melancholy eighties style and somber, personal lyrics have ensured the inevitable comparisons to Morrissey and early eighties Manchester. In person however, lead vocalist Katie Sketch is friendly and open – the opposite of the dreary, depressed stereotype I was half-expecting, proving the Organ and their reserved, minimal sounds are not just following a trend. She took a few minutes of her time pre- NXNE show on Saturday to chat with me about the band.
Hey, how's it going? Thanks for taking the time to chat; I'm sure you're really busy…
No problem, I'm not at all really – I'm drinking a beer and reading a magazine on my friend's patio right now actually. I didn't wake up 'til 2.
How are you feeling about your show tonight?
We're feeling pretty good, we'll be feeling pretty nervy later on, but right now I'm not thinking about it. Tonight we'll be more nervy. More nervy – that sounds really intelligent…
Have you had a chance to check out any of the other shows at NXNE?
No, we just got in yesterday, and we're leaving tomorrow. We're all staying at different places, just taking a little break from each other.
Do you find it daunting now that your shows are drawing bigger crowds?
Absolutely…you can't prepare for them, so you try not to think about it. But we find the smaller shows harder to deal with. It's harder to play with 5 people staring at you…it's way more intimidating. The more crowded the room, the easier it gets for us except maybe our guitar player. The small, cold rooms are the worst. But it's an issue every night. Last week, we played during game six in Calgary…that was hard. But tonight we'll be fine.
I keep reading that you guys find it hard to play live.
We were really uncomfortable. It's getting easier, but it's not natural. We're very, very self-conscious – that's probably the best way to put it.
Did you find Vancouver a good place to start off, an easy place?
Yeah it was a great place to start. We just started playing for friends and the word spread…I think Vancouver is a hard place to "conquer", but once you have a fan base it's easier.
How does Vancouver configure into your songs…what effect has the city had on you and your music?
People ask us that a lot, I'm not sure if it has an obvious effect…it's hard to tell, I haven't lived anywhere else. There are parallels; it's a rainy city…if I grew up in California, could I write the same songs? I really don't know.
Your sound gets defined over and over in the press-New Wave, eighties, minimal, brooding…how would you describe your sound?
Originally we had no idea what sound we were going for. It's hard, how do you explain sound anyway? But the audience needs a reference point so I understand why writers need to define it; I'd do it too. I just don't like putting ideas in people's heads. As far as being minimal music, I just hope it's not boring. That's the fine line. Minimal can be another word for boring.
How have things changed since Sinking Hearts?
Everyone's become better players. And we've gone from our early twenties to mid-twenties. But nothing's changed drastically. We're quite a bit more comfortable, but we know we have a long way to go; our next album could sound completely different than now.
How do you guys all get along with each other?
We get along well, there's lots of bickering, always about the stupid things, like 'where did you put my sunflower seeds'?….I think every band experiences that. I mean there's 5 girls….honestly though, we have so much fun. We are always up for a party, always laughing hysterically, it's just the small stuff we bicker about.
What are your plans for the next while?
We have the rest of Canadian tour, then more song writing, then it's up in the air. It depends on interest from international labels. There are only so many times you can tour Canada. There's a good chance that in the Fall things will be happening.