September 15th 2011
Drawn Ship debut with a breakup album while keeping a sense of humour
Vancouver duo Drawn Ship just released its debut disc, the intimately huge Low Domestic. A breakup record with a kick, the 11-track album was recorded at Vancouver’s Mushroom Studios by Shawn Penner (You Say Party) and definitely delivers some of the biggest sounds that a duo can produce.
“We had to try to find a way to fill the low end, basically because there’s no bass,” vocalist/guitarist Lyn Heinemann says over the phone from Vancouver. “We used the room a lot in terms of just trying to get a bigger, more open sound.”
A big part of that sound is drummer Gregg Steffensen (ex-Hinterland), who founded the duo barely a year ago with Heinemann.
After she dis-banded beloved indie rockers Portico, the singer wanted to throw herself into something dark and immediate.
“In terms of the content, I tend to write about pretty dark stuff anyways,” she said.
Though there were a few poppy tunes that came out of the sessions, those didn’t quite fit into the theme of the record, one of which featured Ryan Guldemond from art popsters Mother Mother.
It was one of those drunken moments where you say, ‘Let’s write a musical’. Maybe it doesn’t happen to everyone, but we did.
– Lyn Heinemann
“It was really obvious when we had all 15 tracks. The four we left off were really not a fit,” Heinemann says. “Given a little time, there are a couple of those tracks that will eventually get released. Ryan and I did a duet – a really over-the-top breakup song. I guess it would seem ridiculous on the record, but it’s a great tune.”
One subject that seems to keep popping up in Heinemann’s music is Louis Riel.
On past Portico releases as well as the Drawn Ship track Execution, which details Riel’s order of the killing of Thomas Scott, the Métis politician is a prominent fixture.
Originally Heinemann and singer-songwriter Leah Abramson conceived the idea of a musical about Riel, but the grandiosity of the project got the better of the friends.
“It was one of those drunken moments where you say, ‘Let’s write a musical’. Maybe it doesn’t happen to everyone, but we did,” she laughs. “We wrote like, 10 or 11 tracks and had all these grand plans to produce it, and then we thought about all the musicians that we’d need and we just never got around to it.
“They’re all good songs, hopefully it’ll happen sometime. Riel’s an awesome character – it was just easy to write songs about him in general. I’ll be sure to appropriately introduce the song in Winnipeg so everyone will know that I’m down with Riel.”
This article appeared in Volume 66, Number 03 of The Uniter, published September 15th 2011.