Flying under the radar would be an apt term to describe Toronto-based indie rocker Blackpaw Society’s media presence—if dogs could fly, that is.
With three full-length albums to his name but very little information about him available on the Internet, Blackpaw Society struck us as being among the most mysterious of the artists we’ve played on the show. His album covers and titles, depicting human bodies with canine heads, and with titles like Rolling Around In Dead Things to Hide the Scent, only added to the mystery.
We sought out to see if we could shed a little light on this mysterious musician, and asked him five questions about his moniker, his music, and just what type of smell could be worse than that of the dead things he’s rolling around in. You can find his responses below.
For more information about Blackpaw Society, check out his official website, browse his Facebook page, or find him on Twitter. You can also purchase his music on iTunes (USA/CAN) and Amazon MP3. Or, listen to his album Lessons In Leisure, Vol. 2 streaming on SoundCloud:
Why the name Blackpaw Society? What is its significance?
I was really into Richard Scarry books as a little kid. If you don’t know his books or style, basically all the characters are animals dressed as humans—driving cars, sleeping in beds with sheets, shopping for groceries, etc. It always seemed to me that they were only acting at being human though, as if the veil was going to drop and they would all turn on one another Wild Kingdom-style when you turned the next page. And I guess I’m interested in the line between animal and human… how much of what we do is still driven by animal instinct…
There’s also a book by Kirsten Bakis called Lives of the Monster Dogs that just creeped me out when I read it. The album covers are a mash-up of the ideas from that book and Richard Scarry.
Aside from some “various jingly noises,” you seem not to run with a pack. Are you a solo dog?
Totally. Sometimes to be the pack leader you have to remove all potential usurpers. Done tons of bands, and I know a full band would make these songs 10x better, but I just wanted a project where I could work at my own pace and I wouldn’t have to listen to people bitch.
Few artists with three albums to their name have so little written about them, and your Internet presence leaves much mystery. Why the mystique?
Definitely not laziness…
OK, partly laziness and partly there’s just so much noise out there that I don’t have the desire to add anything else to it.
Also, mostly laziness.
If you’re rolling around in dead things to hide the scent… what scent are you trying to hide that’s worse than that of dead things?
I mean, aside from how funny and fucked up it is to watch the joy dogs get from rolling themselves in dried-up blood and guts… the title was about intentional camouflage and deflection from oneself… hiding what you really are beneath a cover that might be as equally disgusting as what you’re trying to hide.
How’d you get your start, and who influenced your sound?
My brother mostly, both good and bad. He would play stuff like The Cure, Rheostatics, The Beatles, etc. that I loved. But then he would also play The Smiths. A lot. I’m not sure if I would have ended up hating The Smiths as much as I do if he didn’t expose me to them. But fuck, I hate them. And I hate being a hater, so I hate them even more for making me hate them so much. Just a vicious, vicious cycle it is.