We Are The City
High school friends Cayne McKenzie (vocals/keyboards) Andrew Huculiak (drums) and David Menzel (guitar) began plotting this album almost as soon as the first one was done. Their future looked bright, as they won $150,000 in January of 2010 by placing first in 102.7 The Peak's prestigious PEAK Performance Project contest.
Things got put on hold, however, after Menzel left the band in the summer of 2010. The new songs were abandoned, and We Are the City which by then included interim guitarist Blake Enemark released their stopgap High School EP in 2011. Although not the album they originally envisioned, High School earned rave reviews and helped to expand their following, with The Vancouver Sun giving it five stars and declaring it a mini masterwork.
We Are the City continued to gain momentum when Menzel returned, and the guys resumed work on the follow-up they had previously set aside. They wrote the rhythm parts in a pool house in White Rock, BC, later fleshing out these tunes in a teardown home known as Magic House, which was demolished soon after the writing session. These productive sessions were documented with an online video series, aptly called Magic House. During the process, they scrapped much of their old material and crafted a new batch of songs that reflected the life-altering changes and musical maturation of the past few years.
Produced once again by Tom Dobrzanski (Said The Whale, the Zolas, Hey Ocean!) at his newly constructed Monarch Studios, Violent is an album of soaring highs and hushed comedowns, with dense syncopations going toe-to-toe with noise-soaked crescendos and delicate pop melodies. King David moves from aggressive distortion to gentle acoustic plucking to swirling ambience, while Bottom of the Lake places marimba tinkles atop a gritty guitar backdrop, and the cerebral Baptism builds towards the album's most thunderous climax.
Violent will be followed by a feature-length film Violent written by We Are the City and filmed by Vancouver's Amazing Factory Productions in Norway. With a script penned entirely in Norwegian despite the fact that the band members don't speak the language this subtitled film is a companion piece to the record; the score utilizes melodic motifs from the songs, while the story shares themes with the lyrics. The film goes as a companion to the record, but it's not a must-have, McKenzie notes. They both stand alone.
We Are the City's restless sense of artistry has led the musicians through years of self-discovery as they have continued to strive for the next creative peak. Now that they've finally arrived with Violent, out via Hidden Pony Records, and its accompanying film, there's no question that the journey has been worthwhile.