Most people have not heard of Most People, a Toronto duo that dropped one of the best debut albums of last year. Their relative anonymity on the local scene may be due to the out-of-time, out-of-place quality of their music — it's "indie," but not "rock," intelligent but not dense (wide open, in fact) and apparently unaffiliated with any local scene or label.

Their practice space, which I was invited to visit for this interview, reinforces this sense of autonomy; it's an out-of-the-way spot, accessible down a back alley and through a fence. It is shared with other musicians who apparently rarely use it. There are odd items scattered about, tools of the trade for multi-instrumentalists Brandon Gibson-DeGroote and Paul McEachern. 

In turns out Most People are team players, unconcerned with showing off or arguing over songs, a philosphy that aliented other, more impatient members. We spoke about that, the space within their sound, and more.

There's a lot of space in your songs wherein, I'd assume, they could be stretched out in live shows.

BRANDON: We used to have more of the instrumental interludes you hear on the album, but we've been slowly cutting those out to keep up the energy. But we tried to make the record almost identical to how we play live, instead of making some crazy studio album — people would see us live and think, "Oh ..."

Have you been to a lot of shows like that?

PAUL: Happens all the time, right? But our goal was to make music that could be enjoyed live, first and foremost. Recording was an afterthought. We tried so many times to hit the nail on the head but it didn't work out until the last time, when we finished the full album.

BRANDON: A lot of shows are just 40 minutes of high-energy insanity, but we wanted to write songs that have a lot of breadth.

PAUL: Not long for the sake of it, but with a proper build-up. A journey.

I'm not sure how you managed to find that middle-ground — like the music isn't insistent but it isn't the least bit boring, either.

BRANDON: We labour endlessly over the structure of the songs. We go through them on the computer, analyze and work out every piece.

PAUL: It does take us quite a long time to compose a song. We don't have a drummer to just lay down a beat.

How long have you been making music together?

PAUL: For the better part of four years, in other projects as well with other members who were kind of just fooling around. Anytime it got a little more serious they'd ditch out. We've been Most People officially for about two years.

People would leave when things started to progress?

BRANDON: You know, when you start really performing, making sacrifices ... if you're not totally into it, it will come out.

Did that get on your nerves, or were you pretty patient about it?

BRANDON: We're both major team players.

PAUL: With an incredible amount of accountability to each other. We're brothers in music.

BRANDON: We've had problems in other bands with people wanting greater contribution than each other. To us, it's all about the song. If on a song Paul is playing more than me it doesn't matter. "Oh, there's too much you in this song!" Do you think bands from the past that had, like, five horn players had that problem?

PAUL: Some songs I basically don't even play guitar — just one lick looped through the entire thing. It's about whatever will help the song.

Is being a musician a good way to get to know a city?

PAUL: I moved to Toronto about a year ago, and I've been all over. If it wasn't for music I wouldn't have seen so much.

Is it a good city for unconventional venues / shows?

BRANDON: It's getting there. I would have said "no" a year ago. There are a lot of annoying, established venues that can suck your soul out when you play them. Sleazy ... I'll let them remain nameless, but there's an old guard. Toronto's live music scene is less about the venues than the promoters: it's not where you're playing, it's about who's throwing the party.

Who have you found is drawn to your stuff?

PAUL: I think we're a "musician's band." We've gotten a lot of compliments from people who actually play music.

We played an all-ages show recently, with a bunch of teenagers, and that was great.

Like teenage bands?

PAUL: Some of them were, yeah. It went really well.

Most People will perform for NXNE on June 15 @ Creatures Creating.

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