Gentleman Reg will turn to his record player of 70s rock before his phone book of famous musician friends for inspiration.
His seventh album Leisure Life Part Three marks an auditory shift in direction, with a purposefully more synthetic sound than his prior work.
“I wanted that sort of new wave vibe for the songs, and we reference a lot of stuff like The Cars, The Eurythmics and Gary Newman … I wanted it to be big, very summery, and sort of California.”
He describes his new album as “satisfying.” “I feel like people are overusing the word epic, I’m hearing that word every day — it’s too much,” he said. “Satisfying. That maybe encompasses it.” And while “epic” may be overused, when I listen to the album I can’t help but feel it’s applicable.
He has toured with Stars, Broken Social Scene and Greg Millson of the Great Lake Swimmers.
“I was there at the beginning playing in cafes with Feist. So I’ve seen the progression,” he said.
“I think the way they influence me is in their drive, their determination and, their proficiency. When I’m hanging out with Broken Social Scene, I don’t want to sound like them per se, but I’m inspired by all the things they get done in the studio.”
And while he may be deeply engaged in the contemporary Canadian indie scene, Reg is also inspired by music from the past.
The Toronto-based singer-songwriter’s fifth full-length album is a self-produced, indie-pop-
rock-synth dream. Reg’s maturity as an artist can be felt in the blend of genres in songs like “Waiting Around for Gold” and “I Could Be What You Wanted.” In the past, Reg said he had written songs in waves, but with his new album he made a conscious effort to make song-writing more consistent.
“This time it was very like, ‘Okay, I’m going to treat it like a day job,’ and I was really pleased too,” he said. “It could go either way — it could be a bore or you could find yourself inspired — but it works.” Reg said he’s excited to be returning to Kingston for two reasons: the food and the company.
“I love the poutine takeover that’s happening — it’s happening in Toronto too,” he said.
Along the way, he plans to visit old friend and folk musician Sarah Harmer.
With no other concrete plans for his trip to Kingston, Reg said what will happen after the show is up in the air.
“It depends if I have my own hotel room, if we’re on a bus, if we’re all sleeping in one room, if I’m sleeping on someone’s floor or if someone’s managed to pick me up at the show.”
Gentleman Reg plays the Grad Club on Nov. 30. at 10 p.m.
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