Essential to the scene

After months away touring their debut record, PS I Love You are returning to their home base for a gig at The Grad Club

PS I Love You’s Benjamin Nelson and Paul Saulnier (from left) are planning to continue their love affair with Kingston as they gear up to record their second album with producer, sound artist and professor Matt Rogalsky.
PS I Love You’s Benjamin Nelson and Paul Saulnier (from left) are planning to continue their love affair with Kingston as they gear up to record their second album with producer, sound artist and professor Matt Rogalsky.

The nostalgia I associate with locals PS I Love You has been palpable lately. Maybe it’s the many memories of thrashing along to their tunes over the years with friends who’ve graduated and grown up, or the way the band yelps pure Kingston at me every time it slips onto my shuffle rotation.

Or perhaps it’s because their debut Meet Me At The Muster Station has achieved genuine success, bringing the duo home to The Grad Club on Saturday after a long North American tour.

“We’ve played a lot of good shows at The Grad Club over the years in all the bands I’ve been in, in Kingston” guitarist and vocalist Paul Saulnier said from his seat in a van en route to Toronto. “That’s where I met Diamond Rings, he was playing with The D’Urbervilles. I’ve met a lot of other cool bands there too just by playing with them and opening for them … The Grad Club’s an important place for me.”

Saulnier said he and drummer Benjamin Nelson’s support system at The Grad Club and in Kingston landed him at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival last month.

“Virginia [Clark] came to a couple of my shows and it was good to see her,” he said. “It made things seem more surreal in a good way … in an unfamiliar place.”

After weeks of a whirlwind tour seeing little more than “the club you’re playing in and the street it’s on,” Saulnier said they’re looking forward to the hometown show. It’s not surprising PS I Love you chose to film their latest video for their track “Get Over” inside their familiarly fared venue’s walls.

“I’m glad we did the video in Kingston and a bunch of my friends showed up and we used The Grad Club,” he said, adding, “[It’s] pretty essential to the music scene that we’re out of.”

Directed by Mike Portoghese, the video’s raging party, which is set to the band’s grinding riffs, comes complete with realistic party favors and a culmination of several folks having too many at a karaoke jam (which, let’s be serious, can never be a bad thing).

“He’s a great video director and mostly does mainstream videos for Much Music,” Saulnier said. “This video was him breaking out of that a little bit, it was exciting for both of us … Much Music played it once on The Wedge but they cut it from their rotation because they didn’t like the vomiting,” he added with a laugh.

It seems these two are always on the go, constantly pounding pavement since their October record release. Coming off tour with split-single cohort and resident compadre Diamond Rings, Saulnier said both acts have been pushing hard.

“Touring with Diamond Rings through America was pretty awesome and SXSW was pretty crazy,” he said. “We just played a lot of shows and kind of exhausted and hurt ourselves, but I think it was worth it.”

It’s fitting PS I Love You released a collaborative track with Diamond Rings while they were touring together. Saulnier said “Leftovers” isn’t a new tune.

“That song, it’s been around for a while. I wrote it over two years ago with Benjamin and it always felt like a good song, good guitar riffs and stuff but I could never come up with anything to sing over it,” he said. “John was in Kingston to test some things for our All Yr Songs slash Facelove seven inch and we were hanging out in my studio jamming … I basically asked him if he wanted to finish writing the song with me and he took it and ran with it and wrote amazing lyrics and vocal melodies.”
The track is a standout and has become a fixture in Saulnier and Nelson’s set as well as adding to the slew of online content on the BFFs.

“It took us a while, a year or more even, to get around to recording it all,” Saulnier said. “We’ve been playing it live every show and it’s always the best part of my set, I think. Everybody gets really excited because he brings a lot of energy to the stage.”

Though John O’Regan won’t be making an appearance as Diamond Rings this Saturday, his gig as vocalist of the now defunct The D’Urbervilles will have him expressing a slightly different vibe with their recent re-branding as Matters.

Last week’s release of Matters’ single “Get In Or Get Out” with an accompanying video caused an outpouring of media and blog attention. Saulnier warned to be careful what we wish for.

“We’re only doing four shows so it’ll be a short and sweet little mini-tour but I know it’s going to be awesome, they’re all such amazing dudes … we’re going to have tons of fun,” he said. “Their new video’s awesome, I don’t think anyone’s ready for Matters yet. But you’re going to hear them anyway.”

PS I Love You play The Grad Club with Matters on Saturday. Doors are at 9 p.m.

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