Subtely majestic

After a break from Wolfe Island’s main stage, PS I Love You returns to their home turf on the heels of a European tour

PS I Love You’s debut album Meet Me at the Muster Station is a tribute to Wolfe Island, a place Saulnier travelled to frequently as a child.
PS I Love You’s debut album Meet Me at the Muster Station is a tribute to Wolfe Island, a place Saulnier travelled to frequently as a child.
Supplied by Vanessa Heins

Local duo PS I Love You’s upcoming appearance at the Wolfe Island Music Festival will be a decidedly nostalgic homecoming.

Their 2010 debut Meet Me At The Muster Station drips in nods to the island, from the record’s title to the sounds of the ferry audible in the tracks.

“I feel extra excited to play again this year … there’s a lot that’s special about it,” lead singer and guitarist Paul Saulnier told me over the phone from a mini-tour of the northeastern U.S. coast.

“It’s on the island and you’ve got to take the ferry and camping; going into a little town and drinking beers in a field … those are special things for me.”

Though they’ve played the fest in past years, Saulnier took a break from the main stage last August but did make an appearance at the festival afterparty. He manned the turntables as DJ Haircut with his partner in crime John O’Regan, better-known as Diamond Rings. Saulnier hinted that attendees can expect to see him scratching at the General Wolfe Hotel afterparty again this year after the festival closes.

It’s been almost a year since the release of the critically-acclaimed Meet Me At The Muster Station, but Saulnier said he and drummer Benjamin Nelson are keeping busy with short trips and using downtime to finish recording their new album at home in Kingston.

“[We’ve been] writing and recording and just sort of getting together,” he said. “Benjamin and I will create the songs just by jamming, so the writing and recording process happens … pretty close to the same time.” With music-lovers’ summer itineraries packed with stylish and sought-after festivals like Coachella, South by Southwest and Bonnaroo, the laid-back Wolfe Island environment is a welcomed change of pace.

“I find a lot of people like it because it’s kind of relaxed,” Saulnier said. “Most big outdoor festivals have so much security and this one’s just pretty chill. Everyone seems to get along.”

There will be undoubtedly different vibe at Montreal’s Osheaga festival, where PS I Love You will appear alongside acts like Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips and Eminem—one set Saulnier said he’ll be skipping.

“I don’t even like Eminem in a joking way,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m excited about seeing The Tragically Hip, actually. That’ll be enough.”

A few weeks after the festivities on Wolfe Island, the band is set to release Figure It Out on Paperbag Records. It’s a collection of older singles and covers lucky listeners may have heard at Saulnier and Nelson’s live shows and on other label compilations. Still Saulnier said eager ears seeking new material need look no further than the band’s Wolfe Island set.

“We’ll play a few new songs that aren’t released yet, so people have an idea what to expect from us next year … and the usual songs that I hope people will like.”

PS I Love You play the Wolfe Island Music Festival main stage at 7 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Wolfe Island by the numbers

1792 the year the island was named in honour of General James Wolfe, who led British troops at the historic Battle of the Plains of Abraham 1,500 the festival’s average attendance

1,400 Wolfe Island’s population

100 per cent of the festival’s lineup is Canadian

20 minutes on the ferry from Kingston to Wolfe Island

18 bands at this year’s festival

13 years of the Wolfe Island Music Festival

12 years old and under get into the festival for free

4 the number of artists in this year’s line-up that were nominated for the Polaris Prize Long List

2 a.m. the time the ferry stops running

0 dollars needed to take the ferry to Wolfe Island

Alyssa Ashton

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