Last week: Interview with Nick of Gigi

  • The Bundles, Pirates Declare War
  • Cults, Go Outside
  • Pearl Harbor, California Shakedown
  • Secret Cities, Pink Graffiti Pt 1
  • Fan Death, Power Surge
  • Gigi, The Marquee (with Katie Eastburn)
  • Gigi, Stolling Through The Old Graveyard (with Karl Blau)
  • Gigi, No, My Heart Will Go On (Chorus)
  • Gigi, The Hundredth Time (with Duffy Driediger & Ryan Peters)
  • Gigi, Someone Tell Me (with Mirah)
  • The Strange Boys, Laugh At Sex, Not Her
  • The Monks, Love Can Tame The Wild

Podcast here!

Here’s the interview with Nick. It also appeared in the March issue of DiSCORDER

Gigi, The Time Is Now

By Duncan M. McHugh

Gigi is a collaboration between Nick Krgovich (P:ano, No Kids, To Bad Catholics) and Colin Stewart, producer at The Hive, which has recorded countless Vancouver bands. It’s an attempt to capture the spirit and exhuberance of ’60s girl groups and “Back To Mono”-era pop masterpieces. “Maintenant,” Gigi’s debut album, has been in the works since 2006 and features over 40 performers. It was released by German label Tomlab last month.

DiSCORDER: The album’s about to come out. How to you feel about it now?

Nick: It’s been finished for about a year, maybe even longer, so I’m just happy that it’ll be available and that people can listen to it, finally.

D: I’ve heard rumours that people have heard some form of this album up to three or four years ago. What took so long?

N: The bulk of it was finished in 2006, and I ended up singing about 70 per cent of it, but I always envisioned different singers stepping in for each song. I was just the only dude around for that first initial recording session who sang or who knew the songs. It just sat there half finished, mostly finished for awhile, then we’d work on it a little bit and let it sit again. Then I’d write a new song that I think would work. We just slowly chipped away at it. But then, I thought it would be a good idea to replace all my vocals with guests.

D: Other than the chorus, you only sing on one song.

N: That one song was recorded live to two tracks, so even if we wanted to take my voice out, it would be very hard to remove.

D: There are a bunch of heavy hitters that you brought in for this record; who are some of the guests?

N: One of my favourite singers in the universe is Katie Eastburne; she had a band called Young People, who were fantastic. I’m really happy that she’s on there. I don’t know, it was mainly just friends… Owen Pallett [of Final Fantasy], Zac from Parenthetical Girls, a whole bunch of people from here, like Rose [Melberg], Marissa and Sydney.

D: For people from out-of-town, did you catch them on tour…

N: None of those tracks were recorded at The Hive. I’d just email them an instrumental track, they’d recorder their vocals and send it back.

D: The name “Maintenant,” and Gigi for that matter, what’s the French connection?

N: Gigi started in about 2005, that was right when P:ano, my old band, released “Brigadoon,” which is named after a Lerner & Loewe musical. And we had the initial two songs we had recorded [“Know My Heart Will Go On” and “’Neath the Streetlights”], and I was burning it on to a disc for somebody. Colin always referred to it as the girl group recordings, [but] I couldn’t  quite bring myself to write “girl group,” being that literal on the CD, so I put an acronym “G.G.” Then, I thought, Gigi! It was sort of a Lerner & Loewe idea. It made sense at the time.

I vaguely remember Julia, my bandmate, hopping in my car and we were talking about what we should name the album, this is probably in 2006, and she said, “It should be something French, like, ‘Maintenant.’ I thought, that’s perfect. It’s haphazard, but it makes a lot of sense.

D: I’ve heard that the genesis for the project came from Colin finding platters or something that give the songs that Motown sound.

N: They’re reverb units. I don’t know how he got them, but he got two; One was huge, one was not as huge. I don’t know anything about it, really. As far as I know, it’s a big piece of sheet metal and you send the signal to it and it rattles and reverberates.

D: You’ve recorded with Colin a bunch, but I guess this was a deeper collaboration?

N: It was, sorta. We needed a practical way to frame this whole thing when it turned into an album and something that was going to be released. It’s certainly not a band, but we didn’t want it to be so open-ended that it was just a thing, so we had to figure out a way to present it that made sense. So it’s songwriter and producer, working together.

D: Would you consider performing it live, or is it a studio-only project?

N: I’d like to at some point, but it might be a bit of a logistical nightmare. The situation would have to be right. It would be fun to do… For the time being, it’s just a recording.

D: Were these songs that you had before or were they written specifically for a girl group/mono project?

N: They were all written specifically for this album, about 75 per cent in the winter of 2006.

D: How do Gigi songs differ from those written for other projects?

N: I think I was a lot more literal about songcraft…  I paid way more attention to form than I might normally, at least normally back then, in 2005 or 2006. Lyrically, there are very specific themes I was thinking about a lot. If you listen to, say the “Back To Mono” box set or any of those girl group records, it’s like a dog chasing its tail, lyrically. It’s just the same idea over and over and over.

So there’s that. I tried my best to make sure everything rhymed pretty well. You know, just classic pop ideals. Also, the songs had to be simple enough that we could learn them on the spot, play them and record them in two or three run-throughs.

D: What has been the response to the album? Do you think people get it?

N: I think so. I feel it’s one of the less confusing things that I’ve done. Colin, a long time ago, played the first two songs that we recorded for Dan from Destroyer and—I don’t remember exactly what he said—but it was something like, ‘People are either going to freak over this or they’re going to snap it like a pencil.’ And I feel like that’s probably very true… We just do what we do and hopefully people like it. It’s not really a big whoop if they don’t, to me anyway.

D: Your mom loves it?

N: My mom loves it, a lot. My grandma really loves it… I think it’s the simplicity of it [that they respond to]. We just did this whole thing for fun. There was no big agenda. It was just a fun project that we worked on, and I feel that you can hear that. It’s really nice that so many people got to get together. It’s special in that way to me. I think my mom or my grandma can hear that happening, in addition to the songs.

D: There was a misprint of the vinyl.

N: There was a bit of a SNAFU. Jan from Tomlab designed it and he’s German and he works really quickly. He does a really good job, aesthetically, but also he’s very fast-moving when it comes to laying text in to anything. We’ve had many occasions where quotation marks will be flipped the wrong way and apostrophes would be commas, so I combed through the lyric sheet so carefully. And then the vinyl came back and one of the publicists said, “Did you realize the album title’s spelt wrong? There’s an extra T, it’s says ‘Maintentant.’”

D: Right on the cover?

N: On the cover, on the spine, on the labels. I just never thought to look. And even Colin, his father’s from France, he’s French and Colin didn’t catch it… Now that I know that it’s there, it’s the only thing I see… It’s Spinal Tap-level absurdity.

D: Are the CDs okay?

N: We caught it in time to change the CDs. We were faced with, ‘Do we call it this new word that means nothing?’ for archiving and cataloguing… The French distribution called Tomlab super confused… It’s turned into a bit of a fandango, but it’s cool. They’ll be collector’s item, maybe, in 60 years.



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