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Spencer Krug brings isolation to the stage at Capital Daily Fest

After decades of touring with Wolf Parade, Krug has settled down on Vancouver Island, embracing isolation and fatherhood.

By Ryan Hook
December 22, 2022
Latest News
Features

Spencer Krug brings isolation to the stage at Capital Daily Fest

After decades of touring with Wolf Parade, Krug has settled down on Vancouver Island, embracing isolation and fatherhood.

By Ryan Hook
Dec 22, 2022
Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Latest News
Features

Spencer Krug brings isolation to the stage at Capital Daily Fest

After decades of touring with Wolf Parade, Krug has settled down on Vancouver Island, embracing isolation and fatherhood.

By Ryan Hook
December 22, 2022
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Spencer Krug brings isolation to the stage at Capital Daily Fest

Spencer Krug just wants to play music for a living.

“It's difficult for any artist to scratch a living in this weird landscape,” said Krug, one of the lead singers of Montreal-based Wolf Parade. “Touring is wildly expensive and there's no such thing as record sales anymore. Bands are just living off T-shirt sales on the road.”

The high cost of touring is a reality many Victoria musicians like Art d’Ecco are grappling with. But for close to two decades, Krug has made a living as an alternative rock musician. In fact, his output and catalog of work over the past two decades is almost equal to the number of critically successful albums he’s seen.

Krug was born and raised in the Okanagan and he said he moved to Victoria sometime in the early aughts, where he helped form the successful Victoria band, Frog Eyes. In 2003, he moved to Montreal, where he helped start another successful project: Wolf Parade. It’s with Wolf Parade that Krug found considerable success, signing to Sub-Pop Records (the same record label that signed Nirvana), performing at festivals around the world, and playing live on late-night television. The success of the band moved fast.

“Everything was happening on this delta scale,” Krug said.

Even with Wolf Parade’s success—and its busy schedule—Krug found time to start yet another successful project, Sunset Rubdown. What started as a solo project quickly became a full band effort within a year. Between each band, there are 14 albums—and this doesn’t include Krug’s other side projects he has started over the past two decades, like Moonface, Swan Lake, and Fifths of Seven.

“There's always going to be some constant in my style—things that remain ‘me,’” he said. But working with others is integral to his process too. “I like to try new things as often as possible, whether that's working with different collaborators or different groups of people. Those factors always change the way I approach a song.”

Krug said he doesn’t believe in burning bridges behind him.

Although Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown have each taken hiatuses throughout their tenures—Wolf Parade from 2011 to 2016, and Sunset Rubdown from 2009 until now—the bands have always returned in some form or another. Wolf Parade's latest album, Thin Mind, came out in 2020, and just this month, Sunset Rubdown announced a reunion tour.

“None of us thought it would ever happen again—we just thought [Sunset Rubdown] was done,” he said. “But there’s no reason to keep the doors closed, and then one day we decided we could try a couple of reunion shows and see how they feel. And then if they feel good, we'll look at making another record.”

While Krug spent many years elsewhere in Canada, he returned to Vancouver Island two years ago, moving here with his wife and becoming a father. “I'm a much different songwriter now,” he said. “And I look at the whole world and the whole industry differently. Not just because I have a son, but also because I’m 45, not 25.”

Beginning in 2021, Krug began recording albums under his own name and on his own label Pronounced Kroog. So far, he has released two solo albums on the label—Fading Graffiti and Twenty Twenty Twenty Twenty One—and has reissued Sunset Rubdown’s Shut Up I Am Dreaming album and Moonface’s The Minotaur Instrumental.

Krug’s video for his song ‘How We Have to Live’  is relatable to anyone living on Vancouver Island—or to anyone who went through the COVID-19 pandemic. The video juxtaposes Krug’s isolation with the incessant need to connect online.

“The pandemic really kind of hammered home this reality that we live in an isolated spot, but we use the internet to stay in touch—not only with friends, but with our industries,” Krug said about the music video. “Even if we're spending all our days alone, there's a sort of cold sadness to that reality we can never get away properly.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Spencer Krug will play accompanied by piano at a special event for Insiders, Capital Daily Fest, at the UVic Farquhar Auditorium.

“My solo stuff—I really like to represent it on acoustic piano, which is what I’ll be doing,” he said. “I like how stark and vulnerable the acoustic piano is. I can just sit and play, and it reveals the bare bones of what a song is.”

To catch Spencer Krug, as well as ASTROCOLOR, Old Soul Rebel, and Nicky MacKenzie, RSVP to the Insiders-only event here.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Ryan Hook
Food, Arts & Culture Reporter
contact@capitaldaily.ca

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