Paint Can You Hear Me? interview with Robb Johannes by Lindsay Rivait of the Windsor Lance

Toronto's Paint hoping to win our hearts

by Lindsey Rivait, Arts Editor
August 31, 2010

Toronto (via Vancouver)'s Paint is bringing their colourful sound to Phog Lounge on Sept. 10. The band will be in town promoting their second full-length album, 2009's Can You Hear Me?

Paint has faced major changes since its inception. Vocalist and guitarist Robb Johannes moved from Vancouver to Toronto in 2009, after writing and recording Can You Hear Me? with his previous Vancouver bandmates, to pursue Paint professionally, and had to re-staff the band upon his arrival.

"I was the only one with enough loose screws to pick everything up and try to pursue this as a career. I kind of had the least to lose. There was a bit of instability in the beginning when we settled in Toronto," explained Johannes.

"The change was pretty significant, in terms of the drive as opposed to just doing this as a hobby and finding people willing to go all the way with it. That's tough because you ask a lot of people when you do that. You're asking people to give up everything that they know and every sense of reality they have and just go for it. It's hard, and it's still hard," he continued.

As soon as the new line-up was secured, they began writing songs together and currently have almost a full-length album's worth of songs, but the band isn't rushing to get into the studio, rather they're concentrating on promoting themselves as a live entity.

Not only has this made the band a stronger live unit, it has also allowed Paint to strengthen their music as well.

"It's allowed us to really workshop the songs, to constantly refine them and change them," Johannes commented on the benefits of promoting Paint as a live performance band.

"The songs [from Can You Hear Me?] have almost become more the property of the band out here than the band in Vancouver that wrote and performed them," he said.

Johannes does hope that they'll get their next album out sometime in 2011, but in the meantime, he wishes to win some hearts in Ontario.

"Our mission right now is to win some hearts and minds in this part of the country, which has become our home, and we want to make sure there's a demand for a record. It's really hard to put out an album and spend all this money on an album, but you don't actually know if anyone wants to hear it. And the only way to make sure they want to hear it is to be a live entity, be there, be relevant, and always be playing shows and be a part of peoples' lives," he said.

Downloading, says Johannes, has really forced bands to work a lot harder than they used to before.

"You have to be a live band again. You have to be human beings and you have to get to know your audience. And that's really fun," he added.

Johannes promises an energetic show at Phog.

"We look good, we sound good. The energy on stage and the interaction between us is very lively," he said, adding that you can also expect some audience participation.

"Our live show is really just about sharing the experience of music and art and celebration and overcoming struggle and turning it into something beautiful. That's one of the goals of the band. If our live show can capture that, then I think we're onto something," he continued.

Catch Paint live at Phog Lounge at 9 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The original text of this article can be found at The Lance.