Lazy Like A Fox
A moody, groovy Western trio brings out the sun
by James Brotheridge
THE LAZY MKS
When Chris Prpich mentions the words "sun wall", it's without context and I need it explained to me.
Turns out, it's self-explanatory. It's a wooden wall with a huge decorative sun on it, one that Prpich, along with his bandmates Etienne Soulodre and Tyler Hammer, made in their basement practice space underneath Prpich's store, Buy the Book.
When the three, collectively the Lazy MKs, started putting together the artwork for their full-length debut, Where We Bin, it made sense to include a picture of that wall in the album art.
"When we did the record design, we wanted to have it tie in with where we've been, because where we've been is in there," says Prpich. "Tyler, Etienne and I built that wall, it's our sun wall.
"It took us two solid days of cutting boards lengthwise, which is really shitty work if you've ever done it. Getting it just right and attaching it all up. This is now our space -- we want to make it our home."
When Prpich talks about the MKs, on some occasions he'll refer to them as a "musical community." In a lot of ways, that's what they've become around Regina. Not only has the mostly instrumental western/roots band become live fixtures for the four years or so of the band's existence, they've also played as a group with a slew of acts, including Belle Plaine, Anna Rose and Black Drink Crier.
The band is also part of another group, the Lonesome Weekends, who've already recorded the follow-up to their recently-released debut.
"You get to play with everybody who's out there doing something and generally speaking you're doing all their best stuff," says Prpich. "You get to put your mark on it. Fuckin'-A."
When the three started putting Where We Bin together, they used all the resources at their disposal. Many of the artists they've worked with make appearances on the inventive and surprising 16-track album.
They also wanted to make a disc that worked as a whole. Prpich cites albums as disparate as the Beatles' "White Album" and the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication as sources of inspiration for Where We Bin.
A main feature of the CD are short segues between some tracks, an aspect that was greatly helped by Orion Paradis, the man who recorded and helped produce the record.
"He's very much part of our record because we wanted his feedback," says Prpich. "He's a DJ, so I wanted to use his talents to create a cohesive record, too. I wanted to make sure that, if he has an ability to put things together in a really nice, neat way, we gotta use that."
The release show will match just how big the record aims to be.
When I talk to Prpich about it, we're sitting in the Artesian. (Prpich had just finished playing a noon-hour pseudo-coming out show for the venue.) He leans back from his chair to show me where the band will be set up: in the dead centre of the floor of the venue. The band is running with a campfire theme for the evening, so audience members will be surrounding the band.
To recreate the album live, the MKs will employ a lighting script and a sound script -- the latter coordinated live by Paradis -- as well as getting help from local musicians.
"Altogether, there's 10 people, including ourselves, who are going to be involved in recreating our record. So it's kind of intense," laughs Prpich.
"We always question ourselves. Why do we do it so ramped up and crazy? But we have to do it. This is where we gotta pour our efforts into."