Today We're Believers, the debut album from Royal Canoe, is out in September, but we've been lucky enough to hear it already - and we can confirm, it's a particularly diverse-sounding album.

We were wondering just what was going through the Winnipeg band's mind when they wrote it, and that's how this happened. They're our next pick for the Under the Influence playlist feature, where we get bands or artists to tell us the tracks that inspired them at various points in their lives. With their new album in mind, Royal Canoe let us in on some of the ingredients that went into it.


Tuneyards - 'Es-So'

Whokill was really influential album for us and it came our right while we were just trying to figure out what we wanted to do with the band. The sporadic swing, the audacity of the vocals, the fun-loving summer feel juxtaposed with a message you have to take seriously… all things we strive to do in Royal Canoe that this song does so effortlessly. Tuneyards is next level shit.

Beck - 'Get Real Paid'

For the last 15 years this song has perpetually sounded like it was written 20 years in the future. How does that work?

The Knife - 'From Off to On'

This is one of the first songs I heard that used the pitched-down low-voice effectively. Karen Dreijer Anderson has always been a huge influence on us. The synth tones on her projects are always well thought out and tasteful. Tonally her work is so rich and complex, yet somehow there's a minimalist space.

James Blake - 'The Wilhelm Scream'

When James Blake's first LP came out we we're all obsessed with it for a solid month. To give you an idea of the degree of obsession, within 15 minutes after seeing his show at SXSW we had called our local music store and purchased the keyboard he uses (Prophet 08) on credit card. His sort of Neo-Jazz minimalism has been something we've been trying to incorporate into our sound for a while.

Outkast - 'Roses'

Big Boi and André 3000 are gods. Another one of those songs that define an aspect of what we're attempting to do. The chorus has these huge multi-octave vocals, hooks everywhere, and there's this off-the-rails absurdity to the whole thing that almost makes it sound like it's coming from another planet.

Dirty Projectors - 'Stillness is the Move'

This Dirty Projector's tune employes one of our favourite songwriting tricks: the recontextualization. You get a sparse groove going, no pads, not a lot of harmonic change, and then right at the last second throw in some reflective chords over the groove (in this song on the strings at the end) that make you re-consider the entire song you we're carelessly dancing to in a more emotional light. The Dirty Projector's also use almost exclusively 4th intervals in their harmonies (as opposed to thirds)… something that we definitely gleaned from them in writing our album. This is simply an incredible song.

Bibio - 'Ambivalence Avenue'

Bibio is another artist that was really influential for us while writing Today We're Believers. The linear chord progressions with those not-sure-if-that's-a-sample-or-not guitars; incorporating nostalgia without being overtly referential; the loop like quality of the tune with out ever staying in one place too long.

Radiohead - 'Everything in Its Right Place'

As far as sneaky songs in obtuse time signatures go this one is a ninja. You never think about the fact that it's in 5/4, you just feel its beauty. For us obviously Radiohead has always been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of pop music but this song in particular gave us some hope that our weird time signatures could also work as catchy pop songs.

Dr Dre - 'Next Episode'

While Dr. Dre has contributed some of them most misogynistic hateful gang-bang anthems of our time, he's also one of the greatest producers. This song has one of the finest examples of really tight simple muted-guitar hooks that are really the reason guitars exist. The whole Chronic 2001 album is full of this sound - a sound we have certainly tried to emulate.

The Beatles - I Want You 'She's So Heavy'

The Beatles… c'mon.