Vancouver’s WE ARE THE CITY Dig Up Dirt on Each of the Songs on Their New Album ‘RIP’

- Jan 28, 2020 at 11:00AM
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Vancouver, British Columbia progressive rockers We Are The City have started the year off right by releasing their new studio album RIP on January 24th via Tooth & Nail Records. It’s been a long journey since the band’s humble beginnings as a trio of teenagers, but they’ve rode a wave of hard work and perseverance towards this their fifth studio effort. And to write and record RIP, the band members returned to these humble beginnings to rekindle that initial chemistry they felt so long ago.

RIP was created in the basement of singer and keyboardist Cayne McKenzie’s family home in Kelowna, B.C., which is exactly where the band first formed. By returning to where it all began, they captured their initial spark and bridged it with the years of experience and maturation since, resulting in the most emotionally-inspired work they’ve to-date produced. The recording of RIP was so emotional that there were even times when McKenzie was nearly in tears as he sang, something not as easily done in a professional recording studio.

RIP feels comprehensive, but it also feels like a culmination of a journey that has taken all of these years to accomplish. You could say that it closes one chapter while opening another. With the album just released and people still discovering and connecting with it, We Are The City has taken some time to share with us an exclusive track-by-track look at all twelve tracks that appear on the final cut of RIP. Read on as you learn about the origins of songs, the recording process, and how certain tunes were written.

Watch the official music video for “Killer B-Side Music”:


01. “Killer B-Side Music”
- “Recorded in the Okanagan at my childhood home, in the basement where the band began some ten years ago. We were jamming in the basement, just trying to come up with something worth putting down. Andy went upstairs for some water and as he filled his glass he thought he heard us playing this simple three-chord progression with all the bass rolled off. He was hearing things, but that progression became the basis for the song. The lyrics came quickly, I had been thinking about the concept that formed them for a year or so. We Are The City will never be famous, never play conventionally accepted music but we will play our own brand of pop. What is every A-side without it’s B-side? We Are The City’s genre IS killer B-side music.”

02. “Song In My Head”
- “This song was completed after a two-day session with our good friend Steve Bays at his back-alley studio, Tugboat. An effort to pump a little pop energy into a record of dense less forgiving songs. I wrote the hook the morning before the Tugboat sessions very quickly, but the result is a lasting melody with light and fun lyrics. Not the most crucial song on RIP, but one that gives balance.”

03. “Night Guest”
- “This song spanned the entire four year RIP process. It had many multiple sessions, six or seven random greasy studios and had many arrangement iterations. The vocal was written during the recording and writing process for Above Clue but kept sticking its way into new music. ‘Night Guest’ is based on a conversation that David and I had many years ago while walking through a childhood neighbourhood deep in the night. It’s a reference, I guess, to the band’s departure from Christianity as a focus.”

04. “Obviously”
- “Another song that took up years of time to finish. We started it in a studio I don’t expect anyone to know, ‘Franc.’ Honestly, it was a nasty place that ended up kind of screwing us over but this song is a wonderful treat that we found there. The main synth is a sample of a flute off of YouTube.”

Check out the artwork for We Are The City’s RIP:


05. “You’re So Clean”
- “This was the last song completed and was a solo session I did in my big yellow house attic studio. The drums and guitar were left from another idea, the kind you leave behind because it doesn’t fit in with the rest. But, I gave it a go with a vocal and found a sweet spot. Especially with the ‘Tomorrow’ refrain at the end of the track, there is something special there and in classic fashion, it was improvised over two or three takes.”

06. “You Can’t Blame Me But You Can Blame Yourself”
- “This started as a loop that we all loved but could never find anything to do with. Andy has had that beat kicking around for eight years, nearly. We took it for a rip when we had some extra time at the end of one session and this is what happened. I think David’s line is played by tuning up and detuning down one string.”

07. “God & Man”
- “This song is leftovers instrumentally from another song called ‘The Birds’ that we had years ago. The guitar line was always kind of special and had some sort of staying power in a soup of ideas that never make it. The verse lyrics are a response to the idea of the chorus. They are just little confessions, a stream of consciousness. The chorus is a reference to a conversation Andy had with our friend Shad when we toured with him years ago. A question he asks himself sometimes: If Jesus was God and man, but never sinned, was he ever really man? I thought that that was a perfect way to put an idea a lot of people think about.”

08. “Saint Peter”
- “My dad Peter came in after we had the instrumentation. We handed him a mic asking for ideas. He did one take after which he handed the mic back saying “I don’t know.” You’ve done it, Peter Mac.”

“Song In My Head” was the first single and music video released from RIP:


09. “Me Plus Me”
- “I was trying to get out of a hurtful relationship at that time, also had been kicked out of where I was living. I stayed on the couch (same couch on the cover of At Night) at our studio in Port Moody for a month or so. The guys would come out each day to jam and work on the record. During that lonely month of sleeping in a junk house at the end of the EverGreenLine, we wrote this cheery happy song that looks at what it might be like for me to take control again. David and I primarily wrote the lyrics.”

10. “Children’s Hospital Ambience”
- “I had a studio at the time with a window that faced nothing but another building about six feet away. Pigeons nested in that little building alley constantly crapping on the window sill. The studio became known as Pigeon Shit Studio, or Pigeon Shit for short. This is where I spent much of the eight months I had the space for. Slept there and worked there. Wrote this track late in the night one night. Has a lot to do with thinking about friends who had recently lost a daughter at the Children’s Hospital. Just lay down and watch the sky turn from night into dawn, if you watch the light change you’ll be okay.”

11. “I’m Not Yours Anymore”
- “We never really got there with this one. We tried different versions but ran out of time and felt spent. The end has some of our favourite lyrics so keeping it on the album was never in question.”

12. “R.I.P.”
- “The song was written, mostly, before Kyle Tubbs died. A sad song about feeling like he was fading as my friend, I was mourning our friendship. Four months later he died from a fentanyl overdose, January 26th, 2018. I re-recorded the vocal and improvised new lyrics a few days after I found out.”
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