By Will Yannacoulias
March 4th saw Saskatoon psychedelic rock band Fusarium release A Setup, an eight track experiment that wanders through heavy riffs, surfy twang, bluesy jams and frantic jazz-tinged arrangements, sometimes all within the same song. “Reasonable People”, a timely tale about insular weirdness becoming normalized in a small group, is the fun, bouncy first single from A Setup. Fusarium’s Mike Vidal and Owen Gerrard chatted with NSMZ a few days after the debut, sharing their thoughts on the album and the single release.
Fusarium’s band members are a big part of the production team behind The Vator Sessions, a video project that captures live performances from local indie artists using a converted grain elevator as a studio. It should come as no surprise then that A Setup was self produced, and recorded live. “A Setup is our first attempt at making a proper album” Mike Vidal explained. “We recorded and mixed the album ourselves in a grain elevator over the course of many late nights, most of which were somehow either way too hot or way too cold. We found it best to record us playing all together in one room as much as possible, mostly because playing together is really fun, and playing to a click track is hard.” Vidal mixed the album, and the band sent it to be mastered by Riley Hill at No Fun Club, a studio known for providing high quality analog tape recording to indie artists in and around Winnipeg.
Owen Gerard explained that the songs on the album came together in the last couple years, the result of joint writing sessions between himself, Vidal, bassist Brett Arnelian and drummer Darian Dutchak. “A Setup is a compilation of songs mostly written over the course of the past two years, with a few from a little further back“ Gerard shared. “Without giving too much away I'd say some common themes are work, life, frustration and just loud weirdness! All the songs were written with varying degrees of collaboration between the four of us, which I think made it really satisfying for us all. When one of us was able to guide the direction of a track while letting other members sort of fly their own freak flags, it was fun and revealed what the aesthetic could look like for it as a whole.”
The first single “Reasonable People” is a treat; catchy and accessible to a new listener while boldly showcasing Fusarium’s quirky cool style. “That song came about from a riff that I played over and over again until finally everyone got so sick of it that they had to jump in and start playing.” Vidal quipped. “Lyrically, the song started as a joke around the idea of a weird campy cult that does twisted and spooky cult-like things. This cult is also just a bunch of otherwise fairly normal dudes, and they think of themselves as being perfectly reasonable. You could read into some larger themes from that idea if you’re into that sort of thing, but it’s been a blast to play and seems to get a little more weird and spooky every time…”
”Reasonable People” and A Setup are available on all streaming services now. Fusarium will be appearing at Amigos Cantina April 15, supporting Montreal‘s Lost Love.