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"You know, we're not like a cool band." Said The Whale on Life and Legacy

Updated: Oct 2

by Tara McDermott

photos by Scott and Deanna Roos

Said the Whale performing at Chester Fest 2021 (photo by Scott Roos)

On May 13, 2023, Vancouver-based sonic storytellers, Said The Whale, will be taking the stage for Capitolfest at Capitol Music Club (aka The Cap) in Saskatoon to help them celebrate 9 years of live music in the city. North Sask Music Zine (NSMZ) caught up with one of the band's two lead singers, Tyler Bancroft, to chat about the life and legacy of Said The Whale.

When speaking with Bancroft, you quickly realize that Said The Whale is very clear on their core values as a band: authenticity, vulnerability, and community. Over the course of their career as a band, they’ve learned that you need to enjoy everything. The highs and the lows. As Bancroft tells it, “You know, we're like not a cool band. Never been a cool band. Don't think we ever will be a cool band. You know a bunch of dads making … making songs that we love.” Having released their last album, Dandelion, in 2021, the band is currently enjoying an off-cycle at home raising small children.

If you’ve seen their music videos for Dandelion, you know they deserve some downtime. Each mini-film is a work of art featuring band members as engaging characters set in a Wes Anderson-style whimsical world. When asked about the drive behind creating this style of music videos for the album, Bancroft credits having a “baseline brand guideline” for the album to act as their “North Star.” That doesn’t mean that they didn’t enjoy the process. As he tells us, “ We just couldn’t help ourselves but start building all these stories around [the video for "Honey Lung"]. And then as each other music video idea came to fruition, we just did a similar thing and tried to work the characters in. And it just made it a lot more entertaining for us, and I think if you’re paying close attention as a listener, and a viewer, it’s also very entertaining.”

In regards to the legacy they’d like to leave behind, Bancroft hopes that would be approachability, community-building and realness. Part of what makes them approachable is the vintage aesthetic they bring to both their music videos and their stage presence. Does Said The Whale believe that those vintage times fostered stronger connections? Not entirely, Bancroft credits technology with helping them build a wonderful community including one on Discord for self-proclaimed “Said Heads”.

Bancroft himself is fascinated with technology including the highly controversial subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI). During a time when artists are fearful that AI will sap creativity and lead to homogenized music, Bancroft remains hopeful. Believing that AI may “enable people to unlock their creativity a little more.” He especially appreciates how AI has benefited those that are differently-abled and given those individuals access to create in ways that previously weren’t possible for them. “Overall, I try to remain optimistic that technology is there to enable humans to do things they were not previously able to do without technology. And I try to look at that as a good thing.”

In fact, Bancroft has already used AI to create starting points for things such as writing bios or developing a vision to submit to an artist for album art. Will Said The Whale experiment with AI in their music? Possibly, Bancroft likes the potential of a “DrumGPT” where using very specific prompts he can bring an idea to life for which he could write a song. However, he also believes that “there has to be a human element for it to really connect with other humans.”

So what can you expect from the show? Big fans of “The Paris of the Prairies", Said The Whale is looking forward to coming to Saskatoon and playing at a venue that they love. “Oh man I mean it's going to be the first time that we've played a club show in a while. So I'm excited to get wild! It’s gonna be fun.”

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