“Canadian noise-rock duo” probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the name PS I Love You. Paul Saulnier knows this, and he’s made his peace with it—for the most part.
“That was sort of a funny nickname that friends gave me several years ago. My initials are PS, and all my friends would call me PS, and PS I Love You just made sense because I’m kind of a sappy guy, and I write a lot of love songs, so it’s kind of fitting, and when I was performing solo it felt like a really good thing to call the performance. It just kind of stuck,” the singer/multi-instrumentalist for the Kingston, Ontario pair explains.
“It’s a name that kind of haunts me though, because people always ask me about that dumb movie or that Beatles song, and it has nothing to do with any of that. I wish we had changed it before we got popular,” he laughs. “It’s also, you know, people hear that band name and think that we’re going to be really sweet or twee-sounding, and we’re loud and crazy, so it kind of gives us that surprise element that I kind of like, so I’m happy about it.”
It’s true: if you’re going on name alone, you probably won’t be prepared for the feverish energy that permeates the band’s live show and found its way onto their critically acclaimed full-length debut, 2010’s Meet Me At The Muster Station. But whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s difficult to ignore the killer combination of Saulnier’s fuzzy guitars and Benjamin Nelson’s furious drumming.
“People that haven’t really heard us but just come to check it out are sometimes surprised. Even if they don’t like it, they’re still surprised, which I think is a good thing,” Saulnier says. “To be blown away by the force of our live sound, that’s something you want to do in a live show. The only real approach we have for the live show is to play as fast as we can. We don’t really say anything, we just play our songs, and it’s loud and intense, and we try to hold people’s attention with the music, whether it’s a small club or a big festival.”
To capture that raw, on-stage energy on Muster Station, the duo rented space in a warehouse and recorded the LP’s 10 tracks live—a process Saulnier plans on repeating for their next project.
“We actually recorded the songs live, and that’s sort of how we got the live feel, and then we took the recordings, and I added extra guitars and then keyboards and vocals into it, so it’s sort of a combination of overdubbing on top of live tracks,” he says. “We’re working on our second record, and we’re sort of doing that same process. I think having that sort of live feel and overall energy is really important. I think it gives life to the songs in a way that a bit more strict studio environment would take away from probably.”
Although they just dropped the rarities compilation Figure It Out back in August, Saulnier hopes to have the new album ready to go by this spring. It’s a release pace that’s fast and furious, just like their tunes, but don’t be surprised to hear the duo slow things down a bit on the new material as they settle into their sound. Saulnier describes the record as “the sound of my guitar and just bass, synth and drums slowly evolving into a bigger, grander thing” and says it’s reflective of their growing confidence.
“We just toured America this past year, and we have way more amps now, and we have a bigger sound, and I think that sort of makes my guitar-playing change a little bit,” he says. “The songs are a little bit more epic and a little bit longer and slower tempo. We’re sort of getting more comfortable with our sound so there’s less nervous energy and more—I don’t know. A different kind of energy I guess. It’s hard to describe at this point.”
For a band that likes to surprise, we wouldn’t really expect otherwise.