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Jarrett Edmund

Lab Coast’s new album brings light to basement records

By Jarrett Edmund, May 12 2016 —

Lab Coast released their fourth full-length album, Remember the Moon, on April 29. It is their first album to be released under Calgary record label Wyatt Records.

Lab Coast founding members and long-time friends Chris Dadge and David Laing have made music for over a decade. Originally performing as the Bent Spoon Ensemble alongside Scott Munro and Kevin Lee, Dadge and Laing collaborated with countless musicians including Chad VanGaalen and members of The Preoccupations (formerly Viet Cong).

Jarrett Edmund

Jarrett Edmund

Their combined works were comprised of live recordings and one-off sessions, all released under the record label and artist collective Bug Incision. After touring England in 2007 as a two-piece saxophone and percussion improvisation group, Dadge and Laing began recording songs that would eventually become their first album as Lab Coast. The moniker was one of many happy accidents.

“Scott and Chris used to work at the SAIT bookstore and they would have to write up ‘Lab Coats’ quite often,” Laing says. “Chris had this dyslexic thing where he kept writing ‘Lab Coast’ accidentally. It happened often enough where it just stuck.”

Jarrett Edmund

Dodge and Laing are joined by guitarists Sammie Smith and Henry Hseih with Darrell Hartsook on bass. Remember the Moon is a rousing blend of lo-fi garage rock and summer balladry. Laing’s lyrics serve as the center pieces to Dadge’s carefully crafted soundscapes. Although Lab Coast has become known for basement recordings, Remember the Moon lets in a lot more light.

“The scope has widened for this one” says Dadge.

The resulting songs are snippets of personal reflection or sometimes simple recantations of the visual stimuli Laing experiences on long walks.

“What I like about it is that it’s a glorification of mundane events, it elevates a normal everyday occurrence into something that can be showcased,” Laing says.

Remember the Moon is a diverse collection and a testament to Dadge’s penchant for experimentation.

“There’s samples of snare drums played back on sampling keyboards, there’s drums recorded at different speeds, sometimes a bass drum isn’t actually a bass drum, there’s pitch-shifted percussions,” says Dadge.


Jarrett Edmund

Despite the attention to detail, Remember the Moon never derails the listener. Laing says songs are fun, accessible and even addictive.

“‘Bored Again’ is one of those songs,” Laing says. “I could sing it 10 times over and never get tired.”

Much like Lab Coast’s roots in improv, Remember the Moon serves as a rejection of the conventions of formulaic music.

“It’s the result of a guiding principle. We don’t like to overstate things or use a huge amount of repetition,” says Dadge.

Laing agrees. “Often the weird sounds are more reflective of the stuff we used to do a lot with improv. Eerie things happen and we keep them,” he says.

Another happy accident occurred during the recording of the final song on the album.

“We were recording in the basement and the neighbour next door was watering the garden on Chris’s house and the sprinkler was hitting the window. It ended up sounding great,” says Laing. “Stuff like that you can’t plan.”

Remember the Moon is full of surprises. Lab Coast’s latest is poised to become one of Calgary’s most unforgettable records.

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