31 March 2012 | 11:18 am | Staff Writer

A couple of days after Canyons’ breathtaking 3am live set at Golden Plains, one-half of the duo Leo Thomson tells Chris Yates about the challenges in bringing their debut album so spectacularly into the live arena.

“It was a pretty exhausting day,” he says of the behind the scenes chaos that unfolded as the group were patiently waiting for their set to begin at such an ungodly hour in the morning. “We had a few technical dramas we needed to sort out. We had to book a rehearsal room in the afternoon and we realised when we were about to head down to the rehearsal room that we didn't have even half of our equipment with us because it was in the backline at Golden Plains. So then we had to find a bunch of hire places, borrow stuff, take it to the rehearsal room and try to nut out the dramas that we kind of mostly fixed (laughs).”

Such dramas certainly weren't evident on the night itself, with the group staging a remarkably accurate performance of their album. In fact, it's quite a feat when you consider the vast disparity of sounds on Keep Your Dreams – a deliberate mash of electronic digital coldness and warm organic shades. Halfway between an electronic party band not dissimilar from many of their Modular labelmates, and introspective, raw psychedelic space jams, Thomson and bandmate Ryan Grieve have pulled off something quite exceptional.

“It's always the most exciting kind of music for us, I guess,” he says of the electronic/organic juxtaposition of Canyons' music. “When you find a song or a band and you hear something that's a bit out of context. I always find those early records with synthesisers on them like the early psych records of the '60s and '70s where they are experimenting for the first time with these weird synthesiser sounds on them – there's something really cool about these weird combinations of sounds. We wanted to retain some of the looseness and the jammy improvisational feel of having live players and live instruments with some of the sonic qualities of the more electronic sounds and stuff.”

With the core of the band primarily the duo of Thomson and Grieves, it would be convenient to assume that one is bringing the electronic elements while the other is more band focussed, but Thomson says it is not that clear cut, with both members contributing to the wildly varied soundscapes.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“I think there would be some times when one of us would be into one kind of sound and the other into different sounds and we balance each other out,” he says of their collaborative style, “but it's definitely not just one way or the other. It's kind of funny, I think in a way we're still working that out – the process of the best way of doing things. I think moving on from this record we'll probably do things quite differently. With this record it was kind of a strange scenario because we were sort of a band but there was only two of us, and we were producing in our own studio but then recording in other studios as well, so it was a strange mismatch. We haven't really had a particular method, we both kind of experimented with everything.”
Developing the live band has opened up a lot more options for the creative aspects of the band as well.

“I think now that we've got other guys playing with us to make the live thing happen, it's definitely gonna help us along a lot. Being able to nut out ideas with the band we'll be able to see where our ideas are going a lot more quickly.”