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Japandroids Never Went Anywhere, You Just Thought They Did

2 June 2017 | 4:18 pm | Anthony Carew

"There was no comeback. I understand that to an outsider it might seem like we went away."

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Brian King, guitarist/vocalist of Canadian rock duo Japandroids, has spent the last three years living in Mexico City. Given that his "life revolves around the two countries that border America", King has taken the rise of Trump-ism hard. "The Peso tanked when Trump was elected, and that has a tangible day-to-day effect on people's lives here in Mexico," he offers. "It makes things that aren't from here more expensive, it makes travelling more expensive, and it makes things of value, here, worth less."

King moved to Mexico City between the release of Japandroids' second LP, 2012's titled Celebration Rock, and their third, 2017's Near To The Wild Heart Of Life. With a continent's distance suddenly between he and drummer/vocalist Dave Prowse — who'd spent 20 years living in the same city, from Victoria to Vancouver to Toronto — the working ways of Japandroids were suddenly starkly different.

"We don't have a particularly heavy online presence. We don't really do social media."

"It had a very profound impact on the way that we wrote songs," says King, "And it also had an impact on the kinds of things we were writing about. A lot of the songs that we wrote in our early days were part of this idea of living in the same city and wanting to break free of it, to get out and see the world. And, then, we ended up doing that. [This album], there's a lot of songs about geography and movement and travel, the experiences of doing that and how that effects your life, we're talking more about that in the songs."

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After Japandroids broke out with their 2009 debut, Post-Nothing, the duo have spent most of their lives travelling. King grew up in tiny Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island on Canada's Pacific Coast, a place that was "very isolated and very small". But, in the past decade, he's been all over the world; playing not just through North America and Europe, but in Asia, Australia and South America. It was all that touring that contributed, in part, to the five years between their last two albums; Near To The Wild Heart Of Life taking long enough to be called a 'comeback' album.

"Five years seems like quite a long time, but we were busy that whole time," King states. "There was no comeback. I understand that to an outsider it might seem like we went away. I think part of that is that we don't have a particularly heavy online presence. We don't really do social media: I've never had a Facebook page, never been on Twitter or Instagram; I'm just not that interested in having that be how I spend my days. While I understand the importance and practicality of having that with the band, I always appreciate it when we can preserve a little bit of distance, and a bit of mystery. So, when people say to me 'you've been gone five years', I say: 'Well, we played 300 shows around the world, then wrote and recorded a new record; is that really being gone?'"