The Unbelievable Bargains :: Talkin’ Boiled Egg and Potato Salad


by Martyna Turczynowicz

The Unbelievable Bargains don’t take themselves too seriously. Their songs cover everything from catching the breakfast special to how it would feel to hug an octopus. The trio is made up of Steve Basham who was born on the “ Taurus Gemini cusp. My bass playing is informed by my Taurus side, but I play drums like a Gemini,” Marshall Birch is on vocals and guitar, and for the record, he’s a “Sagittarius, pretty close to Scorpio” and JP Perron on drums who’s a “Virgo and year of the Rooster.” They’re releasing second full length album Boiled Egg at the Windsor on Saturday, July 26th.

Stylus: What’s the story behind the album title?
MB: We were throwing ideas that actually sounded like an album title and then JP was like “Boiled Egg?”
SB: It’s a reference to a song I wrote, “Potato Salad,” and my biases about what should be going into it.

Stylus: So what makes the ideal Potato Salad?
SB: There are two camps of potato salad. There’s the German style with the vinaigrette and boiled potato and there’s the North American style. I’m saying it has to involve lots of mayo, pickle, boiled egg.
MB: I’m alright with pretty much any potato salad. I don’t like when it turns into mashed potato with other things in it. It still needs to be like a salad.
SB: Oh yeah, it needs to be cubed.
MB: The pickle should be diced really fine too Gherkins. I used to be really onto gherkins. They used to be fun when I was a kid, but these days, I just don’t know.
SB: If I see another gherkin I could scream.

Stylus: Potato Salad, like a lot of your songs, puts a humourous spin on the mundane…
JP: What do you mean?

Stylus: So Octopus of Love is a serious song?
JP: Yeah, imagine getting a hug from an octopus with eight arms.
MB: I write songs about mundane things that most people don’t write songs about. I write really bluntly and I think that’s because lyrically most people try to make it a bit more poetic, so it comes out funny.
JP: I think with the humour, it’s not to the point where it’s novelty.
SB: I think it’s novel in the way that other people wouldn’t have several songs about cats and dogs.
MB: I write about what I know and I know cats.

Stylus: Your last album was quite well received wasn’t it?
MB: Last time we released an album; it was the fourth most played album of the year on CKUW.
JP: It was number one for three months in a row.
SB: We took Royal Canoe out of number one for like one week. But then we got displaced and kicked off the charts pretty much.

Stylus: What was the recording process like for “Boiled Egg”?
JP: We recorded with the same guys who did our first album, Will Grierson and Arthur Atony from Collector Studio.
MB: This time was definitely a lot more in depth. Last time we basically just recorded drums, base and guitar together and we didn’t do any over dubs or anything. This time we re-did all the guitar, bass, did a whole bunch of extra drum stuff, whole bunch of extra base, we put some organ on it and did a ton of extra vocals. It was a much longer process.
JP: At the same time, we’re trying to make our music more concise and compact.
MB: It’s cool to be able to play a show and be able to play like 20 songs.
JP: We released almost fifty songs in about a year.

Stylus: That’s quite a lot…
SB: The day we did our EP release, we also played at the Art City parade. Between the two shows, we played 34 songs and only one was played at both shows.
MB: Our longest song is maybe four minutes and that’s pushing it. Whenever we play our 3-minute songs at shows, I always feel like it’s dragging on, like “People have got to be tired of this by now”
JP: Cut the crap, make every song what it needs to be and have a ton of fun. This is the funnest band I’ve ever played in. We have fun when we’re jamming and we’re constantly challenging ourselves.

Stylus: How do you challenge yourselves?
MB: When I have to play a solo, I usually start playing a solo and then I just start punching my guitar and give up.|
SB: I’m used to playing bass with drummers who have that Motown-y backbeat. For the first year I played with JP, I just had to try to almost ignore him, but then we found a nice middle point.
JP: Now we groove,

Catch the Unbelievable Bargains grooving at the Windsor with M&M Meats and The Zags on Saturday, July 26th. 12$ at the door.

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