TRURO – They’ve been taking it easy for the past couple of months, but the members of On Film are performing in Halifax next month.
“We had an album release concert at Douglas Street School in April, which we loved, and would love to come back to Truro for sure,” said Michael MacLellan, who formed the indie rock band nine years ago as an acoustic, folky solo act.
Since releasing their debut album, Cornfield Lovers, the musicians – MacLellan, Josh Gaudrault, Evan Matthews and Scott Nicks – have been doing a bit of their own thing. Matthews has been touring as Jon McKeil’s drummer this summer, and Nicks has been playing a lot of his own shows.
But the band will be back on stage together in August at Michael’s bar in Halifax.
When MacLellan first started On Film in Truro, it was just him playing four chords on his guitar singing songs about his friends. A few months later, Gaudrault joined playing acoustic bass, and MacLellan moved to Halifax about a year later.
“We still occasionally played shows – mostly in people’s houses or at all-ages venues in Truro and New Glasgow,” said MacLellan, adding he, Nicks and Gaudrault knew each other from high school.
“Josh and I had been in a couple of harder rock bands together – My Correspondence with a Murderer, and The Missing Years – and I decided that those bands weren’t really the kind of music I wanted to make.”
That’s when On Film started, but it wasn’t until this past September that the band was complete.
Guadrault moved to Halifax and brought Matthews along with him, with Matthews joining the band shortly thereafter.
“This was the first time that On Film had had a drummer and the first time that I’d played an electric guitar,” said MacLellan. “The songs sounded so different and had a totally different energy that I felt like they were finally complete songs.”
Nicks joined in March, and with Matthews having experience and equipment in the recording department, the band was able to record their album for free.
While MacLellan writes the music and lyrics for all the songs, the other musicians do their own thing with it.
“The music I write is pretty similar, so it’s interesting to see where they go with that and often how different it sounds with their contributions,” he said. “Most of the songs on the album are about growing up, I guess. They’re all about pretty specific moments in my life.”
MacLellan realized a long time ago that he can’t write a love song, and he admits he’s not smart enough to write a political song.
“So I write songs about the time my sisters bought me Much Dance ’97, and how boring it is to spend an afternoon in Chatham, Ont. There’s even one song on the album – Haiku – that I had tried to write as a love song for my then-girlfriend, now wife, but it quickly turned into a song about someone else and how bad that relationship was.”
To order or stream Cornfield Lovers, visit onfilm.bandcamp.com, where additional EPs are also available. Also available on the site are tapes with a cover drawn by Gaudrault, and CDs with a cover designed by MacLellan.