Still Life Still waited awhile to put out their debut album. In fact, they waited for more than a decade.
This Canadian five-piece formed in East York (a Toronto suburb), initially just as barely-teenagers with a passion for music, but as the years have gone on (and the lineups and band names have changed), Still Life Still have persevered as a group of lifelong friends whose love of infectious indie-rock isn’t too far removed from that of fellow label-mates Broken Social Scene (whose Kevin Drew co-produced their debut album Girls Come Too).
Marrying catchy guitar riffs to cryptic, sometimes blatantly dark lyrics (the climax of “Planets” is “it’s a family of wolves out there / yeah they bury their young”), the group is able to balance pop immediacy (“Kid”) with full-on rock squall (album opener “Danse Cave”) without so much as batting an eye, something that’s best exhibited during their energetic, participatory live shows. To top it off, the band have garnered quite the reputation as road trip pranksters, once apparently slinging an entire meatball sub at the van of tour/label-mates The Most Serene Republic while driving.
After opening for the Hold Steady during the Canadian stretch of their latest tour and with Girls Come Too still garnering lots of acclaim, drummer Aaron Romaniuk sat down to participate in another fantastic installment of PopMatters’ 20 Questions, here declaring his love of dinosaur fights, his true feelings towards Jingle All the Way, and reminding us all what the greatest album of all time really is …
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I’d have to say the last time I cried from a movie was Jingle All the Way, the one with Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger — the part at the end when Arnold risks his life to get his kid the Turbo-Man action figure and the kid just gives it back to Sinbad always brought me to tears.
2. The fictional character most like you?
That would be Animal from the Muppets and I guess you’d have to come see a show to find out why.
3. The greatest album, ever?
How can you even ask that question … everyone knows its Rumors by Fleetwood Mac.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Well I never really got into either but based on what I’ve seen I’d rather look at Princess Leia then have to stare at Jean-Luc Picard’s bald head or William Shatner’s face, although Data was the shit … that’s a tough one … I’m gonna say neither — final answer.
5. Your ideal brain food?
Just getting some time off to hang with the band, listen to new music, make some new jams while enjoying some cheap wine and a joint or two seems to do the trick every time. That, and talking about the universe.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I’m proud that our band has stayed together for ten years and been able to still be friends and make music the way we did when we first started and that we can still keep things feeling fresh and new.
7. You want to be remembered for . .?
Just being a nice guy.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
The ones who broke the rules and just didn’t really give a fuck about any judgments made by others. If there’s one thing I believe you should do in life it’s whatever you want to do — just try not to hurt anyone that matters along the way.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I’d have to say the pyramids in Egypt. Who knows how they built those things? If we still can’t figure it out now it must have been pretty hardcore.
10. Your hidden talents . . .?
Well I can bust a pretty good blue angel … if that’s not a talent I don’t know what is.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Never give up on what you wanna do. In school they told us you can be whatever you wanna be. I never believed them then but I guess they were right about one thing!
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
We once borrowed a guy named Markus and he lead us fearlessly across the continent and back. I think we might steal him for good.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?
Neither. I feel best just chilling in my boxers or no clothes at all; nothing feels better than naked.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Dan Burke for sure. There would be dancing and drinking, I think it would a great time.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I’d be heading back 160 million years ago, forget all this UFC fighting stuff — I wanna see a Triceratops verses a Tyrannosaurus Rex! I’d bring Joe Rogan with me to commentate the fight though.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
I think a beach in Maui would be ideal. We’ve always talked about making a record there and I think it would be the perfect stress management; Maui-wowi anyone?
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?
Making music, hanging with our friends and having a few drinks are for sure essentials. That and beautiful women.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Just clean up the whole planet, we need it pretty badly.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Wake up bud! You can’t be serious?
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
We just got back from our first big tour — we opened for the Most Serene Republic across the States and then we opened for the Hold Steady across Canada, it was pretty amazing. Getting on another awesome tour would be sweet. We are always working on new songs as well so we’re trying to put together a new album while touring.