Getting a band back together can be a daunting task when it’s a quartet, or even a duo. It seems like it should be impossible for a collective like Broken Social Scene, the 17-member Canadian group and indie-rock favorite of the 2000s that went on a hiatus toward the end of 2011.
It’s a little easier, though, when the ties within the band go back decades, to before critical accolades and world tours.
“Kevin [Drew] and Emily [Haines] and Amy [Millan], they all went to high school together,” founding member Brendan Canning says. “Leslie [Feist] and I, we’d met back in ’93, when my first band was playing with her first band at a festival in near Calgary, Alberta. . . . We always maintain, and whether it sounds like toeing the line or whatever, we still maintain it’s friendship first.”
amNewYork caught up with Canning in advance of the collective’s appearance at The Meadows Music Festival to talk reunions, solo work and lessons learned.
The band’s last album before the hiatus was recorded with a smaller core of musicians. There’s 17 players in your re-formation. How important was it for you all to get the majority of the members back?
Well, it was nice to just do it that way and have everyone feel like they have a vested interest in the record and it’s something that they can be proud of. . . . I’m grateful for the fact that we’re all still, despite all the tears and laughter and bloodshed, that we’re all able to come back at it and still have laughs and enjoy ourselves and try and make some decent tunes in the process.
Since the band’s 2010 album “Forgiveness Rock Record,” you’ve released two solo albums, scored a film and even done some DJ-ing. What did you bring back to the group after those experiences?
I tried to be the best version of myself for the band and tried to really see how I fit in to the whole thing without any attitude or ego. I mean, eventually, there’s going to be certain egos because you’re just really getting married to certain ideas, but then, at the end of the day, it’s like, “no, I just want to do my role.” I want to fulfill my role in this band as helping glue things together when the glue needs to be there and knowing when to step back in certain places.
In the process of getting back together as a band, was there any particular moment when it started to feel like old times?
No, because it’s never going to feel like 2001. But I think once a whole bunch of years pass by and you’ve had laughter and tears and bloodshed and all the rest, it’s never going to feel the same, but it felt, at least making this record, I feel like we were in a good spot and we were going to make something that we could all say, “Hey, I think we’re on the same page as a band again.”
IF YOU GO: Broken Social Scene performs 5 p.m. Sunday at The Meadows Music Festival, Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Willets Point. Details for the Fri.-Sun. festival and ticket info at themeadowsnyc.com.