A PBR10 Q&A: Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You

The second in a series of Q&A’s with Paper Bag Records artists to celebrate the label’s 10th anniversary. Interview by April Robinson

Kingston boys Paul Saulnier (vocals, guitar) and Benjamin Nelson (drums) are PS I Love You, a duo who’ve justly earned their claim to growing fame with a raucous but harmonious blend of pure brute emotion over top of demure pop sensibilities. Their debut LP, Meet Me at the Muster Station, was released via Toronto’s Paper Bag Records in 2010 and met with instant, amorous acclaim thanks to tenacious ditties like Butterflies & Boners, Get Over and Facelove. Then came their nightmare-inspired, yelp-ridden 2012 follow-up, Death Dreams — and boom — the world (quite literally) fell into mad love with them all over again: The pair are currently off touring China and South Korea to spread their grinding gospel before heading back home to Canada to play Pop Montreal next month.

In the midst of all this jet set rock ‘n’ roll activity, PS himself took some precious time out to provide some A’s to our Q’s  in honor of Paper Bag Records’ 10th Anniversary.

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What one word went through your head when you first met PBR founder, Trevor Laroque?
This is the guy? Really? Well, ok. He seems like he knows what he’s talking about, I guess I’ll listen to him. Maybe we should trust him more because he’s not very hip.

What was the deciding factor in signing your name with PBR?
Trevor seemed to really get what we were doing and he wanted to help us get our music out there. Also, I’ve always liked the label and it was kind of an honour to be asked to join. He seemed to genuinely care about our shitty lives and our unique rock music. It was also a welcome challenge for me to try and start taking myself seriously and being professional. Still working on that, with Trev’s help of course.

Describe the PBR culture in one sentence.
A cool family.

Favorite PBR artist?
Active or dormant artist? I like Austra a lot. I also liked the Deadly Snakes back in the day forever ago. For a few years, Woodhands were my favourite live band. Probably saw them ten times or more.

Favorite PBR song?
Still the Same by Slim Twig.

Favorite PBR album?
Ah geez, I don’t know how to pick one. This summer I’ve been listening to Exercises by CFCF a lot…Might be my favourite right now.

What’s the craziest/most fun thing PBR has pitched you?
They asked us to cover a Madonna song once and I didn’t like the idea but we did it anyway.  It turned out great. They also asked us to record a bunch of our original songs saying they’d release them as albums and stuff. That still seems crazy to me.

What’s the sweetest/most endearing/warm and fuzzy thing PBR has done for you?
Trevor and the staff at the time, Mel and Darryl and Irma, helping us carry gear to and from gigs during SXSW 2011. It was such hard work and Benjamin and I were so exhausted from all the shows we were playing. Plus Ben was really sick and I was so drunk the whole time. We wouldn’t have survived SXSW without them. That’s just one example of many.

What’s your career highlight since signing with PBR?
It’s hard to pinpoint a single moment. The biggest deal for me is having albums out and touring the world. Like, the world! Never thought that would happen. I never thought anyone would like my band outside of my friends in Kingston. PBR changed all that for us.

If this were a PBR high school yearbook, what would you write?
This is a high school I’m not gonna drop out of.

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PS I Love You will play Friday, September 28th at Paper Bag Record’s 3-night PBR10 Anniversary Concert Series at Toronto’s The Great Hall. Look for more Q&A’s from PBR artists to hit in the coming weeks.
Oh — in case you missed it, You Say Party’s PBR10 Q&A is here.

pixel A PBR10 Q&A: Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You