The Garrys are a sister three-piece (Lenore, Julie, and Erica Maier) hailing from the frozen prairie berg of Saskatoon SK. They were weaned on an endless summer of Ed Sullivan reruns, Beach Boys cassette tapes, and repeat viewings of Grease 2 on VHS. The music of The Garrys has been called hazy, lo-fi, garage-pop, surf, psych, and doom-wop. A strong reception to their debut brought The Garrys to performances at festivals in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Montreal, and earned them a nod on SaskMusic’s list of 2016’s top 10 records. A follow-up album, Surf Manitou, was recorded over a frigid week last December and is slated for a summer 2017 release, written about the odd places around the time-warp resort town of Manitou Beach, SK.
What is a dead technology that needs to come back?
Julie: Talking on the telephone. Even better, talking to your friends to their actual faces.
Lenore: Zoomball, Degrassi.tv.
Erica: MSN. How the hell do kids make friends these days?
Take me through a struggling artistic day.
J: I think it’s ok to admit that every jam won’t be productive, or to be willing to call it quits for the night when you get frustrated or hit a creative wall. Like most siblings we’ve had a lot of experience disagreeing with each other over the years, and that might be an advantage for us during the creative process.
L: Wake up, wallow in self pity, write a banger followed by extreme self doubt, coffee, bangers, self doubt, etc.
What has Saskatchewan been doing right for the music scene?
J: We’ve had really impressive support from Regina, and found it so easy to make friends and musical connections there. We just felt like they welcomed us with open arms! I hope bands from Regina feel the same way when they come to Saskatoon.
L: The scene is always changing and new awesome bands are popping up all the time. CFCR is huge for local bands. There are a couple cool venues like Amigos, Vangeli’s and PAVED Arts that house a ton of great shows on a regular basis. There are lots of awesome people making even better music. Saskatoon’s scene makes it a place that’s easy to come back to and hard to leave.
What's integral to the work you produce?
J: Electricity. Our childhoods.
L: Tremolo, reverb, harmonies, the people in the basement continuing to tolerate our jams.
E: Tight harmonies and a bigsby.
What's the crappiest job you've had?
E: A telemarketer for a fabric store. I was so young I hardly even remember it and am now seriously questioning whether or not I was legally allowed to work...
J: I worked at a video store, and for a while it was actually the best job ever. Eventually the store got bought out by a big American chain that brought in middle managers to breath down our necks and make sure we pushed sales on customers. Then it was the worst job ever! But I learned a lot of healthy contempt for corporate shills, and the company of course went bankrupt, so...that was good.
L: Superstore bakery when I was in high school. I can still remember Biljana telling me “somebody pooped on the floor.” -
Do you work better alone or with others?
E: Personally like working with others because it prevents me from getting trapped in my own 'lil echo chamber. Outside influence, criticism, and feedback are super important for me to learn and grow.
J: I think working with others is essential but I'm also pretty introverted so I need a balance. I can be very productive when left alone periodically.
L: I need both. Balance yo.
Does your “landscape” shape who you are?
J: I wonder sometimes what kind of a person I might be if I wasn’t born and raised in Saskatchewan. The winters here can be pretty bleak, and I am certain it has an effect on disposition. So yes, but probably in both good and bad ways.
E: Definitely. I feel like the prairies require a lot of patience and listening in order to fully appreciate them. Those requirements are pretty applicable to making music too.
L: Yes. All of the songs I write are basically about how frickin’ cold I am all the time, or how my car won’t start.
Where did you get your start?
J: I got a guitar for my 11th birthday because my parents are the best. Then a year later started playing bass in school band.
L: Fred Penner was my gateway drug.
E: Private piano lessons from my mom and singing along to Spice World.
Did your upbringing affect the art you make today?
J: Definitely. We bring a lot of retro influences to our songs and it’s fairly natural because we’ve had a similar exposure to the same old music. I can associate the music of the 80s/90s with my childhood too, but when I think of music at home it was moreso the music of my parents’ generation -- The Beach Boys, The Supremes, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, The Beatles. So it’s something of a common language we can speak with each other in the band.
L: In every way. Elvis, The Everly Brothers, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Phyllis Diller.
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Photo Credit - Caitlin Taylor, Chris Graham, Michael Morien ©