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Canyons In The Studio

Modular and DFA's Aussie band Canyons are back with their own label...

The Canyons are comprised of Leo Thomson (aka Leo Holiday) and Ryan Grieve (aka Ryan Sea-mist). The DJ/Producer team began making music in Perth before moving to Sydney which they now call home. They first began getting recognition overseas by doing releases through their own label, A Hole in the Sky, to DFA. They are renowned for their discovery of Tame Impala, and have completed remixes with such bands as Empire of the Sun, Ladyhawke, Tame Impala and Lost Valentinos. When Dazed Digital caught up with them in their studio in Sydney, they were busy working on their debut album which will be released through Modular Records in the near future.  

Dazed Digital: You guys seem to work well together, how long have you known each other?
The Canyons: We have been buddies since we were sixteen or seventeen. Leo and I went to school together. We had mutual friends. We both liked music and DJed. We never made any music together until 2007. Then we put out our first EP together in 2008 through the label we started called A Hole in the Sky. We realized that we worked well together and came up with the name Canyons. Then we put more of our focus on our band.

DD: What was the purpose of starting your own label?
The Canyons: Well we were doing solo stuff at the time as well as the Tame Impala’s, which were then the Diddy Dumbs and our main goal was just to get our music out to a wider audience. The label didn’t become overly consuming. We kind of changed to focus more on Canyons. It came quiet naturally. Knowing each other on a personal level also made it feel a lot more comfortable.

DD: Instrument wise on the first EP who did what?
The Canyons: We both play key boards and synth. Ryan plays drums, and we sampled a lot. We had a friend play guitar. It was pretty loose and we just pulled the songs together. Big City Lights we did with Kevin from Tame Impala. The vocal’s we usually do samples or bring in friends. We both aren’t very good singers, so we try to find a singer that can fit the sound we are going for. It’s nice to bring in different singers and have as many sounds as possible. Listening to one voice for a whole album can sometimes be a bit much.  

DD: When you bring in the vocalists do they write the lyrics?
The Canyons: No, we write the vocals, but they usually bring their own flavor to it.

DD: So How did you get hooked up with Modular Records?
The Canyons: First we put out the Tame Impala’s first three songs and then remixed their songs on the other side. Then Tame Impala got signed to Modular and then we got signed shortly after.

DD: When did you move to Sydney from Perth?
The Canyons: We moved in 2007.

DD: How did living in Perth affect your musical tastes?
The Canyons: Well Perth is like the most isolated city in Australia. You have this feeling that the world is so far away which causes you to be more objective. You end up listening to music that you like. We ended up liking music because of the sound and not because the band was hip or trendy at the time. We kind of solidified our sound before moving to Sydney. We got our sound together and established ourselves overseas before Australia. Our first ten inch did well in Europe. Everyone was playing it in the States and the U.K. before they were playing it here. When we came out to Sydney the people were more accepting.

DD: So you are working on a new album now?
The Canyons: We are past the half way point. We are just waiting to hear back from some vocalists.

DD: What’s the plan once the album is done?
The Canyons: Once we finish the record we are going to go on tour. We will tour basically anywhere that will have us.