Features Interviews Small Sins Change In Big Ways

Small Sins Change In Big Ways

Small Sins
Small Sins
Interview by: Amanda Macchia

With the recording and release of their third studio album Pot Calls Kettle Black, Small Sins frontman Thomas D'Arcy found himself with a new sound, a new work ethic, and a last-minute collaboration with K-OS.

Currently working with Arts & Crafts, the five members of Small Sins found themselves in a Chicago studio to record their latest release (which dropped September 28), and with the help of producer and recording engineer John McEntire (Broken Social Scene, Fiery Furnaces, The Sea and Cake), developed a new professional sound.

"The first record is very amateur in terms of its recording engineer – which is me," D'Arcy said. "This time I wanted to go to a real studio again, I wanted to have options with things that I don't own, and ways to do things that I wouldn't normally do them; and John is pretty much the best engineer that I know and I wanted to put that into his hands and trust him."

D'Arcy also lowered his guard in terms of individually controlling the recording and writing process by incorporating efforts from the entire band into the production of the record.

"We were always a live band," said D'Arcy, "but it's never been the five of us all in one studio together for an extended amount of time."

And their "together experience" in the Chicago studio, as D'Arcy calls it, was an efficient recording process that allowed Small Sins to complete Pot Calls Kettle Black in a reasonable three months.

"I had been very lazy about my songwriting for a while before that, sort of casually like when I felt inspired or whatever, but eventually it was like I need to get back into a work ethic and actually sit down and do this everyday," said D'Arcy. "And that's the only way a good record is gonna get done."

The new sound featured on the record can also be attributed to the decision to shy away from over-production in terms of instrumentation.

"It's a lot more organic. You feel more like it's a band playing on record. It's not so impossibly produced," D'Arcy said. "[The songs] just sort of came from a natural place. I can't really explain."

The title track of the record came into fruition after D'Arcy wrote the song as a letter of advice to a friend after a long night of drinking.

"As soon as I was done and listened to what I had just written, I was like 'Wow, I should just be writing this song to myself, I'm guilty of all the same things,'" D'Arcy said. "So the title is 'Pot Calls Kettle Black' because I'm saying all this stuff to some guy, but man, I need to hear it too."

And the collaboration on "Deja Vu" with K-OS came about last-minute as a casual suggestion made by the Canadian rapper as he listened to D'Arcy's track.

"He heard it and just loved the song right away, and there was sort of a space, this instrumental bit, where there wasn't much happening anyway," said D'Arcy. "He just said 'Hey, I wanna rap on that' and I said 'Hey, actually that's an empty spot that maybe should have something in it anyway.'"

Small Sins will soon be taking their new sound and material across Canada, with two dates in Toronto on November 12th and 13th at The Piston, as well as dates in Ottawa, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Keep an eye on the band's tour page for the dates and any new announcements.