Islands is the brainchild of Canadian-born lead singer/songwriter Nick Thorburn. The occasionally acoustic-inclined Thorburn, along with Evan Gordon, Geordie Gordon and Luc Laurent make up the squad that today is Islands. Started in 2004 in Montreal, the art-rock ensemble has had a sort of revolving door since founding member Jamie Thompson left in 2006, finding both critical and commercial success along the way with a crafty, uplifting sound that can take a left turn at a moments notice alongside a lively concert aesthetic that has seen Thorburn and company lead fans out the front door pied-piper style. Most recently, Islands released its fifth studio album, Ski Mask on September 17 through Manqué Music and announced a national tour that began the next day in Visalia, California. The tour comes through the Empty Bottle in Chicago October 14 before wrapping things up a week later with a set at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. I recently had a chance to get in touch with Thorburn for a quick interview, check it out below.
Jake: Tell me about the new album, Ski Mask. How is it different, what’s new?
Nick:The line up is the same as A Sleep & A Forgetting but the songs are all new! The direction is pretty different, too. A little harder, a little deeper, a little faster and a little darker.
Jake: How did Islands in it’s current form come to be?
Nick: Evan and Geordie have a[n amazing] band called the Magic and I brought them out on tour with Islands on some of our Arm’s Way tour in 2008. I was so impressed with their musicianship, I conscripted them for 2009’s Vapours and they’ve stayed with me ever since. At this point, three albums deep, they’re pretty damn invaluable. Luc drummed on the last two albums, but he’s no longer playing with us. Our current drummer is Adam Halferty, who we met through a friend and he is all kinds of awesome.