An Interview with Memoryhouse

Memoryhouse is a quickly rising band from Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Made up of friends Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion, their music is dreamy, hypnotic and reminiscent of a lazy day. I had a chance to talk with them when they played at The Mill with Chicago indie poppers Tiny Fireflies in support of their new release The Slideshow Effect. The interview was initially delayed by Abeele and Nouvion signing copies of records and posters for anyone who asked. Once started, we talked about a range of things from their hometown to their music career to the troubling character that is Denny in The Room.

A.C. Hawley: It was crazy thinking about where you guys are coming from and seeing you signing everyone’s stuff. Does this happen to you a lot?

Evan Abeele: No. It’s kinda nice to place smaller cities because, I think, when you play big cities like New York and Chicago everyone’s kinda too cool to come up to the band and interact. I mean, it kind of depends on where you are are but it’s really nice when you do get to interact with fans like that and sign things.

ACH: Where were you guys last night?

EA: Last night, we were in Madison, Wisconsin.

ACH: How was that?

EA: It was cool. It was really cool. We played the High Noon Saloon.

Denise Nouvion: Yea, it was really beautiful down there.

ACH: That’s awesome. Tell me a little bit about your home town actually, about Guelph.

EA: It’s a pretty quiet college town. Although there is a lot of college rock, indie rock going on. That’s how Denise and I really met and bonded and went to a lot of shows together.

ACH: Did it have a huge influence on what you guys ended up producing or was it the cool thing to do?

EA: It was the cool thing to do. It was really neat to see bands. I mean, when you’re from a small town, you’re not really spoiled with a lot of artists coming to see you. So, it’s a big deal when a band does go out of their way to come to your small town. That’s pretty special.

ACH: You guys recorded The Hours in your bedroom. It was a very intimate sound. Now, you have The Slideshow Effect, which is a full studio record. What was recording in the studio like?

EA: It was very different to get to really not compromise on the sound at all, to really hear what’s going on in my head and make that into a reality rather than having to filter it through the bedroom sound, which can be born out of compromise because you don’t have the fanciest equipment and stuff like that. [To Denise] What do you think?

DN: It’s a step out of your comfort zone, too. You’re pushed for time. You can’t sit on it for two weeks then re-record it.

EA: You really have to know what you’re doing.

DN: You really need to know what wanna do when you go in, and you have to do it on the spot.

ACH: Time is, literally, money.

EA: Yea. (laughter from all)

ACH: What are your thoughts on the Internet? You started as a band on the Internet, and now you’re starting to transition into the regular music world. What are your thoughts on it? Is it a good thing? A Bad thing?

EA: It’s a huge process. I think that we always wanted to get to the point where we were a real life band and not just an Internet band because that identity can cast a pall on who you are and can, maybe, not make you look as legitimate in some people’s eyes when you got attention on the Internet then formed a band afterwards or whatever. It’s a really important transition for us, and I think that’s something that we’re definitely working towards and that’s being recognized outside the Internet.

ACH: I read an interview with you guys and it said that you like The Room.

EA: Yes! Yes! (laughter)

ACH: I distinctly remember the first time I saw The Room. Do you guys remember the first time you saw The Room?

EA: I remember the first time that Denise saw it because we were actually on tour, and I was showing it to her. And, I think Denise found it very sad. She didn’t really get the black comedic elements from it. She just saw it as a very tragic tale about this really stupidly nice guy that ends up killing himself for no reason because Lisa broke his heart.

DN: We were in L.A. We were in the hotel. It was just driving me insane. I didn’t like it. It’s a lot to process.

EA: Yea, it’s such a mindfuck that it can take you in two different directions. It can either be really how darkly humorous it is or you can see it as a really bad, sad film.

ACH: It takes a second the first time then you see it again, and you’re like “I fully understand what’s going on in that movie.” Thinking about that, I have a lot of problems with the character of Denny in that movie. What do you think his deal is?

EA: I think he exists only for Tommy Wiseau to just say “Oh, hi, Denny!” He’s just a plot point. He’s not so much a character. He just shows up to show what a selfless, great guy Tommy is.

DN: Yea, exactly. That’s all.

EA: He’s only there to boost up Tommy’s ego. He serves no function and has no character. He’s there to amplify how wrong it is for Lisa and Mark to betray him because he’s such a selfless guy that goes out of his way to mentor this poor troubled youth. (laughter)

ACH: Yea, I always seen the scene where Denny says he wants to watch. I’m like, I don’t understand. Why do you want to watch them?

EA: I want to know Tommy Wiseau’s candle budget. That must be somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000.

ACH: It’s where he spent most of the money in filming the movie.

EA: Apparently it took $4 million to make or something.

ACH: I heard it was 6.

EA: That might be 6, and I’m sure that $4 million was candles.

DN: There were lots of expensive backdrops. That’s why.

EA: $2 million was for hiring Lisa. (laughter)

ACH: I mean, she did get nude a lot in that movie. He had to pay a lot of money.

EA: There was so much Tommy Wiseau ass in that movie. It just like…

ACH: I have one more music related question. I know that you guys are sort of introverted and performing is a little nerve wracking for y’all. Have you gotten more comfortable playing on stage?

EA: It’s funny. We’re super shy, and we’re always struggling to engage with the audience. And, something I’ve started to doing to kind of make me open up is listening to comedy albums in the car. We’re listening to David Cross or Louis C.K. in the car and we’re trying to figure out how they’ll interact with audiences very spontaneously. We’re trying to do that, and sometimes it works but I’m very dry. So, people think that I’m being mean. Denise thinks that I’m being mean on stage, but I’m just being dry with people. That’s how I’m trying to learn how to do it because it’s just like a performance as well. I think that engaging and playing a character.

DN: You kind of have to be someone else. It goes away.

EA: It’s the beginning of the tour, and right now, we’re terrified every night because we haven’t played a lot of the songs before and so we’re just starting to get that groove.

DN: It gets better.

EA: It gets better as you go along.

ACH: That’s good. You guys are on a very long worldwide tour. Is this your first world tour?

EA: We did a world tour maybe a year and a half ago, which is great. But, this is our first time in Europe in a long time so we’re looking forwards to it.

ACH: I’m glad that you took some time out to talk with me.

EA:Thanks a lot.

DN: No problem.

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