Bands come and go all the time; that’s just how it works. Of course, some bands leave bigger impacts than others. Broken Social Scene announced a hiatus last year. The word “hiatus” has become kind of a dirty one in music circles; it seems like it’s just become a euphemism for “break up”. Whether or not Broken Social Scene are done for good, I don’t think there is another band that has left as big of an impact on Canadian music in the last 15 years.
Calling Broken Social Scene a band is a bit of a misnomer. I’m not sure what you would actually call them though. I guess maybe musical collective is a more accurate word since they have had as many as 19 members at one point, but I’ll call them a band for ease of typing. Whatever you want to call them, the main minds behind Broken Social Scene were Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning when they started the band in 1999. I’d call them the two real “leaders” of the group but over the years Broken Social Scene was home to many artists who went on to do great things in Canadian music. Are you ready for this list of musicians? Well, here we go: Brendan Canning, Alan Seib, Kevin Drew, Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Andrew Whiteman, Sam Goldberg, Jason Collett, David Newfeld, Leslie Feist, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Evan Cranley, Amy Millan, Ohad Benchetrit, John Crossingham, Martin Davis Kinack, Jo-ann Goldsmith, Bill Priddle, Torquil Campbell, Adam Marvy, Lisa Lobsinger, Julie Penner, Jason Tait, Elizabeth Powell, John McEntire.
Yep, Broken Social Scene housed artists that would go on to be in/have been in great Canadian bands like Metric, Stars, Feist, Apostle Of Hustle, The Weakerthans, Land Of Talk, Do Make Say Think, Treble Charger and many more. I think they were really one of the reasons that Canadian music is such a tight-knit community. If you name me a Canadian musician, then I can probably draw some parallels back to Broken Social Scene in only a few steps. The mark this band left was massive, and it’s something that will stay around Canadian music for a long time to come even if the band itself doesn’t actually re-form.
In 2002 the band released what I (and many others) consider to be their crowning achievement with the album You Forgot It In People. If you’ve never listened to this album, then I think it’s in your best interests as a music fan to do so. It honestly has so many twists and turns that you end up discovering something new about it with every listen. Even to this day when I put on You Forgot it In People, everything about it still feels fresh to me.
The other huge thing that I feel the Broken Social Scene camp left for Canadian music was the record label Arts & Crafts. The label was started by Kevin Drew and former Virgin Records executive Jeffrey Remedios in 2002. While the label was originally intended to be only for Broken Social Scene’s music, it has blossomed into one of Canada’s best independent record labels. Today Arts & Crafts is home to artists like Feist, Dan Mangan, Timber Timbre, Trust and Zeus.
So, even though Broken Social Scene may never reunite, I’m excited to see what comes from the pieces of the band. We’ve already seen Justin Peroff form Eight And A Half this year, while Brendan Canning released a new Cookie Duster album back in April. With that being said, seeing this group's core members get back together for another tour or album would something magical.