The Lighthouse and The Whaler recorded their album Mont Royal in, yes you guessed it, Montreal: The City of Saints, smoked meat and Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler and the Habs (Go Habs Go). Also home to Arcade Fire, Stars, The Dears, Patrick Watson, Wolf Parade, and too too many more. It is also home to music producer Marcus Paquin who has worked with many of the aforementioned bands putting Montreal on the music lovers' map. It was the desire to work with Paquin that brought Cleveland's The Lighthouse and The Whaler north.
Guitarist Mark Poro says moving to Paquin’s hometown also made sense as it took them literally outside their comfort zone and to a place where they could focus on the music and on being a band.
Poro is joined in The Lighthouse & The Whaler by bassist Ryan Walker, singer Mike LoPresti and drummer Mark LoProtesi. Mont Royal is the band’s third full-length and Poro says much of it was inspired by the city itself, highlighting the single “I Want To Feel Alive” in particular as the track with a Montreal vibe.
"That song was actually a song that started to develop in Cleveland but it finally took form in Montreal. I originally only had the lyrics “I want to feel alive” and the melody for them. I never really tried to write those lyrics they kept just coming to me, from somewhere deeper, it was almost spiritual, every time I sang it or worked on that song it felt bigger than me. I knew what I wanted the song to be but the construction of it was eluding me," says Poro, "The guys and I collaborated to create the verses for the song and I wrote the rest of the lyrics but I felt it was still missing something. When we left for Montreal I actually didn’t think it was gonna make the record. We ended up doing a lot of work on it in pre-production with Marcus. By the time we finished it the song really embodied it’s lyrics. It was very moving for me when we finished. It felt like the song embodied the journey this record took, a piece of itself being crafted every step of the process."
Poro says they felt like residents rather than visitors, spending much of their non-studio time just wandering around their immediate neighbourhood of Le Plateau. They did explore other territories, mostly of the sonic kind with Paquin.
"Marcus pushed us to try different arrangements of the demos we had sent him and ended his experienced ear to help us make the songs more interesting. We took a lot of time making sure we got the right sounds to make the album feel the way we wanted it to. I can’t say enough about how much we enjoyed working with Marcus. I think this was a natural progression from our older sound, moving it forward without being too overbearing," says Poro.
The Lighthouse & The Whaler will be returning to Canada on tour with a gig at The Drake Nov. 22 in Toronto but there are no scheduled dates for Montreal as of yet.