#CMW Countdown: 10 Questions With… Old English

Old English and OTM go way back to when I was gifted with their debut single “We’ve Been Here Before” in the trusty Gmail box and promptly affirmed that Google had more or less translated a German review accurately.  Said review — “unfairly beautiful dream-pop from Toronto” — was also accurate.  The collective known as Old English, helmed by Matt Henderson, deliver poignant, powerful songs that are ethereal yet hardly ephemeral — a great start to the Canadian Music Week festivities.

Somehow unfazed by our last outing on the virtual couch, Matt Henderson (vocals, synths) and Daniel Halyburton (guitar) are back to chat music videos, Nirvana, and every Canadian child’s fondest memory, Sharon, Lois & Bram.


OTM:  The Mayan Calendar was lyin’! Now that we’ve lived to see 2013, what albums are you looking forward to this year?

Matt Henderson: I’m drawing a blank on what’s coming out this year. Definitely the new First Rate People is at the top of my list and I’m really stoked for the new album from the Knife. I’ve waited a long time for that.

Daniel Halyburton: The CHVRCHES EP coming out at the end of March has been the one thing I’ve been most keen on hearing lately; also the new Jenny Lewis (and I know Matt is going to kick himself for not naming this) the new Katy Perry whenever that comes out.


OTM recently was able to scratch Roger Waters from the“Bucket List of bands/artists to see before I die”. Who’s on top of your musical Bucket List?

Matt: For ages Jeff Mangum was pretty much the extent of my bucket list but I’ve been lucky and seen him twice in the past year and a half – if it sounds like I’m bragging it’s because I am. Now I think my list is just Blur.

Daniel: This is something I’ve been thinking of a lot lately. After finally seeing Bob Dylan last November I think I’ve seen everyone on my list aside from Neil Young.

But I’ll also add I’m beyond excited to see The Postal Service this summer. Early on, I had made peace with the fact that I would never ever see them live. I though seeing Ben Gibbard solo and DNTEL would be the closest I’d ever get and now this impossible dream is going to be a reality


Last year, “Gangnam Style” exploded onto the scene. If you could dictate the song or trend that would become the viral monster of 2013, what would it be?

Matt: Any one of our songs so I could buy myself a new hoodie.


If you could recruit anyone to direct a music video for you (Go wild! You’re not footing the bill), who would you choose and what song would you want them to tackle?

Matt: I think I’d have to say Michel Gondry because he’s the best! One reviewer said our new album sounds like it could soundtrack one of his movies and that was the highest compliment ever. Also, the title of our song “My Dear Neighbours” is a reference to the Science of Sleep, which is one of my favourite movies ever. Richard Ayoade would be a close second.

Daniel: I’d want to see either Michel Gondry or Wes Anderson take on “Anchors”


What was the last great book you read?

Matt: I think it was probably “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. It was really incredible.


Share with us something that fans would find intriguing, but no music writer has managed to draw out of you yet.

Daniel: Our first show with the name Old English was for Juicebox.com’s Nuit Blanche piece called “A Brief History of Rebellion.” Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit was covered consecutively for 12 hours, and they asked various bands to help out. We had the 3 am – 4 am slot.

Matt: Also, we don’t actually make our own music, we just lip synch to tracks recorded by Milli Vanilli.


Argh, I ended up giving that exhibit a pass that year because it was so far from the others I wanted to see! Oh, for a time machine! (random OTM fact: Amber has yet to miss a single Nuit Blanche; she even had her engagement photo shoot at Nuit 2012)

Alright, the perfect question for you guys: if you were to be sponsored by a board game, what board game would you proudly bear the name of?

Daniel: Clue. Hands down, without a doubt: CLUE.


Thinking of concerts you’ve attended as a fan/spectator, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen someone else do in an audience?

Matt: I saw Owen Pallett at the Super Crawl in Hamilton this past fall and there was a middle-aged guy running in circles with an iPad hanging around his neck. For a while there was just a video loop of a spiral playing on it but then he switched it so that it was filming the point of view of his chest as he was running. Is that weird, or was that a thing I just missed out on?


The music industry can be daunting at best. What keeps you going in a world flooded with talent, each person or group jockeying for listeners and airplay?

Matt: I’d say the money and the girls if that wasn’t so depressing and completely untrue.

Daniel: Also I like the idea of making something that will keep on living on well after I do.

Matt: That’s a much better answer.


Your first concert: who was it, and how old were you? More importantly, how was it?

Daniel: Sharon, Lois and Bram. I was 4 Years old. It was Fantastic; I got to hear the Peanut Butter Song in person.

Matt: Oh solid answer! Mine was Raffi around two in Guelph. He definitely played Baby Beluga.


I know at some point, I saw Sharon, Lois and Bram. Legendary. I also now have children’s songs stuck in my head. Thanks, guys!


You can catch Old English at CMW on Tuesday, March 19th at 12:30am at the El Mocambo (perfectly situated to snag a Spadina car to the last subway, so no excuses!). The band will also be holding their CD release party for the brilliant Prose & Kahns on March 29, 2013.

OTM is also pleased to announce that Prose & Kahns, as well as tickets to said CD release, are part of our CMW Giveaway! Learn how to win here.

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