7" Survey: Army Girls

Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, we’re releasing a free split seven-inch, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.

This month’s 7” features a track each from Army Girls and The Lonely Parade. In this questionnaire with Army Girls, Carmen Elle explains how “End of Days” was written as a result of a bad relationship and Andy Smith reminisces about the pair’s first coming together for a show on Valentine’s Day in 2010.

Long Winter: Who are you and how did Army Girls come together?

Carmen Elle: We are Carmen Elle and Andy Smith. We met about four years ago shortly after Andy moved to Toronto. He was playing in another band at the time and we were introduced by a mutual friend. We first came together musically for a fundraiser for a women’s shelter/live filmed concert for the Bruce McDonald film Trigger. The intention was to play that one show, not necessarily become a band. However, the chemistry was good and it felt right.

Andy Smith: Actually, we met around seven years ago, though it wasn't until three years later when Carmen sent me a text asking if I'd be interested in backing her up for a show at the Mod Club. Needless to say, I was interested. And I'll always remember that first show. So many good things about that first show, and to top it off, it happened on Valentine’s Day 2010.

LW: How about “End of Days” – what inspired that?

CE: “End of Days” was written during the crux of a bad relationship I was in. I was very much in love with someone who was cheating on me. It was originally just a piece of guitar music that I played for months straight... I couldn't get it out of my head. It's so cyclical – just moving through inversions of the same chord. I thought it was beautiful but couldn't write any words to it for the longest time. Then, I started to think about life after this relationship in a way I hadn't before. I thought of the futility of loving this person and it sort of poured out one day.

LW: For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog?

CE: This song is a really lovely bridge between our older stuff and our first EP and what we are writing and performing now. It wouldn't be described as an archetypal Army Girls song by any means, but because it is this kind of prototype, to me it represents a new musical direction while maintaining the sensibility of the first batch of songs we ever performed together.

AS: Carmen is right. "End of Days" is a perfect introduction into where we want to be for our next release while still sounding like the same band that released Close to the Bone.

LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music?

CE: For us this question is relatively easy. We have one EP out called Close To The Bone which can be heard on Bandcamp and purchased on Bandcamp and iTunes. If you are looking to hear more, the best option is to come see us live! We are nearly finished writing our debut full length so watch out for that as well.

AS: Yeah, it's super cheap on Bandcamp. It's just PWYC. Also it can be streamed for free if that's your thing.

LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?

CE: When I think of winter I think of ice skating at Harbourfront, tobogganing in Christie Pitts and that really shitty hot chocolate you can get from little league hockey arenas. You know, the kind that's mostly water and chocolate powder? When it hits your lips in cold weather it's the purest, most delicious hot chocolate on the planet.  

AS: Absolutely. It's a little ridiculous - I think of playing hockey as a kid. That smell, I'll always remember. I don’t remember the last time I was in a hockey arena. Certainly not as an adult, yet that memory persists.

LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto?

CE: I make lots of hearty stews, soups and roasts. I try to exercise and work on projects at home. This year I'm broke, so any time I see something I want to buy, I just make it instead!

AS: I actually sort of enjoy winter. I like to go for walks, particularly at night. Eat lots of spicy food and reading silly Stephen King novels also works in the winters.

LW: What are you most looking forward to for the December 12 edition of Long Winter?

CE: I am looking forward to Henri Faberge! He was in Europe for a few months and I can't wait to see what inspired him over there. I also always look forward to the food at Long Winter. Lastly, I think the music lineup is fantastic. There are so many bands I love playing on the 12th. If we weren't performing I would still be going!

AS: This is especially exciting for me since it'll actually be my first Long Winter experience. Food, art, music, good people... honestly can't pinpoint just one thing I'm looking forward to other than just being a part of it.

Listen to Army Girls at http://armygirls.bandcamp.com

Interview by Tom Beedham