2011 was a good year for the Montreal-based saxophonist Colin Stetson: his album New History Warfare, Vol.2: Judges earned rave reviews; he toured with Godspeed! You Black Emperor and as a member of Bon Iver, and closed out the year with the release of the EP Those Who Didn’t Run, which found him working at longer lengths than the tauter pieces heard on Judges. In anticipation of his show tonight at Glasslands, we checked in with him via email about the status of his next album, a planned collaborative work with Sweden’s Mats Gustafsson, and the effect that Those Who Didn’t Run might have on his future work.
Have you begun working on a new solo album?
Yes, Vol. 3 is currently being recorded/mixed.
Do you think the next album will feature shorter pieces, or continue in the lengthier vein of the two pieces heard on Those Who Didn’t Run?
I have been very interested in more lengthy and minimalist explorations, and the next record will certainly be inclusive of that, but by no means exclusive of shorter pieces and song forms.
I’ve heard that a collaboration with Mats Gustafson is in the works — how did that come about?
Mats and I were asked to do a duo show at the Vancouver jazz festival last year and the performance was recorded. This album is the potential release of that recording.
Does your approach to recording differ at all when in a collaborative setting?
Certainly on a on a purely technical level. When I’m recording my solo compositions I’m constructing the entire atmosphere out of mic sends in the moment of the single take, while when I’m recording with others there’s obviously not the same amount of sonic real estate to inhabit, so I’ll not usually be so exhaustive in my mic placements. But musically speaking, it’s really all the same. We’re making music either way and the integrity of the song and the album is paramount.
Has your work as a touring musician in other bands—such as Bon Iver last summer—led to an increased awareness of your own music?
Making the Bon Iver record and now touring that music has been incredibly fun and rewarding and of course, just as anything that we spend most of our time doing, I’m sure it has an effect on my current ideas and inspirations. Though, in general, that’s kind of like asking if the way you live your life has affected how you’ve lived your life.