The past year has been a bit chaotic for Toronto based five piece, Modern Space. Only officially formed in late 2014, the band recorded songs, received Canada wide airplay, opened for UK rockstars The Vaccines, and were signed to Warner Music within 2015. Just last week they released their seven song LP, Before Sunrise, amidst their jam packed tour across the prairies and western Canada.
In all the chaos and excitement, some of the smaller things are the most exciting for lead singer Sean Graham, like the first time he heard his song, their first single “Pen to Paper”, on the the radio station he grew up listening to.
“My friends called me and were like ‘hey Sean we’re going to be on in like two songs.’” Graham explained. “I was at a bar so I ran out and I hailed a cab because I wanted to hear it in a car and then pretty much drove around because it ended up being four songs. I spent like 25 bucks but the song finally came on the air. I got to hear it on the radio and that was just a pretty surreal moment.”
That song is one of seven on the band’s newest EP, Before Sunrise, just released on January 22. The album, fitting it’s name, is filled with energetic vibes and stories of adventures after dark that 23 year-old Graham wrote with bandmates Sam Arion, Tay Ewart, Alex Laurie, and Cody Steele in a cabin last year.
“I like to pull a lot of my writing just from experience,” says Graham. “I always like to go out. I go to a music festival and then come back and write about being at a music festival or go on the road and try to meet people and explore and take a second to kind of recap the things that happen to you.”
If you listen to the upbeat sounds and lyrics of their EP, it might sound a lot happier than it really is though. Also inspired by literature, especially melancholic poets like Dylan Thomas, the album is still etched with darker parts.
“It still has a bit of heartbreak and sorrow in it in trying to overcome specific things,” Graham says. “Rule Britannia was very much about being with the right girl and the wrong drugs, kind of things going from good to bad super fast.”
A lot of things seem like they’re going super fast for Modern Space, but it might not seem that way for the band who have been working at this far longer than the year that they’ve been together. Graham began song writing when he was in the eighth grade and eventually developed his vocal skills in a less conventional way.
“I kind of learnt how to sing by just singing old strokes songs. For one week I would sing one half of the Strokes record and the next week I would flip the record over and just sing that… probably drove my parents crazy.”
Modern Space have accomplished a lot in a year, and have a lot more to look forward to. They have five shows opening for the Arkells in the middle of their tour spanning from Sudbury, Ontario to Vancouver, BC. After the tour they also have the release of a couple music videos before they prepare for festival season.
But for right now Sean Graham and the rest of Modern Space seem to be enjoying his favourite things: travelling, drinking, meeting new people on the road, and of course playing their songs live. When asked about his favourite song to play live, it didn’t take long for Graham to respond.
“‘Pen to Paper’ or ‘Let it out’,” Graham answers. “Because I get to jump on Alex’s back at the very end. It’s a gamble. Sometimes we fall over, sometimes it works. You never know, you never know till you do it.”
Images and music courtesy of Warner Music