I Am Robot and Proud never thought his music would leave his basement, much less take him across the world to Japan.
I AM ROBOT AND PROUD with CANAILLE at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick), tonight (Thursday, November 27). Pwyc. 416-923-8137.
Shaw-Han Liem is just as surprised as we are that I Am Robot and Proud, formerly his one-man band, just finished touring Japan as a full-fledged live band featuring Jim Guthrie, Tusks' Samir Khan and Feuermusik's Jeremy Strachan.
Does this mean that he's forsaken that delicate homemade electronic pop sound on his new album, Uphill City, and gone rock?
"The boring answer is that there isn't any kind of grand vision of where I'm going with this stuff," Liem confesses over brunch at an Ossington eatery. "The first two records were very solitary projects, but since then I've played a lot with other people in the city in other bands, and that's become part of my process.
"Making the record, I knew there was going to be a band playing some of the songs for the live shows, so I put it together with that in mind."
The resulting album carries on that wistful, intimate feeling of his previous offerings and still has plenty of electronic embellishments, but there is definitely a stronger sense that it could be the work of a group of musicians rather than a lone "nerd in a basement." Not that there's anything wrong with the latter approach, of course.