SAN SERAC SHOUT OUT OUT OUT OUT STOP DIE RESUSCITATE at Lee?s Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday and Saturday (October 26-27). $18, advance $15. 416-532-1598. Rating: NNNNN
Considering that San Serac (aka Nat Rabb) was turned away from the border the night before, he sounds pretty relaxed and cheerful as he kills time in upstate New York while the snafu gets untangled.
It could be worse. If he weren't a solo act, he'd probably be fretting about whether his drummer had a criminal record or if his bass player left his weed in his pocket. Not surprisingly, the convenience factor was a key reason for his move from traditional bands into the world of electronic music.
"Living in New York gives you a certain appreciation for economy, you know what I mean? You're calling the car service, squeezing the drums in the trunk.... I thought maybe it would be better to strip down. Although the amount of gear I'm bringing to the shows has increased over the years, it's still pretty simple by comparison."
His new album, Professional (Normals Welcome), pulls equally from the traditions of pop and dance music, crossing synth-pop references with 80s R&B textures and glam-rock-influenced vocals and borrowing production techniques and tones from the current wave of indie dance. Coming from a live band background, he was well aware that when it came time to hit the stage, he would need to avoid the deeply dull laptop artist trap (insert cliché about checking e-mail on stage).
"There's a rule of thumb that you should be having as much fun, if not more, than everyone else. If no one else likes it, at least I had fun. If you get bummed out every time people don't like your show, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment."
Treading that middle ground is no longer as much of an anomaly as it once was, but most of his competition tend to lean one way or the other. Either they're indie bands ornamenting their tracks with some synths and drum machines or dance producers digging through their rock collections for ideas. In Rabb's case, his love of synth music led him to both ends of the spectrum, and he feels equally comfortable performing at a dance club or a live venue.
"In a rock club, people are less inclined to dance. But if they do, it's going to be an awesome show. In a dance club, everyone comes to dance, so people are less inclined to actually pay attention to what you're doing, but if they do it will be an awesome show. I've had some great shows at both kinds of venues."