Folky Edmonton indie-pop quartet the Provincial Archive literally toured the Provincial Archives of Alberta last spring, setting up in foyers, theatres and exhibit halls. (They haven't hit the Archives of Ontario yet, but they'd like to.) An amazing experience, but singer/songwriter, guitarist and banjo player Craig Schram says the idea for the band name came first.
"Songwriting is just a way of documenting a moment, feeling or idea," he says. "In that sense we're really just archivists without any rigour or training, right? As well, in the beginning, a lot of songs were about my family and its history: immigration, and settling."
The band - which also includes multi-instrumentalists Ryan Podlubny, Nathan Burge and Bramwell Park - is as adventurous in its sonic approach as it is in its choice of venues, combining traditional instrumentation with things like toy piano and what Schram calls "computer trickery".
"It's less about combining [acoustic and electronic elements] and more about being creative," Schram explains. "Playing and writing with programmed beats and synthesizers can change all the decisions that you make about your own playing."
The Provincial Archive are currently working on their third album at - appropriately - a studio called the Audio Department.