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Q&A: The Magician and The Gates of Love

The Gates of Love are made up of Andrew and Nick Koole on vocals and horns, while Conrad Dykman deals with the percussion duties. The band recently answered some questions about recording, performing and life in general.

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By Tim Ubels (Contributor) – Email

Date Posted: October 3, 2011
Print Edition: September 28, 2011

Conrad Dykman, Nick Koole, Nathan Moes, and Andrew Koole are The Gates of Love

The Magician, aka Nathan Moes, puts together everything from brash and catchy to hushed and gentle music with the help of his band The Gates of Love. The Gates of Love are made up of Andrew and Nick Koole on vocals and horns, while Conrad Dykman deals with the percussion duties. Their new single, “I Want It All” (now available on Bandcamp and iTunes) is a shimmering pop gem that’s full of glorious horns, wide-eyed lyrics and a beat that keeps the passionate playing under control. The band recently answered some questions about recording, performing and life in general.

Could you guys give me a brief history of the band?

Andrew: Our first show as a band happened here in Abbotsford, at what used to be The Bull and Raven.
Nick: I believe Conrad and Nathan had already played a few shows together before. Nathan asked me to play trumpet for one song at a show at Wired Monk. I guess he liked it, because I started playing consistently afterwards and every show I played we incorporated more trumpet. Andrew started playing saxophone with us not long after that and more gradual incorporation of horns and harmonies ensued.
Nathan: The Gates of Love came around after a few conversations with another friend who was thinking of names for his band. One that I thought was hilarious was “Father Jon & The Healing Touch.” Quite moving, yet also possibly perverted. I think “The Gates of Love” had that sense of grandiosity, perhaps generosity, that we thought (I thought?) could be both funny and touching.

Where did you record your new single “I Want It All”?

Nathan: At Buena Vista Audio with Jonathan Anderson. I like Jon a lot, as a friend and producer. I like him as a producer because he’s a friend, and he’s a friend because he was our producer. I can’t imagine recording with someone I didn’t want to call up whenever I was in Langley.

Were there any specific eras of music or artists you were thinking about while recording the song?

Nathan: I am looking to the past. 60’s pop. Almost always. And sometimes Belle & Sebastian.

Do you ever feel creatively blocked and how much revision is there? Do you spend a lot of time reworking the lyrics?

Nathan: Perpetually creatively blocked. Typically a hook or chord progression will pop into the head, but lyrically, it is nearly always a last minute effort moments before the show. Once I feel that our current songs have overstayed their welcome, I try to bring something new to the set. But I need a deadline to complete it.
Nick: Nathan writes all the lyrics and music. Occasionally we’ll be practicing for a show and he’ll ask us about different lyric options or songs will sort of rework themselves through some practice, but it’s 99 per cent him. It’s nice because I can love all of the songs and brag about them without feeling the slightest bit arrogant.

Where is your favourite venue to perform?

Nick: Two places come to mind. We’ve played a couple shows at The Reach in Abbotsford. They have a grand piano which is always a huge bonus and the natural reverb in that room is incredible. For sound quality and general wow-factor, it’s gold. The Brewpub in Squamish is always a blast. A bar tab and a lot friends making the trip sums it up well enough, I think.
Nathan: I like the Brewpub too. It’s a mini-roadtrip for all of our friends as well. And I get to eat this incredible pulled pork pizza, which I have, in fact, successfully duplicated at home. (Add walnuts!)

When I see your band play, you really light up a room and grab everyone’s attention, so I have to ask: when you were growing up were there any formative concert experiences that showed you how live performance could be something apart from the usual?

Andrew: No specific performances come to mind, but personally, I tend to judge a show based on how well the performer can authentically engage the audience. It’s best when the band and the audience are working together to have a good time.
Nick: Again, no specific performances. I love to see a band enjoying themselves. If they’re having a good time, I’m usually having a good time too. People feed off the energy.Nathan: I have been watching all of the Peak Performance showcases this year, and I have been surprised with who I have really been captured by. It’s been bands like Current Swell and The Boom Booms who put out this visceral, primal energy that is really, put your hands in the hair and get crazy vibration. Who knew I was into that? Mostly I like to sit down at shows though. Theatre shows. My favourite. Something beautiful. And keep it short since if it gets too long then I want a water to stay hydrated, but then I have to go to the bathroom a couple times, or I might get hungry. Awful, huh? I am a real bad show attendee.

What’s your favourite post-show meal?

Andrew: I don’t know about post-show, but we all love Cielito Lindo in Langley. Mexican food!

What’s your favourite record store?

Andrew: I like Audiophile, on Commercial in Vancouver. The guy who runs the place is really approachable.
Nick: I also like Audiophile.
Nathan: Value Village?

Who have you been listening to lately?

Nathan: Jordan Klassen, Ron Sexsmith, David Bazan, Charles Bradley.
Andrew: James Blake and Ray LaMontagne, mostly.
Nick: Anything I haven’t listened to in a while. Also, Fleet Foxes and recently some Elliot Smith.

What are your plans for the band moving forward?

Andrew: Mega-stardom.
Nick: What he said.
Nathan: A quiet life. With a pretty wife.

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