With all the swapping that goes on between bands like Stars, Broken Social Scene, the Weakerthans, and the Dears, the Canadian indie-rock scene features more one-offs and guest spots than a karaoke jam at Timbaland's house. Among the many blatant band hoppers is Andrew Whiteman. He's done time with the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Broken Social Scene, and Stars, but the latest result of Whiteman's years of cross-pollination is National Anthem of Nowhere, the sophomore release from his long-time pet project, Apostle of Hustle.
Formed back in 2001 with Julian Brown and Dean Stone, Apostle of Hustle began as a struggling Toronto bar band that played a mixture of Tom Waits and PJ Harvey covers interspersed with original material. The project got moved to the backburner when Whiteman was swept into the Social Scene machine. Now that he's returned to AOH, Whiteman has seemingly taken all of the best bits of Canuck indie-rock–the spaced-out sweetness of Stars, the catchy rhythms and lofty guitars of Broken Social Scene–and spiked them with a global-music sensibility.
"I'm really fascinated with the music of Northern Africa, Morocco and Mali specifically," he says, on the phone from the Centre of the Universe. "Right now I'd like to learn some trance music. This is a five-year plan because right now I am woefully enamoured with Scott Walker and Burt Bacharach–the chord changes and that and the hyper-melodic thing too. But it would be fun one day to really go deep into the one-chord trance atmosphere. I can see that being a very dignified and spiritual path to take when I'm 60."
Plotting and planning his way to elderly enlightenment seems like a bit of a stretch considering it's only been four short years since Whiteman was teaching ESL to pay his way. Even now, he admits that being a Canadian musician is anything but a sure way to Freedom 55.
"It's an obsession of maniacs," he says. "A lot of my friends happen to be successful and that's great, but I know a lot of people who aren't and who are struggling. In fact, some of my favourite artists in the world are or were struggling. I just hope that within in a year I am making enough to pay my rent with Apostle of Hustle."
Apostle of Hustle play The Red Room on Sunday (May 6).