Brooklyn-based indie-pop group The Lay Awakes, who are releasing their debut album, Home Away From Home, on May 4 have a unique Canadian sports connection.
The husband-wife duo are made up of national wheelchair basketball team player Patrick Anderson, a native of Edmonton who grew up in Fergus, Ont., and American-born, Winnipeg-raised university volleyball player Anna Paddock.
Paddock’s father, John Paddock, who played hockey for three NHL teams and coached the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators, and Philadelphia Flyers, is currently the GM-head coach of the WHL’s Regina Pats.
“I’ve been successful in my sport but I’ve been a niche athlete for my whole life and I’m sort of comfortable that way,” said Anderson, who was struck by a drunk driver in 1989 at the age of nine and lost both of his legs below the knee.
“So the idea of being sort of a niche artist doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.”
Added Paddock: “It was an adjustment for me, you know the music world being a little more subjective and just trying to figure out where you stand. And how much of a chance you have at being good.”
We caught up with the couple on the phone from Brooklyn — Anna went to NYU grad school for Musical Composition — before their first ever Toronto show on Friday at the Horseshoe Tavern.
Q. Was this mutual musical career always a given?
Anna: We both enjoyed songwriting. We both kind of wanted to perform and write songs. It just made sense to do it together. I mean, we’d probably use each other anyway. It was sort of, ‘Why not?’
Q. Is touring an easy or difficult proposition?
Patrick: Easy would probably not be the way we would describe it. We’re looking at RV’s wondering if that might be a solution going forward. It’s been a little challenging. We toured with one child and now we have two (Stanley, 2, and Rooney, 7). I think there’s a creative way to do it where we can get the whole family on the road.
Q. Does the discipline of sports translate to the discipline of music?
Anna: Just sheer practising hours and making more tangible goals like I would in sports — if you were going to work out this many times and this many hours — do that with music. I would write this many songs and practise for this many hours and I was pretty regimented at least for periods of my life. Now we have kids so everything’s a little wacky.
Q. Anna, was discipline stressed at home growing up given who your dad was?
Anna: It really was stubborn, driven personalities all living in the same house. It wasn’t like we had a real overly structured home or were told a lot of things but I have three sisters … and home life was a very athletic home for sure. I was sort of maybe the odd one out being more involved in the arts but that wasn’t a problem.
Q. How did you meet?
Patrick: My best friend (Ryan Adams) was her assistant volleyball coach at Trinity Western (University in B.C.). We knew each other but we re-met at a wedding and she was there playing piano in the ceremony and I was singing a song in the ceremony and I had a band at the party afterwards at the reception.
Q. Patrick, how much longer will you play for Canada’s national wheelchair basketball team?
Patrick: I’m committed to playing through 2020 (at the Paralympics). So in Tokyo, I’ll be 41. As long we qualify and I stay healthy and everything, that’s the plan.