It is not unheard for bands to gain and release members throughout their musical run, but it is almost unheard of for a band to reach up to 15 members, let alone borrowing members from more than five bands at once.
Broken Social Scene is exactly what their name implies, it is a group of artist who broke away from their bands momentarily or permanently to collaborate with colleagues from the Toronto music community.
Starting with only two members in 1999, Kevin Drew of K.C. Accidental and Brendan Canning of By Divine Right embarked on a project of their own to create the indie rock band that has survived almost two decades.
Spending two years working on new music, Broken Social Scene released their first album Feel Good Lost in 2001. Mainly instrumental, Drew and Canning performed the majority of the album but had many guest appearances like Charles Spearin of Do Make Say Think and drummer Justin Peroff, that would help influence their 2002 sophomore album You Forgot It In People.
You Forgot It In People included new members Evan Cranley and Andrew Whiteman of Stars, John Crossingham from Raising the Fawn, Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric, Bill Priddle from K.C. Accidental and vocalist Leslie Feist growing the band to 11 members. You Forgot It In People became their breakthrough album winning a Juno Award as Best Alternative Album.
By their self-titled third album, the band added three more members Ohad Benchetrit (Do Make Say Think), Torquil Campbell (Stars), and Martin Davis Kinack in which earned them another Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. The growing success launched them towards an international tour but after some time touring, the group decided to take some time away from the band to pursue individual projects.
In 2007 and 2008, Broken Social Scene founders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning released solo albums but continued to utilize their band members throughout the albums.
In 2009, a book about the band was published called “The Book is Broken” and a romantic comedy film titled “The Movie is Broken” the following year.
Broken Social Scene reunited in 2010 to create an elaborate album that consisted of 28 different musicians recording across Toronto, Chicago and New York. The album, Forgiveness Rock Record, hit number one on the Canadian charts and was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize.
Shortly after their album success, Broken Social Scene went on hiatus once more but continued to make festival appearances.
In 2013, the band asked authors to write short stories inspired by You Forgot it in People. These stories would be entered in a literary competition sponsored by the band and the 13 finalists would have their work published in a book known as “The Broken Social Scene Story Project: Short Works Inspired by You Forgot It in People.”
Although the band is continuously disassembling and reassembling themselves, all fifteen member rejoined once more to produce their 2017 album Hug of Thunder.
Check out Broken Social Scene on Saturday March 24th for the In Bloom Festival taking place in Houston on March 24th and 25th.