Detail from cover art for "Fall of Romance" by Imaginary Cities (Molly Guldemond)
At first the plan wasn't even to make an album. It was just to record songs when we felt like it.
—Marti Sarbit, lead singer Imaginary Cities
It all started innocently enough. Marti Sarbit was having fun, performing with a Motown cover band in Winnipeg called The Solutions.
She'd head over to the Cavern in Osborne Village every second week for a gig.
Little did she know that doing that would change her life. "Rusty [Matyas] was doing sound. He was Rusty the Sound Guy to me. We would say 'h'i but never have really big discussions. And eventually he came up to me and said 'Do you want to sing on this Motown song that I'm writing for you?' "
It turns out that recording that song was Sarbit's first real studio experience. "At first the plan wasn't even to make an album. It was just to record songs when we felt like it. At three in the morning we'd head over to the studio if we were both up and felt like goin' in. It was basically all for fun," she explains.
That fun little studio project caught the ear of some very good management. "Rusty was touring with the Weakerthans and Steve Carroll from the Weakerthans was downloading stuff off of Rusty's computer onto his phone. He heard some of our songs and he was like 'What is this?' and Steve said 'Do you need management?' and we said 'sure that sounds great!' and the next day he sent us about 18 emails, telling us what to do."
Since that first recording, Imaginary Cities has built up a strong fan base and a good dose of critical acclaim - even touring with The Pixies last summer in Europe. Now they are about to release their second album Fall Of Romance.
Imaginary Cities launches Fall of Romance on Tuesday May 28 in Toronto. Before then, catch Marti Sarbit on SCENE on Air with host Ismaila Alfa on Saturday May 25. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.