“The thing about The Tragically Hip is, they’re an iconic Canadian band that never really had the kind of success anywhere else that they’ve had in Canada. To me, it’s about the relationship with the singer [Gordon Downie], who is a very good friend of mine now. I like the band, but I didn’t really understand them much.
“When I did the record – and I think it’s one of their strongest – I really forced them to write good songs and do the work. I tried to make a record that was cohesive and to bring out the best things about the band. I really challenged them, because I thought that’s what was needed. So this is the one record where I did go in with a conscience ‘this-is-what-I’m-going-to-do’ kind of thing. I wanted them to live up to their potential.
“The band was comfortable in where they were. When I came in, I think it became difficult for them. Coming from my history with bands, and thinking of The Who and Led Zeppelin and the Stones – bands that all wanted to be the biggest in the world, that wanted to be on the radio and wanted to change people’s lives’ – that’s what I believed. I still believe in that, and I push for that.”