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July 20, 2008. Whistler, BC. Kevin Drew with Broken Social Scene plays at theWhistler Music Festival in Whistler, BC, Sunday evening July 20, 2008. Photo: Laura Leyshon for the Globe and Mail

Laura Leyshon/The Globe and Mail

When asked about the must-have items he packs for his tours, the Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew lists mystery novels, oregano oil, beard oil, multivitamins, Export A cigarettes, a list of recommended restaurants, and, of course, a stash of Kevin Drew's Tequila Lime Body Butter.

He probably takes along a copy of his sublime new solo album Darlings, too, but when it comes to his absolute most essential travelling companions, it's a collection of atmospheric music he absolutely could not do without.

"I have an iPod filled with ambient music. When you're travelling with a big band, whether through airports or riding in buses or vans, ambient music is the most soothing way to stand all the personalities that are involved. I used to have a room up front in the Eurobuses, up top. Everyone would come in, and they'd know I'd be in there staring out the window, blaring the ambient jams. It's also a meditation. Life is a state of mind, so you have to direct it and control it the way you want to. Sometimes you can't drink a bottle of wine to forget your problems, so you have to put on some ambient music."

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Kevin Drew plays Field Trip Music & Arts Festival, Toronto, June 7; Hillside Festival, Guelph, Ont., July 25 to 27; Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, Montreal, Aug. 1; and Squamish Valley Music Festival, Squamish, B.C., Aug. 9. – Brad Wheeler

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