Hello all in Destroyalldreamers. Would you please introduce yourselves to the readers? Where are you from, how did you form and who plays what?
Michele: I am from Montreal and I play bass.
Mathieu: I’m Mathieu and I play guitar. I am a 24 years old Montrealer who used to study literature. I just finished my Bachelor degree, and I just realized that music is my real passion.
Shaun: My name is Shaun, and I play the drums. I met Eric in late 2000 and we had similar musical tastes. He asked me to join his band, at first I wasn’t interested, but he persisted and I finally gave in.
Eric: I’m Eric and I play guitar. I formed the band with Shaun in Montreal – we first met on the internet and started to hang out at a lot of shows. After a few months, I was trying to form another band with another guy, and I convinced Shaun to play with us. After the fallout of that attempt, Shaun and I would jam together, that was in the summer of 2002. Shortly after, musical ideas started to roll and we decided to search for a bassist, which turned out to be Michele whom I also met on some internet forum. And Mathieu was a friend of a friend who happened to play guitar and had similar musical tastes. At the beginning, we weren’t looking for anything specific out of the people we would recruit, we didn’t hold auditions, we just accepted to play with the first bassist and guitarist we found because we just wanted to find people to play music with. Amazingly enough there was a very early musical chemistry between us which made the whole thing work at the first attempt.
In respect to how long you have been together, you are a relatively young band. What do you attribute to your mature sound?
Mathieu: I don’t know if our sound is mature yet, maybe not as mature as I would like it to be. I think we have a good future though, and we can work on our music, and the maturity will come with practice, time and passion.
E: We’ve been together for less than 3 years now, and the material from our album was mostly written in the first year together. In that first year, we did evolve very quickly and the excitement about this band propelled us to be motivated about the creative opportunities that this band gave us. I think that right away, we managed to create an ambitious batch of songs for a young band. We do use a lot of effects and we also have a few different song compositions, so there can be a lot of variety in our sound and structures that doesn’t make us as simple-sounding as other bands in their early age. Personally, I like to get to places as quickly as possible, which is why I bought so many pedals in the course of that year. Although I’m sure that there is a lot of people who would find our sound naïve, I think it’s a matter of perspective regarding what you’ve heard before listening to us…
How do you all approach song writing?
Mathieu: Well, I know that we do not write anything down. Somebody plays something and the others follow… it just flows. I think that each one of us is playing something very different, until somehow somewhere sometimes, something happens and the music is born. I don’t like the whole mathematical aspect of music. Emotion and passion are better guides to me.
E: Improvisation and re-structuration. Somebody usually initiate something, a bass line, a guitar riff, and usually if others like what they hear, they try to play along and find something that work until we all stop. Then we talk about it and we try to recreate it until a certain structure emerges from playing it over. Sometimes we record our jams and we listen to them and get back to it with new ideas the following week. Sometimes it’s a process that can take months because there can be some good ideas but the song isn’t going anywhere until we come up with a solution. Other times it can be really easy and magical. I often initiate something because I’m always fiddling with sounds and trying to compose on my own at home so I have a personnal bank of sounds and song ideas that, in some way or another, happen to be slipped at jam sessions.
Can you tell us what the recording process was like for À Coeur Léger Sommeil Sanglant?
S: We had sent copies of our demos to various record labels and one of them made his way to Patrick Lacharité, guitarist for another Montreal band, Below the Sea. He offered to record our debut album and put us in contact with our label, Where Are My records. It was a very indie recording, made possible by the new high-end sound cards that virtually give you a semi-pro studio on your own computer.
Michele: For me the recording process was short and sweet. The tracks on it are our “oldest”, most mature ones. We have other songs that we play live, some have been studio recorded and will be heard in the near future.
E: We recorded in Patrick’s second floor apartment. The drums were taped in his living room in 3 days during the christmas holidays while for the rest, we had to schedule each one of us individually, depending on our availability and noise-making availability of the neighbors. Almost nothing was made up on the spot, the songs we were recording were already composed and tested on stage, so we basically recorded our parts as we usually play them live. One track each, no overdubs, a couple of takes, not much more, Patrick wanted to do everything as simple and as fast as possible.
How did these particular tracks end up on this particular album?
E: It was basically all the songs that we had ready at that point, and that we already played live.
Mathieu: Actually, there is one track that was on the Demo EP that we did not like, so we did not put it on the album. The other tracks we did not put on the album was recent tracks we did not finished. We needed more time for those…
Are there songs that did not make it on the disc and, if so, are we going to get to hear them?
E: There was also another track that we left out, we didn’t like it anymore. If we don’t like it, you won’t hear it – although both of them might be on some live recording from our first shows.
“Orage” is one of my favorite tracks on the disc. Is there a story behind this beautiful song? Are there any interesting tales behind the other tracks on the disc?
E: Orage was written in my basement, I can’t remember what triggered it except that there is one particularity about the capo placement on my guitar… I was experimenting different positions and I fell on this particular one which I remembered writing a riff with a couple of years before that on acoustic guitar. I tried to find it again all night and the rest of the song just flowed in. The initial structure of the song remained the same once the arrangements were finished, which was quite surprising because we usually rip structures apart and re-construct them completely when we jam a song idea together. There isn’t much of a story regarding the way it was put together, like any other of our songs, except that a lot of work is involved behind them. Inspirational-wise, everything that is happening in and around our lives has a certain factor in the songs we create… I think a lot of our songs were globally inspired by something sad and beautiful, with a touch of anger.
Michele: Track #5, “The Sky was Glorious”, is one of my favorite songs of all times of all the music I’ve listened to.
S: The first track on the album is actually the second part of a 3-part song. The first part was fully recorded during the “Coeur Leger” sessions but it didn’t sound as good as we expected, so we didn’t release it. The third part was never recorded.
Was it a conscious decision to make instrumental music? What drives you to “speak” with instruments rather than with vocals and words?
Michele: I guess it’s easier for us to proceed this way. None of us is a vocalist, we never looked for one and it works perfectly fine this way.
Mathieu: I think it was a pretty conscious decision the four of us made to be an instrumental band. Instrumental music can bring people to another level of emotion or imagination, because there are no words that will tell you how to feel. For me, instrumental music is giving me a photographic imagination, and these images are leading toward the emotions. It gives freedom to the listeners.
E: I think we are very anal about vocals. The reason I was drawn to post-rock was the result of being saturated by too many bands who destroyed the essence of their music with their vocals. Instrumental vocal-less music meant that you were finally able to focus on the music rather than having the vocals up front and imposed on you while the music was just an accompaniment to the sometimes-meaningless lyrics that reflected the singer’s ego. Vocals definitely have to be tasteful and should not annoy me, and there aren’t many of them out there that don’t. So I figured that it would be really really hard thing to do to have vocals in our music. Keeping the music instrumental is easier and can be a lot more interesting in terms of sonic possibilities. It’s very liberating.
You have a lush, big sound. Can you give us a run-down of your current equipment?
Michele: My bass is a 5-string Washburn XB-500.
E: We currently use Godin guitars and Roland JC-120 amps and tons of effect pedals.
S: I have a Yamaha Stage Custom Advantage Fusion drumkit : 22″ bass drum, 10″-12″-14″ toms, with a 5″x14″ Yamaha wood snare. I use Evans G2/G1 drum heads, and I have Sabians AAX cymbals (14″ hihats, 16″-18″ crashes, 20″ ride).
In particular, I would love to know what pedals you are using currently.
E: I have something like 16-20 pedals on my pedalboard which include a compressor, fuzz, overdrive, distorsion, boost pedal, volume, multi-effect, tremolo, pitch-shifters (2x), delays (3x), reverb, reverb processor, loop-sampling pedal… i have a few others on the shelves that aren’t being used yet as well.
Mathieu: 2 delays, 1 reverb, 1 overdrive, 1 volume, 1 phazer, 1 bluebox, and I have a WAH-Distorsion-Volume and a slow-volume that are waitng to be used for our futur tracks.
What are your current recording plans? Do you plan on releasing another LP in the coming year?
E: We are currently recording an EP on vinyl for Claire’s Echo which should be released this year. It will include the very last of our compositions, so pretty much everything we wrote will be commited to tape in one form or another. And we’re trying to work on brand new material now.
S: We will also be releasing two exclusive tracks this year. One is a remake/reinterpration of a song by French duo Propergol Y Colargol. The other is a Slowdive cover, to be released by the ClubAC30 label.
Do you ever plan on touring the States? If so, when?
E: No real plan yet, but we would love to someday, and very soon. We’ve only played in Quebec and Ontario so far.
Michele: We don’t have anything concrete (that I know of) but we would certainly like to do so in the near future.
S: One thing is sure, when we go down south we’d like to tour a lot of cities (as much as possible), as to make the trip worthwhile.
What is the music scene like in Montreal?
E: Montreal has a very active music scene right now, some people are actually comparing it to what was Seattle as a lot of local indie bands are making it on an international level these days. There is always a lot going around here, and a lot of bands from Europe and from the US are stopping by, so it’s really great for that because we feel part of an important place in the world where bands are willing to stop in our city and play for us. There is also so much happening in the local scene as well, there are so many good bands doing good stuff these days, and there are people who are making things happen for the scene.
Can you tell us what artists influence you? Are there any painters or writers you would say influence your music?
E: Musically – Slowdive, Loveliescrushing, Godspeed, Mogwai. U2 also influences me in terms of ambition and longetivity of a band, as I grew up listening to them.
Mathieu: My favorite band is Sonic Youth. A writer influenced me, but not my music directly… It’s the great philosopher J-J Rousseau.
S: The Cure back in the days, Lush, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, also early Smashing Pumpkins. My whole musical introduction was during the early 90s, that’s also when I started playing drums.
What artists are you listening to now?
E: The Dead Texan, Hammock, the brand new Silver Mt. Zion record, The Besnard Lakes, Airiel, Secret Shine, People for Audio…
Michele: Bjork’s Medulla, a lot. Lots of classical music (Weber, Brahms).
Mathieu: These days, I listen to Bark Psychosis, the solo projects of Lee Ranaldo (love his spoken words) and the Brian Eno ambiant projects.
S: The new Hood, thebrotherkite, Jimmy Chamberlain Complex, Trembling Blue Stars, Sway, Pia Fraus…
Any other comments?
Mathieu: My English sucks, French is my language, so I apologize for the short and simple sentences, and all of my mistakes.
Shaun: Thanks a lot!