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Music

Braids Tell Us About Their Long Awaited Debut LP

Posted by Greg / January 18, 2011

Ever since seeing Braids for the first time in early 2009, I've been rooting for the Calgarian/Montrealers to make a giant splash in the broader music world. Even though the group has won over literally every person I know who has heard them, as well as countless critics in Canada and beyond, so far it has been impossible to take home a full length Braids LP. The long wait will finally come to an end this Thursday when they release Native Speaker at Sala Rosa. With seven tracks that often clock in at over seven minutes, the record is exactly what any Braids followers should expect: immersive, shoegazy, ambient, poppy, bouncy, and eminently listenable.

This weekend I had a chance to speak with the band about Native Speaker, the record industry, touring, their growth as a band, and the music scenes in Montreal and Calgary.

Now that you've been in Montreal for a couple years, does the music scene here feel more like home? Or do your Calgarian roots remain deep?

Both cities are home to us. Calgary will always have a strong place in everything we do because this is where the band was first realized. Calgary really took us by the hand and really nurtured our musical growth; bands like Azeda Booth, Knots, and Women have always had a huge influence on us. I think if you can look out onto the crowd during a show and recognize the majority of the people there, it's a good indication that you are probably playing in your home town.

After the release in Montreal you'll be embarking on a tour all across North America. Are you totally pumped, or maybe a little anxious about spending that much time hopping cities in a van?

It's like being in a van with your best friends for 3 months. It makes us more anxious to drive across Canada than it is across the States - the drive from Winnipeg to Thunderbay is the toughest route to drive as a band - and I know many bands who would agree. It's just something you have to do, and if you can't do it - then you're in the wrong profession. Until we can afford a private jet, we're pretty comfortable with idea of being in a van for the rest of our lives.

As I understand it, you finished recording this album a while ago and have delayed releasing it for several months. Do you care to illuminate what was going on?

Yes. The state of the music industry right now is sort of sitting on a grey cloud, smoking and self-reflecting its purpose in the grand scheme of things. We sent out our music but no one seemed interested - because at that point a lot of the music that was already popular seemed to be the focus. So we played a couple of shows in late spring and we had a couple of offers but it wasn't until we started building friendships with certain people that we decided to finally give the go ahead on releasing our album. We want to be working with people that we trust and can put the same amount of effort into the record as we had. We are extremely happy to be working with everyone that has helped us in the past couple of months.

During that waiting process, did you continue writing music and playing together? If so, does it still sound like the recordings on the album?

Yes. No. We've matured a lot as musicians and individuals so the music now reflects all those experiences that we've had in the past year. Native Speaker was written completely live so we're currently challenging ourselves to use the computer as a writing tool and then being able to translate that live.

Native Speaker is being released on Kanine Records but I still see you listed on the Arbutus Records roster. Is this just a U.S. vs Canadian distribution thing or more complex or what? Since you've been working with Arbutus for a while, playing shows with their community and in their spaces, do they feel like your "home" label in any sense?

We released a tape with Arbutus Records but we are releasing Native Speaker with Flemish Eye Records in Canada. In the United States we are releasing with Kanine Records and both our labels are working together to help distribute and release the album. We will always support Arbutus Records, they have helped us so much in Montreal! Many of our friends are connected with that label and they have created a real positive movement in creating music in Montreal.

I always ask this: what are you listening to these days? Any recommendations for our readers?

Yes!
Missa Luba - Les Petits Troubadours du Roi Baudoin
Memory Screen - Silent Farm
Women - Public Strain
Morgan Greenwood - Prime Rib Beats Vol.2
Autechre - An Autechre Mix
Long Long Long - Long Long Long
Pantha Du Prince - This Bliss

Braids release Native Speaker at Sala Rosa this Thursday, January 20
Hear one of its singles, "Plath Heart," on this week's Montreal Weekend Playlist

photo taken from the band's myspace page

Discussion

44 Comments

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