Call & Response: Lakes of Canada
Call & Response is a series of Q&As with bands, artists and random people we dig that live in Montreal, visit here, or have some dubious connection to the city.
Lakes of Canada is a 4-piece crew of guys (Conor O'Neil, Jake Smith, Chris Barillaro Tim Dobby) who were born here in Montreal. Some of the stayed here to study music at McGill, others ventured off and came back. Earlier this summer, they released their debut EP Broken Mirrors, a 5 song teaser for what this band is capable of. The music is mostly sparse; a few finger picks here, some light percussion there. It's perfect for quiet rooms, say, an emptied out diner (a.k.a. Nouveau Palais). The intimate instrumentation also provides the ideal backdrop for the multi-part harmonies these guys seem to lace through all of their songs (take a listen for example to the EP's moving opener, "7 years").
Lakes of Canada are currently working on their debut full length album. Based on the new song they've posted on their bandcamp page, it sounds like the guys are taking the best parts of their EP and using them as starting points for a more fully fleshed out sound. If you're curious, Lakes of Canada have a show coming up this Friday, organized by the good folks at Indie Montreal. Before they hit the stage, we ran them through our gauntlet of near impossible-to-answer questions:
Who is your favorite Canadian Artist?
Neil Young, hands down.
Besides family, friends, other music, and long summer nights, what influences your music the most?
Extremely vivid (and occasionally haunting dreams), the events in life that shake you to your core, whether happy or sad, cartoons, literature, forgotten objects.
Your debut EP, Broken Mirrors, came out in April. How has the reception been so far?
It has been extremely well received, and has sold faster than we were expecting. We are currently in pre-production for our debut album and we have a really fantastic team lined up to work on it. We are hard at work and extremely excited about it.
Where is the best place to listen to your music?
Hmmmm... I'd say either around a campfire or in a big abandoned warehouse. Someplace echoey.
The EP has a nice sparse intimate musical feel to it, with loads of harmonies layered over top. Is it hard to reproduce live, in noisy bars?
Not at all actually, although our music has evolved a bit since that recording, we now have more drums, another guitarist, and slightly heavier, more driving sound. The harmonies, which have somewhat become our signature, are still very present though. We take our sound very seriously and after touring and fairly constant gigging we have perfected ways to make our live sound rock solid (we bring a lot of our own sound equipment). We're told we're even better live actually. You'll just have to find out.
What do you love most about Montreal?
The People. First and foremost. There is a particular kind of vibe that Montrealers have that I have not seen anywhere else. People are just warm and open here, and free in every sense of the word. I feel so at home with everyone I know here. Close seconds would be how easy it is to get around via bike, how pretty everyone is, the mountain, THE FOOD, and the ever changing, ever inclusive music scene.
What do you love most about Poutine?
What's not to love? I grew up with it being one of my favorite foods. It is decadence incarnate. SO delicious. But the cheese curds better be squeaky or I'll be disappointed (but I'll likely still eat it).
What do you hate most about Poutine?
The fact that I can't eat it every day.
Who was your first live concert? Was it everything you had ever imagined?
The first live show I ever went to was a band called The Squirrel Nut Zippers. They are a swing band and put on an incredible live show. They played for more than 2 hours straight and went through about 4 cases of beer while they did so (there were 7 of them, but still). Also most everyone there was dressed in swing garb and KNEW how to dance. I was 12 and a bit frightened but loved every minute of it.
You guys have awesome fur hats with bear ears. Will you still wear them at summer shows, in the dead heat of summer? If not, please justify why not.
We actually tried wearing them in a couple of summer shows. We had to take them off after a couple of songs as we were sweating so much that we couldn't really see. They are so cute though.
If your music was a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
It would for sure be the Kool-Aid Man. Because we have nasty habit of bursting through people's walls filled to the brim with food coloring and sugar-water.
What's the best way to spend a Million dollars in 10 minutes?
OOOHHHH YEEAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!... I mean...
Rent Time's Square for 5 minutes. Then host a giant water balloon fight right in the middle.
What's the best place you've ever been to?
Montreal. Sounds cliche, but I've traveled a lot and this is still my favorite place to be. Although the most beautiful place I've ever been was Dresden, Germany.
What's the worst place you've ever been to?
Ottawa. Big time.
How did you spend your 16th birthday?
Trick or Treating while extremely high (my birthday is two days before Halloween).
Find out more about Lakes of Canada on their website or their facebook page. Or better yet, catch their show this Friday in Montreal:
Lakes of Canada
August 26th @ Club Lambi 8:30pm
with Jon and Roy and Sunfields.
photo of Lakes of Canada taken by Jason Gondziola and found on their website.