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Call & Response: Valleymakers

Posted by Jer / August 18, 2011

ValleymakersCall & 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.

Valleymakers are a Montreal-based orchestral pop collective made up of Noah Segal, Megan Alford, Nick Lavigne, Ali Marquez, Elisse Kleiner, and Elyze Venne. The band run their classical training through contemporary indie folk filters to come up with a sound that's as rich as it is poetic. Valleymakers lay out their narratives as well with their lyrics as they do with their instruments (take a listen, for example, to the flute interludes in "Blueberry Blouse"). Their songs swell and sway, like in "It's My Body in the Tree You're Tearing Down", and listening to their self-titled EP, you can't help but do the same.

The band have a debut EP Launch party scheduled at O Patro Vys this Saturday, Aug. 20. Before they take the stage, we thought we'd ask them the world's most important questions:

Who is your favorite Canadian Artist?
Currently Dan Bejar - Destroyer

Besides family, friends, other music, and long summer nights, what influences your music the most?
Wikipedia, Old English idioms, Canadian poetry, and Lars Von Trier films.

Where is the best place to listen to your music?
Any dwelling built before the turn of the century.

How does the space of this city, and your neighbourhood in particular, affect the way Valleymakers approach music-making (if at all)?
Sometimes I forget what year it is, living in Mile End. Because of the architecture, fashion, and cafe culture, I feel like I'm living in any other time but my own. Ideally, some of the sincerity of yesteryear comes through in our music. I see our songs as postcards from the past.

What do you love most about Montreal?
The Urbain at Bagels Etc.

What do you love most about Poutine?
As a kid, my pops would bring me mini-golfing and we would have a big poutine and soft serve.
Best poutine in the city: Green Stop in Verdun (ask for brown sauce)

What do you hate most about Poutine?
Although it brings back comforting memories, I now call it "Dirty Poutine," and I can't function for three hours after eating one. Worst poutine in the city: La Belle Province in the bowling alley, Ville St Laurent.

Have you ever actually made a valley? Or even one of those papier maché volcanos for a science project?
Not exactly. I grew up on a mountain in the Laurentians, overlooking a valley. My Dad planted all the trees in it, so I guess you could say I'm a valley maker by proxy. Megan had never seen a valley until this year.

Who was your first live concert? Was it everything you had ever imagined?
Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the Bell Centre when I was 14. No, it was not.

If your music was a famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Herculine Barbin - woefully hopeful.

What's the best way to spend a million dollars in 10 minutes?
I would probably buy plane tickets for my bucket list of countries I want to visit - India, Argentina, you name it.

What's the best place you've ever been to?
The Place - in Guilford, Connecticut. You eat on tree stumps and throw fire-roasted clam shells over your shoulder.

What's the worst place you've ever been to?
Fort McMurray, Alberta. Asides from the obvious, I was cut off from karaoke one night after butchering The Temptations, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg".

How did you spend your 16th birthday?
Drunk, alone.

Your EP blends an interesting mix of classical orchestral sounds and contemporary folk. Is this hard to pull off live? What can we expect from your EP Launch show?
All of the pre-show work can be very challenging, but once we're all on stage together, there is a great feeling of release. We can't predict what will happen in a live setting, but the band is comfortable just riding the evening out. For the EP Launch show, we have completely new arrangements and added instrumentation for most of the songs. We also have some fun new tunes to try out that were written post-recording of the EP. We also get to spend the night with two other great acts, Christopher Durning, one of my favorite Montreal songwriters, and a fantastic band called Harp Of The North.

Listen to Valleymakers music on their website or their myspace page. You can even poke friend them on facebook. Or better yet, catch the launch of their debut EP this weekend in Montreal:

August 20th @ O Patro Vys 8pm
with Christopher Durning and Harp of the North.

photo of valleymakers taken by Richmond Lam and cropped slightly by yours truly (the full picture is, well, much more full).



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