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Get to know CTZNSHP, playing the MP Showcase Concert tomorrow w/ Reversing Falls & Honheehonhee

Posted by Greg / March 15, 2012

201003150-CTZNSHP.jpgPunctuality is a virtue. For anyone planning on attending the first Midnight Poutine Showcase Concert tomorrow, it is highly advised to show up on time to see one of our favourite up-and-coming bands, CTZNSHP, open the event. Doors are at 9 and CTZNSHP take the stage at 10. Write it on your forehead!!!

The trio's Swan Dive EP (available for free download) contains some of the most carefully constructed, intense and evocative rock I've I heard in a long time - certainly from a band's first recording. In preparation for the show, I talked to CTZNSHP lead singer and bassist Jesse LeGallais about the band's formation, their sound, and their future.

(We've also interviewed the other bands in the past: listen to my chat with Reversing Falls last year here and Honheehonhee's live appearance on the Midnight Poutine Podcast here; and, of course, there's this Beer Jenga video.)

How was CTZNSHP formed?

I was having drinks with a couple close friends last Winter and one of them told me they had just played with this really great drummer from France who was looking for a project here in Montreal. Scott and I, who have been playing together since high school and whose last band had just ended, were looking for a drummer but losing faith that we were going to find the right one. I got in touch with Florent and we meet last March I think at the old...( I forget them name, it's across the street form Neauveau Palais on Bernard street). We ended up getting pretty drunk and as I remember we talked very little about music and a whole lot about the girls we were in love with. Later that week we tried playing together and it just worked. I remember walking home with Scott after practice and neither of could believe our luck. Since that first practice we have all been working on this band with almost all of our free time.

What are you trying to do with your songwriting? Are you going for any
particular sound, exploring any lyrical themes?

We are trying to make music that we like and want to listen to. Writing good songs is probably the most important part of that. Sonically we are one of those bands like the Police where you can't replace a member and keep going. Everything written and played sounds like it was written and played by us. No one I know plays guitar like Scott or drums like Florent, so I think that is helping us slowly develop our own sound. I have always wanted to be a band that you can just tell by the first 10 seconds of a song who it is. It's not even about recording or effects. Its just the way it is played, the choices that were made; only those people in that band would do it just like that. That's what we are going for. We have written and recorded lot of songs since last spring that we have ended up not using. We will spend months working on something that we think is going to be the best song we have ever written, fighting and stressing out about it, just killing ourselves over it, and then one day we will all just say "fuck it, I don't like it anymore". Then then we will write a whole song in an hour that is fun to play and not even notice that we just wrote our new favourite song. A good friend of mine always quotes Burroughs, I think, and says you should be throwing out 90 percent of what you write because it isn't any good. I don't know if that's entirely true, but I do know we are really hard on ourselves and we only end up keeping what we really like. We are getting better at pin-pointing what we want to do and also, at the same time, learning what we can do as a three-piece.

As for the lyrics, all the songs that are on the EP and that are going to be on our upcoming full length are written about and for my friends and the people I love. My friends are my family - a big messy extended family - and a lot of people I know and love. Had a pretty rough year last year and these songs are just trying to sort out what happened, where we are now, what are we doing. It's partly a way for me to try to understand things that are happening. In the end they all end up as love songs in one way or another, some are just sadder and dirtier then others.

(Gear/recording nerd question): How did you get such sick reverb tone
on your Swan Dive EP?

A good chef never reveals his secrets. But really, it was just an EHX Holy Grail on the guitar mic'ed through two guitar amps trying to capture some of the room sound as well. For vocals, it's hard to say. There was an old Lexicon reverb involved, possibly a Boss reveb pedals, and bit of MXR Carbon Copy. The drums as well. There was a lot of mix and match going on in trying to find the right sounds.

Do you have a full-length album on the way? If so, what can you tell
us about it?

Yes, we do. It will be recorded in April with plans for a fall release. Tracking will be done at Digital Bird Studios and vocals and mixing will be done at Spidercat House with Alec Dippie, who we recorded the Swan Dive EP with, and who is kind of our secret weapon. The fifth Beatle, if you will.

Does CTZNSHP have any Summer plans?

We are going to be playing CMW and NXNE, playing our first shows in New York. We are hoping to play Sappy fest and include an East Coast tour in that. We are trying to put together a European tour at the end of August that will lead us into the Fall festival season.

What are you listening to these days? Anything you can recommend to readers?

Loving the new Future Islands record, as well as the new Jana Hunter single. The Walkmen's You & Me album is always on repeat. The Latest release from local heart throbs VALLEYS called RIVER PHEONIX EP is really really good!

Also, Warpaint, LCD Soundsystem, M83, The Knife, Songs Ohia Chairlift, Pure X, a lot of Robyn, Silver Jews, Bright Flight and Fleetwood Mac's Tango In The Night.

CTZNSHP take the stage at 10pm sharp at the first Midnight Poutine Showcase Concert
Friday, March 16, at Jackie & Judy (6512 ave. du Parc)
See more information on the show here and join our concerts group to receive invitations directly in the future
Photo taken from the band's Facebook page



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