With Toronto’s CMW right around the corner, taking place May 2nd-8th in a venue near you, local and international artists are getting ready to showcase their music. For the occasion, we spoke to a few Montreal bands who are making the five-hour trek to the six to be a part of the POP Montreal + NeXT showcase at the Silver Dollar on Saturday May 7th. They shed some light on their practice habits and rituals, what inspires them, and even invited us into their rehearsal space to show us where the magic happens!
My writing ritual has never been something I think about. I have never forced myself to write a song. Well, only recently because I'm starting to write music for film and ads and such. But Kroy has always been a true reflection of how I feel. It isn't uncommon for me not to write for a long period of time. Usually that happens when I'm very happy. I love those trigger moments when I know the words and the melodies are about to pour out of my mouth and I have to rush home or to a quiet corner nearby and record whatever it is I'm thinking of on my phone. I guess that's how we all do it these days. I have thousands of notes that go all the way back to 2004. Some of them on my phone, others in notebooks and diaries. And when I'm not feeling inspired, I love to go back in time and relive a moment or an emotion that I was going through at that time. I get nostalgic. Or not. But either way, it helps me bring out an emotion and then I can write.
Most of the time I don't even need to find ways to get inspired. There is a bunch of stuff happening in my head at all times. I get paranoid. I get angry at everything. I think about the same embarrassing moment 20 times a day. I wonder what kind of tropical fish I would be. I think about my best friend from when I was a kid and I wonder why we don't talk anymore. All those things lead to other things and those things lead to songs. I can't tell you why or how, but they do.
We generally meet about 3 times per week, for 4 hours at a time, either rehearsing a set for upcoming shows, or developing new song ideas. We just got a new space that we share with some cool metal dudes so we’re looking forward to being creative and productive in a new spot. One of the most important things we’ve learned to do is to film all of our rehearsals. It can get pretty hard to feel like you’ve put on a good show when your only audience member is a wall. Looking over our rehearsal footage helps us find out what set order works, what transitions are fluid, what new song ideas are exciting, how to improve the sound balance, and so much more.
When it comes to songwriting, it’s a pretty collective process between the three of us, each bringing suggestions and ideas for our own parts and for others. Inspiration can come from our relationships, friendships, families, opinions, a single phrase or concept, even a song or band that we’re really into at that moment that sparks a new idea that we then try to work off of. Sometimes it starts with the lyrics, sometimes with a chord progression, sometimes with a beat, either way, it’s always really exciting to write new songs using our three different artistic approaches, that somehow always seem to come together into our collective sound as a band.
While touring in Europe, we got extremely fascinated with the perspective of making songs people can dance to while maintaining a dissonant dark vibe to the music. Usually prior to recording, I (Christian) will try to get myself in a headspace wrapped around elaborating on new ideas by walking around the mile end neighbourhood and listen to music ranging from EDM to house music to current pop/rap. Taking ideas from music so extreme to what we have done in the past is so refreshing and has made recording enjoyable once again. And once recording begins, it is super critical to have 90s rave footage on at all times to really get in the right mind frame.
Hey! It's us, Kyle and Audrey from She-Devils. We're here to tell you about the time we spend at our jam space, the Torn Curtain. We usually go to our studio days before a show. As of yet we haven't been a band that rehearses regularly. We've been writing new material recently and that has been necessitating going to the space more often and shaping the song together where Audrey will sing the same parts over and over while Kyle digs for synth lines or guitar riffs. It's pretty simple. Works for us!