How did Lakes of Canada get started?
I was playing solo a bunch in the summer of 2010. I also sang in the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir with my best friend Conor O’Neil. He started playing percussion and singing harmonies at my solo shows and it became a sort of Simon & Garfunkel thing. Then Chris joined us and we became Lakes of Canada.
How did you come up with the band name Lakes of Canada?
When the three of us first started playing together we went by the name “Who by Fire” (which we got from text in a Rosh Hashanah service) but none of us were super into the name. Conor and I had been playing the song, “Lakes of Canada” originally by a Halifax band called “The Innocence Mission” and made famous by a Blogoteque cover that Sufjan Stevens did. One day we checked to see if anyone had named their band after that song, cause we thought the name was really solid, and once we found out that no one had, that was it.
Tell us about your upcoming début album “Toll the Bell” and the album launch at Il Motore on May 19th.
In October 2010 my mother was murdered in her home in Burlington, VT. Obviously words cannot accurately describe my level of devastation. I spent the next six months traveling around the US and Canada with my guitar and writing as much as could manage. When I got back to Montreal in the spring of 2011 we released an EP and went on tour down the east coast from Toronto to NYC. During that time we work shopped and tried out a lot of the songs that I had written while traveling. When we got back we acquired a 5th member and went into pre-production for “Toll the Bell”. We also raised over $10,000 to pay for the album through a crowd funding site called IndieGoGo.com. We worked with our producer Christopher Fox (of Folly & The Hunter) for two months before going into his studio. We came at the album with more than 20 songs, but by the time we got to tracking we had 12. Because of the amount of pre-production we had before recording we were able to do most of the album live and usually in the first 3 takes. As we had become well known for our vocal harmonies we recorded all of our vocals together in the same room (in Studio, Oscar Peterson Hall, and even at the Synagogue for “Bated Breath”). We also had the pleasure of having our Synagogue choir do a guest appearance on a song, and we had guest brass, string, and woodwind players for a few others. The album was mixed by Chris and me and mastered by Ryan Morey of Ryebread mastering in Montreal. We are all really proud of this album. We worked on it for months and are extremely excited about how it sounds.
Any tours planned to support the new release?
We will be doing a 3 week tour from Charlottetown, PEI through to Toronto, ON in the summer. We will also be doing a release in NYC and Burlington, VT
Who are some of your favourite Montreal artists?
Oof. There’s so many. Charlotte Cornfield, Sarah Jane Scouten, Folly & The Hunter, Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, Lhasa de Sela, Lake of Stew, The Unsettlers, Bad Uncle, Krista Muir, Suuns, The Youjsh, Holy Moly, David Simard, Brie Neilson, United Steel Workers, Broken Social Scene, Besnard Lakes, The Stills, The Luyas, Plants & Animals, Sam Roberts, William Shatner (“I can’t get behind that” is surprisingly good), SlutDrive, Young Galaxy, Think About Life, The Barr Brothers, Sam Shalabi. There are probably a ton more. Those are the ones I can think of right now.
What are some of your favourite venues to play in Montreal?
Well, I love Il Motore actually, that’s why we chose it for the launch, but also: Divan Orange, Casa, Sala, L’Esco (first time I played there I was expecting it to be crap and was very pleasantly surprised when it was the complete opposite), and Grumpy’s is really fun too. I also really like playing outside on my front porch when it’s warm enough.
Where is your favourite place to grab a bite to eat after a gig in Montreal?
Good question. It depends on where you’re playing obviously, but if I’m anywhere near Chez Claudette after a show, that’s probably where I’ll be headed.