Canada has been a hotbed for music in the past 40 years having produced jazz greats like Oscar Peterson through indie-rock heroes Eric’s Trip and Arcade Fire to classic rock like The Guess Who.
One genre that the country hasn’t been so quick to beat our respective chests over, however, is that of dance music. But with any luck, Montreal band Creature will lead the future charge of Canadian dance music.
Formed in Montreal in 2004, the members of the band knew one another from various other groups within that scene but hadn’t actually made music together.
“We ran into one another at a party and started discussing our influences. We were all into bands like The Cure, Joy Division and New Order and figured we should try practicing to see where it leads,” Creature keyboardist and vocalist Cowbella explains. “And even though we had all played in so many other bands, each of us was immediately comfortable within the confines of Creature.”
And though bands such as Creature and the Scissor Sisters are starting to make inroads in North America, Cowbella admits that they have been accepted with open arms in Europe and in France specifically.
“We’ve had great shows in Montreal and Toronto but when you get outside those major metro areas, crowds are a lot more reserved and slower to get into the show. We can usually get the crowd up and dancing by song seven in our live show but at that point, we’ve only got a few songs left to play!”
Indeed, Europeans seem a little more free-spirited and embracing of different styles of music, something Cowbella agrees with:
“The major difference is that dance music is really big throughout France. It is seen as an art where here it is considered to be more of a pastime. I think it’s the same with hip-hop.
“It seems as though the audiences in France can appreciate the musical layering and how the instruments interact with each other.”
Earlier this spring, Creature had the opportunity to bring their music to China, playing Beijing and Shanghai as well as other cities over the course of three weeks. And even though the language barrier proved to be challenging to the band, music is a universal language which the Chinese understood loud and clear.
“The crowds were very enthusiastic,” Cowbella recalls. “It is such a different environment to be immersed in though.
“There was so much raw energy there; people drinking out on the streets and just ready to play hard in general.
“It is an interesting cultural mix though. Musically, the Chinese heard Jay Z at the same time that they heard The Clash and Nirvana for the first time so you see and hear a lot of diversity in the music being made by these new Chinese punk-oriented bands.”
So if you’ve got a pair of dancing shoes that you’re aching to break in, bring yourself down to The Blue Olive in Saint John where Creature will be performing on Friday July 31. On the web: www.creatureband.com