Throughout their 15 plus year career, Moncton jazz-fusionists Les Paiens have played with bands and artists of many musical genres. Whether it be heavy metal, folk, funk rock or jazz, the group has the enviable ability to be at home at any one of these shows based on their musical versatility.
Luckily for them, crowds gathered at a show of Les Paiens welcome them with open arms no matter what other musical styles lay in wait on any specific evening. Their unique ability to blend in with practically any show isn’t lost on Paiens drummer Jean Surette nor his band mates Denis Surette, Marc Arsenault and Sebastien Michaud.
“We are lucky that most people who like us have relatively open-minded musical tastes themselves,” he says. “We have some fans who favour our old hardcore songs while others are drawn to the more ambient material we play. Generally, people who see us are willing to hear anything and give us a chance.”
On Sunday night, the band will perform with Quebec metal band Never More Than Less at a Halloween show at The Manhattan on Westmorland Street.
Surette says he is proud of having brought his group’s diverse sounds to Moncton’s music scene although these days he says the group takes a little more care to ensure that their set list on any given night is best suited to the crowd that they anticipate will be in attendance.
“Back when we first started playing shows opening for bands like Idee du Nord and Zero Degrees Celsius, we were more-less the circus act who got people prepared for the evening ahead,” he laughs. “But nowadays, we are much more selective with what we do in the run of a show. The show and the circumstance really help to dictate our set list and how we play the set list that night. We can rock out if the bands we are performing with lean that way or we can play a jazz-fusion set where solos are stretched out.
“After 15 or 16 years, a gig is a gig. Every show we play, we give it our all knowing that it is not going to be the last show we play.”
Things have been relatively quiet in Les Paiens’ camp over the past year. In 2009, the group performed shows in France, the Magdalene Islands and throughout Quebec, but so far this year, the group has not yet embarked on any widespread adventures.
“We celebrated our 15th anniversary in December of 2009 and decided it was time to take a breather from the band. We have obviously continued playing shows and actually have a few new compositions on the back burner.
“I do think that there is another record in us for sure although I’m not quite sure what direction we will be headed in,” Surette confesses.
Given their diverse musical accomplishments and story to date, you can’t help but feel fans of Les Paiens will welcome new material with the same open arms that has warmly received the group to date.
Article published in October 29, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript