Newfoundland’s Repartee Building Fan Base Through Touring

Steady as she goes might be the most appropriate cliché that pertains to Newfoundland electro-pop band Repartee.

Formed in 2009, the group has been building a steady following in their home province, performing shows with the likes of Mother Mother and Hey Rosetta.

Having made a strong impression on Metro audiences during this past spring’s East Coast Music Awards, Repartee is returning to the Hub City for a performance at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge next Tuesday night.

Despite the group being three years old, Repartee vocalist-keyboardist Meg Warren says that the group truly started to come into their own following the release of their self-titled EP in September 2011.

“From the time we formed in 2009, the band had largely been an ever-changing entity,” a friendly Warren begins. “The band was started with some friends from school but then seemed to become a serious, solidified unit last September.”

Had you told Warren many moons ago that she would be fronting an electro-influenced pop band, you might have had a rather difficult time convincing her of such.

Warren boasts a degree in classical singing from Newfoundland’s Memorial University. While this might not the background that most pop singers come from, Warren says that it was more a matter of personal fulfillment that led her down the path she has chosen.

“All throughout high school, I performed in classical music festivals. Until the time Repartee got together, it was what my experience consisted of,” she says. “The first time I actually played live with a band was a Repartee show. Leading up to that event though, I was becoming frustrated with my classical degree; I was feeling stifled. Not by music itself but more the program that I was enrolled in. I had always intended to be a classical singer and I still have a place deep in my heart for classical music but I am truly happy and grateful for things having worked out the way they have.”

A simple look at a Canadian map will show that any band that calls Newfoundland home faces a whole set of challenges arguably unique to the province’s thriving music industry.

If they are like many young bands out there these days, Repartee’s Warren and her band mates Robbie Brett and Nick Coultas would probably want to make it to the mainland for shows more often than they presently do.

Many bands are likely to take the approximate 10-hour drive from Moncton to a much bigger metropolis such as Montreal for granted. Repartee are often looking at almost double that time to make it to Nova Scotia alone, never mind playing a show.

“I think that there is a good reason why there are not a lot of touring bands based out of Newfoundland,” Warren muses. “It is essentially a nine-hour drive from St. John’s across the province to take the ferry at Port-aux-Basques. Then you’re staring down a seven-hour ferry ride before you arrive in Sydney, Nova Scotia. And then you have the five or so hours from Sydney to Moncton. So that’s almost a solid 24 hours of travelling before we have even played a note. I do believe it being such an effort to make it off the islands helps make Newfoundland bands heartier overall.”

Article published in September 14, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript

■ What: Repartee
■ When: Tuesday Sept. 18, 10 p.m.
■ Where: Plan B Lounge, 212 St. George Street, Moncton