The City of Montreal boasts a very diverse music scene that, thanks to groups like Arcade Fire, has shone a spotlight on the metropolis for many years now. While the city might be typecast to some to be a punk or indie rock kind of scene, Montreal is also home to a thriving roots and folk music scene.
Wind-Up Radio Sessions is one of the latest up-and-coming bands to emerge from the city. The band have released a wonderful new record, Bird Eyes, which follows up on their 2010 debut Red Brick House.
Wind-Up Radio Sessions perform at Plan B Lounge on St. George Street on Sunday.
The quartet recently returned from a tour through western Canada, a trip that the group’s Matt Lazenby dubs as having been ‘immense.’
‘This was the first time that we had traveled such a great distance together and we really didn’t know what to expect from the tour,’ Lazenby says. ‘We were pleasantly surprised that almost all of the places we played were extremely welcoming to us. We got to meet a lot of great musicians and made a lot of new friends and had some really great shows.’ Lazenby says that despite the occasional report to the contrary, the live music scene in Canada continues to thrive.
In spite of album sales having essentially come to a stand-still over the course of the last decade, Lazenby says that it is encouraging to have seen the band given such a warm reception in many of the places they performed.
‘From what I have seen, I would say the scene in Canada is healthy but that it also depends on whether the right atmosphere is being created for the band and the importance of supporting live music is being fostered by the community,’ he says. ‘In Montreal, there is so much great music almost every night of the week, which is amazing to be a part of but on the other side of the coin, it is easy to neglect some great shows knowing there is always going to be more around the corner. From our recent shows out west, it was especially heartening to see the smaller towns really support their local scenes which shows that if an emphasis is put on the arts, culture and live music, people will make the effort to come out and be a part of it.’
Asked how playing live might have influenced the band’s songwriting process when it came to writing Bird Eyes, Lazenby says that touring in itself was a learning curve but that it ultimately helped the quartet realize their strengths as well as their weaknesses as a band.
‘We would often jump in the figurative deep end and try songs out on the spot. Sometimes the songs would work and sometimes they wouldn’t but thankfully, we were able to take aspects of our live show that we found worked well and put those strong points towards the material on Bird Eyes.’
When conversation turns back to the Wind-Up Radio Sessions hometown, Lazenby admits that while there seems to be an emerging scene rooted in the folk genre, the bands and musicians that are a part of that scene have been plugging away and will be continuing to do so regardless of whether the spotlight shines on them one day or not.
‘Folk bands in Montreal aren’t exactly under the spotlight in Montreal, which is probably a good thing,’ he says. ‘That allows the musicians to grow and develop their sound. That being said, there does seem to be some momentum building over the course of the last couple of years with bands like Folly and the Hunter, Lakes of Canada and Sunfields.
‘Personally, I love the fact that the scene in Montreal is so diverse because we don’t really fit into one bracket and that in turn gives us the opportunity to play with bands who play a lot of different styles of music.’
Article published in June 21, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript