Halifax’s Instruments builds on past experiences

When it came to developing the road map which they would follow, the members of Halifax band Instruments took a look at past experience to help guide them in the future.

The trio had previously played together in The Motes, but went their separate ways in 1998.

The dissolution of The Motes was not an entirely bitter affair however. Instruments member J Lapointe chalks his former band’s break-up to “strong personalities with differing ambitions,” although he goes on to admit that the band’s relentless work pace also played a part.

“It was just time for a break from one another when The Motes split,” he starts. “Even though The Motes discography consisted of somewhere around 55 songs, we actually recorded almost three times that during the time we were together.”

In the immediate time following the band parting ways, Lapointe immersed himself in the Haligonian band North Of America, touring the world opening for bands like Fugazi and Blonde Redhead and garnering much critical acclaim on the way. Approximately three years after The Motes dissolved, Lapointe says he wrote letters to his former Motes-mates Jon Hutt and Daniel MacDonald outlining everything that he would like to see in a future group.

“The letter I wrote to Jon and Dan was a big of a manifesto of all the things I thought a band should be. This was after having toured for three years with North Of America and seeing the good and the bad of a lot of other bands along the way. I was very specific about what I wanted from a new band.”

Instruments debut record Nominal would arrive almost five years later, and with the record naturally came the band’s first live shows although the latter has not been a top priority for the group over its career.

Lapointe says that their upcoming tour with Kuato (including tonight’s show at Plan B Lounge in Moncton) actually marks the band’s first live shows in more than a year. Regardless, Instruments looks forward to performing live, using the medium to drastically alter songs from their original recorded state.

“We really treat the live show as a completely different entity than our recordings,” he says. “Many of the songs are completely rearranged from what they sound like on record.

“It is actually quite freeing to not have to worry about how a song will work live when we are recording it. We feel free enough to know that we can recreate however we like when the time comes.”

Following its current strings of shows, Lapointe says that the group has a couple of different projects on the go that it will be focusing upon.

“We are currently working on some songs with a Japanese group featuring Sibitt from Triune Gods,” Lapointe notes. “There is some really amazing stuff coming out of Japan these days, and I’m honoured that they want to work with us.

“After that we’ve got a four-song EP in the works based on the life of a certain famous Canadian. To say who would spoil the surprise though. Sorry to be coy.”

Article published in February 25, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript