Imaginary Cities to open for Pixies

Rather than forming a band, honing their live, musical chops and then making a record, Winnipeg’s Imaginary Cities chose to do things in reverse, launching an album early in the group’s career.

Frankly, their choice hasn’t been working out too badly. Since the February release of their debut effort Temporary Resident, the group has been acclaimed by American music magazine Paste, who deemed the band “The best of what’s next.” The group also saw their record rise to the top of Canadian College Radio charts.

And in what is undoubtedly one of its biggest career highlights to date, Imaginary Cities have secured the opening slot for legendary alt-rock band The Pixies tour of Canada.

Imaginary Cities and The Pixies will be performing at Casino New Brunswick on Sunday evening. Doors for the show open at 7 p.m.

From his Winnipeg home, Imaginary Cities member Rusty Matyas recalls how he and band mate Marti Sarbit initially started writing songs together “for the fun of it” with little in the way of further intentions.

“Everything with the two of us just kind of happened,” he admits. “We went into the studio and made a record with just the two of us playing all of the instruments, largely because we liked the fact that it gave us such control over the sound of the record itself. We had a vision for the way we wanted the record to sound so rather than putting a band together with the hopes that they could help us translate what we wanted to come out on the record, we kept it to just us two.”

Since completing the record, Imaginary Cities has expanded from two members to five with Matyas saying that having a completed record to hand out to prospective band members was a luxury.

“I had never played with the other three members in any previous bands but have known them all for years. It was nice being able to hand pick the guys that we wanted to bring into the group.”

Later this year, Imaginary Cities will be opening for Arcade Fire at a show in Vienna and intend to keep themselves busy playing various summer music festivals. Asked how the group was fortunate enough to have scored the opening slot for The Pixies, a 22-date tour that will bring them across Canada, Matyas chalks it up to being in the right place at the right time.

“Someone at our record label used to work with somebody on The Pixies management team so we kind of had an in,” he says. “Really though, there were so many bands trying to land the opening slot we have with The Pixies, we are just incredibly lucky that things have aligned the way they have.”

Article published in April 8, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript