What do you think of Canadian music

Music from Canada from east to west

To capture the music scene of Canada is an impossibility: too big the country, too high the number of artists. We take you on a foray in two parts from east to west and talk to Ben Caplan, We are Wolves, July Talk and The Belle Game on this mental road trip.

Canada is huge. The second largest country on earth has roughly many good bands and artists as it is big. We're going on a journey from east to west, from Halifax to Vancouver, introducing four artists we talked to about their music and Canada: Ben Caplan (Halifax), We Are Wolves (Montreal), July Talk (Toronto) and The Belle Game (Vancouver). As a bonus, we're also sending Arkells (Hamilton) into the race. Ready? Let's go!

Halifax, Nova Scotia: Ben Caplan

We start in Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The city is right on the Atlantic and because cities on the water are always artistically active, Mister Ben Caplan is not the first artist from Halifax I speak to. The first was Paper Beat Scissors, who can perform live both with an electronic beat computer and with a band.

But this time it is Ben Caplan’s turn: Ben Caplan, his signature artist with the long beard, long curly hair and the unmistakably rough whiskey voice, is known for his live shows. The folk-blues-klezmer bard puts on unforgettable concerts. How does he do it with his band? “At the end of a concert we are an open book on stage. We give everything. It is important to me to establish a connection with the audience. "He explains that he does not do pure folk, but mixes in other styles of music:" This solo number with only acoustic guitar does not work for me. You have to create something unique that captivates people. "

With his current album, "Birds With Broken Wings", the Canadian has been on tour almost consistently since it was released last year. Is that still fun? "Yes, yes. But to be honest, this is also a must, because I don't know how to earn money as a musician in 2016. ”(By the way: Since the beginning of his musician career, Caplan has played over 1200 shows.) He had 30 musicians for the recordings The Canadian can do all of this live with just three or four colleagues on stage. You have to be able to arrange things, says Caplan. He is right and he can do it.

What is the artist life like in Halifax? "Really good. Halifax is a relatively small city, but it's the largest city on Canada's east coast. A lot of artists, visual artists, musicians and movie people come there. You can work and relax there. ”And what is it like to be a musician in Canada? "That's great. We don't necessarily have to choose a genre [unlike our US colleagues]. We don't like to play by rules and mix everything together as and until we like it. ”- We like it too!

Montreal, Quebec: We Are Wolves

Continue to Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec. Anyone who has ever been to this city will not soon forget the certain vibe: everyone speaks French! In winter it is very windy and damn cold! In 1976, after Munich, you hosted the Olympic Games and have a stadium that somehow was never finished. You can ride a racing bike on their car racetrack. The city is very, very beautiful and it seems like everyone here is doing “something with art”. From Montreal we meet the four-man combo We Are Wolves. Of course, band members got to know each other at the art academy!

If you read what music We Are Wolves make, then you can get a confused description like “Fun Noise Punk Artsy Post-Core Pop”. Does it make sense? “Yes,” says the band, all of these influences would somehow appear in their songs. We Are Wolves regularly reinvent themselves, their new record "WRONG" was released in autumn: This is not only their first album on which the Franco-Canadians only sing in English, but also the one on which they hit new wave pop. It would have been time to sing in English and there would have been no equivalent for a title in French that would go with the record. "WRONG" is a reflection of the band's twelve-year history:

We Are Wolves still use electronic elements in their music, but employ them much more finely than at the beginning of their career. With one song they pay particular attention to the correct use of electronica: “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. It's the only cover We Are Wolves play and it's a fixture on their sets. It's fun to work with the song and you can't beat it because the original is amazing, according to the band. They just play their version, which is always changing.

We Are Wolves are from a completely different city than, for example, Ben Caplan: Montreal is artsy, the artists live here. Was that just my impression or is that really the case? “Yes, definitely,” We Are Wolves confirm. They further explain: “Everything is very 'bohemian'. The music scene is very diverse, all genres and subgenres and their future trends are represented. In Montreal you can still afford to live and live, so there is a steady flow of artistically active people from all over Canada and the USA in the city. Then of course there is also the music, which is French-oriented and thus covers a completely different area than the rest of Canada's music scene ”. Singer Alexander Ortiz continues: “You can tell that art affects everyone in Montreal and thus also influences the music. We sometimes met at the art academy, we're professional artists now! ”Okay, so one guy mainly did video installations and visual arts, one painting and graphic design, and one left the academy and skateboarded all the time.

We Are Wolves are a cheerful, colorful and artistically ambitious combo. They can lock themselves in a studio (the same one Nick Cave recorded before them, by the way) for a month and work on their album. They change all the time and take inspiration from the various currents in their hometown of Montreal. They love karaoke and if they were allowed to invent a genre of music for themselves it would be “mutant pop”, they agree: an ever-changing pop music that neither they nor their fans get bored.

So, at the end of our little foray through the second largest country in the world. The interviews with both bands were recorded during the Reeperbahn Festival. The second part is towards the end of the week.

photos: PR, Ursi Schmied