During Bully’s show in October at Lincoln Hall I got the chance to interview Montréal’s art rock band Heat with Olivia Vincent and Ian McDonald. We discussed Montreal's music scene, My Bloody Valentine and other topics.
Me: How did you first get into music in general?
SS: I grew up in New Brunswick in Canada. It was a smaller place in Canada it was just 50,000 people. A lot of touring bands skip Canada and then when they come they don’t go there or anywhere near me. I left there when I was 17 I moved to Montreal to go to school. Also like Chicago it’s a music city. Right away I figured out I wanted to be doing this. So for a few years I started a gigging with a lot of bands as bass player. After a few years of that I realized I wanted to be doing something else. So five years ago I started playing guitar more and doing demos.
Me: How would you describe the music scene in Montreal?
SS: It’s great, it is a French city. I live in Mile End its all-younger musicians. Anytime I leave the house I run into my friends in other bands. I played in a bunch of my friend’s bands they played in mine. It’s a really very community thing. At the same time I don’t know if I would describe ourselves as part of that scene. Because there is a Montreal scene and a Québec Scene.
Me: How did Heat form and how did you find your backing band?
SS: Well, I mean it’s the sort of thing where I knew like 40 different musicians but they
all had like 3 or 4 bands. And when I was playing I was always like in 5 bands.
So at the beginning we just kind of got my friends to play shows in shitty little bars.
And gradually, we started getting more attention. It’s one thing to ask my friend,
can you play a show on Friday? It’s another thing to ask hey can you come on tour for three weeks and quit your job. It took a little while. We changed line-ups. Matt our guitar player has been there since the beginning. We’ve worked pretty closely. We rotated a little bit with the bass and drums. It’s a really tight group we have right now and it’s working pretty well.
Me: What is your songwriting process like?
SS: Song writing wise I primarily write the bass, lyrics and music of the song. I’ll come in with a demo and we will tinker with it and figure out what works.
Me: Where do you guys get your inspirations?
SS: We get a lot of Lou Reed and Velvet underground sort of stuff. I love that music, Lou Reed was the first guy I listened too he really touched me a lot. We take a lot from that street poet New York kind of vibe. We also draw from guitar bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride a bunch of shoegaze bands.
IM: Have you ever seen My Bloody Valentine?
SS: I did I saw them at their last tour.
IM: I saw them at the Aragon ballroom which is a, few miles away, a couple of years ago. It’s the greatest show I’ve ever been too.
SS: Hmm some of the greatest show I’ve ever seen was The Replacements when they first reunited that was such a sick show. My Bloody Valentine was amazing, it was super loud it was great.
IM: I’ve never been to a show where after where no one claps and no one says a thing for five minutes and than after people walk out so orderly.
SS: I remember walking out with pounding and ringing in my ears.
IM: Yeah like thinking what just happened?
SS: It was super cool to see just like with The Replacements, I’ve loved those records and I never thought I would see them live. They’re great live bands.
OV: I saw The Replacements at Riot Fest with The Pixies in 2013.
SS: I saw them at Riot Fest that was the best show I’ve seen. We got to play Riot Fest too in Toronto.
Me: Do you guys get compared to Ought a lot? You guys have very similar vocals.
SS: We both have a speaking aspect. This is the first band I sang in. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing. I at first really hated singing. I take pleasure in lyrics and stuff like that. It is it’s own art form. I think I have run into the guys from Ought both being in the Montreal Scene. I respect what they do.
Me: How do you like touring?
SS: I definitely generally like touring. This is our first longer tour. It’s five weeks on the road. Prior to that we did two weeks in Europe and just a week or two here and there. It has its downsides; I can’t really remember where I was two days ago or yesterday. You just go to a new city and go to a different venue. But it’s not a huge price to pay to be a working musician and to be touring. It’s really cool you get to travel around and play shows. This tour in particular we’re really happy touring with Bully. We’re huge fans of them they have a great record. I used to do van sleeping when I was 18 to 21.We stay in hotels. I used to party and sleep on people’s floor. Now that a little older even though I’m not that much it just is very tiring. It’s hard to live on people’s floors for like a month.
Me: if you weren’t a musician what other job and interests do you have?
SS: I mean I don’t know. At a really early age, at 17, I dropped out of school to be doing music. I’ve done most service jobs. At the time I was really unhappy being a waiter. But music is my passion I would be happy doing that as long as I was doing music.
Me: Is your next album going to be on a label?
SS: We’re still shopping around right now. After this tour we’re going straight to the studio to record this album. We self released the EP but then we got reissued on via Kitsune this cool French label which is actually also a fashion label started by the Daft Punk producers.
Meg Magats, Music Librarian
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