code pie. interview #43

Whenever I listen to bands like Code Pie, I get myself thinking about what it takes for a band to reach massive success... I'm aware that some bands don't have this goal - and I simply adore that - but really, what does it take?
Code Pie completes a decade in 2012 having released three absolutely stunning albums and you, indie lover, probably don't know that. I'll focus my words on their latest album 'Love Meets Rage', released last April on their own label, Flagless Records.
This album was built during a period of two years and it's a complex, profound and intricate combination of (love and rage) layers of crafting and feelings, going from C86 sappy pop and reaching powerful ballads (but not before passing through some shoegaze and reverberations). All put together, in one song, managing to give you a feeling that everything's in its right place, tempo and rhythm. Beneath the noise of reverberations or distorted guitars, there's a beautiful and delicate piano. When the noise is gone, there's this dreamy and dense horn/trumpet carrying a song like a cloud over the city. Just like that:  without any visible (or listenable) effort.
Take 'North Side City View', for instance: a 4 minute song that starts very pop-ish and suddenly turns into an instrumental-almost-ambient song that slowly builds up into a crescendo and takes you along, you wanting or not... the same happens in 'Morning After'.
What makes Code Pie stand out from other bands from the (amazing) Canadian scene, is their ability to keep an aesthetic unity and, at the same time, not holding back when building the tension for their musical combinations (again, love and rage).
Here's to you your new favourite Canadian band.

Before the interview, check an awesome video and cover for 'Baby', a song from fellow Canadian singer  Justin Bieber.

01. Tell us about the origins of the band and what were your expectations when it all started. And where does the name come from? 
Enzo had been recording music on his computer for a while and we met through an ad I posted on some music-related website (I don't really remember what the ad said, but I'm sure it would be embarrassing now.). I was looking to start an instrumental/post-rock kind of band, and for some reason, that appealed to him. I added guitar parts to the songs he had already written, and over the next couple of years, we started playing with Vince Varano, Rebecca Lessard, Eva Boodman and Michel Semienchuk. With the exception of Michel, who I met, Enzo "recruited" everyone he's to blame. I don't think anyone had any real expectations. If they did, I'm sure they haven't been met!

As for the name, I think it originally suited the more digital sounding stuff that Enzo was doing.
"A celebration pizza, order after successfully writing and debugging a program" *
I don't think any of us are particularly fond of it, but whatever, we're Code Pie.

02. If you had to materialize your music, how it would look like?
In the past I might have said "like a thick beef and vegetable stew" (because I'm always hungry) but these days I think we're more like a glass of Vermouth on ice (because I'm currently thirsty).

03. Your music is quite dense in terms of textures, layers, walls of sound and vocal reverbs. Put all this together, you have this strong sense of nostalgia. How’s the creation of a song? What I mean is: how do you go adding layer by layer until the moment you say ‘ok, it’s ready.’ And what do you think is your ‘aesthetic’ (in case you think you have one)?
We usually stumble on song ideas during jam sessions. It can be a guitar pattern, a drum beat or bass line, anything really that gets everyone locked in and playing something that we all like.
From there we generally would record a sort of live base track, with guitars, drums, bass, cello or keys. Then we just let it marinate for a while, and usually the layers sort of happen by themselves. Someone will get an idea for a vocal melody or percussion part and add it, and that invariably leads to another idea and another layer. What this does, though, is that it leaves creating the actual "finished song" to the mixing process, where you then have to ask yourself "do we really need 65 vocal tracks?"
I don't think we're particularly nostalgic, we're just geeky music fans. And our tastes and interests are pretty varied, so that lends itself to trying different things.

04. ‘Love Meets Rage’ is – to say the least – a colorful album for its diversity of genres and references. All the songs have this playfulness attached to them… and they also seem to have the ‘Love’ and the ‘Rage’ inside them, going from bright and popish to dark with distortion or melancholic moments. This also reassures the sense of bricolage and nostalgia that I mentioned before. How’s the process of making the album?   
A friend of Enzo's told us that he hated the title of the album. I think he called it "trite". He's probably right, but I think it describes our music pretty well. We've always had both pretty, "warm" sounds and louder more aggressive music. Those two sides are more obvious on this one, mostly because the songs come from 2-years worth of jams. Most bands would touch on a variety of styles over that length of time, and I think the album represents that.
Love Meets Rage
As for the process, I wouldn't really recommend it (unless you're looking to be miserable). We recorded everything we did over 2 years and then went back and listened to it, picking out the songs we thought had potential. Some of the finished songs are actually built on first takes.

05. Your albums were all recorded and produced by the band and released on your own Flagless Records (except the latest, also released by Indiecater Records). Why did you decided to do so? Was it for freedom… or because you wanted to put something out but there was no one supporting you…  or because you’re DIYers by heart…?
It was a combination of everything. We haven't really had much support, but I think we're all more comfortable just DIY-ing it.

06. I’m curious to know how’s a live performance from Code Pie…  What one can expect when going to your shows?
We're probably a lot louder than people would expect listening to our music. Also, we're not really into banter. It's more of a Ramones-esque sprint through our set list.

07.  You have just released an album. What happens just after an album is given to the public.. Devastating void? Sense of pride?
Again, a bit of both. I think we're all happy with the album, so there is some pride there, but when you're an independent band, it's easy to fall into a sort of void. Your album can slip through the cracks pretty quickly.
What are the plans in terms of touring, promotion, videos… What’s next?
We just put out a video on youtube for a cover we did of Justin Bieber's Baby.
There will be some more videos for songs on the album soon. We're putting together more shows in Canada in the summer and we're talking about a tour of Europe in the winter.

08. Any new bands from Montreal that you’d like to recommend or think everyone should know?
We like Smuglaz.

09. A place and time to hear your music.
Our last album was louder, so maybe that's a good summer/going out record. This one may be more of a morning, driving through a snowstorm album. Then again, I'm not sure, I rarely listen to our music!

10. If I say ‘dizzy and in love’, which music comes to your mind?
Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals (but any Phil Spector song from the 60's could fit the "dizzy and in love" description).

11. Anything else you feel like saying?
I can't stop thinking of beef and vegetable stew now...though I'll probably just have a vermouth on ice instead (it's easier).


No comments: