By Sun Noor
Yesterday marked the start of Laval’s annual Diapason Festival, which is situated at the Berge-des-Baigneurs site in Sainte-Rose. It consists of of a weekend filled with music and art at such a great, if not the best price point: absolutely free! This occasion also allocated free bus rides to and from the festival throughout this entire weekend, making the festival goer’s trip even more worth while. The festival is celebrating with their tenth anniversary this year, which caused for the installation of their very first exciting campsite. Organizers also put in place various shows through the festivals that are due to take place around the neighbourhood in unconventional locations such as a library, a bus, and an ice cream parlour
Interestingly, the Montreal-based alternative rock band Plants and Animals who are due to play a show later on tonight have also just celebrated the ten year anniversary of their debut, Parc Avenue. I caught up with the band’s guitarist Nic Basque ahead of the festival in order to look back on their career-defining first record as well as what is next for the band.
Well first off I’d like to congratulate you on Parc Avenue’s 10th anniversary, how do you feel about this milestone of having it be ten years since the release of your debut record?
Nic: Thanks. It feels like it happened yesterday, but we feel proud to have managed to keep a band together for so long (over 15 years we’ve been playing together) and to have been part of that special musical moment in Montréal.
Looking back at that record now do you still feel the same way about it as you did once releasing it back in 2008?
Nic: We didn’t have too much expectations when we did that record, we wanted to do a special record and make it the best record we could do at that time, so to me it feels like a postcard of what we were creatively and musically.
You’ve played numerous shows in celebration of the albums anniversary including your shows at Le Ministere (which were incredible) a headlining slot at folk fest recently, how have these shows been?
Nic: They have been really fun. We did those shows with a bass player, a keyboard player and a backup/percussions/synth musician. We used to to tour these songs in trio, it’s nice to hear most of the arrangements present. It’s an exciting record to play, there is lot of place for mouvements and changes.
Has there been a memorable show from that short run?
Nic: All the shows had their special moments. Montréal is home, so those shows are always quite inspiring and special, playing in front of family and friends.
Let’s jump into the the records anniversary edition, what made you guys decide to revisit the record and release some of the outtakes?
Nic: It’s been in the back of our mind for some time. We always liked those outtakes and we were waiting for a special moment to release them. Also, we often meet people on tour who tell us that Parc Avenue is a special record for them, it just felt right to celebrate its tenth anniversary
You’ve previously mentioned that the record was derived from an experimental approach, has that same approach been implemented within your most recent records as well?
Nic: Definitely with Waltzed in from the Rumbling. We tend to experiment in the studio and we try to keep evolving, not repeat what we have done already.
I know it’s been a while since your latest record but are you currently working on anything new?
Nic: Yes, we’ve been in the studio a few times and have a couple songs close to finish. We’re aiming to release something this spring.
Interestingly you’ll be playing Diapason festival’s tenth anniversary and organizers decided to hold a few shows in unusual settings such as libraries, ice cream trusts and cruise ships so for that reason I wanted to know if you recall playing shows in unusual settings?
Nic: We’ve played in a mine (1 km under), different kind of stores, in a restaurant on a beach in Italy, on a farm near Venezia, in appartements in Paris and Bruxelles. The mine is the most intense place we’ve played.
Lastly what are your current favourite records?
Nic: these days:
Standing on the corner
Vivien Goldman – Resolutionary (songs 1979-1982)
Arthur RUssel – Calling out of context
Jon Hopkins – singularity
Sonic Youth – daydream nation
Ludovic Alarie – L’appartement
Stereolab – Switched On
Frank Ocean – Blonde
Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Download/Stream Parc Avenue 10th Anniversary Edition here.