By Jill LangloisThe unintentional brainchild of Charles F., Montreal’s newest outfit, Winter Gloves, is catching the ears of music lovers and critics alike. The synth-heavy quartet just polished off their CMW debut with good reviews in tow, and will be hitting the road again for Exclaim!’s own 16th Anniversary Tour. Charles took some time out of his schedule to answer some questions about what makes his new band tick.
Since Winter Gloves is so new, can you explain what kind of band you are? It actually started as a solo project, so I just began to write a few songs with my Wurlitzer and had some fun with synths and drums over it. I had some songs and just put them on MySpace. Then there were just a couple of people that told my, "Oh wow, they’re really interesting. You should do something with that.” But I was in another band at the time.
What was the other band? It’s called Lady Grey. But it’s not really well known. It was a band out of Quebec City. Anyway, so I just talked to a couple friends of mine who I wanted to work with. So I called Louis Fernandez who plays the guitar and glockenspiel, and Vincent Chalifour – another friend of mine – and Patrick Sayers. We just started a band together, and now we’re Winter Gloves. We’re a pretty new band. It’s been less than a year now. I think we’re kind of synth rock, but we like to have fun and call it glock rock.
Is what you’re doing now a lot different than what you were doing with your other band? Yeah, totally, because the other band was more of a guitar band. It was definitely different because it was more aggressive. Winter Gloves is pretty different because, for us, the most important thing is the melodies. We’re really inspired by dance beats and things like that, but at the same time, the melodies are the most important things in the music.
You just finished recording your first full-length record. What’s the album going to sound like? At first we wanted to do something very garage, but at the same time we have a couple of songs that needed to be warmer. It’s kind of warm, but it’s indie rock at the same time. It’s hard to tell for me because it’s so early in the process, but we’re very happy with it so far. Basically, the entire album is about seduction and urban lifestyle. Because we’re from the suburbs the city is very exciting for us.
You described your About a Girl EP as having "a pleasant dirty sound.” How did you make that happen? On the EP it was pretty easy because I had only one microphone and I was recording at home, but on the record what we did was recorded a couple of tracks outside the studio and kept some of the noises. Sometimes we played things without plugging them into the amp and recorded it with a microphone, so when you listen to the album you can hear the fingers knocking on the keys. There are certain things like that that we still used in the recording of the album. For sure it’s not as garage and you don’t have the dirty sound of the EP on the new album, but there’s definitely that touch that we kept.
Do you think that type of sound translates well to your live show? Actually it’s pretty different live because there’s a lot more energy. The album is probably closer to our live gigs than the EP. On the EP I’m the only one playing everything, and on the album we’re the band, so the dynamics are very, very different.
How do you think being from Montreal has affected the way you’ve been perceived? There are a lot of good bands from Montreal, but at the same time it doesn’t matter because we’re just a band playing music and we try to have fun and have people dancing with us. Maybe a couple of people are just tired of hearing about bands from Montreal or others are just like, "Oh another band from Montreal! That’s so exciting! There are so many good bands there.” But to be honest, I don’t really mind being associated with that.