Published Mar 31, 2014Toronto art-rockers Weaves are the extension of main collaborators Jasmyn Burke and Morgan Waters. Together, they create strange, new sounds from their collective past projects, and that's clear on their upcoming self-titled debut EP, out tomorrow (April 1) via Buzz Records.
Some of you may remember Burke from her post as frontwoman of RatTail, or Waters' gig playing bass for Sweet Thing. Both come from different ends of the rock spectrum, which naturally led to a few clashes, starting with the band name itself.
"Morgan really wanted Weave with no 's'," Burke tells Exclaim!, as she pushed Weaves as a continuation of a hair theme stemming from her previous project (she also has a current solo project as Strands). "It's always going to be [my] project, and I was like, 'Come on, people might know RatTail a little!'"
Burke and Waters first struck up a working relationship after Waters attended Burke's second-ever solo performance as Weaves in Toronto. After taking a year off from music, Burke began experimenting with looping pedals to both sort out her sound, but also because she had no clue where to acquire new band members. Luckily, she didn't have to search far as Waters, impressed by Burke's skills, offered up his services almost immediately. What started off as a tentative working relationship soon crystallized into a full-on band, where Waters even took on playing guitar even though, as Burke reveals, "he's actually never played guitar in a band before, but he was like, 'Why not? Let's see how this goes.'"
RatTail came from a more crafty, DIY headspace that still lives within Weaves' oddball song structures. "There wasn't as much of a production quality to it," Burke admits, regarding her prior band's short discography of work. "It was sort of just me, as a young person, rattling away.
"But Morgan comes from bigger shows and production so, at first, we would clash because he'd be like, 'Where's the hook?' and I would just want to make people move. That juxtaposition kind of worked out, though."
That's more than evident on Weaves' EP. A disjointed collage of sounds within a structured world of chaos, Weaves' first offering captures a wide range of sounds from the fragmentary riffs of opener "Buttercup" to the menacing and spiralling rock of "Take a Dip." And it's not just the instruments that become malleable; Burke's voice also extends itself to cover a tUnE-yArDs-esque warble to tinges of R&B soulfulness. It doesn't sound like it's supposed to work, yet it does.
Live, Weaves transforms yet again. "I think we all like to improvise, especially onstage," says Burke, who is also joined by rhythm section Spencer Cole and Zach Bines live. "It's important to follow each other on different flows; I know sometimes I have a tendency to sing extra vocals so what's really nice about this band is that they're really tight, which allows me to be very loose and we all end up having fun onstage."
Although loose and relaxed, Burke does confess that she does view her strange demeanour — pacing back and forth, climbing things if possible — as another form of extension, one of her day-to-day behaviour.
"I don't even know where this walking thing came into play," she says. "I used to play guitar and when you don't have a guitar, you kind of have to figure out some way to perform because you don't want to just stand there like it's karaoke.
"You get really self-conscious and you don't always want to look at everyone directly so at least, if you walk around the stage, the audience has something fun to watch."