Monday, October 6, 2008

HPX preview:: Chad Peck of Kestrels

We have been a little lax on the HPX coverage so far. More or less, we've been locking down the herohill / I Heart Music showcases, and scanning the lineup for the other shows we want to hit up (Retribution Gospel Choir anyone?)

One act I'm going to be seeing is Kestrels. The noyes three-piece hits you with a big ole wall of sound, and front man Chad Peck was nice enough to sit down with us and answer a few questions. Enjoy.


HH:: After having the chance to see you play live and hear your recorded work, Kestrels seem to really move towards bigger, distorted "walls of sound" on stage as compared to the more melodic recordings on the 7". Is this something you guys hope to replicate on the full length or are you hoping to be a band that can deliver a different style live and on record?
CP:: We're definitely still cutting our teeth as a live act and figuring out how to translate our recordings into a live language. Despite the fact that the 7" was more or less a home recording, we spent a lot of time layering sounds and trying to make things 'right' as opposed to just documenting our live sound...so the songs ended up with Rhodes, synth, xylophone, acoustic guitars, trumpet, and multiple backup singers (not to mention a healthy dose of obscure guitar pedals and weird vintage stereo tube amps). I think the b-side "On Our Time" had something like 50 tracks when it came time to mix. The overdubs definitely paid off in my mind.

As a three piece, we had to succumb to the fact that we wouldn't be a carbon copy of our record, so we picked the 'broad strokes' and went with them. I think we're doing a formidable job of it, although a poor sound system really hurts our band in a live setting. I really feel strongly that the recording process and the live performance are two separate entities...obviously there is some crossover, but I can get mildly obsessed with the recording process and go a little crazy. I guess reading stories about Kevin Shields and Brian Wilson has worn off on me.

We have 5 songs tracked for the LP so far, and they are fairly diverse stylistically. They are still melodically based and very dynamic. I think the overall vibe will be close to the songs on the 7", but we'll have 10 songs to make our point instead of 2. It's still very 'anything goes' at the moment, which is really exciting, and we're really prolific. We're attacking it two-three songs at a time, which is proving to be very fruitful. Current influences are My Bloody Valentine, Elvis Costello, the Inbreds, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Death Cab For Cutie, and Dinosaur Jr. I think people who liked the 7" will be into it, because those were more or less the influences for that! We'll likely be finished by the end of January for a March release on sweet 12" vinyl.


HH:: Since you run noyes, I was wondering how you made the decision to put out your own material? When you started the band, was it more to play music you loved or to come up with a sound you thought could move units?
CP:: When I started Noyes, I thought it was going to be purely limited to short run release of Truro bands. It has a life of its own now. Moving units was never a huge concern, but it's really nice to have it be self sufficient. In terms of Kestrels, it just made sense to put it out while the label is gaining steam. It'd feel wrong to have it out on any other label, to be honest. We have the best family.


HH:: Right now Halifax seems to be really hitting its stride. A lot of acts are touring nationally and getting good press. Being involved in the scene as a musician and from the label point of view, how do you feel about the scene these days?
CP:: People seem to be taking notice, and it's about time. This is a pretty obvious statement, but there is a lot of talent in the city. The long drive from Halifax to Montreal is pretty daunting, but with the internet it makes anything possible (this opens the door for a lot of shit, though). Booking shows is relatively easy, and people seem to be more into live music than ever. Hopefully we'll see some new venues in 2009.

HH:: I know you guys are on a terrific lineup for HPX – Jay Reatard is one of the big name draws this year – but I'm wondering what's next for you guys? Are you hoping to get out on the road for some shows or is getting the LP finished the first priority?
CP:: Definitely recording with some choice shows here and there. That Pop Explosion show is going to be crazy, though - it's such a great lineup. A few people are grumbling that it's a weird mix of bands, but it's going to be loud and incredible. Get there early, because we're on first! Also, as the Noyes guy, I can say that I feel like a proud father. We'll hit the road for real after the LP is in our greedy hands. Also, nice job on the Hero Hill showcase...

HH:: Sticking with HPX, lots of bands and fans will be making their way to Halifax for a few days. What would you recommend to someone here for the first time?
CP:: The Wooden Monkey. I am in love with their sundried tomato/mushroom vegan pizza. Their lemonade is great as well. Everything in Halifax is so close together, so I'd just say head downtown and enjoy the many pleasures...as a guy who lives a good hour and a half outside the city, I just like the idea of being in late night coffee shops and walking around. It's actually something I think about more than I should.

HH:: Ok, last question. It's getting close to the end of the year and everyone makes lists of their favorite records. In '08, what were your favorites?
CP:: Good question! I'm pretty bad for listening to new music, but here goes...I'll probably include other records that I 'discovered' this year.
  • Tomcat Combat - I'm Ok You're Ok
  • The Memories Attack - S/T 2 (out in time for Pop Ex! So it counts...I can't wait for people to hear this record...it's also coming out on an American label, tUMULt.)
  • Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
  • Nada Surf - Lucky
  • LEVY - Glorious
  • Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
That's pretty much it. Other things that treated me well in 2008 but may or may not have been released in 2008: 'The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived' by Weezer, Doug Mason, Elvis Costello's 'This Year's Model' record, the MBV reunion, my new Asics Tigers, The Office (US and UK), Paul Auster, my new glasses, Clif bars, Yo La Tengo, 'The Crane Wife 3' by the Decemberists (the song), Life Without Buildings, LEVY's 'Rotten Love' record, The Got To Get Got's cover of 'Ne Mosquitos Pass', Burn To Shine 5, Harvey Danger's 'Little by Little' record, 'Web in Front' by Archers of Loaf, Fender Jazzmasters, Rickenbacker 360s, Gibson J-45s, my old apartment, the Medium Mood tour in March and the biggest snowstorm Quebec City has seen in ages, Noyes Records, going to see my favorite band ASH in the UK in early September, secretly blogging and not giving the address to anyone, Noel Macdonald, my cats Wilco and Neima, my dog Ringo, Motown, Moonsocket, Frank Sinatra, Dave Eggers, quoting Larry David, getting a vintage 1972 Orange tube amp for $300, Gastr Del Soul, Billy Bragg and Wilco, this amazing Paul Stanley bootleg cd that consists entirely of stage banter that my friend Adam gave to me (this needs to be heard to be believed), Robin Hart Hiltz, adaming.com, Pavement, R. Kelly's 'Real Talk' video, The Shins, my brothers, Jon Dacey, Tim Wheeler, I liked a few songs on the Scarlett Johansson record, and the Weakerthans 'Left and Leaving' record.

That was pretty cathartic. I should do that more often.

Posted at 7:30 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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