Photo by Austin Tuffs & Tam Vu
Coming off the success of last year’s groundbreaking full-length Deep In The Iris, Montreal art rock trio Braids have just released a new 4-track Companion EP on Arbutus Records. Clocking in at 19 minutes, the EP was written during the Deep In The Iris sessions and recorded in August of 2015. Much like its predecessor, the Companion EP is a powerful and unrestrained composition with a beautiful, breathtaking aesthetic. Be warned – fall too deep into this one and you’ll get lost in a sea of intricate layers that will both sway you peacefully and crash against you with vigour. Although written alongside Deep In The Iris, the Companion EP is a stand-alone record that once again proves why Braids is and will continue to be a major force to be reckoned with.
I caught up with frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston to discuss the EP and where the band is at now ahead of their show at Ritual Nightclub on Saturday. Have a read below.
Having some records under your belt now, how does the band deal with the pressure of making new music following the success of Deep In The Iris?
It depends on where the pressure is coming from. If you’re feeling outside pressure, like the expectation to write a hit or something, and you let that get to you, then you’ll likely fall flat on your face, for some people that kind of ‘I want to write a huge record’ works but for us it doesn’t really fuel us in the proper way.. When the pressure is more of an internal one, and one that stems from a desire to go further with creativity, where you just want to make something really good, and get better at your instrument, and write something that you connect with, then that pressure can be a really exciting and fuelling source of inspiration and drive.
It’s about balancing your desire for connecting with more people and your creative desires that makes for a happy writing experience and a record that one is proud of. I think this kind of question extends outside of the realm of making music and into other areas of my life. When I let the pressure of what is ‘expected of me’ cross over into my life, I usually have a quite stressful time. But if the pressure is coming from me to improve, to expand upon certain areas of my life, than it can be a really exciting phase of my life. DON’T LET THE MAN GET YOU DOWN !
The band mentioned that Companion was written during the Deep In The Iris sessions, but recorded in a “burst of creative energy last August.” Can you talk a bit about this creative burst?
We had been touring very intensely for 4 months and were itching to write together again as we hadn’t written since finishing Deep In The Iris almost a year prior. So we had some time off in August and BAM we got some songs together! We put the pedal to the metal.
Moving forward as the years go on, how has Braids grown as a band?
[Laughs] I could write you a novela about the change we’ve gone through!! I think the main thing is that we’ve become really comfortable with each other and more comfortable in our own skin. That quality has played into the band in a huge way – we take more risks, we write more from our hearts, we put ourselves out there more.
The bands mentioned on their Facebook page last year that you were trying to break down some barriers, and be raw and vulnerable. ‘Miniskirt’ was certainly a powerful song that did that, and sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Now that some time has passed since its release, what impact do you hope this song and album have had?
I hope more than anything that the album allowed for people to experience different parts of themselves. We’re all made up of so many experiences, so many memories and so many emotions, and sometimes as humans we put all those feelings away, to get on with things, to be more productive, etc etc etc. Music has allowed me to relive emotions or experience new ones in a safe and beautiful way. I would hope that we were also able to give that to people.
Can audiences expect a lot of new material to be played at shows on this tour?
What’s next for the band after this tour?
We’re heading to the UK for a mini tour. We’re playing Glastonbury for the first time which we’re very excited about. Can’t wait to see Adele play live!! We then do some Canadian and US touring for the summer and begin writing our next record in the fall. xo
Catch Braids at Ritual Nightclub on Saturday, June 4 with support from ginla presented by Spectrasonic. Grab tickets online here or head over to Vertigo Records in-person.