Weaves are a band that must be on your radar. The Toronto-based band just released their self-titled debut EP at the beginning of the month and it’s a colourful, crazy ride from start to finish. I chatted with lead singer Jasmyn Burke about the EP, their visuals, their recent performance at SXSW, and more.
Weaves play the latest “Perdu Presents” show at The Baltimore House this Thursday, April 10th, alongside Odonis Odonis, Allegories, and Eschaton. [Facebook event]
IHH: Starting with how Weaves came together – you were in a previous band before [RatTail] and then had some time away from making music. How did you first connect with bandmate Morgan [Waters] to form Weaves? Did you know right away you were onto something?
Jasmyn: I took about a year off post Rattail to kind of figure out if I wanted to play music or try another path. But I quickly just started writing again and decided to play some solo shows under the name Weaves. Morgan came to one of the two solo shows I played and approached me after asking if I’d be interested in collaborating. We had a few sessions with him and I reworking demos and I think from pretty early on we, at least, knew that we enjoyed working together and that we wanted to create something that sounded fresh.
There are so many sounds going on in your music – what are some of your influences?
It’s funny because people keep bringing up the fact that there must be so many different influences but it’s probably less than what you’d assume. I think when writing songs, I’m not a good enough guitar player to emulate anyone, so I loop until something works. Morgan’s the real player so he elevates those sounds.
I’m just going to start saying that collectively influences might include Ween, Bjork, Led Zeppelin, gospel singers in general and The Staple Singers.
Your debut self-titled EP is out now – the five songs are so solid and you cover a lot of ground and it’s a great introduction to the band. I love it! With a few singles released already, did you feel like an EP was a better way to go than putting out a full length at this time?
Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the sounds. I think an EP is always a great introduction to any band — just a little piece of the chocolate bar. We have a large catalog of music and we’re always working on new material, but we had begun releasing stuff to float around in the Internet world so it just made sense to put it all together in one clump for consumption. We felt like it made most sense to wait to release a full-length as we’re still figuring out our sound. When we make that leap we want it to be something we know really sounds like a Weaves record, ya know.
I also love all of the bright, colourful visuals you use, from the album art, to photo shoots, and new video for “Buttercup.” I always appreciate when bands put that much into the visuals and the aesthetic side. How important are the visuals for you? Do you ever start with an image or visual, and that influences the music? Or is it the other way around?
I think the visuals are essential to a project like this because it’s sort of fantasy music wandering around pretending to be in a band. Also with “Buttercup” as the lead single, I always just imagined the artwork having to be really bright and almost pungent.
I also get into a “library-hole” where I’ll go and collect visuals and words, which I then keep in my idea box. Then I pitch zany concepts and hope other creative people will jump on board! But regarding our videos, Jason Harvey (director or “Buttercup” and “Motorcycle”) is a really unique, lovely human whom you sort of just have to trust in order for the process to work. I also think in some weird way his visuals are made for a band like us because he likes to get bizarre and so do we!
You played SXSW this year – that gives huge exposure for newer bands. What was that experience like for you? How did you find the audiences there?
It was a fun festival to participate in, but it’s really just become a corporate party. It was great to see a lot of cool bands over the course of a few days but it’s really hard to see much because it’s so busy! Our shows were fun and we got to play alongside our buddies in Odonis Odonis and others, but really none of us can compete with the big acts that now play the festival. It’s less about discovery and more about labels and agents, etc. so I’d say… Overrated ha
I caught a show of yours once before at The Baltimore House and it was so much fun to watch. You have a really theatrical element to your live show. What’s the process like when you’re coming up with ways to present the songs live?
I think that if we thought about it, it wouldn’t actually work.
I’m really excited to see you again at The Baltimore House – how did you like the venue when you first played it? I think the vibe of the setting fit the band well. Super excited for this whole lineup along with you – Odonis Odonis, Eschaton, and Allegories (Allegories are rad – I think you’ll like them too, if you haven’t seen them yet!)
Oh yeah it’s a cool venue. Sexy lighting. Sexy smoke machine, if I remember correctly. It’ll be a good one. And we just got our CDs so we’ll bring a batch.
Favourite place to eat in Hamilton: We went to this juice place during the Art Crawl last time. I can’t remember the name but they had really good, fresh, healthy juice. Very close to the church on James Street. [Green Smoothie Bar]
Favourite breakfast food: Eggs, scrambled.
If you were an alcoholic beverage, what would you be? Um, probably a classic, run-of-the-mill, piece of shit kind. So let’s say PBR.
Your go-to karaoke song: Karaoke makes me nervous. When you’re a singer everyone thinks you’ll be great, but my voice is too nasally for most songs.
If you could speak flawlessly with any other accent, what would it be? French
Favourite word: Like, but it’s a love hate thing
Favourite concert/live performance you’ve seen: No Doubt in grade 5
What is on your playlist right now: Lorde, Mac DeMarco and I’m really digging Jean-Claude Vannier right now. All very fresh, very slick and I love a good pop song.
If you could detour to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Take me back to the Caribbean please. Very chill, very warm.
Favourite mode of transportation: Bicycle! But I just bought rollerblades.
What’s one thing on your bucket list: Be in a successful band, ha
Thanks very much to Jasmyn for taking the time to talk! I look forward to Thursday at The Baltimore House – this is going to be a stellar show.