Take The Boys (28 juillet 2008)

Entrevue de Val & Cath avec Angela, Brian & Raf

Au printemps dernier, Val et moi avons eu le privilège de remplacer Aaron Lakoff (hôte de l'émission Roots Rock Rebel, sur les ondes de CKUT 90,3FM) alors que celui-ci nous quittait quelques mois pour l'Europe. De ce poste temporaire est ressorti bien de belles choses, mais probablement aucune autant que le lien que nous avons eu l'opportunité de créer avec la formation locale TAKE THE BOYS.

Combien de choses se sont écoulées pour eux depuis février dernier! Voici un entretien qui a eu lieu lors de notre toute première rencontre, bonifié de quelques ajouts post-entrevue. La formation reggae / soul / rock montréalaise saura vous charmer en huit secondes si vous leur donnez la chance. Ils seront en tête d'affiche du Dollar-A-Ska (une présentation de PunkMeUp) qui aura lieu à l'Absynthe le vendredi 8 août prochain, pour la modique somme d'un gros dollar!

[CATH] How is it going?

[ANGELA] Fantabulous!

[CATH] Fantabulous! Love it, that's great! Let's dive right into this: Where does the name TAKE THE BOYS come from? I'm very curious.

[ANGELA] Who wants to take that one? [looking at her band mates]

[BRIAN] Go for it!

[ANGELA] Actually it comes from the laziness of my family.

[CATH] *Hi mom!*

[ANGELA] Growing up we always had dogs and it was a big thing every night trying to get one of the kids to take the dogs out. ‘Who's going to take the boys?’, and my dad going in tyrade, so nice story. So basically it came from my old man yelling at us when we were kids...

[CATH] That's a good memory to hang on to! How did you guys all meet? Have you known each other for a long time?

[BRIAN] The internet is a fabulous thing.

[CATH] Oh! You're an internet story!

[BRIAN] Yes, very interesting.

[ANGELA] Don't tell my mom though, she thinks we met at the Jazz Festival!

[CATH] Now she knows!

[BRIAN] Seriously, Angelaand I met somewhere through cyberspace and I think it's the same thing with Raf.

[RAF] We met at a speed dating actually.

[BRIAN] Yeah it was a little bit different, he just walked in and played drums. [laughs] And then he joined the band!

[RAF] That was actually after Brian invited me over because we had a speed dating thing that we met at, it was like [with a sexy voice] 'why don't you stop by, and we'll...’ No but I'm just kidding. [laughs]

[CATH] Awesome!

[RAF] I'm just kidding. I'm the drummer.

[ANGELA] [laughs]

[CATH] How long have you been together as a band?

[ANGELA] The three of us it's been a year and a half about, the band has been in existence for over two years but we only count the years with Raf.

[CATH] Oh! That's cute! How about your personal backgrounds? Are you all from Montreal or around here?

[RAF] Oh, big point to me!

[CATH] Yes, you're the outsider!

[RAF] I am the outsider. From Venezuela, the land far away. But I actually lived in Ottawa for a while and just moved over recently to Montreal, that's when I met these guys.

[CATH] Okay, cool.

[BRIAN] I'm born and raised in Montreal. Pretty exotic.

[CATH] Very.

[ANGELA] I was brought up on the South Shore...

[CATH] Ahh!

[ANGELA] Oh, what? Why? What? Did I bring up some kind of south shore spirit here?

[CATH] No, I guess not, I'm kidding, go ahead, whereabouts?

[ANGELA] Chambly, it's a hardcore town.

[CATH] Wherever you grew up, how did that influenced your relationship to music? If it had any influence…

[ANGELA] I don't think it did. I think it's mostly friends and family for me personally that influenced my musical taste. I don't know about you guys [talking to her band].

[BRIAN] Good question. Let me think about that.

[RAF] I think just coming from that sort of background I come… they're sort of playing like the North America top forty's stuff, but at the same time you get that sort of Latin music that you don't get here, so I guess both sort of influences influenced me.

[CATH] Nice vocabulary!

[RAF] Thanks!

[ANGELA] We all graduated in grade six !

[CATH] [laughs] Awesome! Are there any specific bands that had a strong impact on you? Either back then or now.

[BRIAN] Artists?

[CATH] Whatever.


[BRIAN] Yeah, we're all into old school funk and soul, reggae, rocksteady… stuff like that.

[RAF] [talking over Brian] STEVIE WONDER

[ANGELA] [talking over Raf] RAY CHARLES

[RAF] [talking over Angela] BOB MARLEY

[ANGELA] Name dropping.


[ANGELA] [laughs]

[RAF] We hang out with them, all the time. We're good friends. In our heads.

[ANGELA] In our heads, we call them and all! [laughs]

[CATH] Phone numbers. I want phone numbers…. So, there is a chick in this band and I think it's great! We don't have much female representation out there in local bands I think. Especially on lead vocals.

[ANGELA] And lead guitar!

[CATH] AND lead guitar! Geez…

[BRIAN] Lookout- the chick can play an instrument!

[CATH] I have to say your voice it's very very particular, it's very powerful and it's very wonderful!

[ANGELA] Thank you.

[CATH] When did you find out you could sing that way?

[ANGELA] Well I've been singing ever since I could talk, which is very early. Yeah, my parents kept telling me to shut up! But I guess my voice comes the music I was brought up on. I was brought up on a lot of blues and old rock and my dad was a huge fan of Ray Charles, James Brown. I think the first song I've ever sang and that really I went like ‘Really? Oh wow, I can sing like that!’ was Georgiaby Ray Charles. I was just singing you know, in the bathtub and like a total moron I was like, ‘Okay, wow. This is different’. I think I was like twelve or thirteen.

[CATH] Cool.

[ANGELA] I just keep on going from there.

[CATH]> No specific training of any kind? Any serious vocal training?
[ANGELA] I was in the South Shore children's choir. That's a cute little thing that kids do. I was in that for five years but nothing serious. It all comes from... I don't want what I usually say but yes, it comes from the gut!

[CATH] Is there some kind of philosophy behind this band, maybe in the sense of how you look at music and what music means to you? Are there any shared common thoughts on this issue?

[ANGELA] Ahh! They're both looking at me again!

[CATH] They always do that don't they?

[ANGELA] I know. I don't know, for me it's just a way to voice my beliefs and my value system. I'm a strong believer and being socially conscious being responsible for what we do and things you consume and this is a good way to do reach people, because I'm a preachy person! I try to reach friends that way and I try to have a good time.

[RAF] Yeah it's damn fun!

[ANGELA] It is!

[BRIAN] Actually what I really like specifically in Angela's vocals and her writing is that it's actually stuff with a meaning. She doesn't like writing anything that is not going to do something or go somewhere or have some sort of inspiration. But at the same time, I like the other side of it that we don't like doing songs that are not booty shaking and will get you dancing and stuff like that. I like that sort of balance to over-simplify the music

[ANGELA] … conscious and booty shaking!

[RAF] It's a fine balance.

[CATH] People seem to dig it! Let's talk about studio work.

[RAF] We recorded a full length album with producer Tim Greencorn at Little Chicago Studio in Ottawa. He's worked with FEIST, LAST SUPPER and a bunch of different guys.

[CATH] Why are you recording it in Ottawa?

[BRIAN] A friend of a friend sort of worked with him, we went out there and we like it. We liked the vibe there, we liked the actual studio. We sort of liked the idea of working outside where we lived to record, sort of like a retreat, helps to focus on the music.

[CATH] It's kinda like having to go outside of your home to work type of thing I guess.

[ANGELA] Yeah, like you don't have to worry about taking the dog out to pee at midnight when you're in Ottawa so...

[BRIAN] I like how you say pee. Pee. It's nice.

[CATH] How many songs have you got on the record?

[BRIAN] We have twelve songs. It's a long process but I think it's been a great experience for us. We learned a lot as a band. I mean playing shows is one thing but studio is just totally different experience. We have options, you go forward, you go backwards, you go forward again, it's long, it's hard… But the end result is great!

[ANGELA] We were actually able to own our experience as a band. You know you're in the studio for eight days straight, ten hours a day.

[CATH] Time and money out of your pocket too I guess?

[BRIAN] Let's not talk about that...

[ANGELA] Please let’s not talk about that, that is a big thing. Feed the band!

[CATH] Feed the band! Go see the shows! Buy the album! You launched it on June 21st. Congratulations! What's your favourite song on the record?

[ANGELA] All of them!

[CATH] All of them?

[ANGELA] Definitely.

[CATH] You released this independently?

[BRIAN] Yes, we were open for a nice little label to release it but didn't happen this time.

[CATH] You have a really, really beautiful website!

[BRIAN] We'd like to give our props to Angela, lead singer, lead guitarist and website designer

[CATH] Are you serious? You did this?

[ANGELA] Yeah, but not all of it. It's actually, (talking to her band mates) should I give that plug or not?

[BRIAN] Yeah, sure, why not?

[ANGELA] Yeah, why not. It's called Kazoo, they're designing website for bands - cookie cutter - so even people like me can go in and create their own website so they enabled me to make such a nice website.

[CATH] That's great! People should check it out at www.taketheboys.com and www.myspace.com/taketheboysmusic. The reason I brought it up really, is because you guys have nice promo, you have nice t-shirts and nice graphics. You give off a nice image of the band.

[BRIAN] Thanks.

[CATH] Image - Is that important for a band and if so why? It seems to me like everything is so driven towards MySpace and communities, you know the non-real interaction between people. That's a deeper question.

[ANGELA] I don't know. I think to me people are tired of seeing always the same thing, pre-prepared packages-everything image kind of thing and I dress how I feel, I'm comfortable with who I am. I think people can tell that. If I'm a fraud they'll see it. These guys too. People are just tired of seeing fake stuff, that's our image. Our image is us being real and if people can see that, I hope.

[RAF] It's true, I dress like the average Hispanic drummer I think.


[CATH] Is there a lot of those?

[ANGELA] There is a few actually!! From South America, I think I can name five!

[CATH] What interesting things are you listening to right now? New things that we don't know about? Or old classics?

[BRIAN] I wouldn't mind if more people would go back and listen to motown and STEVIE WONDER and JAMES BROWNand all the old stuff just like people who knew each other just sat down and played music sort of thing, you can't recreate that vibe as just as you can try, it's just real people playing real music, so that would be cool to people to go back to.

[CATH] Regarding your recording process. Did you record everything live or did you did it all separately and put it all together afterwards?

[ANGELA] We start everything with a live part with everyone in the room but we ad each thing once at a time.

[CATH] Bands now - more now I guess - don't even have to get all together in the studio at the same time anymore. It really looses something from the live version. I'm really looking forward to hearing this thing!

[VAL] Your album is finished and it's out. How are you satisfied with the final result?

[BRIAN] I would like to say I'm 100% happy with it, but that's not realistic. We're three in the band, so we all had to pick our battles. I'm 90-95 % happy with the result, which is pretty damn good. Also, it's been a year and half since we first started. We've grown as musicians. I've had to live with some of the musical decisions I made 'cause that's where I was then. At some point, you've got to turn the page, say that's good enough and move on. Or else we would never finish.

[RAF] I am very satisfied! I don't wanna sound cocky but for a first album it sounds very mature and "seasoned". At the same time, I think in terms of individual performances and song structures, you learn things in the process that you wanna change, do better, or add upon the next time around. I guess that's why there's always a next album!

[ANGELA] I’m very happy with the album...how could I not be? There will always be things that you wish you could change here and there, since over time musicians are bound to grow and change, but all in all I think it came out great.

[VAL] Who did the artwork and the nice pictures? I must say it is really beautiful.

[BRIAN] Jeremy Der, the boyfriend of one of our biggest fans did the art direction. He works full-time as a graphic artist, but he did it for free. We're totally grateful! Michelle Wyse did a professional shoot for us. We had a great time doing it and she made the experience quite painless. Having the lyrics in the sleeve was really important. That's how I remember the CD experience. Getting home with a new CD, blasting it, reading the lyrics, and getting off to the music. I'm sure, and hope, it's still important to a lot of listeners.

[VAL] You had an official CD launch show at Petit Campus, how did it go?

[ANGELA] The CD Launch was awesome! It was better than I could have imagined. All of our fans, friends and family were there to show their support and the atmosphere was crazy! By far our best show.

[RAF] It was amazing! Surreal! As cheesy as it sounds, its one of those moments I'll never forget! To have so much good energy and enthusiasm thrown at ya in the form of claps and cheers..no wonder its all about the loooove!

[VAL] Where can fans get their hands on a copy of this wonderful CD? Can it be bought on the internet?

[ANGELA] The CD can be bought via download or physical hard copy, on our website. We’re in the process of getting it into some local Montreal stores, but until that’s final our site and at our shows is the only way to get your hands on one.

[VAL] What's your next goal? Short or long term.

[BRIAN] The dream is to do this as a living. We're working on ways to do that right now. I find it's always a struggle as a musician or artist to do the business end of things. We're good at music, not business. Doing all the business work is not why we got into music in the first place... but if we want pursue the dream, it's part of the deal.

[ANGELA] Personally, my short term goals are to get our CD on the radio around town, find a good manager and play some more great shows. As for long term; the only goal I’ve got is to play music for a living. What more can you ask for?

[RAF] Yeah, short term we definitely push the album like its the next George Foreman Grill! We'll be looking to hit Media, Record Labels, Management/Booking entities, and Festival Organizers. I think we can say that our long term goal would be without a doubt, to tour the album! Hopefully more short term than long term!

[VAL] Except that, what are your plans for the months to come? Where are we going to see you this summer?

[BRIAN] We have a show August 8th at l'Absynthe (one of our fave places to play), August 16th at the House of Reggae, August 27th with PICKSEID at Cafe Campus. We're working on a show in September at Hemisphere Gauche with BLOOD & FIRE. Alex from ONE NIGHT BAND is promoting the show, so we're excited for that one!

[VAL] Anything else you wish to add?

[RAF] I'd like to thank everyone who was able to come to the CD launch and beyond that, anyone who's ever supported our music in any shape,way or fashion. Most importantly, we couldn't have done it without the persistent support of Cath & Val. You girls rock!

[VAL] All thanks to you for doing this!!

Merci à TAKE THE BOYS pour tout ce qu'ils nous ont apporté au cours des six derniers mois. La scène locale n'est pas la même depuis qu'on les a découvert!

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