Album: Les Chemins De Verre
From: Montréal, QC
Even though this French band has been around for years, they haven’t had much play in English Canada. What’s being nominated done for their careers? Read on as I talked with drummer Stéphane Bergeron from Karkwa about the Polaris Music Prize.
KK: Congrats on being nominated, how does it feel?
Stéphane Bergeron: We’re proud of it because the way they choose the winner, it works. Some prizes, the way they choose by the public or by judge, maybe 10 to 15 judges. But this one, they are 200 or something. I think the best way to give a prize is by judge. Because sometimes by public, you can arrange a sort of vote, you know all your fans will vote. This way, if your fans don’t vote, you probably won’t win. By judge, it’s about their taste and completely up to them. It’s the prize we respect the most.
KK: How does being on the short list benefit your career?
SB: It’s hard to tell for us, maybe it will help us to play more in the rest of Canada. In Quebec we’ve play at an alternative music gala and I don’t want to sound pretentious, but we have won a lot of prizes in Quebec, but for the rest of Canada, it doesn’t’ necessarily mean anything. We’ve played Vancouver and we’d like to do that again. Maybe this prize will help us out, reach out to more people across Canada.
KK: Is there a language barrier with your music? Or do you thing people just get it off the bat?
SB: It depends on the person who listens. Some people who speak English, don’t really look for French or music in other languages. But then some, it doesn’t matter to them. They just take the music for what it is, what it sounds like.
KK: Is it time for a French band to win the prize?
SB: I hope they will not judge this way. We have to stay artistic here. Lets say we win, and we hear people say it’s only because the prize was given to the French people this time, I would not be happy about that. If we win, it should be based on our artistic merit. It shouldn’t be about language, I hope.
KK: What do you think of the short list this year?
SB: We know many of them, we played with Radio Radio this summer. We really like Caribou, Owen Pallett, we like him too.
KK: Other than yourself whom are you rooting for?
SB: Probably Owen Pallett.
KK: Was anyone left out?
SB: No, I don’t think so and I don’t want to make enemies. I like the list as is.
KK: What do you think of the critics’ complaints that artists who’ve won in previous years shouldn’t be able to win again?
SB: You can’t be nominated for the same album twice, but you should be able to be nominated at each album. It’s not politics, if the album is good then it’s good. Nominate them!
KK: What would you do with the 20,000 prize?
SB: I just don’t know yet, maybe we split it. But the last album we created we put to vinyl, that’s expensive. We’d really like to do that with this one too. We just haven’t talked enough about this question.
KK: Why should Karkwa take the prize for the best Canadian album?
SB: I don’t know, I can’t answer that.
By Kristin.Kent, Toronto Sun, September 9, 2010