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samedi 30 octobre 2010

French toast: Q&A with Polaris Prize winners Karkwa

 Photograph by Ryan Couldrey.

Posted by Sarah Liss, CBC Radio 2, on Sep-21-10 :

Last night, Montreal art-rock band Karkwa were named the winners of the 2010 Polaris Music Prize in a ceremony in downtown Toronto. Considered a surprise by some, Karkwa's victory marks the first time in the five-year history of the award -- which honours the best album in Canada in a given year and comes with a $20,000 cheque -- that a French-language act has won. We caught up with all five members the day after the gala to ask them about their win, their album Les chemins de verre, and what it means to be the first Francophone band to win the Polaris.

Q: Is there some quality in the album that you think contributed to the Polaris win?

Francois Lafontaine: Usually we rehearse a lot before recording the album. For this album, we didn't do any pre-prod.

Louis-Jean Cormier: We created it live in the studio, and maybe it sounds more... vivant - alive. So maybe that's the difference, and maybe that's a good thing.

Stephane Bergeron: And I think the thing for us was that when we got into the studio for the first time, we were not necessarily supposed to finish with an album. We were on a break during a studio and we thought, let's just get in the studio and see what could happen. We thought maybe we could see what the next album might sound like. Just to give an idea of what it is.

Q: You guys have been together for over a decade. Did this unconventional approach allow you to collaborate in a new way?

L-JC: Yeah, I think so. We did one song a day. We started in the morning, and we were excited to finish it by the evening. But maybe that's the point - we started 12 years ago, and maybe we are... chemically connected. And we were able to do this, but it's not the same thing for every artist.

Q: You've won a number of awards in Quebec. Does this feel like a different experience?

SB: Yeah, definitely. Because it's not necessarily at home -[it's not] Quebec. And it's with some Anglophone bands. And mostly like we said last night, because of the direction of the contest, the artistic merit direction, and the way they vote and all that stuff. We have big respect for this contest. C'est un prix qui nous rejoint artistiquement. Because we've followed the prize since the beginning. We [always] check the shortlist and say [pretends to be checking boxes on a list], "Ah, yeah... yeah... yeah... I knew it, I knew it."

This summer, I went to Louis-Jean's basement, and he'd just bought the vinyl [version] of Owen Pallett ['s album, Heartland], and said I had to listen to it. [He mimes rapture.] And after, when we found out we were on the shortlist with him... it's amazing.

Q: What's the general attitude toward the Polaris Prize in Quebec? There's been some criticism that it excludes Francophone artists.

L-JC: It's a contest for music lovers, and that's the same thing in Quebec. There are a lot of mélomanes - music lovers - and that contest means a lot to them, too. But maybe in the grands medias, there is more war... a lot of language barriers and stuff. It's a little confused, I think. It's weird.

Q: You guys had joked that if Radio Radio won, they'd give you $5000 and vice versa...

SB: It's a joke! It just a joke! We told them it was a joke! [Laughter amongst the band.]

Q: Several of you became fathers recently. Has that changed what it means to win an award like this? Does it feel different to be able to go home and say, "Ma petite, j'ai gagné!"?

L-JC: Yeah, that makes a difference. It's hard to tour and do the rock life. So we go home and change diapers instead.

FL:
We used to say that having a baby, that's rock 'n' roll - that's the real rock life.

Q: You recorded Les chemins de verre in a famous studio in France -- Studio La Frette -- where many iconic artists (like Serge Gainsbourg) have produced great recordings. Were you inspired by the place?

FL: Patrick [Watson] recorded his last album there, and Feist recorded The Reminder there, so...

L-JC: It was a very inspiring place. We were sleeping in the studio. We were far from home, in Paris, and we were in a bulle - a bubble.

FL: If you had an idea at any time of day or night, you could record it. And there were ghosts!

SB: Feist said she recorded all of The Reminder in two weeks because there were ghosts. Good ghosts... working for us.

Q: What song on this album are you most proud of?

L-JC: I'd say "Moi-leger," because it was the first song we played. Franck sat at the piano in the studio and just played. It wasn't really composed - it was just the inspiration of the place, the moment. And we recorded it the next day, and I'd written the lyrics the same day. Everything we can hear on the album came from that.

Q: What's the craziest thing you guys did last night after you won?

FL & L-JC: Vomir? Vomit! [They laugh and point at Stephane, who puts his forehead on the table.]

L-JC: Hey Steph? Remember? The puke?

SB: We arrived at the [afterparty] at 1:35 am. We had to bring our gear down. It went so quick. Like a truck passed over us!

If you missed last night's Polaris gala, check out CBC Radio 3 to download a podcast of the whole ceremony. And what do YOU think of Karkwa's Polaris win?

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Messages les plus consultés

"[Karkwa] qu'on en dise" le cap des 40 000 visiteurs a été dépassé le 21 juin 2011 alors que Karkwa performer à Paris pour le cinquantième anniversaire de la délégation générale du Québec à Paris.

Je remercie tous ceux qui ont trouvé,
depuis avril 2008, intérêt à visiter ces pages dédiées à mes amis de Karkwa et aux musicien(ne)s et musiques qui leur sont proches.

Rendez-vous est pris pour le 50000 éme visiteur ! :-)

Avertissement: Ce blog à pour but de regrouper et archiver les articles parus sur le net à propos de Karkwa. Il est fait par amitié pour les membres du groupe et leur entourage. Les liens vers les sites et articles d'origine sont faits, les auteurs sont cités lorsque possible. Si quiconque se sentait lésé dans ses droits, il n'aurait qu'a me contacter pour que je puisse remédier à la situation.