Friday February 18 2005 - Grassroots Co-Op Cafe, Peterborough, Canada
interview with Chloe and Chris by Andrew Iliadis
I got the chance to sit down with Chloe and Christopher of Montreal noise rockers AIDS Wolf during one of the shows on their mini tour of Ontario and Quebec. We were cramped inside a small basement storage room while some crappy high school metal band played upstairs, rendering the interview somewhat difficult. We discussed AIDS Wolf, their recent touring partners (Death from Above 1979, Les Georges Leningrad), their friends (The Unicorns), and the better bands in the city of Montreal who have yet to receive the recognition that they deserve. Chloe also runs a successful printing/design studio, Serigraphie Populaire (aka Seripop) with her partner Yannick. OK. Here’s the goods.
Andrew Iliadis: You guys wanna introduce yourselves?
Chloe: Hiiiiii. I’m Chloe.
AI: How’d the Toronto show go with Les George Leningrad?
Chloe: It was insanity.
Christopher: It was really good. Amazing.
AI: Did you guys talk to them at all or hang out with them?
Chloe: What do you mean?
AI: Well, I stumbled upon your web log and I noticed that you said you didn’t really exchange any words with them yet.
Chloe: Uhm, well Chris did.
Chris: I talked to them. We played charades.
Chloe: Yannick and I used to be in a band with the drummer and it kinda ended on bad terms, so things were a little awkward.
AI: So there’s some hard feelings there.
Chloe: Maybe more just like, shy feelings. I don’t know. We’re all total social retards.
AI: I know you’ve been sick recently with the flu. Feeling any better?
Chloe: I‘m feeling awesome. I feel like a million dollars.
AI: Good to hear. I’ve also been hearing about the 100 Sided Die. What’s it all about?
Chris: It’s an art space we’ve all put together, it’s about 3, 000 square feet. It’s comprised of a few different people doing...it’s sort of just a community of illustrators and graphic designers. Seripop has their printing studio in there, and then some people from Vancouver have set up shop there as well. And then it’s a venue as well, we’ve been doing shows there. Just stuff and people we want to bring into Montreal. The USA Is A Monster and uhm, we had...who else did we have there Chloe?
Chloe: Les Georges Leningrad. [laughs]
Chris: AIDS Wolf and another band Wolf Parade, they’re friends of ours, we built a studio there...
AI: I’ve been playing them a lot on the radio here. Do you guys live there too?
Chloe: We don’t. Some of the other members do, but neither Chris nor I live there.
AI: How’d you hook up with the DFA guys and what was it like opening for them?
Chloe: Uhm, well again, my partner Yannick and I, we’ve been friends with Jesse and Sebastien for a really long time. Like our old band used to play with Femme Fatal a lot when they were still playing live. And I don’t know, we’ve just like, you know the past three bands we’ve had have played with all their other bands so you know, the first shows that Death From Above did, like before they were Death From Above ‘79, we played a bunch of them. You know we’ve been gigging with them for like four years now in various different bands and...now they’re big and we’re not. [laughs] It was definitely fun to get to play in front of a big...
Chris: We did some small...we did a few shows with DFA before, sort of like pre-fame with them, as AIDS Wolf.
Chloe: And we played with Death From Above and AIDS Wolf at Casa del Popolo’s to like, thirty people two years ago.
Chris: And now the last few shows we did they were totally sold out and there’s an entirely new community of people we’ve never seen before come to the shows, because of so much exposure they’ve had.
AI: Is someone recording you guys yet or...have any recordings happened already?
Chloe: Uhm, we’ve been doing some recording with our friend Arlen who plays drums in Wolf Parade. We’re doing some more recording with him at 100 Sided Die in a couple of weeks. And then at the end of March we’re coming to Toronto to do recording with AL-P [engineer and producer of You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine] at the studio that him and Jesse Keeler have just opened up so...
AI: So, can we expect an EP anytime soon?
Chloe: We’re working on it, I mean, we’ve been really busy building our space. Like we have our practice space slash recording studio within the 100 Sided Die. So a lot of the bands energy and resources have been going into that for the past three months. But, now that that’s pretty much done...we’re recording actually for three different records.
AI: I also heard you’re on a couple of compilations. Like the Kitty Play...Kitty Play’s releasing something soon?
Chloe: Yeah, we’re doing stuff on the Kitty Play compilation, on the Liquid Death/Hello Pussy compilation, on a compilation that solid PR are doing that’s gonna be a multiple scleroses benefit compilation that The Unicorns are on and I don’t even know...Dillinger Escape Plan I think. I don’t know who’s all on it, I don’t even remember. Maybe Dillinger Escape Plan aren’t on it, I’m not sure. A lot of bands are on it. And we’re also doing a comp that Camden Drash from Black Castle is putting out. And he’s also putting out a seven inch of ours that is a split with our friends from New York City, The Fugue. So, we’ve got lots of different things coming out.
AI: Have any bigger acts been contacting you guys at all. Anyone that’s found out about you and asked you to come tour with them?
Chris: Well, we’re sort of band friends with the people in Albatross, Daughters...sort of bands that are in a similar genre. I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can’t are some friends of ours from Toronto. They’re sort of a brother band kinda thing. They’re really into the arts scene, and they do a lot of print pressing and a lot of DIY art, sort of outsider art kinda stuff as well. Gosh who else would there be. Need New Body is a band down in the states that we’ve had some form of dialogue with. The Fugue’s another band. And then Demonstrations is a San Diego noise band, and we’ve got a dialogue with them as well.
AI: What’s going on with Montreal? What bands are getting hype that shouldn’t be getting hyped up? Cause I know there’s a few who I personally don’t like a lot that I’m seeing always get mentioned in the same articles all the time. But then there’s also really good bands like Wolf Parade...
Chloe: Well I guess Wolf Parade aren't really getting mentioned a ton because their album isn't out yet. I don't know. Also the bands that get mentioned a lot are the bands that have people making sure they get mentioned you know. It’s not an impartial review of what’s going on.
Chris: I think part of the success of a lot of these Montreal bands is attributed to not necessarily the bands themselves...well, certainly the bands, they’ve certainly paid their dues and done a lot of hard work. But a lot of the credit, a lot of the work that gets done that doesn't get noticed is the work of promoters and people who run record labels. Like we have Alien8 records and that's something, like when people talk about Arcade Fire and The Unicorns and things like this, these sorts of people in the background are the one’s, the show promoters and venue promoters and things like this, they’re the ones that don't get talked about. So a big part of the “explosion” of the Montreal scene has a lot to do with sort of the people who are responsible for the infrastructure for making it happen.
Chloe: I mean, I’m really good friends with the kids from The Unicorns and I was actually roommates with Nick for a year, and like, if they hadn't had Dan managing them they...[laughs]. I mean, they’re an amazing band, super rad guys, but like they couldn't have gotten it together by themselves.
AI: Someone’s helped them out a lot.
Chloe: Well yeah of course, I mean that’s the way it works you know.
AI: What about any bands that haven't been mentioned yet that you know about?
Chloe & Chris in unison: Les Angles Morts! They are the best band in Montreal.
Chloe: They are the...they’re probably one of the best bands in Canada.
Chris: And what a lot of people don’t know is that individually each one of them has had some sort of time spent with Arcade Fire, playing in their band. They were part of the lineup at one point or another. So they’re all musicians who have played really well and cut their teeth on the Montreal scene in the last four or five years. And they’ve played all over the place.
Chloe: They’ve toured all over the US, like several times.
AI: Their name one more time.
Chloe: Les Angles Morts
AI: OK, so everyone, go look that up.
Chloe: They have a seven inch out on, uhm, Blue Skies Turn Black and they have a few self released CDR’s. And now they’re just finishing up a DVD that’s gonna be also released on Blue Skies Turn Black. They’ve been recording at Hotel2Tango and they’re like, like I said probably one of the top five bands in Canada right now. Totally underrated Montreal experimental, noisy...
Chris: You know, were they in all those silly articles?
AI & Chloe: No.
Chloe: Another really great band from Montreal that hasn't been getting a lot of mention is Shalabi Effect.
AI: I’ve got one record.
Chloe: Yeah like totally wicked prog, psych, psychedelic, like fucking craziness. Sam Shalabi is just a total genius. He plays in a million bands and Shalabi Effect is a band that again, they tour all the time, they sell out venues, they sell a decent amount of records. Really highly regarded in the experimental music scene. But, with these hype articles I guess they’re not interested in more adventurous music, I don’t know.
AI: They put your picture in The New York Times right?
Chloe: Yeah well...
AI: What do you think about that?
Chloe: I mean that's...the guy who they had supplying the photographs is one of my best friends. He comes to all our shows so you know.
AI: No mention of AIDS Wolf in the article though?
Chloe & Chris: No.
Chloe: That’s OK. We’re not in a band so we can get talked about in The New York Times. We actually...we’re kind of amused by it you know.
AI: What about Seripop, what takes up more time, and if one started getting bigger than the other, like if you had to quit one, the band or the art, which would you go along with?
Chloe: I wouldn't be able to quit either. Like, my partner Yannick and I, we did two massive tours with Seripop while we’ve had AIDS Wolf together, and so the band has had a few pretty long hiatuses. And Chris goes away, has gone away in the summer to plant trees and stuff like that. So the past two summers you know, we’ve had band breaks that last like four months, and then after we’d reconvene and we were all like fucked up and depressed because we weren't playing music for so long. So personally, I really need the balance of both. Like, playing music gives me ideas and inspires me to do art and vice versa. Also, Seripop keeps us so busy that we’re constantly working and if we weren’t in a band, Yannick and I probably wouldn't ever leave our house at all.
AI: You’d have no life.
Chloe: We wouldn‘t have a life. It would just be like, to the studio to print, to home to design. Being in a band is our only social outlet. It’s true, as pathetic as it sounds. It’s not like doing DIY graphic design you make a lot of money, so we just take on a lot of jobs. I’d go crazy if I didn't have both.
AI: Well they’re really awesome designs, I’ve got a couple myself. Where can people pick them up?
Chloe: People can get them online, they can email us off of our website seripop.com. We also have them in a lot of stores in Toronto, Montreal, Providence, Chicago...
AI: Is there anymore touring for AIDS Wolf coming up in the future? What’s your schedule like?
Chris: Late March, early April...is it March or April Chloe?
Chloe: It’s like the beginning of April.
Chris: Beginning of April we’re going out with I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can’t, from Toronto like we mentioned earlier. We’re doing like a week, and even now as we speak there is a machine in the process of adding more dates to that tour.
AI: And that works out for everybody, like everyone can handle that, touring together?
Chloe & Chris: Yeah.
AI: I also heard there’s been a couple of lineup changes already in the band. I read somewhere that two members already left from before.
Chris: Well when we started out it was fuck, it was five of us, and we had a keyboard player and we had a fellow named Blake Hargreaves who’s a really active noise musician in Montreal. He’s another really good, but very esoteric, very noisy guy, but a very good noise musician in Montreal. But we had the two of them and then the one fellow, the keyboard player, he’d gone into a distro business, so he runs a fairly successful distro business in Montreal catering to the marginal...it’s all noise stuff, it’s all sort of rock, noise, post-hardcore kind of things like this. But we don’t see too much of him anymore. But we often see Blake around because we...
Chloe: We play shows with his other bands.
Chris: We still play shows with him. He’s got a lot of bands going on.
Chloe: He’s got a lot of bands. So him being in AIDS Wolf, it just didn’t work out.
Chris: He’s a mystery inside of a mystery. He’s just got plans within plans. [laughs]
AI: A mystery wrapped inside of an enigma type fella?
Chloe: Yeah like, we had no idea...
Chris: I think we just got in the way.
Chloe: We never knew where he was, like, what was going on in his head. He would always be gone with so many different bands.
AI: What about if anyone wants to hear any music right now, where can they get it from you guys?
Chloe: We don’t have anything right now...
AI: Nothing right now...
AI: Even online, if they want to listen to anything?
Chloe: [laughs] We have one song on My Space.
check out AIDS Wolf here for now: www.myspace.com/aidswolf
to view and buy some insanely creative Seripop stuff: www.gigposters.com/designers.php?designer=26758
to contact Seripop: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wolf Parade: wolfparade.cjb.net
Les Angles Morts: www.lesanglesmorts.org
Shalabi Effect: www.shalabieffect.com
Need New Body: www.neednewbody.com
USA Is A Monster: www.loadrecords.com/bands/usaisamonster.html
I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can’t: listofcontents.ca
The Fugues: www.thefugue.com
Liquid Death/Hello Pussy Records: www.ldr-hpr.com
Blue Skies Turn Black: www.blueskiesturnblack.com
Kitty Play: www.kittyplayrecords.com
100 Sided Die: www.myspace.com/100sideddie
Casa del Popolo: www.casadelpopolo.com
/mar 1st 2005/