Newfoundland's Repartee have released their album All Lit Up and are currently on tour. The four-piece make a stop in Toronto for CMW. They play Peterborough May 16 at the Red Dog and they make a welcome return to Oshawa, this time at the Moustache Club May 14.
Repartee are Meg Warren, guitarist Robbie Brett, drummer Nick Coultas-Clarke and keyboardist Josh Banfield. They have done their fare share of small bars but have also shared stage with LIGHTS, Tegan and Sara, Dragonette and the Arkells. They have won five MusicNL Awards and in 2013 they were nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year, performing at the 2013 ECMA Gala.
Slowcity.ca had a chat with the Newfie kats.
Welcome back to Oshawa. You have played here a few times, your fan base has grown and are now playing bigger clubs like the Moustache Club. From outside its been great to see your growth as artists and in popularity. Tell me what that looks like from the inside?
Meg Warren: It's very exciting. We knew Oshawa was gonna be awesome when we played our first show there back in 2013 (or was it 2012?). We performed at this festival called Broken Arts Fest and no one knew who we were but everyone was super responsive and warm and enthusiastic. Every time we've been back since then it's been great. Seeing things grow and our hard work pay off is really rewarding for sure.
There is a very strong music scene out East obviously with so many styles and musicians to see live, hear and to be influenced by, Traditional, folk, alt-rock, why did you gravitate to the synth-pop sounds: what is it about the style that you find allows you full artistic freedom?
Robbie Brett: I guess it's not really artistic freedom as much as it's something that we are all passionate about. When Meg started the band it was less about what the style was an more about what kind of music she wanted to write. It had more of an indie rock vibe in its earlier stages. Once the members that are in the band now joined and we started touring extensively we started to shape our sound around the direction we thought the songs were going in. What made the most sense and was the most honest interpretation of the songs. Ever since we found the identity of the band then it definitely paved a clearer path, but who knows what the next release might be. It's definitely circumstantial, and that's what's really artistically free about the whole situation.
You have finally released your debut record. Is All Lit Up the culmination of all the work you have done since inception or is it a new beginning and the start of a new journey?
Meg: It's definitely the culmination of a lot of work for a long time, but not since the inception of the band. We essentially started focusing on this album about 2 years ago. There are songs on it that are a lot older than that, but they've been revisited and reworked. It feels like the start of a new journey in the sense that we took some time in the background, honing our sound and our image and a lot of other different aspects of the band. We knew that when we came back with this album, we wanted it to be the best representation of who we are right now.
Titles like "Dukes", and "All Lit Up" resonate of Newfoundland, it can be a tough place, folks party and fight. On other tracks, "Nice Girls" for example, you sing “don’t fuck with me” and “gotta be tough, gotta be brave.” Do you draw from your own lives when writing songs? If yes can you tell me about where "Nice Girls" and "Dukes" come from?
Meg: Yes, we do. I personally use lyric writing as a bit of an outlet or as a way to talk about how I feel, for sure. There are also other songs on the album where the lyrics are more fictional and I look at as more of a 'short story' ('Carelessly, Carelessly' and 'Miracle' are more examples of that). Nice Girls was written about my experience as a woman in this industry, which can be really tough and cut-throat. No place for polite, sweet, passive girls here! And Dukes comes from kind of the same idea, but how when you love someone or something and you feel strongly about it, you want to fight for it. Conflict doesn't seem so scary when the subject is really important to you.