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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00|
I sit in a small downtown bar, surrounded by twentieth century Russian propaganda art. I'm chatting with up-and-coming
How did Rep by Pop start?
Tim: Me and Dale met through some musical friends and we had sort of started Rep by Pop with another friend that I had played with for a while.
Dale: She was the drummer in their previous band and they emailed me because they needed a bass player, so I came to fill in and they kind of asked me if I wanted to keep playing.
Tim: But it wasn’t working out. So when we had the there’s gonna be no more band moment, Dale said, “I’m going to find the new drummer.” It took Dale two weeks, and I thought he was full of crap — I had kind of given up. But he found
What’s the story behind the name?
Tim: It is a little bit of a name for name’s sake. I’m a little bit of a political junkie.
It stands for Representation by Population, right?
"I find it interesting that those images are sent to us. What are we supposed to do with them?"
Tim: Yeah, the name just sort of came to me, and so I went home and really studied it. It has some really interesting context from a Canadian history perspective that really doesn’t apply to the music at all, but it sort of sealed it for me, this story of Rep by Pop in
And everybody else in the band was like “Yeah, sure, no problem”?
Dale: I hate picking band names. It’s one of my pet peeves to sit in a room with a bunch of guys and a piece of paper and a list of five thousand ridiculous things we could call our band. I hate it. So after three weeks of doing that [Tim] came in with Rep by Pop and I was sold.
Tim: Sometimes, we say it’s Reputation by Popularity. So few people know what Rep by Pop means, and I like how it sounds frivolous and sort of meaningless, but it isn’t. I also like that it’s a form of voting that I don’t believe in at all and kind of goes against everything that the country has been built on.
What are your influences?
Tim: I think we all have individual influences, and when we come together we decided that we want things to be simple. Dale’s a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, and
So in having all these influences coming together, and trying to keep with the style of your music, who is the genius behind your lyrics?
Dale: Yeah, check-mark Tim.
Tim: I’ve got a few years on the guys, so I think that helps. But I write the lyrics right now. Although one of the best lines on the album was a
"It’s a form of voting that I don’t believe in at all and goes against everything Canada has been built on."
I want say your music is really catchy, really danceable, but I find that your words are coming from a very different angle. Do you think that your fans are taking out of it what you’re trying to portray?
Tim: I’ve thought about that. I think that’s where we’re attempting to not make the songs self-indulgent and melodramatic. We’ll be writing and you’ll have this deepness, this self-indulgence to them and we’ll start rehearsing and realize this is not a danceable song. There’s a line in the song Danceable that goes “Don’t make it difficult, just make it danceable,” and that saves us all the time. I think that’s why I like the Talking Heads so much. I think they [are] a huge influence with that youthful funness, while trying to say something as best as you can. Some of our fans have grabbed onto the words of songs, and they’re not particularly political people. They come to dance and enjoy themselves, but they all love the line, “There’s a man with a bag on his head. He says: why?” which is the first line to "Cell Phone Camera," which is a really depressing line.
So what is the message behind your first single, "Cell Phone Camera"?
Tim: It’s a current events song. I like writing about news and current events, [and] that song in particular is very much about what is history and the context of history and the context of history in current events. I think the best metaphor or snapshot of it would be what’s going on in
Tell me about the recording of your first album.
Dale: The big thing was that we recorded before
Tim: There’s that balance between: is your live show better than your album, or is your album better than your live show? We became frightened that our album wasn’t going to be anywhere close to our live show. So then it became this Grade Ten science experience of how do we incorporate elements of our live show into the recording."We like to dance. We’re really a live band."
Dale: And that’s when that phrase “don’t make it difficult, make it danceable” was born.
Tim: I think in the end we made a record that’s still a studio record. We’re a lot more raw live and I think there’s a lot more energy live, but I think the album makes up for it in little details that you just can’t do as a three-piece. So I think there is that balance there, where if someone saw us live they wouldn’t take the CD home and go, “That sucks.”
So what’s your favorite track on the album?
Dale: To play live, "Bisbrifren," but to listen on the record, I like to sing along to "Then I Thought About It."
Tim: The song I enjoy listening to the most is "Danceable." But I have to say I really enjoy playing "Comfort Me, Comfort You."
Your tour is mainly focused in
Tim: Absolutely. I’ve played in
In closing, what would you suggest to bands who are in your position, who are just spreading their wings?
Dale: Get out and play. You only get better by playing to people. You can spend years perfecting what, in your opinion, is the greatest song of all time, but when you get out somewhere and you play it and everyone crashes and burns because you weren’t ready to play to people, and that one guy at the bar is just shaking his head at you, that’s worth all that [practice] time because in the next show you don’t do that. You learn. Meet people and listen to what they have to say. And play more.
With all that said, I got a chance to see Rep by Pop in action. The Avant Garde Bar is a small venue, but it was well populated, and it gave the show an exclusive feel. As I sat beside a display case full of unique Russian memorabilia, the high-energy beats rumbled through the floor and Tim’s voice belted out through the speakers.
Adorned in ties and vests, and surrounded by sparkly purple material and a pink feather boa, Rep by Pop took the venue by storm. They weren’t exaggerating about their energy. The atmosphere was upbeat and, well, danceable.
The songs weren’t exactly the same as performed on their CD, which was really refreshing. I felt a certain curiosity to see how they were going to slant their next song. Often I caught myself thinking: “Hey, that wasn’t there before!”
The band seemed relatively comfortable onstage, interacting with the audience and even calling out to people whom they met in the crowd. I liked the added touch of providing personal, yet quirky explanations about the creation of their pieces. It added that “aha” moment to songs that I’d heard before.
The show was, in fact, quite different from the CD, but not in that disappointing “This is what they sound like live?” kind of way. It was fun, simple, and everything you’d expect from a band carving their way into the musical industry.
For more info on Rep by Pop visit http://www.myspace.com/repbypop
A brothers music
It's always nice to see a good write up about a brothers band. I guess I'm biased but the "Cellphone" video is good. The song has an edge to it. The sound of the band is not something that you are hearing alot of these days. It's hard for a band to be unique and create something new these days and I think RepbyPop is doing that.