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Canadian Indie Quartet Villages discuss their Covid-inspired single ‘Upon the Horizon’

The Canadian indie-folk band Villages compromising of Matt and Travis Ellis, Jon Pearo, and Archie Rankin have released their new single and video ‘Upon the Horizon’.

With new-found lockdown creativity; ‘Upon the Horizon’ sees the Villages deliver a taste of their next full-length album, scheduled for release next year. Using their delectable Indie-Pop template, the new autumnal music video delivers the narrative of the isolation and dread that we have all faced during the ongoing pandemic.

Talking of their new release, Matt Ellis says: “Being locked up naturally brought up visions of escapism. Escaping to the wilderness has always been a way to find peace, but when even that was not an option it was yet another thing that had been taken for granted. These vibes inspired “Upon the Horizon”.

Hey Villages, thanks for chatting to us here at GigSoup! How are you guys doing?

Matt: We’re doing great! Thanks for having us. We’ve got the whole crew here to answer your questions. Fire away.

Your latest single, “Upon the Horizon” was born out of lockdown creativity. What can you tell us about the track?

Travis:  We started writing it in early April, during lockdown. Matt sent a song idea to the group, and it just so happened I had been working on an idea based around a Bodhran (Irish drum) sample. I merged the two ideas on a whim and it sounded great so we just ran with it after that. It was the fastest a song has ever come together for us.

How was the recording and writing process for “Upon the Horizon”? How do you guys work together?

Travis: Making this EP was the first time we wrote and produced remotely. Our process usually involves time in a room together where we hash out song arrangements, so this was a completely different experience. It was a bit strange not being able to see each other while we wrote, but there was an efficiency about it that really worked.

We really liked the accompanied autumnal textured music video, which themes around the idea of Escapism. What more can you tell us about the video?

Matt: Thanks! We were so lucky to catch the autumn colours when we shot the video. The east coast of Canada is quite spectacular during the autumn months. We have to give all the credit to Melanie Stone, who directed the video. We wanted to capture the theme of the tune, and Mel came up with the idea of a secluded dark night of the soul.

What was the first thing that got you all interested in music?

Archie: I come from a big family of musical cousins, and my older brother played the bagpipes. It was just kind of expected that you’d be learning an instrument or two as a kid. Celtic music was the focus, which really wasn’t what I wanted to be playing. I started with piano, drifted to bagpipes, and then finally landed on the guitar. The piano and bagpipes didn’t last long at all, they, unfortunately, didn’t stand a chance against the guitar. I would still play Celtic music to keep my family happy, but I would turn it up to 10 when I was alone and pull out the beefiest riffs I could muster. 

Jon: Like Archie, getting into music was almost expected in my family. On my mom’s side, virtually everyone plays an instrument. I gravitated towards electric guitar in defiance of the fiddle I would hear coming from my sister’s room. Around the same time, I was also getting very interested in the music that was coming out of Halifax, a city that seemed so far removed from my rural Cape Breton upbringing even though it was only a few hours away. Bands like Sloan and The Super Friendz really piqued my musical interest.

We’ve heard that you’ve been working hard on a new album. What can we expect from it?

Matt: We are! We’re all pretty stoked on how the new songs are coming together. Since our first record came out, we’ve been getting the chance to perform on bigger stages so the music is reflecting that. The songs feel bigger than ever. We’re drawing on some influences that we haven’t in the past like Paul Simon and some 80’s and 90’s country music. We can’t wait to get it out in the world.

Do you guys remember the first album that you purchased?

Jon: The first album that I purchased was Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill”. I think I was probably 11 or 12 at the time. It blew me away – I had never heard lyrics like that before and I became quite obsessed. 

Travis: Jon and I listened to this on my back deck when he got the record, a life-changer indeed.

Can you tell us some artists who are an inspiration for you as a band and why?

Archie: Wilco is definitely a band that’s been inspiring over the years. They seem to be ever evolving and experimenting with each record. They can’t be confined to a single genre, and it keeps things really interesting. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to be locked in the same box or formula when you’re making new music.

What does the rest of 2020 hold for Villages?

Travis: We unfortunately just had to postpone the rest of our shows this year due to COVID-19. Where we live in Canada has been doing really well in terms of cases, and we’ve actually been able to play some shows. Unfortunately, it’s caught up to us and we’re back in lockdown again.

Matt: We’ll make the best of it and wrap these tunes up for our next record. We’re stoked for everyone to hear them!

You can find more information about Villages at...

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