Braids is an excellent, art-y rock band from Montreal featuring Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts, and Taylor Smith. Originally from Calgary, Braids is a close-knit group whose first album, Native Speaker, was excellent and short-listed for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize (previous winners include Karkwa). Their latest album is 2013’s Flourish // Perish, which is obtainable via Arbutus and Flemish Eye Records and is a moodier, emotionally and musically challenging feat from one of the most accomplished young bands in North America. Braids are on a tour of the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States and they play Montreal’s Il Motore on May 10 and Toronto’s Horseshoe on May 11. Back in November 2013, Raph, Austin, and even press-shy Taylor met with me outside of Toronto where we had a good chat about addictive coffee-flavoured e-cigarettes, a living room in Mississauga with a wooden carpet, rating Halloween candy, a tour oasis and a bitchy cat, my mom, my name Vishal, and our premature births, Austin and Raph’s close, sibling-like relationship, the travails of An Indian From Kitchener, computers versus guitars, special effects and Flourish // Perish, the logical puzzle that is the piano, leaving space in your work so that you can think, how Raph has grappled with mental health issues and public pressure and Flourish // Perish’s uniquely dark tone for an ‘electronic’ record, Austin is a man, the road is long, losing Katie Lee, you’ll have to speak up; the soundman is wearing a towel, female companionship, man conquers machine, machine conquers woman, how the media has manipulated and over-scrutinized Katie’s departure from Braids, the band’s frustration with the way they were portrayed in an Exclaim! Magazine cover story this past fall and how it impacted their already fragile relationship with Katie, the power dynamic between journalists and interview subjects, unique views and clickbait culture, learning from talking, Taylor shows up to discuss abstaining from interviews and their value, Braids’ future plans and progress towards their next record, Joshua Tree National Park and the desert, Good Will Hunting, Back to the Future, the song “Girl,” and that’s it.
Related links: braidsmusic.com vishkhanna.com
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