WITCHPOLICE RADIO: I guess a good starting point is to get some background on what this band is and where you're coming from.
SERGE (sax)- Jérémie and I, we used to take the train together. We used to work at VIA Rail together and he played me a couple of tracks while we were on the train. It wasn't a busy time (laughs). I have a bit of a background in audio engineering, so he wanted to come and play these songs for me, and we were wanting to record them and see where it kind of went.
At the same time, Ryan, Nelson and I -- and Jérémie -- were part of a hip-hop band, and it just didn't take off. So, next thing you know, we decided to have Jérémie as the frontman and learn some songs, and the guys really dug it and thought, yeah, we each really have our own style that we can put into this.
Ryan kind of got Diego into it, he said "man, I really like his jazz influence on the drums," and next thing you know, Jérémie started writing new songs and kind of brought everything to the table.
JEREMIE (vocals/guitar) - The band used to be... when we started it was about nine people. We had a trumpet, keys, a cello, and another backup singer. I guess throughout the times, throughout the years, we kinda stripped it down a little bit.
S - It's tough to get everyone together.
J - Nine people, yeah.
W - I was in a 10-piece band once and it was impossible. We never had practices with everyone.
J- It's a nightmare, actually.
W- So it's been about a year that this has been a thing?
J - The five of us? Yeah.
W- How do you define what the sound is? Looking at your online stuff, you're throwing out a lot of genres there -- soul seems very clear from hearing your songs, but there's obviously a lot more going on there and like you were saying, you used to be a hip-hop thing. You guys are bringing in different influences... for someone who hasn't heard you before, how do you define it quickly?
J - I don't know. We all listen to very different genres of music -- (gestures to Serge) he's very hip-hop, (gestures to Nelson) he's heavy metal...
NELSON (bass) - (shakes head, laughs)
J- OK, not metal... heavy... rock? Hard rock?
N - Hard rock, OK.
J - Hard rock, and I listen to a lot more of my soul stuff. Ryan, what are you into?
RYAN (guitar) - I love my reggae.
J - Reggae... and Diego is country, jazz...
W - So it's a seriously mixed bag, eh?
J - I think it comes out in our music. I dunno. "Rock n' roll"? "Soul"?
W - It's a really horrible question. Even bands that you think are very pigeonholed into something, it
can be hard for them too. Is there something the group of you as a whole all kind of point to and say, "yeah, this is something we're all into"? Is there a band or two that everyone agrees on?
N - Something along the lines of Charles Bradley. Motown, soul...
J - Alabama Shakes.
N - That's a newer band that we're really into, yeah.
W - So the soul thing is really heavy with everyone?
N - You know, when you say 'soul', I think that the songs that we're writing aren't coming out as soulful as the covers that we do. Our cover selections tend to be Motown stuff, because they're fun and they're dancey and people know 'em, something they can jive to... but our originals are comin' out all over the place. Some of them are more reggae, some are more blues, some are more rock. It's kind of interesting that way. You might want to define yourself by the cover songs that you play, but then you realize that your originals don't really sound that much like your influences sometimes.
W - I guess being a newer band, that's something that's constantly evolving.
N - Yeah, we are. We're trying to find that sound, for sure.
J - That delicious sound. (Everyone laughs). Hence the name.
W - Where does that come from?
J - It comes from that exact thing. Pitchin' names, trying to figure out what we were gonna call ourselves, and somebody said "delicious sound," and we were like, "oh god, that's pretty cheesy"... but somebody heard "Delicious Hounds".
W - How long has it been "Delicious Hounds"? Is that a fairly recent name?
R - Well, I guess the first couple shows we did, we were just going as the Jérémie Bremault Band.
W - Did the rest of you guys feel like you wanted more of the spotlight? (laughs)
W - Oh, well definitely... we're a BAND. But it's kind of like a Motown thing too. You always have names like 'Charles Bradley AND...'
S - Well, you do most of the writing for the songs as well.
J - I guess that's kind of a process, too. I write the songs, bring 'em to the guys, and we put our
thing to it.
W - What you were saying earlier about most of you being in this hip-hop thing -- does that come through at all in what you're doing now? Are there elements of that you see?
J - Not yet. Serge beatboxes. Maybe we should have him beatbox.
N - The hip-hop thing was all Serge. He's a producer, a really great hip-hop producer. He's got lots of albums already... or maybe you're doing your second album?
S - Yeah, a few albums.
N - So at that time, Serge was bringing his beats to us and we were learning them. This is a totally different format where the writing is coming from everywhere. Jer will always come to the table with the melody and the chord progressions and then it goes through several layers of changes where we all kind of craft it a little bit and we merge into each other to make sure it all fits. So it ends up being totally different than the hip-hop stuff we were doing at the start, but still the same group of guys.
W - We're in the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain right now. You guys seem to have a strong francophone element in what you do. I went to French Immersion, I speak French -- poorly -- but I understand it. I've always felt, even with that, the French music scene in Winnipeg seems -- I don't want to say 'segregated -- but it's in its own pocket. I feel like a lot of the bands don't seem to blend in to the mainstream anglophone scene. You'll hear about stuff 10 years after a band broke up and think 'what? This was happening in Winnipeg? Why didn't I know about it?" The aboriginal music scene is similar in that its own pocket and a few artists will branch out into the mainstream of the local scene.
J - It's its own thing, I think so. I think it's pretty separated. I mean, besides the Festival du
Voyageur, which is the main highlight of it all. We're actually gonna participate in -- us being
bilingual -- Les Decovertes. It used to be Gala Manitobain and it's a competition. We're going to play
four songs, and it leads to Chant Ouest if you keep moving along. I would definitely say, though, it's its own beast. We're all francophones, so we have the opportunity to sing in our native tongue and be part of those scenes. We haven't done strictly a show that is just French yet. I think it's in the cards maybe in the future. We'll see. Eh, guys? Maybe? (Everyone laughs)
S - I think that's one of the reasons why we're not doing French shows, is because it's its own pocket and we do kinda want to be out there in the mainstream and open up for those bigger bands and have those bigger shows. That's definitely an area that we're gonna evolve into. It's right around the corner.
W - Is there a certain percentage of your original songs that are French, or are you mostly focusing on
J - Mostly. We're doing an EP right now, and that's going to be all in English.
N - Maybe 20 per cent of our stuff is in French. That might even be a bit generous. St. Boniface is kind of our pocket if you're talking about a culture or a scene or something like that. The St. B music scene is really where we're from, where we're at. We all live in the neighbourhood, play in this neighbourhood a lot. I don't necessarily think it's segregated in the way that... when I think of French bands, I think maybe they play the smaller French towns, where it's really French. We're not into that yet, but I think we've kept that door open, like Serge was saying. We might be able to make that step, or we could go either way. The thing with the French is, because in Canada we have two official languages, there's quite a bit of funding for French music and it's underexploited. Playing those French shows, sometimes they're more lucrative and sometimes you're encouraged to go that way. That's part of what we're after, too.
W - It seems like francophone music has its own awards systems, its own grants... it's a benefit of being bilingual. It is weird, though, especially with St. Boniface being right downtown and it's almost its own
separate thing, even though it's *right* there, next to all the bars that are playing the anglo bands, if you want to call them that. It's a strange thing about Winnipeg. Within the music scene, do you think you fit in somewhere? Obviously St. Boniface is somewhere you guys fit, but in terms of the wider local music
scene... are there other bands you feel a kinship with, or venues? Where do you place yourselves on the Winnipeg map? Aside from St. Boniface... or is St. Boniface the spot?
N - Yeah, it really is.
J - Le Garage Cafe. Our second home.
N - We play the Pyramid often, but I don't think we've really played a show with someone who's a similar genre to us. I think we're doing it a little bit different than most of our friends' bands and I think that's fine... people aren't expecting to hear just one type of music anymore, you know? They just want to see good musicianship, good singing, good songs. That's really what matters. It's tough. Because we're just working on our first EP right now, until that comes out and that's released, I think that's when you start really forging your path. We're kind of still in our cocoon, forming ourselves.
W - I guess the EP is like a calling card. You can show it to people and open some more doors.
N - Yeah, exactly.
J - Right now, like you saw, we only have one song on the web.
W -It's a good song.
J - Yeah, but it's completely changed.
R - Which would that be, 'Find My Way'? Yeah, we've changed a lot on that song.
W - When are you expecting the EP? Is there a time frame?
J - Yeah, hopefully next month. We've been working with Murray Pulver and Paul Yee, and we basically just went in the studio last week to finish up some vocals. Alex Campbell is on the keys and my cousin -- I'm gonna try to get my cousin to sing some back-ups. Do you know Sarah Dugas? She's in LA now, she writes songs over in LA, but I'm trying to get her to sing some back-ups on there. Hopefully in mid-April, it'll be all done. There's a lot of pieces to put together when you actually go through it, my god.
W - It's 2016. The way people consume music is totlly different than it was even 10 years ago, so when
you guys have an EP coming out, what's your plan for releasing it? As far as format, some people do just digital, some people do digital and CD, some people do tape-only, some people do vinyl... there's no standard format. Do you guys have something figured out for how you're gonna release it?
J - We got some grants, and we have to do some CDs.
W - That's a requirement of the grants?
J - I think so.
S - Personally, I like to have hard copies.
W - Oh, me too.
S - I'd love to have vinyl as well. That'd be nice to have.
J - That'd be awesome. And we're gonna get a buddy, Evan, he's doing his Master's right now in Chicago... I don't know how to describe it, but it would be great to have a big vinyl of what he's going to produce for the cover. He's gonna sketch up something that kind of puts all the four songs together. So it should be cool to see what he comes up with. I dunno if that answers your question.
W -It's all right, you were going somewhere with it.
S- We haven't really talked about what kind of media as well, like if we're gonna go on Soundcloud or iTunes or...
W - Well, it's something you have to think about now and it's a probably bands a little while ago didn't
have, when CD was just it. Even if you're just doing digital, where do you put it? How do you get it out to the largest audience?
S - We haven't really talked about that. We're not even sure if we want to put it on iTunes. Once we maybe have an album and we're a little bit more official, then we'll have maybe our iTunes release and all that kind of stuff. I think it'd be nice to get our hardcore fans a copy in their hands that they can put in their car without having to go... I hate to say it, but some people are lazy; can't even click on a song, can't even go to iTunes or Bandcamp, you know? I've had those hip-hop albums on Bandcamp and it's even tough for people to do three clicks to download an album. I think, really, the key is to get people out to the shows and get something in their hands.
J - And ultimately, an EP is basically something for us to have to kind of show and shop around at festivals. It's not to make a buck.
W - Are you self-releasing it? Is there a label you're working with?
J - No, it's just us.
N - The whole purpose behind this is to take that next step and maybe try to find a label, stuff like that. We're really fortunate that we got such a great producer to help us with this and we're really
proud of these four songs. Of course, I'm sure everybody who puts out their first few songs is going to feel this way, but we really hope that we can get something more serious goin' after this.
W - You mentioned the festival thing; it seems like you are the right type of band for that. There's
festivals starting up seemingly every week in some new small town, but from what I've heard -- which isn't a lot (everyone laughs) -- you guys seem to have a sound that would work for festivals. Like we were saying at the beginning, it's kind of hard to define the genre, it kind of appeals to people who are into this and this and this. Is that a goal for you, to play festivals?
J - 100 per cent. We got the Festival du Voyageur gig.
W - Which is huge.
J - Yeah, it was just fantastic. Playing some during the warmer months would be great (laughs). Rainbow Trout and Harvest Moon would be amazing. Folk Fest... that's reaching there. For now. Hopefully in the next couple years, we'll be on that circuit.
W - Have you done any touring yet, or is it still too early?
J - Too early.
N - We just came home from a tour of Altona (everyone laughs).
S - We played a bar in Altona. It was awesome, actually. Good turnout.
W - That's good, though. You're still leaving the city. You're still playing to a new audience. The
farthest I ever went was I played a show in Brandon, and it was the best thing ever. "I'm playing to a new crowd, yay!" I mean, no one cared. I don't think any of them ever listened to anything beyond that, but it's cool to play out of town. I guess with the francophone thing, too, there *are* so many French-speaking communities. It's interesting, because I've had some country singers on here and some of those guys make a killing doing the small-town circuits, in the sense that there's all these places that you wouldn't even think to go. You wouldn't think they have any kind of theatre or auditorium or anywhere to play, but they're all just craving whatever band can come through. Some of these guys know all of them, and just hit up one after another after another and the whole town comes out to see them. It's this huge thing. I'm sure with a lot of the smaller, rural francophone communities, it's probably similar.
N - To be determined.
J - Hopefully!
W - So, I don't know if we actually answered the (earlier) question. CD is the format? CD and digital?
N - I don't think we really had a discussion on how that's going to play out yet. We've been so focused on the music since our inception. We really are just trying to find what it is that makes us tick. Jer had probably written over 10 songs that we learned, played at a bunch of shows, and we've almost retired them already. These four songs on this EP are brand-new songs. Realistically, we probably could've recorded and put out some kind of average music, but instead...
J - You calling my stuff average? (laughs) No, it's changed so much.
N - It's more of a genre change than it is anything else. Us trying to figure out how to play together.
R - Yeah, it took us time to find our sound.
N - But on the topic of how we want to release it, for me, I think the most important thing is the
YouTube video. A video that you put out. So whatever the song is that will get the most attention, I
think it's gonna come down to throwing it on YouTube with a really good video. If that can get enough views, then that's more important than anything you put on CD, really. Someone sees a number of views on your video, and if it's a high number, then they give you credit.
W - They assume it's worth watching because of the number of people who have seen it before.
N - Yeah, exactly. I'm going to try to push for a good video out of this whole thing. That's what I care the most about.
J - First time you've talked about it.
R - You're not trying to push very hard. (Laughs)
W - Now it's public. (everyone laughs)