Interview: Native Speaking. Braids, Dot to Dot.

In many respects, Montréal's Braids are quite a special band. Primarily, they manage to harness, or perhaps control, the resolute ambition of Animal Collective, and offset it with luscious bedroom harmonies Nicola Roberts' Porcelain Heart could thud to. They also look next to nothing like a "buzz band", which tends to prove a plus point. Their debut EP Native Speaker is a refreshing gush of vocal acrobatics and aqueous, watercolour soundscape, and live is something of a marvel. Talking crowds and (Fred Perry Sub)culture, Canada and clothing, we met, and now introduce Braids.

On ideal introductions:

The best introduction to Braids is to come see us live. There aren't any words that can describe us as well as our onstage actions, and our music comes across best in the live setting. We dream of playing venues with ideal sound systems. That doesn't look like it'll be the case today though...

On the novelty of festivals in the vein of Dot to Dot:

The best thing about this festival is that you're forced to see and experience a lot of different areas. We don't really get to see many other bands - we tend to usually unpack, play and repack. We'd like to see Trail of Dead today really...

On the importance of fashion and image in contemporary music, in light of this year's festival being sponsored by Fred Perry Subculture:

Fashion's not an issue at all. Music's been sponsored by different corporations forever, by everything from cigarettes to alcohol. Fortunately that got banned in Canada actually. But whether an event is sponsored by a brand or not doesn't change our perception of it, nor does it make us reconsider whether or not we're willing to play. Fred Perry clothes are ok! We'd wear them! But of course fashion does now go hand in hand with music and for some bands it's one of the main focal points so maybe for them Fred Perry is a bit more relevant. We don't really do fashion though. We don't have costumes or anything either...

On the differences between playing back in Canada and over in Europe:

It feels as though we're on a different playing field over here, but everything also varies from city to city. Canada, as a whole, is pretty similar in terms of reaction, whilst there's a load more contrast on a similar theme over here. The shows here are definitely a lot smaller too, which is nice. It's humbling. 

On the current state of electronically-orientated music:

Electronic music definitely seems to be having something of a renaissance. Now more than ever there's this blossoming romance between rock bands and electronic stuff, with more and more bands trying to incorporate electronics, samples and all that sort of stuff into their live shows. That's what we're doing at the moment, and it's nice as it makes genre categorisation a little more tricky for those that try to pigeonhole everything they hear. We're not a rock band, but we're not an electronica band, nor a techno band etc. We base our songs on traditional structures, but incorporate electronic tendencies to add texture and diversification. I don't know if we can even be considered electronic, but we do use a lot of pedals. It's cool that boundaries are being blurred, with new elements being introduced to things people previously thought they completely understood.

On the disparity between the live sound and that committed to record:

At the moment we're remaining pretty faithful to the sound of Native Speaker, although we've recently started working on some new material we've written on the computer. We're yet to work out how to play it live though so the two sounds may veer off in two quite different directions pretty soon. We feel as though we're in quite a transitional period at the moment, but we're definitely looking to continue pushing ourselves. When we wrote Native Speaker we knew how to do one thing really well. Now we've really got to concentrate on exactly what we want to sound like from here on in, and that could take some time...
Braids - Glass Deers