TORNGAT / Into the Great Wide Open
by Steve Guimond / illustration Sarah Mangle
] Torngat are the young-gun trio of Julien Poissant, Pietro Amato (also of Bell Orchestre fame, as well as a frequent contributor to the Arcade Fire) and Mathieu Charbonneau.
We know them in Montreal as fearless creators of dream-like instrumentals that delve into jazz, electronics, actuelle, pop and the avant-garde. A good many outside these snowy walls know them as intrepid road warriors. Many more people will discover their genius via their new record You Could Be, a platter that sets a benchmark for audacity, boldness and originality.
Can you lead us through some of this record’s journey?
Mathieu Charbonneau: It’s an album with many moods, many ideas, all put together to form some kind of unity. Some songs were composed individually, other songs were written as a band. […] We’ve used a lot of instruments, a bunch of different vintage keyboards, many percussion instruments and lots of brass overdubs. There are instances of improv, mostly composed, but not note-for-note like La Rouge (the band’s first album).
Pietro Amato: Like La Rouge, You Could Be was recorded in a renovated barn in the country. It is our first full-length as a trio. The recording was almost entirely done in one month at the barn with the exception of a couple of overdubs done at home and at the mixing studio. We arrived in the country and we thought: “One month, we have tons of time,” but as the month progressed and eventually came to an end, we realized that we definitely could’ve spent more time there. We were still recording late into the last night we were there.
I consider this Torngat’s masterpiece. What do you think?
PA: Well, the goal is to always make something better than the last thing you’ve made. […] And with You Could Be, I definitely think we’ve achieved that evolution. We really love this recording but we already have plans for our next ones. There are definitely things we will do differently, experiment with, expand upon and explore in different ways that will hopefully make each record we make better and better.
There seems to be a magical bond between the three of you. Can you talk a bit about that?
Julien Poissant: We’ve known each other for so long now. It sometimes feels like a family, from the love to the dysfunction, and back to the love again. We were actually friends before starting the band together so that must help. We’re also three sensitive men who have different personalities. That makes for all sorts of different, interesting nights. One of our biggest strengths is that we’re always able to eventually get to a good compromise. From the shit to the good times, there is love and compromises, and Torngat is confident because we have each other’s back, both musically and not. [
September 19th at Sala Rossa
with A.J. Pena +/or Virgins No Cargo
Info: 284.0122 / www.torngat.ca
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