The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.
“Saint Lo. is a Montreal-based folk, indie, pop rock collective with roots that stretch across the continent. They sing about complex emotions – vulnerability, isolation, connection, nostalgia and loss – always infused with more than just a hint of hope. Their new album We Could Be is a thematic tour-de-force for Saint Lo. The video single ‘Wounds’ is a stunning ode to the long healing process that comes in the wake of the rupture of a relationship. The song is a mix of alt-folk layered with cinematic pop. Filmed on a rainy day in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, the video for ‘Wounds’ was created in collaboration with Montreal-based film editor Olivia Du Vergier and Vancouver-based videographer Daniel Keen.”
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Bashu: A pretty early age, playing on my family’s Casio keyboard. I played a small piece and the entire room transformed, like I’d just added a soundtrack to the movie of my life. It was a lot of power for a kid. There was no resisting after that.
Laura: Probably when I was about 4 years old. I remember always putting on “concerts” in my living room for family and friends when they would come to visit.
Gabe: It’s funny, I think music kind of just happened to me. I originally joined my first choir because my family wanted me to show up for religious events, and singing in the choir seemed a lot more interesting than praying. It all kind of spiralled outward from there.
Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?
Laura’s trained as a pianist and big band vocalist. Bashu learned accordion by busking on the road and in the Metro. Many of us were in choirs at some point in our lives, and learnt to love singing together with other people. Marc and Gabriel actually met at the music department where they were studying before moving on to other kinds of learning.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
We’ve got a few: Fleetwood Mac, Sylvan Esso, Arcade Fire, Haley Heynderickx, Janis Joplin, Emma Ruth Rundle, Andy Shauf, Phoebe Bridgers, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cat Power, Broken Social Scene, and a lot more. Recently some of us have been listening to Boygenius a lot.
How did the band come together?
Concordia University in Montreal played a big role – most of us studied or worked there at some point, and met each other. Bashu saw the band playing in a small Irish pub in Notre-Dame-De-Grace. Jory met the band at ArtsWells Festival in Wells, BC. Gabriel our bassist was in the crowd at a lot of our Montreal shows before joining.
How would you describe your sound?
‘Orchestral folk’ seems to capture it most of the time- it’s tricky because we have multiple songwriters and we all come to the writing table with different sonic landscapes in our heads, and so every song is like a child raised by a village. You could point to some themes. We don’t do guitar solos, and we also love harmonies- whether between four voices or between accordion and violin and sax.
What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
Bashu: Tough to say. In live shows, “Someday/Storm”, the first track on our album, hits a lot of high points for me. It starts out in this ethereal light soundscape with vocal harmonies blending together to tell a story about a place called the End Of The World. Then suddenly we slip into this darker place where we all get to absolutely shred for a minute on our respective instruments, and then we all come back together to finish the story. It’s an adventure every time. I feel like it packs a lot of our favourite things into one piece.
What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
A lot of caring in our music. We try to work in consideration of the audience as participants in a process we’re going through all together. It’s easy to go through life feeling isolated, feeling partially invisible. The best feeling for us as musicians is when somebody tells us that they felt safe and invited to be vulnerable in the space we created at our shows.
Where can we find your music and talk to you on social media?
Great questions! Our latest single just came out and you can see the video here.
And our official website is saintloband.com.