Awesome experiments

Local rockers Crosstown Rivals plan a summer tour and their next single

I can has dark, dancey, melodic indie rock? Winnipeg’s Crosstown Rivals pose with a black kitteh.

While finishing up their debut EP in the summer of 2008, local rock four-piece Crosstown Rivals were feeling less than confident.

“We were still talking about how we couldn’t stand the recordings, and they actually turned out alright,” drummer Jon Mutch said with a laugh over coffee at Second Cup recently.

Their self-titled EP was recorded by Ricardo Lopez of Oldfolks Home on relatively inexpensive equipment. Guitarist Louis Levesque-Cote said the recording didn’t come alive until the mastering process.

“The mastering helped a lot and Ricardo really invested so much time into mixing it and making it better because there’s no way he was happy with how it was sounding at first,” Levesque-Cote said. “The great thing about working with him is that he added so much to the songs – he added back-up vocals and effects on the guitars…it turned out great.”

With a single tour and EP under their belts, Crosstown Rivals are already beginning to turn some heads with their dark, dancey and melodic indie rock. The band receives regular airplay on Winnipeg’s 92.9 KICK FM station and have charted on several university stations across Canada. The band was surprised to see their name on the charts, to say the least.

Why would you blow all that money on an album that no one’s going to buy anyways?

Louis Levesque-Cote

“We got the top spot in two or three towns in like…St. Catherine’s where we played a show to only the bar staff but we were number one on their university station,” said Mutch.

Crosstown Rivals was originally formed by vocalist/guitarist Cody Seller, bassist Anthony Kowalczyk and Mutch in 2007. After a brief break up, the band enlisted Louis Levesque-Cote, alumni of The Paperbacks and member of Boats!. The band’s sound continues to evolve and has taken a synth-heavy direction as of late.

“It’s a direction that’s been happening more less naturally because we got these keyboards and it’s like ‘Well fuck, let’s use them,’ and it actually has changed our whole approach on songwriting,” Levesque-Cote said.

“They’re expensive, so we might as well put them to use,” Mutch added.

Levesque-Cote describes the band’s current songwriting process as loose and experimental. Band members will grab whatever instrument is lying around and immediately start writing. All of Crosstown Rivals’ new songs have been written this way.

“Most of the time it doesn’t turn out at all, but once in a while it does and we’re like, ‘Wow, that’s so awesome!’” Mutch said.

Fans will get a chance to hear the new material when the band releases a brand new single, Exits, in the next few months. The single, along with four remixes, will be released digitally with the increasingly popular pay-what-you-want price tag.

Next on the Crosstown Rivals’ agenda is another summer tour and some more studio time. But don’t expect a full-length album. Levesque-Cote said the band would much rather release singles and EPs.

“Why would you blow all that money on an album that no one’s going to buy anyways? It doesn’t matter how popular you are, nobody buys CDs anymore,” he said, before adding with a laugh: “It’s all about getting huge on the Blogosphere.”

Published in Volume 63, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 19, 2009)

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