Keith and Renée
It’s been a good year for Keith and Renée.
In January, the local pop/rock duo’s 2007 song Good Year was chosen along with Bachman Turner Overdrive’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet as the official theme song for Manitoba Homecoming 2010.
In May, Keith and Renée released their fourth CD, Detours. This summer, one of their songs appeared on Degrassi: The Next Generation, causing their views on YouTube to spike significantly, and, to top it all off, the band is already working on its next album.
“Renée and I have really been inspired to write,” said Keith Macpherson, who is joined in the duo by Renée Lamoureux. “We’ve been really prolific over the last year-and-a-half, so we’re trying to capture that creativity.”
In 2009, the duo spent the summer in Africa as musical ambassadors for a humanitarian organization called Free the Children. Afterward, they performed at 80 Canadian high schools as part of a nationwide event staged by Free the Children, sharing their experiences in Kenya.
“Using music as a tool to inspire is really, really meaningful, and it’s really recharged us as artists,” Macpherson said.
“When we started, we were really driven to make it big, win a Grammy, be rock stars, but after going to Africa and (performing at the high schools), there’s just so much more depth to music than that.”
Before embarking on a three-month national tour and releasing a new music video later this month, Keith and Renée open for Australian country band Jetty Road on Thursday, Sept. 2 at the Pyramid Cabaret.
First question: Why are we killing Matilda?
“We are killing Matilda because she fucking deserves it. She was asking for it,” Dusty Exner, lead singer and guitarist for the B.C. quartet, said by phone last week.
Second question: Has Kill Matilda played Winnipeg before?
“Last time we came to Winnipeg, we played the Albert and this crazy (mixed martial arts) guy smashed glass all over his face,” Exner said. “I had to take him into the washroom, and kneeling down he came up to my tits – that’s how big he was – and he was laughing manically as I was picking glass out of his face.”
In response to that, a third question: Do you find your music inspires violence?
“I’d like to think our music influences a lot of violence and havoc-wreaking. Raping. Pillaging.”
She requested that the audience not rape/pillage until after the show, as it could possibly interfere with Kill Matilda finishing their set.
Self-described as being from “greasy-food-eating biker stock” and inspired by Hole, The Distillers, Misfits and in particular, Glenn Danzig, Exner’s vocals mix Courtney Love’s angst with the steadiness of Danzig.
An offer stands to any fans that are available before the show to shotgun beers in the back alley – even if they want to shake the can.
How about king cans?
“Maybe not king cans,” Exner said. “I’m kinda small, like five-three.”
See Kill Matilda at The Cavern on Saturday, Sept. 4. Visit www.myspace.com/killmatilda.
— Samuel Swanson
“It’s not all polka and perogies,” said Andriy Michalchyshyn, the main songwriter, composer and vocalist for the six-man Ukrainian folk-punk band, Zrada.
And he’s definitely right about that. Zrada is all about pushing beyond traditions while still honouring them, which is evident not only in their music, but also simply in the band’s name: Zrada is Ukrainian for treason.
“Initially we wanted a name that was sort of aggressive, that would get people talking, something catchy,” Michalchyshyn said. “In Ukraine, (zrada) has a sort of negative connotation – betrayal. But, that’s not what we’re about.
“There is a system that exists that tells people what music should be. Zrada means treason against what people think music should be.”
The members of Zrada got started in Winnipeg playing songs at wedding socials but eventually got sick of playing Beatles and Bob Seger covers. They were inspired by a lot of traditional Balkan and Slavic melodies and, with no expectations, decided to start writing.
Michalchyshyn describes his songwriting as “traditional folk-style,” and writes about various topics ranging from the negative aspects of drinking in Give Me Liquor, to songs about nature.
“(I try to) emulate the traditional, then kick it up a notch,” he said.
Zrada released their self-titled debut album in 2009 and is currently at a crossroads, deciding whether to start working on a new album or go to Europe – an understandable predicament.
Check out their relentlessly wild music at the King’s Head Pub on Friday, Sept. 10 and visit www.zradamusic.com.
—Catherine Van Reenen
Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)