A couple of Tuesdays ago, The Main’s own Sarve had the chance of meeting up with a few members of the young, up-and-coming R&B band Borealice, to talk about how they came to be and what their favourite hangouts in the city are. The band had chosen “Nôtre-Dame-de-Grâce” park in NDG as their interview spot in this summer series of picnic interviews, but unfortunately the weather was decidedly rainy, so they all went to Shaika café right across from there instead, for some good eats, drinks, and talks.
The Main: Borealice is (band member and instrument):
Corey: We’ve got Stephanie Gariepy on vocals, Brent Rossal on synthezisers, me, Corey Tardiff, on drums, we also have Matthew Gardiner on bass (not present), and Dominic Caterina on guitar (not present).
TM: How did your passion for music start out and in the same token, how did your band start out?
TM: I know it’s cliché but minds inquire!
Stephanie: You know what, for me I think it was my dad; seriously, because he always listens to good music, and I think he made me discover all the music that I love today. Like, he made me listen to- Okay so I don’t really listen to John Mayer anymore (laughs), but I mean, he got me started on that- and Alicia Keys, I love Alicia; Sade, he also introduced me to her music… Lots of different styles!
TM: Is it by chance because he listens to CBC Radio? Because they have a lot of good, different music going on.
S: No actually! Just CDs he buys. Yeah, and then I took voice lessons for a few years, and then I went into Vanier College’s three-year music program. We all went there actually, which is how the band sort of started out.
TM: How about you two (Brent, Corey)?
Brent: Well, for myself… Corey and I were actually in a band since we were 15. We’d kinda play in little pubs and stuff and sneak in even though we were underage. We played in pretty much what would be called an indie-folk band, and then I moved to Hamilton, Ontario for about a year, and played there. When I came back I had a different kind of repertoire; I was really into electronic music. Me and Corey started an electronic band, so we just jammed and came across a bunch of people through that.
Corey: The other two guys I met during CEGEP, where I met Steph as well; we all went to school together way before that. I knew Brent from a long time ago, I’ve been playing with Dom for 4-5 years, and I’ve been playing with Matt for 3-4 years, and I already knew Steph so I just asked her to play with us, and it happened!
TM: And that’s how you started making music together. Sweet! Are you planning on recording an album anytime soon? Or have you already, and was it in a specific studio?
S: We’ve recorded the EP already, so now we’re promoting it.
B: It’s kinda like a DIY, so we were messing around with friends’ equipment and stuff.
S: It sounds good though!
B: Yeah, for sure, it sounds pretty good!
C: Brent fixed the whole thing up, we sat down and listened to it; everything’s just about the band getting together and working together to see if everyone’s happy with what we’ve got.
S: Yes, definitely. The three first songs we recorded were posted on Soundcloud, they were really, really basic, but just so that everyone, and we, could get an idea of what our sound is, and now we’re planning on recording two other songs, and maybe posting one every month, because at the moment we have maybe 15 songs that are original material.
TM: Wow, so you guys are getting quite a bit done!
S: It’s only been a year, so we’re pretty productive, it’s great.
C: Yeah, we just had our EP launch at the Belmont…
TM: Which I apparently missed, I’m so sorry!
S: Haha, it’s alright!
C: You can always listen to the EP on Bandcamp.
S: Yes, and pretty soon we’re going to release all of the tracks on Youtube.
C: But for now, the easiest way to find out what’s going on with us is on our Facebook page. That’s pretty much where we link our fans to everything we do.
TM: That’s great; I find the Facebook page makes everything a lot more practical for everyone.
C: Yes, especially because we don’t have our website up yet, even though we’re working on it, it [Facebook] just makes everything a lot easier to share, but basically, that’s what we’re trying to get to, apart from recording some new songs, and keeping things active, playing shows…
TM: So that’s how you’re warming up the pot and keeping people in the know.
C: Absolutely, you need to get some of that internet world going!
S: On top of that, all our shows are free. Eventually, we will be putting covers for them, but for the meantime, it’s really important for us to spread the word about our music and let people know about us, for free!
TM: The free culture is a little iffy that way, in the sense that you want to make sure you can make some profit out of it at some point, but it won’t be at the beginning, but that’s great!
S: Yes, but all we really want right now is for people to enjoy our music at no extra cost, and possibly spread the word!
TM: What’s the best show you’ve played so far, and what is your favourite venue?
C: I have a favourite venue, but we haven’t played it as a band yet…
S: For now, I think my favourite, for us as a band is L’Alizé
C: The first or the second show?
S : Both! But Maybe the second one more… Or first? I don’t know. Vinyl Lounge was good too.
B: There’s also the show we played at the Piranha bar…
S: That was your favourite show?!
B: Well it was a good show, but it was also the night my synthesizer got stolen. So for the second show we had at the Belmont, I’d gotten my new synth a week prior, and had to reprogram the whole thing. So the second show at the Belmont was good, but I obviously liked the first one better, because I had my original synth.
TM: Wow that really sucks. Synthesizers are so expensive too!
S: Hey Corey! What’s your favourite venue?
C: Oh, well I love the Metropolis, you know what I mean? I’d rather play that, haha. But my favourite venue by far is La Sala Rossa. Almost only because the sound guy is the nicest, best guy ever. Yeah, love that place.
B: In that case, mine is probably in Hamilton. It would be the Sky Dragon bar.
TM: So wait, you guys have been touring then?
B: Well, we played in Hamilton because I have connections there, from old bands I used to play with and stuff, so we played around there.
C: The thing about this band is that we’ve all been playing in many different bands for the past 5 years, before we came together, so we’re all from different worlds and we’ve all had different experiences, although we all know each other and have played together in separate bands.
TM: I guess it’s one of those things that happens, right? You separate yourselves from your older projects, and form a new one! Are you guys still tied to other projects?
C: But Borealice is pretty much our main project!
S: I really love this band, I hope it’s going to last a long time!
TM: What kind of music are you guys into? Like, if your house was burning down (god forbid) and your box of records was right at the door, what record(s) would you run out with?
C: I’d totally take all my J Dilla stuff… Beastie Boys too. I’d also take my Radiohead, but that’s in a compilation box, so it would be easy to run out with, haha. Tough question! I’m a big hip hop head though, so all my hip hop stuff.
B: Haha, man, I would just make sure I have my phone with me and run away with it, really. But if I had to pick records… I don’t know, that is a tough one. Uh, I’d go out with all my Boston albums.
C: Yes! YES.
B: Haha, yeah, because I do have them on vinyl, and they’re mostly of sentimental value, but honestly besides that, I’m really into electronic music. Not super electronic, like techno or anything, but mostly things like Little Dragon, and Phantogram, Hot Chip, Skrillex, and the likes.
S: I do like Little Dragon too! And old bands, like The Police. I love Sade, Erykah Badu, really love her. I like The Roots, and there’s also that really great British DJ, Bonobo.
TM: What are your top 5 favourite local artists (if not local, Canadian)?
C: Uh, number one is obviously Chromeo (laughs). Yeah we [Brent and I] saw them open for Beastie Boys back in 2007. No one knew who they were back then! We got into them pretty early.
B: There’s Arcade Fire too.
S: Bran Van 300 is great.
C: Who was the band who opened for them again? They were so good. Oh man, I can’t remember.
S: There’s one Montreal act who isn’t that big, but she’s great; A K U A. I really like her!
C: There’s also The Barr Brothers who are really good.
B: Bud Rice is cool too.
C: Oh yeah, and Grimes!
S: Oh yes, Grimes!
C: Even though she’s originally from BC, she’s reppin’ MTL. And the next up and coming act from here I think is MAK, they’re pretty great.
TM: Top 5 favourite local food/drink joints?
B: Well first, Guy La Patate, which is in the South Shore. We’re originally from there.
S: (Laughs) Guy La Patate?!
B: (Laughs) Yeah, Potato Guy!
C: Décarie Hot Dogs is also really good, for their poutines especially!
S: Yes, it’s so good. We’d often eat on Décarie, because we studied at Vanier. There was also this sushi place there called Kyoto. It’s really good sushi. There are a lot of [sushi] places in Montreal, but this one’s one of the few that are really good. It’s just this one guy in this small location, and he makes amazing sushi.
B: There’s another sushi place in the West Island that does “Sambuca Rolls”. They literally light your sushi roll on fire with Sambuca. It’s amazing. I can’t remember the name, though.
C: Another great place is Big In Japan Bar. Not the restaurant, but the bar. Rachel and St-Laurent. Go there. Boom.
S: I like this French bistro on St-Denis called L’Express. I work really late, so when I finish work I’m really hungry, and it’s like one in the morning, so it’s the most practical thing that’s on my way back home and isn’t greasy. It’s a bit more fancy, but it’s worth it.
TM: Top 5 favourite local places (stores, parks, look-outs, museums, etc)?
C: Encore books & records, that’s actually three blocks away from here. I’m really into literature and music, and a combination of both, means it’s a good place for me.
B: As far as look-outs go, I live in Lachine, right on St-Joseph. It’s beautiful there.
S: Where’s that place where you see the planes go by, again?
C: It’s that village, in the West-Island, sorta. But yeah, it’s like, down St-Jean and then, turn right- Point-Claire Village! Yes. You can go in this park and see the planes fly really close to the ground.
TM: Alright, last question, when is your next show?
C: Next show will probably happen at the end of August. We just finished the Belmont thing, with a big three months of work to get there; we were playing shows before it, too. After that we’re going to be back in the dungeon working on some new tunes.
B: We’re only taking a break and leaving the next show for the end of August because that’s our vacation time.
S: Yes, vacation time.
C: For most of Montreal, I find!
TM: Well everyone needs a break at some point! I think we’re done now, so thank you guys for doing this with us!
Everyone: Thank you!
For more information on Borealice, follow them on these websites:
To listen to their music, follow this link: