Since their early inception, First Rate People have been making quite the name for themselves. The Toronto-based collective’s music is a breed of giddy indie-folk and electro-pop that can effortlessly make anyone tap their feet and start shimmying uncontrollably.
When they’re not busy making music together, every member is working on their own solo projects of equal-value and brilliance.
We had the chance to catch up with Anna Horvath, one of the vocalists and multi-instrumentalists of the band, to ask about their upcoming show at Quai Des Brumes this Saturday (more info following interview).
“Collective” is a big word. Not so much in its definition, but in the sense that there are so many people involved sometimes… Is it overwhelming when you try to organize things, or is it actually a natural, stress-free process?
It’s definitely overwhelming, I would say, for me anyway. There are so many people, even with the live band, which counts as six of us. It’s already hard enough to try and get six people with different schedules in a room to practice, so you can imagine having a huge list of collaborators coming in and out of the studio on different days during recording sessions, and having to keep track of everything can become really overwhelming and almost impossible to do. It’s great to be able to reach into such a huge pool of talent, but it’s also definitely something crazy to try to do.
Do you feel accomplished when you get somewhere with a track you’ve been racking your brains over and can say, “Hey, guys this sounds good!”
It’s hard to say because we’re all such minute perfectionists, so we’d always work on the tracks for an infinite amount of time, and there’s always that thought in the back of your head going “Oh, we could work on this some more”, but you really have to try and put that aside and draw a line in the sand at a certain point. There is a feeling of accomplishment and relief once everything’s settled and we’ve decided that a track is done, though, and it’s like, “Oh, sweet. We actually made something that sounds sick!”
That sounds intense. How many members are you in the greater collective? Core members and collaborators that come and go included.
The core is just the six of us, but the collaborators we’ve had who are part of the greater umbrella would probably count for about 20 or so people… I know, that’s a lot!
How does it feel having names such as The National, Born Ruffians, Chad Valley supporting you and backing your music?
It’s really, really cool, and it’s something we’re very humbled by and appreciative of, but it’s also weird, because they’re such important people in the music scene. I tend to get starstruck, but I also try to focus on how these artists are people, just like us. Like, yeah, you can be a star and write all this music and be well-liked by thousands and thousands of people, but at the end of the day, you’re still a person. I would feel weird if people treated me like I’m some sort of superhuman and blew me out of proportion, just because they have an inexplicable bond to my music. So yeah, I try to keep that in mind as far as well-known, very nice, talented people talking about our music goes.
Tell us more about the album! You’ve been working on it for a while… is there a set release date yet?
There isn’t a release date yet, but we have been making some very important progress that would count as some of the final steps needed to finally release it. We’ve mastered another track recently, and that one’s potentially the last one we had on the list, but I won’t say much since we’re so fickle and it might be subject to change, because we might add another song or something– but we’re definitely a step closer to finishing the process. I know this is an oxymoron, but I would say tentatively for sure, the album will be released in 2013 (laughs).
How is it really like being the only female core member of the band?
Honestly, I don’t think my gender has anything to do with the creative process, the writing process, or the recording process. I’m just another person who makes music, and happens to gel with all these other humans, and I’m not in there because a pop band needs to have a female face to be able to be taken seriously, or to add sex appeal on stage. Of course if I bring something to the live show, that’s fine; I like dancing, and I have fun playing with these guys, but apart from that, I just happen to be a girl amidst five other guys. I don’t know what else people want me to say about that.
There’s always been the issue of how it’s been difficult for female musicians to be taken seriously in the industry. Now that there’s a boom going on and more female artists are taking to the stage, they’re being respected for their skills. What are your thoughts on that?
If someone were to point out that I am a female amidst so many boys on stage, I hope it’s an inspiration to other girls who want to do the same. I hope they realize I’m not just standing on stage, doing what I’m told, and putting on the face of the band. I’m very involved in the process, and if other girls want to do that, they should never feel afraid or intimidated to do so!
Don’t forget about First Rate People’s upcoming show at Quai Des Brumes this Saturday!
When: Saturday, July 13, 2013
Who: First Rate People + Jess Abran
Where: Quai Des Brumes (4481 St-Denis, Montréal, QC)
Photos: Jalani Morgan.