Two days before their show at Il Motore on Friday March 29, I caught up with AlexeiMartov about their history, music, and plans for their growing popularity. Members are Martin Bradstreet (vocals, guitar, piano), Matthew Dorfman (bass), and Jonah Dorfman (drums).
So what brought you all to Montreal?
Martin Bradstreet (MB): “I wound up here like a lot of musicians…at some point I started to take music more seriously…right time and the right place I guess”
Matt Dorfman (MD): I came here for university at McGill good school, inexpensive, and in Montreal”
Jonah Dorfman (JD): “I’m still at McGill, but same reasons.”
MB: “We started playing shows 18 months ago, often at Trois Minots with whoever we could find. We had a drum kit so a lot of people wanted to play with us because they didn’t have to bring one.”
MD: “Don’t oversell us!”
MB: “Well, I think we were pretty good, but I’m not going to have any illusions about the drum kit being there!”
When did you start recording your first EP, Scent of a Wolf?
MD: “That was recorded last May, in Chicago”
MB: “I met Steve Albini (recorded Nirvana, The Pixies) playing online poker. He created an ‘Ask Me’ thread, saying, “Ask me anything about being a micro-celebrity in the recording world,’ so I eventually sent him a message saying “Can I come intern at your recording studio?’ and he was kind enough to say ‘you can come next month.’ Later, I was talking to him about recording some material and he said he could give me two days. He worked two 12 hour days and we couldn’t finish it in that time, so we finished mixing it at Hotel2Tango here in Montreal with Howard Bilerman (formerly of Arcade Fire)..”
MD: “It’s all cut to tape rather than done digitally. They both have this ethos about capturing a band’s live sound, instead of doing lots of takes and reconstructing them, to make it more authentic.”
MB: “It worked really well with the time constraint because we had to do it in the first or second take. It was more about getting the energy down. Tough work, but really fun.”
What about your upcoming LP?
MD: “We just recorded two tracks with Howard at Hotel2Tango. Those are yet to be released. We’re still deciding when.”
MB: “We recorded ‘Way of the Crow’ with CKUT (McGill Radio). It got 1000 views so we thought we should record it. We figured we can do the same thing three months from now and then release the album by the end of the year.”
On your websites you style yourselves as ‘psychedelic rock’ what are you influences?
MD: “One we just recorded is ‘Manic Depression’ but we reconceived it with synthesisers and no guitar.”
MB: “Yeah I kind of figured you’re always going to come second place to Jimi Hendrix doing a guitar cover. We like playing rock music, but it’s kind of out-there. It’s not technical enough for prog rock, but I like classical music, Jimi Hendrix, the White Stripes, Muse.”
MD: “I grew up with classic rock and jazz jams.”
JD: “Hard to say, some stuff I listen to influences what we play, but I listen to everything from classical to heavy metal and lots of weird stuff in-between.”
MB: “Yeah I’m pretty into Japanese stuff. We’re actually opening a show called Next Music From Tokyo funded by Steve Tanaka. He flies over alt/indie bands from Japan and gives them spots in Montreal or Toronto. When I went to Japan I asked where he would go and went everywhere on it. When I came back I met up with him and connected, so that’s happening in May with four other Japanese bands.”
MD: ” Yeah I’m pretty stoked. I went last year in May and it was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in Montreal. Really interesting artists so it’s a real privilege to play with them.”
MB: “Japanese have this high aesthetic thing and lots of energy, so everyone is really crazy onstage!”
Montreal is a pretty indie music scene, so where do you see yourselves fitting in with that? Do you think you’ll stay in Montreal?
MD: “Yeah I mean Montreal is home-base, and we’re definitely an indie band in the technical sense of the term. Also I really like this city, I like the other bands we play with, there’s a great community of musicians that we’re involved with.”
Favorite gig so far?
MD: “That one or the last Il Motore one.”
MB: “Yeah, or the Psychic City Halloween show. They’ve gotten better, the last 3 or 4 shows are pretty excellent.”
Are you excited for your show?
MD: “There should be an audio-visual element.”
MB: “We try to keep it fresh every show, especially for our friends. We’re also at the stage where we can try new things without getting press about it, like if I stage dive into the drum kit it won’t end up on Pitchfork or something. It’s the time when we can still have fun.”
Favorite song you’ve written so far?
MB: “‘The Road,’ especially when our friend who knows all the lyrics is in the crowd. Also ‘Night Drive’-”
MD: “Yeah I really like ‘Night Drive,’ musically, it’s a fun song to play. It sort of takes on a life of its own. Also ‘Way of the Crow,’ especially because of the story behind it.”
MB “Yeah, so I grew up on a country farm with chickens, and crows started stealing the chicken’s eggs. What a crow does to steal an egg is drops it from the air, so my dad caught onto this, so he got one of those rhythm shakers instead. And living on a farm, he’d grab his air rifle and use it to shoot them. To show the crows that he was willing to do this, he started hanging them up between two trees in the forest and he called it ‘Dead Crow Valley.’ So yeah, we’re going to release it as a single soon, and we’ll be playing it at our show on Friday.”
JD: “I also really like ‘Night Drive’ and ‘Way of the Crow.’ Also one called ‘Mind Bleach’ we’ll be playing that one too.”
Do you see yourselves making this more of a lifestyle?
MB: “I really feel like I’m putting in about 40 hours a week for music, so I guess we see it as already being like that, even though we don’t have the success of a professional band. My dream is to play for a crowd of 500-1000 people in Japan. I’ll feel like I got what I wanted out of it, and everything after that is just icing on the cake. But you know, obviously everyone likes icing.”
Catch AlexeiMartov this Friday at Il Motore with Bodyshakes, Rawhound and Jadehouse! In case you need even more persuasion, check out this stellar review from their last Il Motore gig.
For AlexeiMartov‘s music: www.alexeimartov.com