NOIA and Magmatic steer electro-pop sideways

Montreal-based vocal duos NOIA and Magmatic, playing Divan Orange on Wednesday, aim to fill a void in the local music scene.


Eduardo Noya Schreus and Ashley Long are NOIA, an electronic act incorporating pop, rock and Latino rhythms. Schreus’s Peruvian upbringing and background in electro-punk and film-score composition (he’s nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for his work on Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways), along with Long’s experience in bands like Sex Life (a tropicalectro act based in Portland), influence and inform NOIA’s vivid and vibrant sound, which is performed with enough live elements to make each show a heavy trip.

“It’s so hard for us to carry all the equipment,” says Schreus, who was still recovering from a smokey afterhours show when I called NOIA at noon on Saturday — they’d played their set at 2 a.m.  “I have a big table with an analogue synth, some controllers, a guitar, a bass and a lot of pedals for both. I use everything. I always wanted it that way.”

Meanwhile, Long sings, loops her vocals and plays trumpet on some songs, rounding out a very live electronic experience, one that NOIA will soon be converting for home-listening with an EP in April, and an LP to come.

Schreus isn’t enamoured of the state of the electronic music scene in Montreal at the moment, split as it is between the mainstream DJ/dance scene and what he views as a half-baked indie-electro clique. He and Long have found kinship in Magmatic, however, the duo opening for them at Divan Orange this Wednesday.

“It’s a great fit,” Schreus says. “We really like their music, and we’re super happy to play with them.”

Matt Matic and Magda Matic paired up last year and played their first gig in December of 2012 — this week’s will be their third show, with their fourth happening on March 2 as part of Nuit Blanche. It’s early days for the duo, but they have four songs online and are looking ahead to releasing an EP this year.

Matt also produces electronic music solo, as Hissy Fit, while Magda is one third of vocal trio Fruiting Bodies, whose intimate gypsy-folk sound takes her far afield from Magmatic‘s electro-pop territory.

“There’s a lot of swaying that goes on when we play, but no one is dancing at our shows,” she says. Everything being relative, the full-on dancefloor orientation of Hissy Fit casts Magmatic in a different light for Matt.

“I don’t feel any need at all to make Magmatic dancefloor-friendly,” he says. “A lot of it does end up that way, but having made stuff that’s not meant for home listening at all, this is really in contrast to that. I like not caring about the constraints of  tempo and rhythm and narrative. I like the pop song format, even though we’re not strictly adhering to that; verses and choruses and bridges are great. I’ve always been a big pop fan.”

Like Schreus, Matt recognizes the voids in the electronic music scene in Montreal, and hopes Magmatic can help bridge them.

“It’s surprising that there aren’t as many DJs from the dance music side of things moving into more songey stuff. It’s the people in indie rock bands who are getting laptops and going more electronic. The experimental side is super healthy, but there’s not so much crossover between, say, Mutek and Pop Montreal, which is a shame. If there was a Pop showcase at Mutek and a Mutek showcase at Pop, that’d be great fun. We’d play that — we’re just throwing that out there, Mutek and Pop.” ■

NOIA and Magmatic play Divan Orange (4234 St-Laurent) on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 9:30 p.m., $8

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