The beats of a different drum

Brad Weber splits his time between Caribou and Pick a Piper, a trio of Waterloo buds who just released their debut LP this week, and they’re at Quai des Brumes tonight. Cult MTL spoke to the drummer turned producer about how Afrobeat and techno pulled him in different directions.

Pick a Piper

Brad Weber tours the world with Caribou, Dan Snaith’s awesome, award-winning beat music project, partly crafted with organic materials — Weber is the drummer. He also leads Pick a Piper, a trio of old friends from Waterloo, ON, who stack their beats like pros, but mercifully without pipes.

Weber and his bandmates Angus Fraser and Dan Roberts released their self-titled debut album on Mint Records on Tuesday, and they play Montreal tonight. I spoke to him last week about finding time to make music and locking down an identity.

Lorraine Carpenter: You must be pretty busy with Caribou most of the time.

Brad Weber: Caribou does take up a lot of my time, yeah. We toured the last few years pretty intensely. I guess this record is a product of those years, whenever I had time. At home or even in the back of a tour van or waiting in an airport, I would just play around with loops and ideas on my laptop and bring them home to flesh them out.

LC: I understand that you started out with the intention of making non-electronic dance music.

BW: At the beginning I was listening to a lot of Afrobeat, and I just wanted to make dance music with acoustic guitars and glockenspiels and lots of drums and percussion. Over time, I was listening to more and more dance music, and that was exciting me. My love for acoustic organic stuff and synth patches combined, and it was more fun for me to meet in the middle. It’s helped me find more nuances more space.

Having interesting sounds that aren’t obviously one thing or another is fun. It’s all about what I’m feeling at the moment, I don’t wanna say I’m this type of artist and therefore I only use these tools. It’s about what’s exciting me at the moment.

LC: And electronic dance music is exciting you more now.

BW: This was my foray into dance music. It’s something I’d dabbled with but hadn’t really jumped into, and creating dance music with these instruments was the challenge. We figured out that we could do it and developed our skills more; it made sense to open it up and bring in all kinds of different sounds.

LC: You have several guest vocalists on the record. Do they tend to join you when you’re in their town?

BW: Recently we played shows with the Ruby Suns in Toronto and Montreal, and the singer sang his songs with us, so that was cool. Generally Dan and Angus handle the vocals live. The only song that they don’t sing is the one that Raphaelle from Braids [/Blue Hawaii] sings on — her voice is really incredible and insane and would be impossible to reproduce. So we’ve actually sampled syllables from her vocals on the track and Angus performs the melody live that way. ■

Pick a Piper play with opens Dam Ships and Pang Attack at Quai des Brumes (4481 St-Denis) tonight, Friday, April 5, 9:30 p.m., $10

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