THE tremendous trio of CHANCES…
are readying themselves for the release of their debut album, Traveler, and have been discussing its latest single, Fire to Go. I learn how the guys got together and learn what the music scene is like in Montreal – they recommend a new act to watch and discuss the music that inspires them.
I was keen to know whether they are coming to the U.K. and whether they have a precious memory from their time in music; what they have plotted for the rest of the year; the advice they would give new artists of the moment – they each select a great song to end the interview.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. Thanks for taking the time to listen to our music! We're busy getting things ready for our album launch and tour which kicks off in Montreal at the Phi Centre on April 26th, followed by dates in Quebec City, Toronto; Hamilton and Ottawa. Super-exciting! It's our first album…we can't wait to release it into the world!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We're a trio based out of Montreal. Chloé and I play synths/keys and sing; Vincent plays the drums. We've been together since 2016. CHANCES is a mix of our influences and cultures. We like to blend Pop hooks, synths and vocal harmonies with both electronic and organic sounds. The songs are rhythm-based because the writing usually starts off with one of Vincent's drum sequences or beats. Chloé and I share lead singer duties, often singing in unison or in harmony.
We're inspired by World music as well and like to see how we can fit that influence into catchy melodies with original harmonies. There's a feeling of openness to what we do, a willingness to stay curious and to touch upon universal themes.
To be visual about it…in concert, Chloé and I face each other with mirrored synth/keyboard set-ups. Vince is directly in the middle of us at his drum - and with the audience, we form a circle. From the beginning, we had the word 'empowerment' in mind. It's been a guiding element in the creation of the songs and our live show. Writing songs that will give energy to those singing and listening. This band is a lot about sharing and communion amongst the three of us and with our audience. There's a give-and-take we strive for that feels really good when it's happening.
What can you reveal about Fire to Go and how the song came together?
Fire to Go is an ode to resilience. It's a break-up song that was written to inspire strength. We have a way of writing together as a trio that works really well for us. This time, Chloé started with one of Vince's beats and composed the melody. I felt the melody had something powerful about it; especially with the way the chorus lifts-off. I sat down and came up with the first draft of lyrics. The rest came together as a trio; working on the arrangement and finishing the lyrics together. It was a fluid process.
There is a relationship angle in the song – standing strong against easy temptation. Have you all experienced bad breakups and going back to someone?
I think that, whenever you break up with someone, there's always a certain amount of building yourself back up that happens afterwards: there's a period of time where you need to take care of yourself and figure out who you are now that you're not with that person anymore. This song is about that…it's about finding your footing again and believing in yourself; standing your ground, protecting your boundary. Sometimes, that's easier said than done and music can help inspire courage
When did CHANCES form? How did you all meet?
We met in Montreal and toured together to promote Chloé's second album. We realized there was something special about the three of us onstage together. We knew we wanted to keep playing together when her tour ended in 2016. So, we decided to try writing as a trio to see where it would take us. We went on a road trip to Bon Iver's Eaux Claires festival in Wisconsin in the summer of 2016. It really inspired us to see so many incredible bands; a lot of them with female lead singers of all ages and backgrounds – and, of course, Bon Iver live was equally amazing; we're all fans of his work.
We came back from Wisconsin with our band name and lots of ideas for the project and started writing and recording.
I always ask Canadian bands whether there is a great scene in the country. What is it like for a musician in Canada?
We live in Montreal, which has a really vibrant scene! There are so many fantastic bands and artists coming out of Montreal and Quebec these days! We feel lucky to be a part of that scene!
Traveler, your debut album, is out (27th April). What themes inspired the songwriting? Was it fun to record the record?
Traveler is a collection of songs that talk about different themes ranging from love, truth; the power of your words, women's issues; kundalini/chi, breakups; loss and courage.
We recorded it bit by bit over the past few years with our co-producer/recording engineer, Pierre Girard. We call him our ‘fourth band-mate’, even though he doesn't play live with us. He was a really important ally in the studio. The recording process was exciting, sometimes challenging and sometimes flowing easily. As we grew as a band, we also learned how to work together in the studio. It was really fun to hear the songs come together, transform and each become a shining diamond.
When you write a song, it pours out of your heart and mind often in a simple, rough form and you don't necessarily know how it will sound when it's all finished, arranged and recorded; especially in this type of project. You keep polishing it and polishing it till it reflects emotion in just the right way and makes you feel the way you want to feel when you sing it and listen to it. That made this a pretty exciting record to make!
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
We have a few gigs coming up!
April 26th - Traveler album release show: Phi Centre, Montreal
May 3rd - le District, Quebec QC
May 8th - This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton ON
May 9th - The Burdock, Toronto ON
May 10th - National Arts Centre, Ottawa ON
June 12th - Centre des Arts, Opening for Alex Nevsky, Baie Comeau, QC
June 13th - Salle Jean-Marc Dion, Opening for Alex Nevsky, Sept-Iles, QC
June 15th - Felix Leclerc Cultural Centre, Opening for Alex Nevsky, La Tuque, QC
July 28th - Place du Marché, Shawinigan QC
August 2nd - Salle Jean-Pierre Houde, Chateauguay QC
August 9th - L'ange Cornu, L'assomption, QC
October 13th - Outremont Theatre, Montreal QC
Will we see you come over to the U.K.?
We would really love to tour the U.K. and are putting that out there (smiles). We're currently looking for an international booker…our show is ready to hit the road!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We would love to tour outside of Canada. We, basically, want to play these songs, reach out to as many people as possible and see the world as we do it! We also want to keep writing new material and to collaborate on a few songs as well.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
A few summers ago, we were touring in northern Quebec. We had stopped in a small sea-side village called Petite Vallée. One night, Vincent cooked up an amazing meal over a fire on the beach. We used flat stones as plates and had this amazing seafood pasta meal and white wine as the sun went down; sitting around the glowing fire, the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. It was unforgettable!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Oh wow; what a fun question!
Seeing as Bon Iver was sort of a spiritual father/guide to our band; I would have to say we would love to open for him!
Chips, kombucha; chocolate, red licorice; veggies, fruit; Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi; beer, crackers; gouda and Babybel.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Read, see inspiring movies; travel, keep your brain fed.
Take walks. Play outside.
Write some more.
Check out some live shows. Learn a new instrument.
IN THIS PHOTO: Thus Owls
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
All three of us love to travel. Vince is a great cook; I (Gen) jog and do indoor climbing; Chloé hangs out with friends and jogs.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Vincent: You and I - Local Natives
Chloé: Fourth of July by Sufjan Stevens
Gen: New York by St. Vincent