Tara Chislett – The Aquinian –
Although only two members of the Ontario-based band wear the official title, all members have their turn as the
drummer at most Pick a Piper shows.
Playing in groups of two, with members of the audience, and sometimes even as a whole band, the drums play an important role in the band, who will make a stop at the Capital on March 12.
Pick a Piper started a year and a half ago as a side project of Caribou drummer Brad Weber. With Angus Fraser, drummer for Tenth of May, and friends Dan Roberts and Clint Scrivener, Weber set out to make music with one goal in mind: to get the crowd up and moving.
“Our idea from the start was to make organic dance music so stuff that’s like dancible and grooving but having some of the psychedelic elements and sort of utilizing the guitars and bass and other organic instrumentation as well as synth,” Weber said. “We wanted to try something like to make dance music with like a primal instinct.”
For Weber, this meant turning to the drums. Inspired by bands like The Boredoms—who can have as many as nine drum kits on the stage—and his personal love of the drums, Weber wanted to take the drums out of the background and bring them to the centre of the music.
As a result, Pick a Piper features two drummers—something that doesn’t happen often, but makes sense to Weber.
“Maybe it’s me kind of being the drummer and the band leader, maybe that combination doesn’t happen that often,” Weber said. “The drum is really the foundation of all music, but maybe there’s never just been the right combination to make it work.”
Even though Caribou remains Weber’s central focus, Pick a Piper have become a lot more established in Ontario and Quebec since the release of their EP last year. Weber said the area that benefited from this most was the live show.
“We played Pitter Patter Festival in Toronto last May, and the whole vibe, the place was really full and we played like a headlining band and it went really well,” Weber said. “That’s when we started doing more crazy drum stuff in our set because it translated well.”
And understanding is key for Weber, who hopes the crowd at the Capital will match the energy coming from the stage.
“Expect an energetic show and a lot of catchy stuff,” he said. “We try to incorporate a variety of different rhythms while still keeping that dancibility we’re going for. So we incorporate Latin rhythms, or some straight up dance music.”
“At certain points we all kind of play drums together. Sometimes we’ll pass out drums to people in the crowd near the end or pass out tambourines. Really, we just want to get people involved.”
For more information about Pick a Piper, check them out at http://pickapiper.com/ or stop by the Capital on March 12. Limited edition copies of their East coast tour EP will be available at the show.