Previously an enigmatic five-piece who kept their discography as close to their chest as Daniel Craig’s cards in Casino Royale, Pottery are slowly beginning to peel back their layers and loosen their poker faces.
Birthed on the same streets that boast Arcade Fire and Homeshake as some of their finest home grown exports, Montreal’s newest offering are an explosion of jazz, rock and almost everything else you can squeeze under the umbrella. The band consists of Peter Baylis, Tom Gould, Austin Boylan, Jacob Shepansky and Paul Jacobs, all natives from the city, all over Canada and even from the UK.
“I think a lot of people move to Montreal for the music”, explains Paul, “but we were all doing other projects and then, somehow, the band came about. It’s a cheap city to do it all, too, because you can make music, put on music and still be able to pay your rent!”
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When it comes to first dipping a big toe into the choppy waters of the industry, the fear of getting bitten tends to make most recoil. Montreal’s renowned artistic and friendly character proved to be the best foundation for the quintet to flourish as Paul explains:
“There’s a community there which includes all of our friends and people we play music with and connect with. It definitely changed the way that we look at writing music, but for the most part now, we live in our own little bubble and have been working and spending time only with each other”.
With a strong following in their hometown but wanting to branch out further afield, the lack of online discography came as a bit of a hurdle for the band. Austin cites:
“We didn’t release our album for a while so people knew that we were a good band, but they didn’t have a way to promote us. They were like ‘yeah we will book you!’ and we just had to hope that people would come down. After the album came out there was no problem, but earlier we had tried to play in Toronto, which is five hours left of Montreal, and we never ended up getting the show purely because we had no music out.”
Jacob agrees: “And so really it was all through word of mouth, which is kinda cooler!”
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Their debut EP, non-ironically titled 'No.1', touched down in May to acclaimed reviews, a melting pot of genres that display their dexterous musical flair. Compiling post-punk riffs on ‘Spell’ with the honky tonk melodies of ‘Hank Williams’ and concluding on seven-minute-blinder ‘Lifeline Costume’ which has touches of an otherworldly kind, they truly have their fingers in all of the pies.
However, there were many alterations to the LP, leaving the band sitting on the record for just shy of a whole orbit of the sun. “The record was complete for almost a year, but it just wasn’t really the right time”, Paul explains, “We never had a point where we were like, we wanna do a song like this or like this, it all came out very organically and eventually pumped up into a Pottery song, but we just wanted to wait and give it the treatment that we thought it deserved.”
“This is the first band I’ve been in where we waited for such a long time to bring out the album but it definitely worked to our advantage”.
Fresh from an American tour with Irish rabble-rousers Fontaines D.C, Pottery are currently embarking on their own headline stretch of the States. And despite a hefty accolade in the Dublin quintet, who would be their dream tour buddies?
“Definitely Madonna. Or perhaps a famous chef...a cooking show and a live band and maybe a little yoga section too.”
Sounds like a dream.
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Pottery's 'No. 1' EP is out now.
Words: Becca Fergus
Photography: Rachel Lipsitz
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