Canadian “drone-punk” trio Boar God hail from the thriving Montreal scene, a scene that is facing the same issues the rest of the music world is facing but that keeps providing homegrown talent.
With their distinctive yet experimental sound, Boar God definitely fit in perfectly within this fiercely independent city that has given us bands such as Arcade Fire and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, as well as the genius of Leonard Cohen.
“Near Extinction” is the new EP from Boar God. The band is made of Eric Bent on vocals and guitar, Sabrina Coté-Poitras on bass and backing vocals and René-Olivier Duchesne on drum.
Listening back to their previous work, it’s pretty clear the evolution of their songwriting in this 4-track EP compared to past releases. A more experimental approach always backed by their distinctive guitar sound, their repetitive and antsy rhythms and the dark atmosphere that was driving force of their debut album Forma.
Without spoiling more about them we leave you to their words. The trio kindly replied individually to each question giving us a great picture of what the project is about and to the individual taste, influences and contribution of each member.
Listen to Boar God music while you read the interview:
Here’s our interview with the Canadian trio:
Hello Boar God and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, we found your music on Musosoup and we are very glad we did, your EP is brilliant and we are very pleased to be chatting with you about all things Boar God. To start with, please tell us a bit more about your musical journey, when and how you started getting involved with music and how the band started.
A couple of quick ones first…
What was the first music you bought/downloaded?
Eric (vox + guitars): Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins on CD when I was 7 years old.
Sabrina (bass): Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Smashing Pumpkins
Rene-Olivier (drums): I think it was Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden. I was in love with the title track from that album (I previously heard it on a greatest hits compilation) so I purchased the whole album.
What was your favourite artist/band as a child?
Eric: Smashing Pumpkins, who I still consider a “guilty pleasure” to this day, though never been into the reunion stuff.
Sabrina: The Distillers – Brody Dalle was my idol.
Rene-Olivier: Iron Maiden, I wasn’t listening to a wide selection of music at that age, I only started developing my own taste around the age of 11/12
First song you learnt how to play?
Eric: Wilderness by Joy Division on bass, well before I learned how to play guitar.
Sabrina: Enter sandman by Metallica on bass.
Rene-Olivier: I started playing drums by playing approximately some Muse and Nirvana tunes, but I think the first song I learned 100% accurately was Hallowed be thy Name by Iron Maiden (see the pattern).
What are your main influences now? Is there a particular artist or an album that inspired you more than others?
Eric: A few examples are feedtime, Band of Susans, Bailter Space, Unwound, and Loop. The bands we get compared to most often are Sonic Youth and Husker Du, so I guess by proxy they are the strongest influences.
Sabrina: Post-Punk, Experimental rock (70s-80s) and EDM(90s). At the moment the album that inspire me is Novel by NOV3L
Rene-Olivier: For Boar God, most of my interventions in the creative process were inspired by post-rock/post-metal, prog-rock and some eastern-european folk. These styles helped me a lot in understanding dynamics and more complex rhythmic paterns.
These days, I listen to thrash/death metal (Power Trip, Coroner, Entombed)and folk/bluegrass (Hokum High Rollers, Billy Strings, Trampled by Turtles) for the most part. I don’t really see how relevant these bands will be in Boar God’s writing process tho…
Tell us a bit about your local scene in Montreal before the pandemic? And is there anything happening now in terms of live shows, small gigs or similar? Did you get much involved with live streaming during these past few months?
Eric: The Montreal music scene is pretty thriving. There are so many great bands in town, though the places to play are becoming fewer; DIY venues in particular were having a hard time even before the pandemic hit. Right now the only shows that have been happening are livestreams and there are a few places that have been doing shows at a very limited capacity (though as of this writing our province has gone into lockdown again and all venues are closed…). We did one livestream show back in June, which was really fun and cathartic!
Sabrina: We were only able to do one live streaming at Studio de Rouen as our drummer left the city for the summer. Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, we lost quite a few venues that mostly support emerging and local artists. The first one that comes to mind is La Vitrola, where we launched our album in January 2019. Another one that sadly is closing down is l’Escalier, an establishment has a very broad audience and always has (had) very wide and different kind of little shows.
Rene-Olivier: Local scene was pretty alive and well before the pandemic, but it still had it’s challenges. Between the noise complaints, gentrification and lack of public funding, small to mid-sized venues were already having a hard time and for some of those venues and the COVID situation clearly didn’t help. Two months before the 1st lockdown, we lost the Katacombes, which was one of the few mid-sized venues we had (about 250 capacity) and more importantly, one of the last places where it was appropriated to book louder bands (punk/metal/noise). So yeah, some venues will possibly survive the pandemic, but how many of them will accept louder/weirder bands in their programming? I believe it will be way harder for niche bands like us to get booked.
Some bars were able to program some shows by crafting plexiglass barriers between the tables to maximise the venue’s capacity and provide a safe environment at the same time, but those are rare examples. For now, online shows sound like a good alternative, but then again, it’s got its challenges. I got friends in the folk/bluegrass scene who can manage to sound good with only 1 good quality room mic. For a noise-rock/shoegazy band like us, a good sounding stream requires more gear and preparation. That being said, shout out to Katacombes and l’Escalier, they were easily my two favorite venues in Montreal. They’ll leave a big gap in the scene and in my heart.
Speaking about the past few months… how have you been spending this time, between the lockdown and this weird “new normal”? Obviously hoping you and your family didn’t have to deal with the virus at all. Have you been more or less creative and productive during the last this period of time? We heard from many artists that the lockdown hasn’t been the most productive of times for them as they felt they “had to” produce just because they had more time on their hands rather than feeling “naturally” more creative and it didn’t quite work out as they hoped. How did it work out for you?
Eric: For me personally I have mainly been working from home (I do video editing and post-production) and have been taking more and more time to do illustration stuff, definitely the most creative I have been in a while. Definitely tired of being at home all the time though…
Sabrina: I have been working full time as a bike mechanic at a bike shop, as they were considered “essential services”. So we took a little break from band practice during the pandemic, because we weren’t allowed to have more than 2 people in the room.
Rene-Olivier: I wanted to be productive, but it really came in waves. For some time, I have been practicing drums and learning mandolin and getting back into drawing, but yeah I definitely also lost a lot of time playing video games and watching flicks. I spent the whole summer travelling and managed to keep busy. I jammed and busked quite a bit with my travel mates. I haven’t worked since March, so my bands are pretty much what is keeping me busy and sane. They are pretty much the only persons I’m allowing myself to see these days. People give themselves a lot of pressure, thinking that they have to be productive when things are calm, but creativity doesn’t work that way, at least not for everybody. It’s okay to take it easy and take a deep breath for once in our overly busy lives.
This is something we ask pretty much everyone we know, not just during the interviews…
we are massive lovers of movie soundtracks, what is your favourite movie soundtrack? And what existing movie would you like to recreate (or even just curate) a new soundtrack for?
Eric: The score for Forbidden Planet is a big one. Plus anything Bernard Herrmann did (no modern Hollywood composer comes even close). There’s a movie called the Andromeda Strain from 1971 which has one of those more dissonant and abstract soundtracks that films don’t really have anymore (it’s also an overlooked movie that I highly recommend, which is also pretty timely since it is about a virus haha). The soundtrack for Goodfellas is also great in terms of a film that uses pre-recorded/popular music. I would not recreate a soundtrack for anything, though maybe playing along to a silent movie would be fun.
Sabrina: British composer called Clint Mansell. Movie soundtrack that I would like to recreate : Into the void. Trying to create more suspenseful/ thriller-y/diy/homemade instruments – sounds.
Rene-Olivier: I just love Vangelis’ score in Blade Runner. It’s part of what makes this whole universe believable. It sticks perfectly well with the whole retro-futuristic aesthetic, the rain drenched streets, the millions of lonely souls all confined in the same dirty, dystopian city, the dim-lighted rooms. The ending credits theme is such an iconic banger. Just to name drop them one last time, Iron Maiden used to open their shows during the “Somewhere in Time” tour with this very song. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I wouldn’t be eager to remake a soundtrack to a film that I like. I would be pleased to work on an original idea though.
Before we let you go, can you recommend a couple of great new bands/artists you are into at the moment? Any new artists we should be aware of here in the UK?
Eric: Weirdly enough I am a bit out of the loop on a lot of newer bands as I am always more occupied discovering great older stuff, which I often find far more interesting and engaging than anything a lot of newer bands are doing now. But that being said newer bands I like a lot are Big/Brave, Yoo Doo Right, Les Martyres de Marde, Mundy’s Bay, Taciturn, Scaphe, Chastity Belt and Protomartyr.
Sabrina: Nuage Flou and Taciturn.
Rene-Olivier: Nuage Flou and Taciturn, two great noisy punk bands we had the pleasure to play with (Eva from NF actually recorded and mixed our EP). Also, Kon-Fusion (kumbia-ska-reggae-punk), El Balcon (Son Jarocho with a taste for eastern-european folk and overall experimentation) and Red Chair Snappers (progressive bluegrass, they fucking shred)
Thanks so much for your time and looking forward to hearing more music from you.