Royal Canoe

Amy Jacques on December 19, 2014

Embracing the Weird and the Off-Track

“Winnipeg has such an extreme climate that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t ignore it,” says Matt Peters (vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar) of the six-piece ensemble Royal Canoe. “The environment and people have found their way into our music, and I don’t know if that was an intentional inclusion. Winnipeggers’ tastes have always embraced the weird and off-track, perhaps as a means of coping. Definitely some of the most original, strange and wonderful people I know live in this city.” The band came together in the fall of 2009 as a side project to perform some of the songs Peters had co-written through the years, but as others joined the group, they began to compose new material. Those songs morphed into their debut full-length, Today We’re Believers, which was released last fall. With two drummers and six keyboards onstage, Royal Canoe tries “to recreate every sound live, which means we’re constantly tinkering with our gear. Sometimes lugging all of these enormous keyboard cases from city to city feels kind of ridiculous, but the sound and the spectacle are worth it,” Peters says. The band writes almost entirely on computers, usually beginning with a drumbeat. “There is so much inspiration to be found in movement,” he says. After spending the last few years on the road, “we have a fairly large database of songs and ideas. We’re gonna spend this coming winter recording our next record. I’m excited to get to work, but also a little anxious.”

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