We introduce Chic Gamine, who carved themselves a much needed niche in the music scene in Canada when the started 6 years ago, and are now sharing their talent with the rest of the world.
Canadian five-piece Chic Gamine unveil their own brand of Motown-inspired soul-pop (if it's to be defined at all) internationally, blowing us away with their flawless harmonies and inviting personalities.
The band formed back in 2007 in Winnipeg, Canada after several unsuccessful musical projects brought them together. "Some of us were in previous bands together and it seemed that those bands ended at around the same time and there was still a desire to continue working together and writing together in some capacity," singer Andrina told us in a recent video interview shot in their tour van where they "spend 90% of [their] time." Though she admits it was a bit of a logistical nightmare at first - with drummer Sacha living a 30-hour drive away in Montreal - the travel was worth it in the end as they won a Juno Award for their 2008 self-titled debut album. Now with 'Closer', they're planning to take the rest of the world by storm.
"It was an American release at first, that was the intention behind it," says Sacha. "We took songs from my second Canadian releases and we remixed them with some fine engineers involved." Those engineers were none other than the associates of legendary producer Rick Rubin who have previously worked with the likes of Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys. The album title came about with the idea of wanting to build relationships with fans. "We wanted to get to know the public more, we wanted to give them a 'Closer' view of what we do," says Alexa.
Listen to 'Closer' by Chic Gamine here:
As for what the album sounds like, well, that may be something you have to discover for yourself, because although they have been compared to soul group The Staple Singers by Mavis Staples herself, they admit they have a hard time trying to describe their own sound. "It's quite unique," says Ariane. "Basically, we're four singers and a drummer and we all take our turns to play percussion." At the moment, we are loving their debut UK single 'Shake Off Your Worries'; a gospel -inspired, a cappella track with immaculate vocals led by Alexa, the video for which was filmed at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis.
Chic Gamine also presented a performance of their new tune 'Paper Moon' complete with a single drum and a triangle; the latter of which almost gives it a Christmassy feel particularly coupled with the heavy snow backdrop of Saskatchewan, Canada, where they pulled up to speak to us. It's another example of such extraordinary talent with so few tools; a rarity nowadays that they are trying to promote to aspiring musicians, even holding music workshops at local elementary schools.
The band are currently touring the UK and Ireland supporting Lake Street Dive and hope to return for another overseas stint in 2014 - definitely something to look forward to. But what do these guys do between shows? "We play a game called Talk About," says Alexa. "It's where you give someone a topic and an allotted amount of time to talk about said topic and then when you're bored of them you give them a 10-second count down and then end it." See! So creative that they even make their own entertainment!
Chic Gamine all dressed up
Despite all their impressive achievements such as winning awards, playing SXSW twice and performing at the 2012 Winter Olympics, their fondest memories are much more humble. "I got the chance to go to Alaska; that's quite up there in the North," Sacha reminisces. "[We Went to] Yukon where we played a festival in the summertime, the sun did not set." Alexa had too many highlights to name: "Meeting people all over, playing Strawberry Festival in California, going fly-fishing in Salt Lake City - we've had so many incredible experiences." So, if you're looking for an incredible experience yourself, go see this band. You won't regret it!
Chic Gamine huddle in chilly Canada
2013 UK Tour Dates:
Dec 9 - The Borderline, London
Dec 11 - The HiFi Club, Leeds
Dec 12 - Sound Control, Manchester
Dec 13 - The Workmans Club, Dublin