St. John's, NL
Turn your ears to the east - no, further east. St. John’s, Newfoundland is home to indie pop four-piece Repartee, who released their debut album All Lit Up in April, and they’re one of those bands that had us giddy with excitement when we discovered them. They play energetic, powerful indie pop that’s tons of fun to rock out to while also feeling deeply emotional and personal. (Check out the single Dukes for a sample.) Repartee’s lovely front-woman Meg Warren spoke to us about her transition from classical to pop music, why we should all pay a lot more attention to beautiful Newfoundland, and more. Like water parks!
Meg's Current Playlist
1. Arkells - Private School
2. Tegan and Sara - Boyfriend
3. Brandon Flowers - Can't Deny My Love
4. Twin Shadow - Old Love New Love
5. Tame Impala - Eventually
6. Dear Rouge - Heard I Had
7. Shura - Touch
8. Carly Rae Jepson - Run Away With Me
G: Meg, why did you make the transition from opera singer to indie pop? How has your experience with opera influenced your current work?
Meg: I really wanted to perform professionally and it was getting less and less feasible for me personally to do that in a classical setting. Once I started writing pop music I never went back. Having a classical background has helped us all tremendously in writing with other musicians/producers, and knowing how to properly take care of my voice has helped a ton on the road.
G: How did the band come together?
M: I started the band in 2009 in my last semester of university. Robbie and Nick came onboard in 2011, and Josh in 2012. We all either knew each other through school (at Memorial University) or the St. John's music scene.
G: What's the meaning behind the name Repartee?
M: There isn't much of a story behind the name, essentially we all agreed it looked great visually — Plus it's unique and easily google-able!
G: What is the Newfoundland music community like? Who are some other great East Coast artists we should be listening to?
M: The Newfoundland music community is incredible. There's so much diverse and interesting music happening there now, which has always been remarkable because of how small the population is. There are a lot of great up and coming bands including Dame Nature, Bleu, and this really fun pop duo called Everglow.
G: Your songs seem to draw on strong personal emotions and experiences, and not always happy ones, while remaining super fun and upbeat. What do these songs mean to you and what do you hope audiences get from listening to them?
M: A lot of my lyrics come from personal experiences, some are more like short stories. If any listeners feel some sort of connection to the songs, that's all we can ask. If someone can relate to a lyric or an emotion or anything, that's always the best feeling. Music is just another form of communication, really.
G: You've had a super successful past few years. What have been some of the standout moments that meant the most to you?
M: We've had some really incredible experiences, both in the studio and on the road. Working with all kinds of musicians/producers for this record was really cool, notably with producers like Young Wolf Hatchlings (Fall Out Boy, Thomas D'Arcy) and Matt DeMatteo (Big Wreck, Esthero, Danko Jones). Opening for LIGHTS in Vaughan last year was an honour, as was opening for Tegan and Sara on George Street in St. John's in 2014.
G: I think a lot of people, particularly born-and-bred West Coasters like me, don't know a lot about Newfoundland and the East Coast. What do you want to tell people about this unique place?
M: Well maybe we're biased, but Newfoundland is one of the most beautiful places in the country. There's so much art and culture in St. John's, it was a really lovely and supportive environment in which to start and grow a band. People there really love live music.
G: Where are some your favourite places to hang out when you're not making music?
M: AT HOME! Seriously, we don't get much downtime between touring, writing and recording, so a day at home is always nice. But other than that, hanging out at The Ship for a show (or delicious fish n chips) is always fun in St. John's, or Trinity Bellwoods park in the sun in Toronto is lovely too.
G: Any cool or wild tour stories to share?
M: We saw a grizzly bear on the side of the highway outside of Jasper recently, that was super cool. Other than that we're pretty tame...does spending all day at the water park in the West Edmonton Mall count as 'wild'?
G: I've heard you express that you've grown a lot as musicians over the past few years. What can we expect from the band's sound in the future?
M: Good question! I think our ultimate goal is just to make the best art possible. I personally try not to overthink it too much in terms of future direction or sound, as long as we're creating the best songs we can.
G: Thanks for chatting with us! Congrats on the new album.