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Psychedelic art-rock with a hint of jazz

Edmonton buds Archaics bring their 'scruffier, clangier and mystical' music to Garf's



Three of the five guys from Edmonton psychedelic art-rock band Archaics, have been performing and writing music together for almost a decade.

They, and the band's other two members, are in their early 20s, proving that junior high rocks — because that is when they began rocking out.

"We started to learn our instruments together. We hung around and tried it out, played off each other's ideas. We had reliable songs to come back to," says vocalist and guitarist Connor Snell

Was getting together at such a young age an advantage?

"It was for sure a really good experience. For one thing, I think we were really lucky to find each other and make it our main priority," Snell says.

"I find a lot of the time that people are into many different things and it's hard to shed what you're doing and meet up, but we were able to make it the thing that we were doing.

"The earlier you can start it, the sooner you are on your way. Working creatively and being inside a situation like that — it's good to know and like the people you are with all the time."

Snell says the band was performing on an Edmonton campus station and turned it into an impromptu rehearsal. A case of promotion and practice.

Archaics released its second full-length album Soft Focus in 2016, and Snell says it is a carefully orchestrated record, with elements of Nigerian Afrobeat, Latin drumming, and even traditional jazz combined with good old garage band music.

One online music reviewer called it "scruffier, clangier and more mystical — and more tangential!" giving it four out of five stars.

Snell says: "For this album we added an organist and pianist to the band (Dylan Greenough). We've been trying to expand our sound and reaching out to create more complex arrangements. Lately, we tried to put a jazz twist on psychedelic music. We've gotten into messing around with the structure of the pop song style, trying to take the music to a more adventurous place.

"This meant playing around with time signatures a bit and pitches; sort of taking more familiar music sensibilities and mixing it up."

Along with Greenough and Snell are Josh Beatty (vocals and guitar), Andy Trant (drums) and Peter Masson (bass).

"Along with the albums, we've released some singles, and there are a couple of EPs from way back that we want to distance ourselves from!" he laughs.

"The junior high years. We picked them up lately and said to ourselves, 'I don't know if this represents what we are doing anymore.' I think we've kept it all up for long enough that we might be able to resurface this in a few years and have a laugh. It's interesting to see where the band has been."

Archaics was recently nominated for Rock Recording of the Year at the Edmonton Music Awards for Soft Focus. Snell says they will find out if they've won while they are on tour later this month.

"It's too bad that we'll be on the road when it is taking place, but so cool that it is happening," Snell says.

"We have been trying to focus on more ways to get our music out there in the past year, so the nomination is a really special thing. We've been doing little showcases, things like that. "

This attitude has made them more aware of the opportunities open to them, and connected them with the wider Edmonton music scene. Many of their friends are also nominated at the awards ceremony.

"We didn't get out on tour last year because we were recording the album, and then we released it in the summer and didn't have the time to get the tour together. So this is it," Snell says.

"We're just doing the West Coast for now."

This will be Archaics' first venture to Whistler.

"We've never gone into the mountains outside of Vancouver. We're excited to be doing this this year, after our show at the Cobalt," Snell says.

Archaics is performing at Garfinkel's on Sunday, June 18. Visit www.thearchaics.bandcamp for more info.com.