Band brings the party

Pelt rock out live and in the studio

Pelt enjoy the niche they’ve carved in Kingston, playing their danceable rock.
Pelt enjoy the niche they’ve carved in Kingston, playing their danceable rock.
Photo: 
Credit: 
Supplied
Friends and bandmates, Pelt, like to dance, party and rock out.
Friends and bandmates, Pelt, like to dance, party and rock out.
Credit: 
Supplied

Four girls, a guy and a dance party—Kingston’s own Pelt has been playing their high-energy rock show within the mellow local music scene for the past few years. Enjoying their odd-band-out status as a brash and lively act, they’re best known around town for rocking their hearts out on stage.

After some member changes, the friends feel comfortable in their band’s skin, each bringing their instruments and unique musical backgrounds to their lively shows. The five-piece outfit includes Genene Maurice as lead vocalist, drummer Laura Simpson, keyboard and synth player Moira Demorest, bassist Denise Steenburgh and guitarist Chris Wood, all of who work in and around Kingston in addition to hitting the stage as Pelt.

“I think that we definitely feed off of each other. Everyone comes from a different musical story. I was classically-trained. Genene was really into musical theatre growing up. Laura has always been in bands. Chris was more into metal for a little while,” Demorest told the Journal.

“We still like our individual types of music but we can still somehow turn that into Pelt without seeming too metal or classical. It amalgamates into one kind of style.”

The fusion of styles, supported by the members’ enthusiasm, paid off for the band. As the winners’ of K-Rock Radio’s Battle of the Bands in 2006, the group is finally on the verge of releasing its first full-length album, Static in the Attic. Slated to come out in March, Static in the Attic has been a labour of love and growth for the band. It features old favourites and new tracks they specifically took time off to write and hone.

“We won this K-Rock Battle of the bands and as soon as we won, we thought ‘Yeah! Let’s run into the studio.’ … We recorded all the songs we wanted to put on the album and realized, ‘This isn’t full-length.’ Then we had a little break in between the [two studio sessions] just for writing,” Demorest said.

More accustomed to the stage, the studio forced the band to shift gears slightly as they prepared to polish their sound while trying to capture the spontaneity of their ive performances.

“We danced a lot in the studio and we had little parties because I think we were just trying to keep the energy up. That’s why where we recorded was so good. They made us coffee,” Demorest said.

“We wanted the essence of our live show to come out. We wanted it to be raw, just not as raw as a live experience. It was like we were just in my living room jamming, that’s how we combated it. … We’re a visual band, we’re a live band and we take a lot of energy from each other and our performance and from the audience so obviously it’s not going to be quite the same.”

The band has made its way touring from Toronto to Ottawa, and hopes to see the East Coast and the U.S., but Kingston and its compact but supportive scene provides a steady flow of gigs. However, the closing of venues that used to open their doors to local bands has affected the local musicians.

“Kingston is a great music community for starting out. I figure there’s been a lull recently. There were a lot of great venues.

“There were always places to play.”

With the closure of the Scherzo, young, local bands like Pelt lost out on a venue. Bands have compensated by starting up and making use of churches and restaurants. “Now there is sort of an influx of tons of bands starting up, a whole lot of different styles even for a smaller community.

“I think if we had started in Toronto somewhere, we’d be lost. Kingston has been a good foundation for us.”

Excited at the prospect of fellow up-and-coming bands who are venturing into new genres not usually associated with the Kingston scene, Pelt feel they now have companion bands interested in making noise that can be danced to. The beat- and dance-inspired rock ’n’ roll party band is excited at what Kingston does for its band and the styles it’s slowly fostering.

“I think that’s a pretty cool thing about Kingston—we are able to fit into a scene that doesn’t really have other bands that come close to our styles. … We’re just kind of a fun dance-rock band and we can still play with Kingston Punk Productions and fit it. We’ve been around long enough that we’ve made a little bit of a name for ourselves in Kingston.

“We’re so stoked we have Magic Jordan [at the show tonight]. They’re kind of our style and we can dance to them. ... We haven’t had any other that we can relate to,” she said.

“We’re excited we can dance to each others’ music.”

Pelt play with Horses, Magic Jordan and The Sleepless Night and Alex Leggett tonight at Ace’s Top Card, 35 Cataraqui St. at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $8.

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