Think tank

Buzz band Think About Life are ready to bring their power-pop from Kingston to Brazil

Born in the 80s, Think About Life are inspired by all things 90s.
Born in the 80s, Think About Life are inspired by all things 90s.
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Think about life—think about emanating energy, breathing in and out and rocking out to the cartoons jingles of the 1990s. For those of us left still clinging onto the era that raised us, Montreal-based band Think About Life is an apt upgrade to the power-pop dance tunes of our pre-teen dances.

When I talked with Martin Cesar, we discussed the origins of his up-and-coming electronic group. Founding members Graham Van Pelt and Matt Shane, started collaborating with Cesar at the Montreal underground venue Electric Tractor. Shane recently returned to university to complete his Masters in Fine Art, so their new drummer Greg Napier has joined as well as their friend Caila Thompson-Hannant.

In the spirit of Canadian music, particularly in the indie-folk scene, I asked Cesar about his perspective on collaboration with other local bands.

“It’s more camaraderie than collaboration,” he said. “Each group is its own nuclear reactor. If you try to mix them together it might create a big mess of an explosion.” Despite his hesitation, Cesar recognizes that Montreal has been incredibly supportive, and counts himself as being a small part of the larger puzzle that helped build the local industry over the past years.

“I don’t think Montreal gets all its deserved appreciation in terms of the international scene.”

It’s common for bands to discuss the crowds at their shows and the faces of their fans, which Cesar mentions. But it’s uncommon, and warmly received when someone not only tells you about their inspirations, but demonstrates them— Cesar was kind enough to sing to me.

“As someone growing up throughout the 90s I was influenced by music from cartoons – it was a great era of theme songs,” he said.

Apparently the tunes of Sonic the Hedgehog (“the melody was really beautiful”), Alice in Wonderland (“I remember that whenever I heard it I felt cozy and warm”) and a French recorded, Japanese animated version of Huckleberry Finn weren’t wasted on the youth at all. I was lucky enough to hear those jingles sung over the phone.

Although the concept of interchangeable musicians and a constantly transforming band dynamic were ineffective for Think About Life, the members have some pretty amazing side projects. Van Pelt is part of Montreal indie group Miracle Fortress. Cesar has a personal project called Dishwasher, Thompson-Hannant plays for B.C.-based band Shapes and Sizes and Napier has group Special Noise. Among all the bands directly associated with these members, Cesar chalks Think About Life up to his main focus. And in an effort to get him to shamelessly promote artistic endeavors of his friends, he mentions other Montreal group Homosexual Cops.

“Are you allowed to print that?” he asked. “There’s also this old jazz musician called Mooondog who is great.”

In a name, Think About Life begs you to take a moment of self reflection—as long as you aren’t too busy seat-dancing and heel-tapping.

“It’s about being completely in the moment,” Cesar said. “Really taking in the many things and the experience of hearing lively, not intense—our music isn’t completely joyful—liberating feeling from our music. Breath in and breath out.” The band will soon be heading south to Brazil.

“It has been a dream of mine to go there since I was a kid and saw Black Orpheus,” Cesar said while discussing the interest people have expressed for them to travel south. Upcoming tours include the United States, Europe and Japan along with some Canadian shows. A label in Japan released their work in 2007.

“We all came back very inspired by the shows we played and the people me met. It will be great to see if people are still interested in us as well,” Cesar said.

Expect to hear new work in the coming year and into 2011, as Van Pelt and Shane prepare pieces at home.

Lucky music fans and those in the Montreal underground get to be the test audience for their upcoming collaborations. Forget hiring a therapist to pose the over-priced questions that bring you to the core matter—think about life. Your mood changes and your head nods to this electronic, experimental-pop group that just wants to make good music and wishes for the day that Kate Bush asks them to open up for her.

“I would also love to tour with CSS. The lead singer has been a fan of the band for awhile,” Cesar said.

For their first time in Kingston, and their first show at a university, Think About Life will step on the Grad Club stage this Friday. Make sure to channel your rock and roll voodoo for the gig with You Say Party! We Say Die! The show is rumored to pervade your thoughts with eeriness, and Think About Life may just cause some groovy epiphanies.

Think About Life play this Friday at The Grad Club with You Say Party! We Say Die! Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at Destinations, The Grad Club and ticketscene.ca

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