Ten years & counting

Montreal-based, Plants and Animals, returns to the Grad Club for two shows

The trio met while at university in Montreal.
The trio met while at university in Montreal.

A post-classic rock band from Montreal, Plants and Animals is comprised of guitarists-vocalists Warren Spicer and Nic Basque along with drummer-vocalist Matthew Woodley. The band isn’t new to Kingston.

Nic Basque, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, said he finds it tough to describe their music. In some ways, he said, the natural world is a good way to describe their sound.

“It’s a lot of mountain valleys, it’s a lot of dynamics,” he said. “I think that’s the best description, like being on a ride with sometimes thick mountains, sometimes thick valleys.”

Basque kept it simple when describing the band’s name choice.

“When we were doing an instrumental record, we were trying to find a name for that project and we had a bunch of names with two words related to each other,” he said. “[It has] no spiritual, mystical [or] weird significance.

It’s just that.” Spicer, Woodley and Basque started out as friends playing together in university. At the same time, Montreal’s vibrant music scene provided them with plenty of opportunities to play for audiences. Basque recalled the band’s early days when they spent most of their time jamming together and setting up for shows they opened for. Back in those days, he said, they would often show up and improvise for their entire set.

“Basically, that’s how it started,” Basque said. “Through friendship.”

It’s been a decade since Plants and Animals released their first self-titled EP, and they’ve come a long way since.

With their continued rise in popularity and media exposure, the talented trio continues to attract fans of all ages and musical backgrounds.

Plants and Animals creates attractive syntheses of classic rock and indie music — it has some of the nostalgic olds and the fresh news. Basque said his musical influences were “all over the place.” Pressed for details, he described the band’s musical influences — one of them being American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane.

“I remember the first time I heard him play and started to get more into jazz music,” Basque said. “The amount of work he put behind playing his instrument and constructing songs was pretty impressive.” Basque said inspiration can come from everywhere and anything.

“We do this all the time so it’s like our full-time job. There are things that can influence you for different reasons,” he said. “It’s always in the back of your mind, playing music, [and] finding ideas.”

As for now, the band is in exploration mode and is giving free reign to their creativity.

Plants and Animals are playing at the Grad Club on Sept. 27 and 28.

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