Memories of east coast follow Montreal-based buddies

Canadian duo answer questions on their beginnings, touring and their evolving sound

Montreal-based and Halifax-originated post-punk duo Special Noise are returning to Kingston. Two childhood friends, Greg Napier (drums, vocals) and Jef Simmons (guitar, vocals), who’ve played high-energy music together for over a decade, are currently touring Ontario. Napier briefly spoke to the Journal about the origins of the group.

Q: What made you guys turn to music?
A: I was already a musician. My family’s really musical and I had a band with my brother called Hop On Pop out in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was playing drums in that band and I wanted to start playing guitar a bit more and Greg wanted to learn how to play drums, so we just kind of did it as a way for us both to do what we wanted to do.

Q: What’s bringing you guys to town?
A: Kingston’s a great place to play shows. We had one of the most fun shows there of our tour. We had one with a band called Play Guitar a couple years ago [at the Artel] which was very unexpected. We didn’t know too many people in Kingston at the time, but it was the last show of the tour and it ended up being the most fun.

Q: Is this part of a tour?
A: We have something like 10 dates in Ontario.

Q: You mentioned you guys started playing together in high school; how long have you been making music together for?
A: I’d say about a decade now.

Q: How would you describe your relationship?
A: It’s like my second marriage.

Q: How would you describe how you guys have grown musically since then?
A: We just played music as kids together trying to copy music we would see at this place called the Pavilion in Halifax which was really close to the skate park where we’d hang out a lot. So we’d be at the skate park and we’d hear shows coming across the skate park from this all-ages venue. That’s what really grabbed us to start playing together as Special Noise. Back then, especially in Halifax and a lot of places, it was a lot of angular post-hardcore, and since then we’ve just kind of taken from that but also try to listen to lots of different music so maybe now we take from a more international taste instead of a more local taste.

Q: How would you describe your sound?
A: It’s just two best friends who love to play music, and we’d be doing the same thing whether we were playing shows or not. For us it’s just fun to have some beers in the studio and just play and laugh and tell jokes.

Special Noise play at the Artel on March 23.

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