Having completed a Canadian tour, showcased singles on MuchMusic, and heading to Europe early in 2010, hometown heroes October Sky have succeeded on their own terms. Embodying the DIY trend to the fullest, vocalist/guitarist Karl Raymond, drummer Alex Racine, keyboardist Yanick Rouleau, and bassist Andrew Walker, self produced their 2008 full-length debut Hell Isn’t My Home and have played an integral role in bringing their elaborately staged shows to life.
Self-described as “cinematic rock,” the band’s sound as a whole is influenced by the tunes of Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse, and U2. However, each member fuses in aspects of their own musical tendencies: blues, jazz, and funk from Walker, techno, classical, and theatrical soundtracks from Rouleau, and hard rock and punk influences from Raymond and Racine.
The new year represents a new set of challenges for the Montreal band. Europe beckons as October Sky will represent Canada in the final round of the Global Battle of the Bands. The competition, which in the past has had members of the Sex Pistols and high-powered English record producers as a panel of judges, takes place Jan. 31 in London, England.
Walker, a Concordia alumna, is looking forward to the experience of playing in Europe and is getting ready to play his last Montreal gig at Le National.
Q: Could you explain a bit about the Global Battle of the Bands and how you got to be a part of it?
A: We came across it online… and we saw we had the chance of going to London. We figured we didn’t have anything to lose so why don’t we go for it. We did the regional finals in Montreal, we won that, and we went to Quebec City and we opened for Alexisonfire and Bad Religion… that was the Canadian finals. We won that and now we’re off to London!
Q: Many bands like The Strokes and Kings of Leon have made it big in Europe before breaking through in North America. Considering that you’re heading off to England, do you feel that the European market is more open to new things, musically speaking?
A: From what I see, the music scene is a lot stronger in Europe. People are more open to music; people are more prone to going to see a band. You can see it in how many festivals that they have. In England, they have so many music festivals and everybody goes to them… You have Glastonbury, Reading, and tons of huge, huge festivals where you have the biggest bands in the world playing.
Q: How much importance does October Sky place on having a good live set?
A: That’s everything to us. We consider ourselves a live band and we consider our objective to give the best show we possibly can. So we try to have a great visual show to go on top of the music and the music has to be top-notch. We put everything into our performance and I think that a lot of the success we’ve had so far is due to that.