Though they’ve only been playing regularly for two years, it seems like Silly Kissers have graced every stage in town. From not-so-secret lofts to some of the city’s largest venues, this five-piece local electro-pop band have become a fixture of the Mile End scene.
Known for their high-energy shows, it is unsurprising that an interview with the band &- who appear not to know about speakerphone &- would turn into a dizzying exchange of the receiver.
Vocalist Jane Penny is bubbly and articulate, with an easy laugh. Guitarist David Carriere, on the other hand, has a Cobain-esque nonchalance that edges on impertinence. Speaking to them on the phone, I found myself somewhere in the confusing middle of their conversation, but managed to get the gist of what’s new in the Silly Kissers’ universe.
The band takes its name “from a movie where a little girl kisses her grandmother,” explained Carriere. At this, Penny mumbled in the background. “Oh yeah, [she] is kissing an old man &- and says “We’re silly kissers!’ which I thought was kind of gross,”continued Carriere, to which Penny let out peels of laughter.
The band has teamed up with indie-hipster label Arbutus Records, who represent other local acts like Braids and Pop Winds. Currently finishing their first “official” full-length before heading out onto the road, Silly Kissers’ newest release will feature a departure from their signature sound as they begin to “strip down” their set and debut a live rhythm section.
“It feels like we haven’t really started as a band. Like we’ve just been fucking around a lot,” said Carriere, to more laughter from Penny. “It’s been fun but &- you know.” At this point Penny took the receiver and clarified, “We’re trying to play more as a band and less like an electronic band. It’s still going to be pop-y but we’re not going to have the same electronic pulse.”
Along with this new sound, the band expects to tour a lot more. “We’ve played a lot of shows in Montreal but outside of here nobody really knows us. So it’s just a matter of getting the record released and going outside of the city,” said Carriere.
So far, they’ve played the United States a few times, mostly in New York, which has been a hit-and-miss experience. “The first time was fun but the second time nobody really liked us at all,” said Carriere. Penny interjected in the background, “No that’s not true!”
And such are the many growing pains of getting into rock “n’ roll. Not to say that Silly Kissers aren’t doing well. Slotted to play this year’s Canadian Music Week in Toronto, having played CMJ 2009 in New York, as well as being nominated for CBC’s Bucky Awards in the Best New Band category, the group is clearly on the right track.
Now all there is left to see is how this new sound will do with audiences. “It’ll definitely be interesting to see if we can get people to dance as much now,” said Penny. “Hopefully we’ll still be able to get people to have fun.”
This doesn’t seem to be such a difficult obstacle, for as I hung up, the silence in the room made me sigh a little while fits of laughter and joyous revelry appeared to echo from the other side of town.
Have a listen to Silly Kissers here: soundcloud.com/sillykissers/sets/sk/
Silly Kissers play at La Sala Rossa Feb. 16. Tickets are $12.