The alternative rock band will be performing their new EP at Matahari Loft
The Montreal-based band Young Critters may have only been together for a year, but they are one of the top five bands competing in the Omnium du Rock contest. The new alternative rock band blends elements of funk into their music—it’s a stylistic direction lead singer and guitarist Shaun Pouliot is glad the band is taking. “It’s getting more and more heavy, I like to think, but there’s still a funk aspect to it in terms of rhythm and groove,” he said.
The contest, which has been ongoing since September, is held in six different cities across Quebec, including Trois-Rivières, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Chicoutimi and Montreal. The band managed to make it to the final round. “There were 121 bands, and we’re in the final round—so there are five bands left,” Pouliot said.
The winner of the contest will be revealed on April 29 at Café Campus. “We’re really looking forward to it,” Pouliot said, adding that they expect to be one of the softer rock bands of the evening. “I think [the other bands] are mainly heavier music than what we’re doing, like more metal-ish,” he said.
In addition to Pouliot, Young Critters’ lineup consists of Nicolas Martel on lead guitar and back-up vocals, Maïko Despeignes on bass guitar and Patrick Bureau on drums. The quartet will be launching their first EP titled Sedate Me on May 18 at the Matahari Loft in Montreal. Pouliot said what makes them stand out, especially in the competition, is that they all share a similar background in music. “We all studied music—I think that helped [us get to the finals],” he said. “We covered a lot of details maybe some bands didn’t work on as much, and we may have a little more experience than others.”
According to Pouliot, every band member brings something unique to the group. “Bureau is very methodical,” said Pouliot. “He’s a great drummer.“ He also said the bassist, Despeignes, leads the melodies in their songs, “I think Despeignes brings the groovy aspect as well as adding the right tone.”
Martel and Pouliot have known each other for more than five years—which is longer than the other members. “Martel is the most charismatic dude I’ve ever seen on the stage,” Pouliot said. “He’s crazy up on a stage, and he’s got some great ideas in terms of writing songs and melodies and doing something catchy and bluesy.”
Pouliot said he feels Martel is more instinctive than him when it comes to music. “Sometimes I over-analyze [the songs],” he said. “I think Martel brings me down to earth again. And I think it’s important to kind of listen to what you’re working on in a very innocent way.”
Pouliot said his ultimate goal when creating new music is to bring everything together in a cohesive way. “I write most of the material with Martel, so I write the lyrics for the music,” he said. Pouliot is also currently working on trying to make his guitar sound like a keyboard. He said it’s important for him to bring a different sound to the group, since two members of the band play guitar, one member plays bass and the other plays the drums. “I’m still working on it a lot,” he said. “[I use] certain effects like reverb and delay and stuff like that, but it’s still a work in progress.”
While the band takes its influence from a wide variety of genres, Pouliot said he enjoys dance music and takes much of his influence from that style. “I like the idea of having a certain dance appeal to rock and roll. That’s what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “And if we could achieve that with rock, we would be really, really happy.”
According to Pouliot, the four songs and two bonus tracks on the band’s EP are all meaningful to him. For example, the single, “Sedate Me,” reflects his own personal experiences. “It’s kind of me addressing myself to music, back when I hurt my arm,” he said. “I wanted to play guitar very much, and I couldn’t wait until I got to play guitar and music again. So it’s kind of a weird concept, but that was what I was going for.”
The band members said they’re very excited to play in their hometown of Montreal. According to Pouliot, Montrealers should expect some surprises during their performance. “We like to change the songs a little. We like to arrange them a little from one show to another,” he said. “ We like to make things more exciting for everyone.”
Young Critters’ new EP Sedate Me can be heard at Matahari Loft on May 18, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Entrance is $10, and their EP can also be purchased on-site.