Home Uncategorized Caribou : Canadian talent with an original sound

Caribou : Canadian talent with an original sound

by Archives November 9, 2005

When we think of Caribou, most of us imagine wild plains, large forests and some majestic animal wandering through a morning mist. Think again. Enter Dan Snaith a.k.a. Caribou and formerly known as Manitoba. The Toronto-born electronic psych-pop wizard put on a great show last Tuesday at Club Soda with Super Furry Animals. The performance included some outstanding drum duets, intense sampling beat loops, dreamy guitar riffs and a stage presence which pumped up the packed house taking it all in.

“I think it’s really important,” said Snaith referring to the transition from laptop music to a live performance. “It’s more and more a part of what I do. I hate seeing shows where a guy plays something off his laptop. We’ve become more comfortable playing together since Up in Flames (Caribou’s second album). I see myself playing with these guys (drummer Peter Mitten and guitar player Ryan Smith) for a long time.”

Snaith, who has a PhD in mathematics, produced all the sounds on his new album The Milk of Human Kindness from either a sample or an instrument he played himself. He used the software music program ACID, to record all his tracks. Snaith explained : “I think it’s largely in part because I get really absorbed in what I am doing. If I want to hear a violin at a certain part of a track, instead of waiting three days for my friend who plays the violin to come over, I’ll just find some records with violin sounds and use them in the track.”

On this album are Snaith’s first attempts to incorporate his own vocals into his sound. Tracks like “Brahminy Kite” (“It’s a type of Bird,” said Snaith), and “Yeti” include vocals choruses from Snaith.

“It’s something I didn’t do at first,” recalled Snaith. “I wanted to give it a try, because I like to challenge myself. It’s part of the reason I make music. That’s how I work. I get an idea in my mind and I’m like ‘wouldn’t it be good if I made the track with this and that.’ The challenge is the execution. The sound of the human voice is something that draws me into lots of music, even though I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics. Technically, I’m not a good signer! It’s hard for me to sing in tune.”

Listening to the album, one can feel the progression of the sound and positive energy in all the tracks. The Milk of Human Kindness is a gem, which can be appreciated on many levels. Snaith explained in what spirit he made the album: “I had spent all this time with the lawsuit forcing me to change my name. Once I realized that I didn’t have the money to fight this case, I decided to accept things and move on. So all of a sudden I was free to make music again. It was like this burst of energy where I spent six months practically never leaving my room making this album. It’s really a reflection of the excitement I felt during this time.”

Now that he has completed his PhD, Snaith will be able to make music full time. He mentioned that if he had not spent all this time being a prolonged student he probably wouldn’t have kept making albums.

“It’s such a flexible lifestyle, I couldn’t have a full time job and take a month off to go on tour. A lot of people would say being in university is as much about doing things outside of class as it is about studying,” he said. Caribou took that opportunity and made himself a career out of it. He serves as inspiration for the rest of us. Take a look at his site, www.caribou.fm, for more info.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment