Percy Farm is making noise like a blazing block party with extended invitations. “Expect to see a kick-ass rockin’ drummer. Expect to hear sweet saxophone melodies and bum notes on the guitar. Sometimes it comes together, sometimes it falls apart!” exclaimed Percy Farm frontman Dan Schachter. Its members, Jamie Rosen (bass), Louis-Philippe Nagy (keyboards, trumpet, vocals), Melissa Pipe (saxophone, flute), Tara Martin (drums, vocals), and Dan Schachter (guitar, vocals), are calling out to you; the alternative fan, the jazz lover, the rocker and yes even the pop princess. There is something for everyone at this shindig that is Percy Farm. “The qualities of the musicians are so unique and idiosyncratic that you can’t lock them up with descriptions or comparisons,” Schachter said, commenting on their sound. One thing is certain, Percy Farm is far from being locked up and held down in any sense.
The band’s early beginnings can be mapped back to playing Jake Brown’s YAWP nights in 1995. “That was the start of something interesting,” Dan recalled. “Everything was brand new. We were just 15 years old!” Until recently, the band was running under the previous alias, Shoot the Moon. Familiar? Shoot the Moon landed gigs at venues like La Sala Rossa, Main Hall, La Tulipe and other pads around the city. The band is a two-time nominee at this year’s 10th Annual MIMI (Montreal International Music Initiative) Awards. The MIMI honours and celebrates Montreal’s local music scene in hopes to widely spread the music. Extending their music through their many shows, the crew notably scored an opening set for Wolf Parade. “I was so nervous!” Dan admitted. “Wolf Parade was scary, because we’re fans.” The band played renowned local festivals like Pop Montreal and Osheaga, before taking on the name Percy Farm to avoid a band name likeness. “A band name shouldn’t sound too much like another. But it’s becoming harder and harder, almost impossible. You have to do things like call yourself ‘the Legendary Pink Dots’ to avoid it,” said the guitarist with a laugh. There is simplicity behind Percy Farm; the name anyway. The band has their bassist, Jamie Rosen, to thank for that. “Jamie really wanted to call the band ‘Percy-something’ because he’s an obsessive Percy Sledge fan,” Schachter explained. “So anyway, it’s what we decided on. It’s better than ‘The Beach Boys’, right?”
Better than the Beach Boys or not, Percy Farm is certainly not in the same musical spectrum, not even close. The farm’s music is seductive, atmospheric and sparks a strange yet somehow familiar intrigue, drawing from multiple musical genres. “Fireflies in the Corn” is a spellbinding dark dim dreamscape with an intense gravitational pull. The song doesn’t ease up for a second with rolling drum beats, chiming guitars and accompanying keyboards all escorted by smoky raw vocals and a sultry sexy saxophone. “It’s like a nonsensical nightmare that you want to relive over and over. It is raw energy and so much fun to play on stage,” Melissa Pipe commented. The soft spoken “Gloomy” is a shady bittersweet gem with cinematic qualities. Schachter’s vocals and Pipe’s undertone flute fit this moody tune like a black velvet glove. The flute increasingly glows and raises to a warm solo while the guitar, bass and temperate drumming preserves a gentle charm. “It’s evocative, sad, it’s beautiful,” the saxophonist illustrated. “Schachter’s lyrics are an art form.”
There is nothing short of professional song writing here, and impressively high calibre at that. Deservingly, Percy Farm just recorded their first LP at Treatment Room and Breakglass studios. While the finishing touches are applied to the album, tentatively due out this winter, extracts are set up to tease fine ears on their MySpace page. Percy Farm doesn’t fit a particular mould nor are they predictable, but this barnyard of inspiration and musing is promising. Percy Farm is breeding thunder in Montreal.
Percy Farm plays Zoobizarre on Dec. 14, 6388 St. Hubert
Opening Act: Ideal Lovers