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Ostrich Bouquet defy classification

by Sania Malik November 21, 2017
Ostrich Bouquet defy classification

The band’s first EP combines psychedelic post-rock with ambient vibes

Ostrich Bouquet’s sound has been described by some as “Pink Floyd on a spaceship,” according to drummer Michael Tomizzi.

The band’s mix of psychedelic, progressive post-rock and ambient vibes with a side of jazz and blues influence plays out on the seven tracks of their first EP, On Time as Usual. The day before its release on Nov. 17, the Montreal-based group performed at O Patro Vys.

Tomizzi and keyboardist Kyle Podwalski, both 20, are currently studying at Concordia University. Bassist Davide Ventulieri, 20, and guitarist Jeremy Bozzo, 19, are students at Vanier College.

The band was created less than a month after high school friends Tomizzi, Ventulieri and Bozzo were introduced to Podwalski through a mutual friend last February. Needless to say, the name Ostrich Bouquet garners a variety of reactions from different people—some are puzzled while others are amused. The idea came from Ventulieri’s realization that the German words for ostrich and bouquet are homonyms.

Although Ventulieri is the lead vocalist, he said people come to see the entire band. For Ostrich Bouquet, the combined instrumentation is more important than the vocals. “Vocals are just like the fifth instrument,” Ventulieri said. “It’s like adding a new rhythm to the song.”

Although the band tends to stray from conventional song structures, they don’t think of themselves as unconventional.  

“We have some pop structures,” Bozzo said. “It’s not like we’re just doing weird, wonky stuff—we follow forms.” Instead of following a common bridge-to-chorus structure, they experiment with the flexibility of a song’s blueprint, often volleying between multiple parts that don’t repeat. The song “Behind Schedule” off their EP, in particular, explores this by making each section of the song sound different from the rest. The song starts with an emphasis on the rhythm between bass and drums; it then slowly trickles into a spacey-vibe. The guitar’s slow strumming comes into play, and soon the keyboards combine with the drums—it’s like listening to distinct parts of the same song.

“I like experimenting with tones that are dissonant or spacey, and just outside the norm,” Podwalski said. On Time as Usual plays around with time, chord changes and set boundaries in terms of writing music. When asked about the choice to experiment, Tomizzi responded bluntly: “I personally feel that, if you’re a musician and you’re not trying something new, you might as well not be a musician.”

Ventulieri had a slightly different opinion. “If I’m writing something, I want to write something that I’d listen to, instead of just verse/chorus.” Tomizzi added that he believes, once a person knows how to play an instrument, they should want to make it their own instead of being a carbon copy of someone else.

“I agree with both of them,” Podwalski said. “But it’s not like: Why would you make music that’s similar to everyone else? It’s more like: ‘Why not do something different?

Although the band always takes constructive criticism seriously, if someone dislikes their music because it doesn’t follow standard structures, they disregard the critique. “I think there’s a genre for everyone,” Tomizzi said. “We definitely have our niche, and people who like that type of music will be able to like us.”

According to the members of Ostrich Bouquet, liking your own music is the key to any band’s success. When discussing their music, their passion is clear—but it’s even more apparent when the musicians speak about their instruments. Bozzo praised the versatility of the guitar and its ability to “do everything.” Ventulieri described being connected with the drummer and holding the song together on bass. For his part, Podwalski said he believes the keyboard can lock into any groove and find a perfect fit in any song. However, the drums are the backbone of any song in Tomizzi’s opinion. “Nobody notices it until it’s not there anymore,” he argued.

While the band puts a lot of emphasis on their sound, Ostrich Bouquet puts equal passion into their performances. When the group took the stage at O Patro Vys, Bozzo closed his eyes as he strummed the guitar, Venturelli made eye contact with the audience, Podwalski had a small smile on his face and Tomizzi mouthed the words to the song from behind the drum set.

Despite the distinct performing style of each band member, the friendship that links Ostrich Bouquet is hard to miss on stage when their collaborative creativity comes to life.

Ostrich Bouquet’s EP, On Time, As Usual, is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and bandcamp.

Photo Courtesy of Ostrich Bouquet

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