POP Montreal‘s most secret weapon (imho) is the way local bands are given their moment on the stage. Paired together with other acts, bands that might otherwise slip under one’s radar have a chance to make new fans while delighting those already in the know. Every year, my intentions to catch a headliner are ultimately reconfigured by a starter that just blows my mind.
Smileswithteeth is one of those amazing dream-pop bands that has all the critics swooning. The sound is warm and approachable, even though it is electronic. While listeners can dance to it, it seems much more like music to feel to, music that can become a soundtrack to one’s life. At its heart is Gabriel Gutierrez, a Los Angeleno, who came to Montreal in 2011 to attend McGill and was converted to sample-based production by his roommate of the time, Seth King.
Gutierrez formed Smileswithteeth after an intense/discouraging semester in Paris. The goal of moving to the City of Lights and Baguettes was to practice French in a different city, but Gutierrez took only half the suggested course load by accident and “was very, very bored as a result.” As he explains, “My apartment was broken into at the end of my first month, my laptop was stolen and I pretty much spiraled from there.”
On the other hand, it allowed him to begin to think about what to do on his return — creating a band. He put together a band to play together things off of his first record, Everyday Always, and collaborated with another friend (Eli) for another pet project, Dub Housing, that uses live processed drums. Both Smileswithteeth and Eli’s other project, Look Vibrant, are playing at POP Montreal in the same line up.
Gutierrez says he is a compulsive music maker. As he says, “I feel that I can’t do without [making music] and it makes me feel a way that nothing else does. Everything that’s on my bandcamp was made with *ahem* samples that I sourced from various records. Basically I grab whatever makes my head feel fuzzy and my heart sink. I’m just trying to create that feeling for myself and hopefully for others as well.”
I asked Gutierrez what those who check out Smileswithteeth can expect to see at POP Montreal. He says, “Me on keys and samples, bantering without a microphone (I don’t know why this always happens), Lillian (singer) stealing the show, Eli (drummer) fucking killing it and some brand new (!!) live visuals from a forthcoming music video (just have to buy the right adapter for the projector).”
He’s excited to play alongside Strange Froots and to catch his friends’ sets as well. He also is looking forward to seeing a number of other acts as well: Kode9, D.R.A.M., and Annette Peacock.
Smileswithteeth can be found playing along with Strange Froots, Patrik, and Daybi at Balattou on Sept 21. The show starts at 21:15. $10. For tickets and info, click HERE. POP Montreal runs from Sept 21-25.