Collaboration Key to Raleigh’s Successful Contradictions

Photo by Credit: Kurtis Denne
Photo by Credit: Kurtis Denne

Photo by Credit: Kurtis Denne

Young but full of heart. Folky but jazzy. Vocal but instrumental. Elegant but quirky. It’s hard to define a band embracing so many seemingly opposite traits. However, definition isn’t much of a concern for Calgary band Raleigh. Instead, their chief concern is making its way across Canada in support of their sophomore album Sun Grenades and Grenadine Skies.  The band sounds much bigger than a trio, with Clea Anaïs taking up cello, piano, in addition to vocals that harmonize with those of co-singer Brock Geiger, who also plays guitar. Rounding things out is drummer Matt Doherty.

Clea Anaïs talked to us about the band’s latest adventures.

Montreal Godzilla (MG): So what’s up in the world of Raleigh?

Clea Anaïs (CA):Well, we’ve just released our second album. Sun Grenades and Grenadine Skies. It captures us. We’re exploding and the color [grenadine] is kind of nice and suited the tone of the material. It’s been really exciting. We spent two weeks recording it in Montreal with Greg Smith and Howard Bilerman at studio Hotel2Tango. It came out November 5th on line.

MG: Can you tell us about the process of making the album?

CAWe worked on the songs slowly. We co-write material. It’s not as though I write all songs and give everyone else their parts. It’s a collaborative process. It was also fun because we got to take two weeks. That, and being in a different city and immersing ourselves in the process and in the music. We went into the studio at 10 a.m. and stayed until midnight. We had a framework but came and reassessed certain things.We had privilege of using some Montreal horn players to help us out. The horn stuff — we never had that on the songs before. It wasn’t premeditated, but it was a rewarding, in depth kind of thing. We left with a different thing than the original framework we came with.

MG:How have you changed since your first album.

CA:The songs on the album. The new album has more energy than the last one. Song songs come from personal experiences. One song I wrote was for an acquaintance that recently lost a fiancé, their partner, who I knew better. It was  an experience to have empathy for someone’s grief, but at the same time not be super close to them and not know how to apologize. Brock had a good friend in a similar experience who lost a sibling. Playing those things really affect you as a human being and writing is one way to work through it. But then a lot of the songs are hopeful too. The first song Helios is exciting for me because it has that feeling of shooting out in to space.

MG: How’s the tour going?

CA:We left on Nov 7th and have been performing a bit of old stuff and a bit of new stuff. I lost my voice for the first three days. Brock started singing my parts and my songs. We’ve played some great shows. That’s what’s exciting about touring in Canada – we play in Toronto and Montreal and then play in Saskatchewan in a town where 10% of population comes out. It’s a great way to connect with the country and feel the different communities. One show was set up by kids by 17-year-old kids. The enthusiasm that they had was great and they all wanted the LP and they were getting stoked to make their own bands. It’s a gift for us all  to find all these  different audiences.

After this tour wraps up, we’re heading over the Europe in the spring. I’m blown away. We’ve just confirmed our first gig in Scotland and have 30 days in Germany and the Netherlands. We’ll add some more UK shows too. It’s all really exciting. We’re very grateful.

Raleigh is playing at Cagibi (5490 St. Laurent) with guests on November 16th. Ticket price unknown.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts