Fruiting Bodies is a Montreal band that has been dormant for about a year. Luckily, with the arrival of spring, this vocal trio of ladies is back on the scene with plans to tour and release a music video this year. I took a few moments to ask them to talk about their band and its origins, as well as what sorts of things that Meghan Riley, Stefanie Dimitrovas, and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert have growing in their metaphorical garden.
Rachel Levine (RL): Can you introduce the band for those who don’t know you?
Meghan Riley (MR): Sure! We’re a vocal trio and we’ve been together since 2009, slowly working on material. We write original, eclectic music. We are experimental with different ways of writing, incorporating improvisation into our writing process. We’ve gone on two different tours. That’s succinct.
Stefanie Dimitrovas (SD): I’ll add that the tendency is for our performances to be intimate and our music is mellow and melodic. Our shows are smaller and our audiences include a network of friends and family who come to watch us. We seem to have a wonderful impact on people when we perform.
RL: How did you get started?
MR: We originally met through an experimental choir I was hosting when I first came to Montreal [from Ontario]. We were all there because we loved to sing. Eventually we ended up living together for a summer in a big house and there was a lot of singing after meals. At end of summer I was leaving and all of the singing had been so great, and we thought, what if we start a band and arrange songs togetherÉ That was 2009.
RL: Can you walk me through your songwriting process?
Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert (ED): For our first album Fascia, many of the songs were written by Meghan and we arranged them together. We shifted into a new writing form in the Weft in the Woven. That was entirely from an improvisation that we had at band practice. We explore what happens in a spontaneous improvised way.
MR: We were recording our improvisations. For the Weft in the Woven, we took an improvised recording and arranged it as if it were the structure of the song.
SD: We built upon it. We added more complex instrumentation. We added lyrics and a spoken word part that built upon the original improvised theme and then there are the harmonies central to all of our work. That is what we spend most of our time on, the three of us singing together and trying things out and [finding] when it gets into the body and resonates.
ED: To give you an idea, our first album was four years in the making. That’s six months per song. It took a long time to fine tune each song.
RL: How do you decide who takes the lead in a song?
MR: When we started we would take a song that had a main part and we arranged harmonies to go with it. The next song, we wanted to know how could we share the lead. The River Song is where each got a verse. And then, the next song after that, in Some Part of Knowing, for the lead melody, we traded it off every line. Sometimes I’m singing a harmony up high and then I’m down low, and then I’m the melody. It sounds like more than three voices. Because of the different timbre of voices, it’s hard to know who’s singing what.
RL: I bet that takes lots of practice.
ED: Yeah! Lots of practice.
RL: So is the current state of Fruiting Bodies where you want to be, or are you hoping to take things further, play to bigger audiences?
ED: I think even when we’ve played bigger shows, it’s still very intimate. It’s more about the feeling that’s present there. We hope that will be present in all shows. I don’t think we could get that if we played to thousands on an outdoor stage. We value deeply, having a connection with crowd, a reciprocity. People are often brought to tears at the shows. It’s something we value and our fans value. This summer, we’re planning a tour in July and August and a writing retreat this summer. Also, our first official music video.
RL: Can you tell me more about your first video?
MR: We have all the footage for our first music video, Fluid Blues. The footage is of us in Cape Breton on the beach and we have an underwater camera and we were wearing flowing dresses and swimming about. The footage we took during our east coast tour in 2012. It’s been sitting dormant, waiting.
RL: So you’ve toured out East. Have you also gone out west? What kind of reception did you get?
ED: In 2011, we went from Montreal to Victoria and down the west coast of the states. The reception was phenomenal. It was encouraging. It’s one thing to play to fans you know well, but playing to complete strangers and they’re brought to tears, it’s powerful. It’s encouraging and nourishing. In 2012 we did an east coast tour into Maine and Vermont.
SD: This summer, we’re touring Ontario and we’re just in the process of trying to book gigs. We might elicit help for the logistics in the future; there are so many different aspects. Eleuthera has been a publicist for us and taken on so many roles and we’re so grateful. I’ve been in school, so it’s been amazing to continue and feel supported. Now that I’m graduating, we’re hoping to focus again, while for the past year or two we’ve been more dormant. People are coming around and remembering us, though. It’s a great vibe. We’re coming together again.
Fruiting Bodies plays with Daniel Isaiah at his album launch on April 7 at Casa del Popolo. 9 p.m. $8/10. They have a second show lined up on May 3. You can purchase their album Fascia HERE at a name your price price tag.