When it comes to festivals, people just want to dance. And in Montreal, people really like to dance. So, that’s exactly what We Are Monroe plans to help facilitate when they get to the stage at Osheaga. Playing their very first time at the festival, lead singer and guitarist Pat Gomes talked about the band’s experiences on tour and their upcoming show in their hometown.
We Are Monroe just finished touring Belgium and France through May and June. “It went really well,” Pat says, “It was our second stint and we had a lot of fun. We built the tour around festivals.” They put in appearances at the Festival des Bellovaques and Les Affolantes 3, among smaller venues. 14 shows in 17 days. It was enough fun, says Pat, that they’re planning to go back next year and take on Spain, Portugal, Germany, and even Italy if possible. “It’s like a mini vacation where you get to play music all the time,” he says.
Of course, Osheaga is kind of a big deal. “Already it’s a huge festival and a hometown festival,” says Pat. “It’s something we get to check off the bucket list.”
Playing for the hometown audience allows the band to approach things differently. “We do have a bit of a following here. So at a hometown show, we have fans that come out, fans that we’ve seen before,” says Pat. “Since it’s our hometown, we’re a bit more comfortable. You might be more risky in what you say and play, and how you play. We’re more apt to jam and be spontaneous. Outside of home, you’re a bit more calculated and thinking about being as effective as possible. You have more fun with it at home.”
At the same time, playing for a festival crowd is different from a full set, given the shorter set times and expectations than a traditional show. “When you’re playing a smaller set, the pacing can be different. In a longer set, you want to build dynamics, but in a festival, where you play half an hour or 40 minutes, you take more risks. You play more of your upbeat stuff. You try to get people to dance and move. The number one thing is to get people to dance and listen to the music.”
And that is the game plan for Osheaga, he says. The band wants to get people dancing. “It’ll be our upbeat songs.”
“I like playing festivals and I like them in different ways,” says Pat. “You’re not playing to your own crowd, so that’s kind of fun. You don’t know what to expect. There’s excitement in not knowing what to expect from the situation. It’s a festival and there’s a nice vibe.”
Of course, Pat has been to Osheaga as a member of the audience, and if the band has a chance, they’re hoping to catch some of the acts performing. “I haven’t looked too much at the lineup. I like to wing it,” he says. “That’s the best way to discover new stuff. You go to what attracts you.” But, their time will be cut short for checking out new acts anyway because they’re part of the After Party with Kodaline at the Corona Theatre. “Gotta go to soundcheck,” Pat says. “We’re missing Interpol, but it’s fun to play two shows in one night.”
We Are Monroe is hoping to come off a summer of touring and get back to writing some music. Producer Gus Van Gogh is on board, as the band has already recorded some songs for their next album with him. The plan is to release something, whether an EP or a full-length album, in the next couple of months. However, with two new band members, Brian as keyboardist and David on bass, Pat notes that We Are Monroe will have to figure out how the writing process will go. “Usually it’s a mix of everything, jamming and sometimes original ideas from a combination of Ben, Jay, or me.” Pat adds, “We’ll see how it goes.”
We are Monroe promises to bring the fun both to Osheaga’s Friday afternoon and the After Party at Theatre Corona. Don’t miss them before they hole up to bring us more great dance post-punk indie music. Osheaga takes place August 2-4 at Parc Jean Drapeau. Full weekend pass starts $325. Info HERE. The afterparty takes place August 2 at the Corona Theare (2490 Notre Dame Ouest) at 11 p.m. $38. Info HERE.