Chromewaves When the grand jury for the 2011 Polaris Prize voted Montreal's…
- Posted on Sep 15th 2011 4:00PM by Gregory Adams
"It was a huge honour," the percussionist tells Spinner of the nomination. "To receive that kind of acclamation for your first record feels really great. It was worth it to slave over this for the last couple of years."
While the outfit had technically recorded an EP's-worth of material under the name the Neighbourhood Council, 'Native Speaker' is Braids' first proper release. Recorded in the band members' apartments and garages, it synthesizes tribal rhythms, Animal Collective-style indie rock, washes of electro noise and more. All of which are accompanied by Raphaelle Standell-Preston's combo of cutesy coos and feral cries.
Though the disc is an impressive achievement, the benevolent Tufts praises his fellow nominees, even the ones whose records he hasn't quite heard in full.
"I haven't listened to all of the records yet, but I want to before the gala. It's an interesting and eclectic group of musicians, from things that were self-released and don't even have physical copies [i.e. the Weeknd's 'House of Balloons' mixtape] to people who are selling out stadiums [Arcade Fire]."
While the nature of the prize -- which will be handed out on September 19 at Toronto's Masonic Temple -- will eventually divide nominees into winners and losers, Tufts would rather focus on the sense of community the Polaris instils in him.
"Because we're all Canadian, there's this certain sense of brotherhood with them," he adds. "I don't feel any sort of competition; I don't think about music like that very often. We're all part of a community and creating music in the same time period. It's a nice snapshot of Canadian music."
Though the record was released at the beginning of the year, Braids are already looking beyond the 'Native Speaker' song cycle since some tunes date back a couple years prior. Their current tour -- which includes a performance at the Polaris invite-only gala -- will see them hanging up some of their old tracks in favour of some fresher compositions.
"We're in the process of moving past it," Tufts explains. "We're putting these songs to sleep. This is the last time we'll play a lot of these songs. There are four brand songs [in our set] that aren't on 'Native Speaker.'"
He concludes that new tunes 'Deep Running' and 'Victoria,' which Braids recently premiered at a gig in New York City, are pushing the band in an even more electronic direction. "They went over well," he says of those early performances. "They'll just keep getting better over the course of the tour."