Modern Romantics are (from l-r) Paula and Korbin Potosky, Andres Neito and Jessica Rodewald. (Ted Grant/ChisD.ca)
Dear Winnipeg, how is it that you keep coming out with such a solid assortment of indie bands?
This week here at SCENE, we've come across the Modern Romantics, who seem destined to blow up all over Canada's alternative rock scene. These guys have the talent and wherewithal to get it done featuring an über-clean sound utilizing vocal harmonies, whimsical guitar and keys, and a driving rhythm section.
Born out of love between husband and wife duo Korbin and Paula Potosky (both on vocals, guitar and keys respectively), the group also features the talented percussionist Andres Neito and silky jazz bassist Jessica Rodewald.
SCENE interrupted Korbin and the group during rehearsals to ask them what it is like to be coming together as a new band.
Being a husband and wife, how does that affect the song writing process?
Korb: I do most of the song writing on my own but it's nice having Paula around to bounce ideas off of. We collaborate on lyrics and vocals a lot after I have come up with the basic structure and melody of the song. She gets to hear the songs and work through them before the rest of the band which really helps to save time in rehearsals.
After your first child was born you created a studio in your house to record some material. What was that process like?
Korb: We set up in a very small room in the basement with not much more than a computer and interface, an electric drum kit, and our instruments. Honestly, we didn't play much music at all for a couple of months after our daughter was born because its so hard to just function let alone create when you have a newborn to look after. Eventually, we just decided to make it a priority because neither of us feel like ourselves when we aren't playing music.
How have these songs changed from their, shall we say domestic beginnings, to the current full-band verions?
It was a neat process to record all of the parts and have complete control, but we really missed the authenticity and energy that comes with playing live with other musicians. We recorded those demos ourselves out of convenience because we had very little time and space (and couldn't host a full band practice in the basement with a sleeping baby upstairs). It wasn't ultimately the sound that we wanted - it was more of a writing tool than anything. We're so lucky to have Andres and Jess on drums and bass because they understand those instruments in a way that we don't.
Your band has a relatively eclectic musical background: you, Andres and Paula came from the group Coleco, Paula has a musical theatre background and Jessica has a worked extensively as a traditional jazz bassist - how has this shaped your current sound?
The three of us who played in Coleco had an instant chemistry, and when Jess joined the band we felt the same way about her. Paula's background in choirs and vocal instruction helps a lot when we're working with vocal harmonies and technique. Both girls in the band are formally trained whereas the guys are self-taught, so sometimes we speak a different language musically but we always manage to find common ground and end up with great songs.
Who are you listening to these days?
The Cults' debut has been our summer record this year.
Korb: I was recently introduced to a band called Timber Timbre out of Montreal and they are blowing my mind right now, they have such a unique sound. I think they are short listed for the Polaris prize this year.
How would you describe Winnipeg's current alt-rock scene?
Healthy. There's lots of inspiring stuff happening right now. Imaginary Cities, Royal Canoe, The Liptonians are all amazing.
When can we expect your first full length album to come out? (And what can we expect from it?)
We are recording an EP this October and hope to do some touring through the winter. We plan to record a full-length album in 2012.
Korb: I'm not sure I even know what to expect! Because we are such a new band we are still developing our sound and I am constantly writing. Many of the songs we are playing live now may not even be on the record.