Chic Gamine will warm up Winnipeg at the West End Cultural Centre Dec. 17 (Edgar Martin)
I think being secluded and allowing that time to let these songs unfold the way they are is going to make this string of writing our best yet.
—Alexa Dirks, member of Chic Gamine
It's been a whirlwind of a year for Chic Gamine. The Juno award-winning band enjoyed huge exposure at SXSW 2012, appeared on Prairie Home Companion, performed on the main stage of the Winnipeg Folk Festival and got to work on an album to be released soon in the U.S.
And their upcoming West End Cultural Centre show features some new material that they developed in a cabin in the woods.
SCENE wanted to find out what that experience was like, so Alexa Dirks filled us in.
Why did you want to squirrel yourselves away in a cabin in the woods?
We love to write/rehearse that way. We've done it a bunch in the past, especially at that particular location (it's Andrina's parents home/cabin in Lac Du Bonnet) and find when we're farther away from all the distractions of the city we can really focus on just being a band.
We're from two different cities (Montreal and Winnipeg) so we don't get to just "meet at the jamspace" and hang out and write and rehearse like other bands do. We have to be really intentional with our time together. It's also just so beautiful and quiet out there.
What is it about the experience that is inspirational?
A big part of it is the silence and seclusion. The beauty of nature in general is something that we don't get to see as often being city dwellers so that's huge. We buy all our groceries for the week and make food by the fire and laugh and hear the wind in the trees. I'm not sure what could be more inspirational than that.
Chic Gamine perform "Paper Moon."
What kind of songs did you come up with?
Most of the songs were kind of started and/or written before we got out there. They basically all got fleshed out and finished while we were there. Any time of day or night we could just pick up where we left off and give all these songs the life they deserved.
I think that's totally reflected from being in the woods. This is the first time we've put this much collaborative effort into our songs. I think being secluded and allowing that time to let these songs unfold the way they are is going to make this string of writing our best yet.
The new material is also exciting for us because we're kind of creating and re-defining our sound. It's super relationship-based and mostly on the heartbreak side but I also think we're getting sassier in our delivery which I like.
What can we expect in your Dec. 17 concert at the WECC?
You can expect some new songs, some old songs, some holiday material, weird jokes and some really excited people on stage. We love playing in Winnipeg and we don't get to do these sorts of shows that often here.
We're just really looking forward to being with one of the most encouraging audiences we've come across in our career so far. We're growing so much right now and we want to share that with our family and friends and fans in Winnipeg.
Chic Gamine plays at the West End Cultural Centre on Dec. 17. Hear two members of Chic Gamine on SCENE on Air with host Ismaila Alfa on SCENE On Air on December 15. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.