41st and Home
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41st and Home

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Band Alternative Folk




"Vancouver Sun Review-Raised By Wolves"

See link (press clipping) - Vancouver Sun

"41st and Home knows how to build a DIY Orchestra"

A few minutes into 41st and Home’s phone conversation with the Georgia Straight, drummer Garth Covernton is bitten by a gopher. Not seriously, mind you, but it’s enough to provoke yelling and laughter from the musicians, and the interview is temporarily forgotten.

“There was a gopher running around and Garth put his hand out and it ran out and nipped him,” frontman Thom Kolb says excitedly when he returns his attention to the call. “It grabbed Garth’s hand with his little paws and started nibbling on it cutely. It was sort of a Disney-esque moment.”

Somewhere in the background, the timekeeper happily shouts “I don’t think it broke the skin!”

This rodent encounter is just another of the many highlights that 41st and Home has been experiencing lately. The band is in the midst of its first headlining tour of Western Canada when Kolb answers the phone. He notes that the members of the quintet are lounging outside of the dinosaur-themed Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.

After giving a detailed breakdown of everything they’ve purchased at the museum gift shop (including two plush triceratops and a water bottle), Kolb goes on to explain that their recent shows have been their best yet.

“We did a lot of promo before we left, and the turnouts have been really great,” he gushes. “We’ve been dropping off records in stores and getting really good feedback from the audiences. We’re selling lots of merch.”

This success has been hard-earned for 41st and Home. The project initially formed in 2008 as a collaboration between first-year UBC buddies Kolb and Covernton, and the singer admits that the pair’s early experiments were artistically questionable, sounding nothing like the sweeping chamber pop that the outfit now specializes in.

“We had some pretty funky metal jams, and we didn’t really know what we were doing,” he recalls. “It didn’t sound very good.”

The turning point came when the two friends were practising in Covernton’s garage (located just off 41st Avenue, hence the band name) and discovered a cello belonging to the drummer’s younger brother.

In + out

Thom Kolb sounds off on the things enquiring minds want to know.

On meeting keyboardist Patrick Fiore: “I worked with him at the airport. We both worked for this customs processing program, and you had to take passengers down this really big, sort of ambient elevator and it had a really cool reverb-y sound. So we’d just go in the elevator during our breaks and sing Fleet Foxes harmonies together.”

On the Alberta landscape: “I’m a geology major, so looking at all the rocks out here is pretty crazy. There’s some stratiform layers and the principle of uniformitarianism coming into effect. It’s not that exciting, it’s just cool. It’s cool to me—I’m nerding out a little bit.”

On Calgary’s Recordland music store: “It’s the most incredible record store we’ve ever been to. Garth went sailing with his girlfriend while we were there, but Recordland totally trumps that. They have hundreds of thousands of records all over the walls. It’s like the Internet: you can’t even begin to start looking through it.”

“We didn’t know what to do with it and we fucked around on it, but as soon as we heard one well-bowed note on the cello, we knew that we wanted to make orchestral music,” Kolb remembers. “Finding that cello just seemed like it was a sign.”

To achieve their ambitious vision, they recruited keyboardist Patrick Fiore, bassist George Knuff, and violinist Sejal Lal. These new additions helped them arrive at a more lush, expansive sound, combining ultra-catchy indie rock with pensive folk balladry, and embellish this mix with soaring baroque flourishes.

The band is in top form on its newly released Raised by Wolves EP. The lead single “Gorbachev” is laden with blaring horns and gloriously ascendent strings, which are matched with victorious lyrics about the end of the Cold War. The band isn’t always gunning to be the next Sufjan Stevens though, as “Modern Medicine” is comparatively straightforward, scaling back the grandiose orchestrations in favour of bubbly guitar licks and a sunny vocal hook.

The EP’s diverse sound was captured during a month of intensive recording in Covernton’s garage, a room that still functions as the group’s practice space. These DIY sessions were helmed by Knuff, who previously completed the professional recording-arts program at the Art Institute of Vancouver. The bassist takes the phone and explains why the band chose to record at home instead of in a studio.

“That’s our space where we’re comfortable with working,” Knuff says. “The whole album took place in the same space. We jammed the songs there, we worked on the songs there, we did preproduction there, we recorded them all there.”

By recording in their own practice room, the musicians were able to experiment without time restrictions, and this allowed them to fine-tune their densely layered style. “That’s probably the biggest reason that it sounds good,” Knuff observes. “We basically built an orchestra in our garage, slowly, out of two people at a time, or one person at a time—which is a pretty cool way to go about it, as I found out.”

According to Kolb, the best way to experience the EP’s ornate sound is to purchase a copy on vinyl. “One of the most exciting moments of my life was opening the box and seeing the finished product,” the frontman says of the freshly pressed records. “The grooves are really big on it, so you get a full sound. It’s panned out really well and the drums sound massive, and the strings—it sounds like you’re there in an orchestra pit listening to it.”

The record is available now, and 41st and Home is doing whatever it can to promote it. In addition to touring across the country, the band is participating in the Peak Performance Project for the second time. This battle of the bands contest is hosted by the Peak 100.5 FM and will award the winner a whopping $100,500 prize.

With so much of his time and energy devoted to the band, Kolb has begun asking himself some difficult questions.

“Where am I going to go with this?,” he asks. “What’s going to happen? It’s kind of worrying in a way.”

He and his bandmates are at a turning point in their lives: they’re all in their late teens or early 20s, and Kolb and Covernton will graduate from UBC next year.

“My parents have paid for university for me. They’ve been really supportive, but at the same time, they’re like, ”˜Well, maybe it’s time you started looking for a job,’ ” the singer says.

But as he chatters optimistically about 41st and Home’s bright future, it’s clear that parental pressure isn’t weighing too heavily on anyone’s minds.

“We’re just excited to keep growing,” he says enthusiastically, “and see where we take it.” - Georgia Straight

"3am Revelations-EP Release Show Review"

And finally, it was time for 41st & Home. They took the stage with faces painted, and joined by some friends; Andrew Lee playing trumpet and Christine McAvoy on saxaphone for a few songs. The band has gotten leagues better in the last year -- I'm sure in no small part due to the aforementioned Peak Performance Project -- and it showed right off the bat. Mid way through he set they had even more friends join them when members of The Belle Game and The Ruffled Feathers came out for backup vocals on the intense "Wilderness Eyes" (which was one of the few times Andrew Lee was not on stage, despite the fact that he plays for all three bands sharing the stage) and later for some extra drumming, on the floor in front of the stage, for "Gorbachev". Other highlights were the always grandiose "Eva" and "Hummingbird", which had a very dynamic and intense ending, which was definitely helped out and given depth by the horns and sax backing the band up. They put on a really fun and energetic show, and it's been pretty cool watching them progress as a band. Hopefully they will continue this upward progression to their next full length. - 3am Revelations

"Scene In The Dark-EP Release Show Review"

This Vancouver five piece plays up beat indie music that is very easy to sway too and clap along when those moments arise...Live music is best enjoyed when the artist on stage connects with the people in the crowd. This comes easy to some artists and doesn’t come at all to others. 41st & Home connected with the crowd at The Biltmore.They are a young band growing both musically and in popularity. I for one can’t wait for the next time to see them on stage in Vancouver. Take my word for it and go see them. Buy a George pillowcase when you are there too. - Scene In The Dark

"Georgia Straight Review of 'Raised By Wolves'"

“Raised by wolves? Hardly. Instead of the savagery implied by the title of this EP, 41st and Home specializes in pop music of a carefully studied variety. The group clearly took pains to map out each moment of these seven tracks, which blend soaring orchestrations with sweetly sensitive balladry to create a sound that’s simultaneously intimate and grandiose… With such a knack for cinematic arrangements, don’t be surprised if 41st and Home ends up composing film scores before long. After all, if the band can create such a massive sound with just a five-piece lineup, imagine what it could do with an entire orchestra.” - The Georgia Straight

"41st and Home-Raised By Wolves"

“Vancouver’s 41st & Home are making an ambitious brand of indie rock that is both expected and surprising. It’s expected because the record can sit comfortably on the shelf next to the sprawling and anthemic music of popular Canadian bands Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. It’s surprising because this record still feels honest and fresh. ” - Discorder

"songs of indetermonate time period"

The first time I saw 41st & Home, I admit, my reaction was a little... "meh". But in the year since then, I've seen them more and more, and they have definitely grown as a band in that time -- I can only assume their inclusion in the Peak Performance Project helped.
Just today they released a video done by the fine folks at Amazing Factory of a new song "Gorbachev" from their upcoming, untitled, un-release-dated EP, which I am definitely looking forward to.
- 3am Revelations

"Treelines, 41st and Home, City of Glass, Jordan Klassen"

Next up, 41st and Home packed six musicians onto the stage, offering lush arrangements that included violin, trumpet and pump organ. The band showed a flair for the dramatic, with slow-burning ballads that built to heart-pulsing cinematic crescendos. With clear stylistic nods to fellow baroque rockers like Broken Social Scene and Sufjan Stevens, don't be surprised if this Vancouver group continues to build momentum in the coming months.
- BeatRoute

"Change comes to all of us"

Vancouver’s got lots of pop bands and more than its share of punk and metal acts, but we don’t have much in the way of baroque rock. Where are all of our cellists and flugelhorn players?

41st and Home is an exception to the rule. Here’s the slow-building “Sleeper,” which swells from a folksy ballad to an orchestral crescendo. Now that Sufjan Stevens has gone electronic, you can get your baroque fix here. - Chipped Hip

"41st and Home@Biltmore"

Closing out the night was 41st & Home. They started out with just Garth on stage drumming, then one by one came out for the incredibly energetic opening song. They kept up the energy through the set, despite some technical difficulties early on. After first song, Thom's power bar went dead; after the second song, he had a broken string. But both times they were saved by some smooth jazz, so as not to have an awkward lull between songs while things were getting fixed. They played a mix of their album, Left In Places, and some new stuff, with the new material being quite compelling.
There wasn't much in the way of banter, but still a few times they joked around, like with George playing the "Floor Thom" (complete with Thom's grinning face taped on). The set came to a climax, sans encore, with their grandiose song "Eva", a great ending song.
It's always interesting seeing a band evolve, and 41st & Home has definitely grown and matured, as a band, since the first time I saw them last year.
- 3am Revelations

"41st and Home: Nerds Gone Wild"

Vancouver-based 41st and Home is not just your average indie band. With their recent release, Left in Places, the 2010 Peak Performance Project artists are capturing the hearts of listeners nationwide with their contemporary folk-inspired music. I caught up with lead singer and guitarist Thomas Kolb and violinist Sejal Lal to talk about being a Peak Performance Project Top 20 artist, living the rock n’ roll lifestyle and the pros and cons of being “nerds in a band.” YT: How has becoming a Peak Performance Project artist affected the band? TK: Our MySpace fans have doubled since entering The Peak [Performance Project], and we get played pretty regularly [on the radio] too! All The Peak artists do, but I thought initially we’d show up and they’d play us once or twice. YT: Does it feel surreal to hear your songs, such as “Sleeper,” on the radio? TK: I mean, it’s definitely a new experience for us. The first time we heard it, we were on tour and we totally flipped out in the car and we just pulled over on the side of the road to listen – it was awesome! YT: A few of you are students at UBC. What are you all studying? SL: Well, I’m studying Arts and I just started in September and it’s pretty cool. The rest of them are all at UBC as well. TK: We’re kind of nerds. YT: Would you guys describe yourselves as nerds in a band or as band guys who happen to be in school? TK: I would say we’re nerds in a band. Garth [Covernton] (drummer, banjo player) and I go to the Biltmore probably twice a week to see shows and stuff, but we don’t live the rock-and-roll lifestyle at all. We go home and study. (laughs) We were on tour, and we played in bars and stuff all the time, but it’s like, get back in the van, go to sleep and that was pretty much our rock-and-roll lifestyle. I mean, if the rock-and-roll lifestyle is just being tired and hungry all the time, then I guess we do that… is this what rock-and-roll’s all about? It sucks. (laughs) Let’s be honest, we’re geeks. YT: How do you balance being a full-time university student and the responsibilities of the band? TK: I’m taking a reduced semester this year so we can make this work… [The band] was always just a weekend thing, like every Sunday we’d get together and jam. But now we’re practicing a lot more and it’s a little more interesting dealing with everyone’s schedules. Everyone’s busy, but we’re like, “Let’s play some music and we’ll work around it.” YT: When you’ve had a rough day at school, is it hard to switch gears for band rehearsal? SL: I think everybody takes it differently… everyone’s just very understanding… everyone understands each other’s emotions, I guess… But everyone puts in the effort to practice what we need, and we work around people’s schedules for sure… I think we got really lucky with our band chemistry, I do, ’cause everybody gets along so, so well. YT: What advice do you have for up-and-coming bands wishing to release their debut album, based on your experiences with releasing “Left In Places”? SL: Practice before you go into the recording studio. Do not waste time in the studio. YT: If you had to choose, would you pick school or the band? TK: Even though we didn’t win The Peak thing, when we first started they were like, “Hey guys, here’s $3,500,” so that’s sort of a big career booster there. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for me, if this really helped the band, and we were getting booked up all the time, then I would definitely choose music over school. I can always go back to school. UBC will always be happy to take my money. (laughs) UBC’s not going anywhere; it’s been around for a while, but I don’t think you can do that with the music industry. The music industry is always changing. They’re not going to wait for you to finish school. If you get the opportunity, you have to take it. SL: If we get the opportunity, I’d think we’d go for it. Just to see where it goes for sure would be interesting. I’m just saying that if that opportunity came up, I’d be pretty excited to take it. - Youthink

"Vancouver Choice Cuts 2010"

Exhibiting immeasurable maturity for such a young band, 41st and Home defy their Peak Performance Project placement with tracks that take their time and make sweet love to you ear.
- BeatRoute


Raised By Wolves (2011)
Left In Places (2010)



41st and Home formed in 2008 when science students Garth Covernton and Thom Kolb found a cello in Garth’s garage. Neither knew how to play it, but that wasn’t really important: what started at that point was a fascination with all things epic and orchestral, one that saw the band transition from an after school hobby into a rising act in the Canadian music scene. With violinist Sejal Lal, pianist Patrick Fiore and bassist George Knuff the group has maintained a DIY attitude towards making a name for themselves; they are their own recording engineers, management and publicists and intend to continue this way.

In early 2011 the band locked themselves in their practice space, ignoring the distractions of their university schedules and went to work crafting the makings of a new EP. In contrast to their debut album ‘Left in Places,’ which took over a year to complete, this project was conceived, recorded and mixed in just over a month. Tracked by the group and mixed by Paul Boechler, ‘Raised By Wolves’ showcases the bands transition into more energetic territory; incorporating the intricate arrangements and rich instrumentation of their earlier work, but experimenting with time signatures, ambience and driving rhythms. The result is a 7 song collection evoking sonic comparisons to Arcade Fire, The National and Broken Social Scene while maintaining its own unique flavor.

Currently the group is writing and demoing material for their sophomore album.

They have shared the stage with Said the Whale, We Are the City, Hey Ocean! and Shad among others; they’ve been featured in publications like Exclaim!, Beat Route, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight and Discorder and were selected as one of BC’s top 20 bands in the 2010 and 2011 Peak Performance Project. Someone once handed them a note that read, “I’m glad you guys didn’t just stick to science.” So are they.