Archery Guild
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Archery Guild

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Alternative Rock

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After recently putting the finishing touches on their second album, Manitòk, the many members of Archery Guild are ready to share it with you and they’re as psyched as we are. The seven-piece indie-rock ensemble is celebrating with an album release show at La Sala Rossa this Friday, where they’ll be joined by fellow acts in Montreal’s DIY music scene (Snooker Emporium, Look Vibrant and The Walls are Blonde). Having introduced themselves to our readers less than a year ago to promote their first LP, it’s clear from listening to their latest work – Manitòk was just released today – that the band has undergone a lot of changes since then. From expanding their musical scopes to testing new methods, I sat down with Archery Guild to discuss the adjustments that went into making Manitòk such a killer album.

While bassist Tristan Giardini cites “organized chaos” as the mantra for their first LP, DIN, Archery Guild’s latest work is decidedly focused. Its cohesive feel is largely due to the songs’ tight narrative structure — though they’ve kept their experimental edge, drummer Marshall Vaillancourt notes that the chaos has been dialed down, limited to enhance the album’s story. Manitòk, a concept album inspired by the history of the Algonquins, recounts a legend dreamed up by Archery Guild’s lead singer, Michael Cota.

“The word ‘Manitòk’ is Algonquin — it’s an all-encompassing term for a spirit that lives within everything,” Cota explained.

“In the myth I’ve created, the Algonquin people are being raided and killed off by the God of new language. Only a man and his daughter are spared, though the God steals the daughter and the man is lulled into a seven-year sleep. We begin when he wakes up, recounting the journey of the man’s search for his daughter.”

As a result, Manitòk’s lyrics are chilling if not tragic, juxtaposing beautifully with the album’s collection of groovy and upbeat psychedelic sounds. The quality of Manitòk is also a lot more polished than DIN, which their trumpet player Mariah Andrews attributes to a reversal in their recording process:

“I feel like a big change between the last album and this one is that we played all the songs on DIN live so many times and then finally recorded them, so the album has this lo-fi, live-music sound. With Manitòk we did the complete opposite: we recorded everything first so the songs sound cleaner and poppier, and now we’re figuring out how to play them live.”

Though Cota provided Manitòk’s lyrics and skeletal structure, each member came up with their own parts, constructing them relatively individually before recording the album. This, for lead guitarist Cas Kaplan, was a major asset in arranging the songs’ layers as well, which is key when working with so many members. “It really made me get a feel for who’s intersecting with me and when,” Kaplan said. “Breaking things down during the recording process helped us make sure every note was in place and made the melodies sharper.”

Archery Guild’s Manitòk proves that the band has been successfully trimming the fat in every way. The album boasts a clean quality and seamless structure, which benefits from the harmony that seems to be struck between their members — while Archery Guild used to be even larger, they’ve recently settled as a solid septet. Though their new album shows discipline, we’re willing to bet there will be some eccentric theatrics at their show on Friday — band members may or may not be adopting some mythical alter egos. Let’s just say, you’re gonna want to be there. - The Main


Archery Guild – Manitòk (indépendant)

Proposition fort intéressante qu’est ce Manitòk, premier album du combo montréalais Archery Guild. Orchestrations film noir, boucles rythmiques de synthés cheap, cordes luxuriantes et ambiances vocales qui ne sont pas sans rappeler un Blur sur les amphés. On a reçu l’album hier. Première écoute: vraiment le fun. Sortie le 7 janvier. Concert-lancement le 10 à la Sala rossa de Montréal. - Guillaume Moffet


Archery Guild is a Montreal-based indie-rock band composed of an eclectic group of talented musicians with a passion for their craft. In fact, no instrument is burdened by the connotation of a specific genre; everyone plays from the heart. The result is a mélange of styles that ultimately create a psychedelic type of rock n’ roll. From the soft chimes of a violin and the jazzy groove of a trumpet, to the squeals of an overused guitar or voice, everything finds its place. Cacophonous or melodious, heavenly or hellish, only your ears will decide. One thing is clear: they unapologetically deconstruct musical boundaries and know how to put on a high-energy show. To promote the May 2014 release of their sophomore album, MANITÒK, lead vocalist Michael Cota agreed to sit down with Larscenic to answer some questions.

While their debut album, DIN, had a distinctly disorganized and dark element to it, MANITÒK promises to be very different. Although chaotic elements have made their way onto the album’s final track list, the listening experience as a whole should sound more structured. According to Cota, Wampum is also a concept album that illustrates the story of a Native American man whose tribe was destroyed by the « God of New Language. » The only remaining members are himself and his daughter, who were kidnapped by the God to overpower other clans. As an Algonquin, Cota confessed that it was important for him to make an album with illustrations and lyrics that drew from his ethnicity’s history.

Archery Guild also recently hosted an acoustic show at their loft and recording studio, where they permitted friends to come and listen to their new material. David Kleiser took care of opening the night, while Chelsea Sweetin created the visuals. “We wanted our friends and fans to be involved from the start of our journey with this new material,” Cota said.

The band is planning to tour as much as possible this summer, as last year’s nation-wide promotional tour only consisted of three shows. “Hopefully, this time around, with this new line up, we can take a good portion of the season to play in out-of-town venues,” Cota said.

While Archery Guild remains a resolutely underground band, it has become clear over the past three years that they have amassed quite a crowd of Montreal-based indie music followers. “Montreal is a good creative city,” said Cota, who is very aware of his band’s following. “We all live in Montreal, some of us go to school here still and have jobs. It’s a really fun city, and it’s very rewarding to play shows in front of all the young music enthusiasts that come here to lead an unconventional life.”

When I asked Michael about his band’s creative processes, he confided that it took him one month to write all of the lyrics for MANITÒK. “Then I stopped myself from going any further,” he explained. “I showed the band the skeletal structure and they built their own compositions around it. This different approach is to make sure that everyone is happy with their own parts so that all members can say that it’s their album just as much as any other group participant.”

Horn players occasionally contribute, while Dakota Martin plays the flute, Mari-Lou Plante plays the trombone and Flo Rousseau plays the French horn. As far as turnovers go, Huei Lin is now the main saxophone player, and Cas Kaplan plays the lead guitar. Although very close to one another, band members are free to come and go as they please depending on the circumstances, although the current lineup presents itself as a solid, devoted group of musicians who all play from the heart. - Larscenic Music Blog


Self-described as loud, energetic, joyful, and admittedly chaotic, indie-rock band Archery Guild is an experimental force to be reckoned with. Earlier this year, we caught up with the band’s co-founders– lead singer/guitarist Michael Cota and drummer Marshall Vaillancourt– to discuss everything from their formation and inspirations, to the excitement surrounding their upcoming debut album DIN. (To read the interview, click here.)

Since then, the nine-piece Montreal-based band has been invited to play the reputable North by Northeast (NXNE) festival, and earlier this month, released their electrifying debut album DIN on their Bandcamp for streaming. Heavily layered and consisting of every instrument from guitars and bass, to french horns and trombones, DIN possesses an experimental sound that is both nostalgic and refreshingly new.

Recorded in “The Oven” at the CJLO studios last November, and mixed by the band’s own Cota and Vaillancourt, the album is, as Cota states, “A natural second step for us and will show how far we’ve come since last year.” Described by New Canadian Music as “the epitome of chaos meets beauty”, DIN will officially be released on CD, online, and on vinyl at their release party next week. So come out and enjoy the wonderfully chaotic sounds of one of Montreal’s best up-and-coming bands! - The Main


ARCHERY GUILD – DIN (May 28, 2013)

Experimental / Rock / Pop

I’ve been hearing about this band nonstop for the last year or so. They’ve been called a powerful “wall of sound” by some of my most trusted musical informants. I’ve had the opportunity to hear them live once and it was pretty grand and it was then I realized what my friends had meant: this band has nine core members and an additional armory of friends who join them on stage to produce a cacophony of sounds woven together by a melody. There’s joy to the energetic chaos that ensues from Archery Guild’s music. It’s difficult to listen to DIN without getting up and dancing or getting pumped up to do something exciting in the city. It’s pretty hard to find what band Archery Guild sounds like (especially since I don’t listen to that much experimental rock) but I’d say it’s kind of like the misfit child of Sunset Rubdown and Arcade Fire. Our favourites are “Juslyk” and “Swimmin’ Out”. Recommended for hearing live or dancing to during party times.
- Forget The Box


This, ummmm, rather large collection of artists [There are nine members. - AC] is based out of Montreal. Well-worthy of your attention. [Buzz band at recent NXNE. - AC]

Sounds like: A train speeding from one ear to the other - Alan Cross


As Netflix and organic frozen dinners make it increasingly easier to isolate ourselves from other humans, multi-instrumentalist Michael Cota thrives in collaboration. Archery Guild is an experimental indie rock collective with a rotating assembly of between nine and fourteen musicians (with more always welcome), but though he’s the founding member, Cota doesn’t consider himself a “bandleader” in the traditional sense: “I write most of the songs…but everyone is open to work on whatever they want. To change anything or have any ideas to come up with stuff.” Like so few forms of government, it actually draws strength from its disharmonies.

The music’s slightly demented and anarchic sound reflects the attitudes, anxieties and passions of a lot of different musicians. Things get loud and messy, but there’s always a sense of direction and purpose, like an unpaved path hidden away in a forest of obsessive compulsive trees. Archery Guild will both please and disconcert fans of Arcade Fire, but the Guild’s self-titled debut is a witch’s brew of jazzy, post-punk chattering. It exposes a more psychedelic side to Montreal’s cosmopolitan folk scene, approaching the same anthemic ecstasies with a wry, palsied smile, never allow their sing-along choruses or infectious joy to blind the listener to the menace lurking beneath it.



How does a band with so many members get together? Was it a gradual thing or was it all formed at once?

Michael: It started as a two piece for a year. It was kind of a recording project. It wasn’t intended to be a big thing but I met more people that were interested in playing music that weren’t part of bands or collectives, and they just hopped on. And some of them stuck and some of them didn’t, but we just started playing for about eight months before we started recording.

I think it’s kind of special, what we have. We are all really close friends first and foremost, and we all love to go out and see shows and have fun together. I think I’m really lucky to have met all these people and they want to be a part of something that I originally intended to be just me and a loop pedal and a drummer.

When did you realize that the project had to include more people?

Michael: I think that when we were recording our first EP that was in December 2011. That’s when I knew I wanted to have more going on, in the sound, in the songs. I was really, really resistant in having more than two people at first, then we met Omar who plays guitar with us and he brought a friend. And it just snowballed like that. I didn’t have any control over it, really.

Was it difficult to let go of control over that situation?

Michael: It was difficult for maybe a couple weeks when I first started working with a third person. But then it turned into wanting to work with people and wanting to make music that I couldn’t just make on my own. I wanted to make something bigger than myself with a big group of people. That changed the way I look at my music and listening to music in general.



What was it like crowdfunding an album on Indiegogo?

Michael: That experience was weird. I really needed to have something to start off the whole mastering [of the record] and we know we wanted to make vinyl and CDs but we didn’t have the funds for it because we’re all so broke. It was a cool way of doing it but it’s something I would never, ever do again, because I was asking so many friends and people and their families and stuff for help. And the money didn’t actually come through until the last 3 days. $3000 really helped us, but it hasn’t even touched the expenses that we’ve had to pull out of our own pockets to make this album happen. We have to ship this out and it’s going to cost more money because we want to share the album and we want to give priority to people who have helped us out.

I think it’s a really useful tool and cool that people are doing it. I encourage people if they want to try and do it. There are percentages from Paypal that are taken out. You don’t really get all of the money, but you get a big sum of it. I’d rather be more upfront and actually talk to people, like face to face about it, if they wanted to help out that way.

How did the album get started?

Michael: It started as this weird bedroom recording, about 4 years ago. A few of these songs are a result of that. As more people came in with the record, I got more of an idea and see everyone’s individual personality through how they play. It’s not their talent but their intonation and what they wanted to play. I wanted it to sound like not one concise idea, a little bit chaotic, but also a group effort.

What kind of struggles did you face recording it?

Michael: I’ve never recorded an album with this many people and that in itself was a huge obstacle, working with time. It was in November, last winter. Everyone was so busy with exams and tests and life, jobs and family, people dying. So we had to do a series of overnight - ChartAttack


This nine-piece, eclectically electrifying Montreal band pushes out a smart progressive sound on this album debut. In a nutshell, this adventurous sounding big band delivers what one might describe as the epitome of chaos meets beauty. In the band's own words, “in the chaos, there is always a melody, harmony and a pulse”. DIN showcases Archery Guild's experimental indie sound magnificently. The album is available as a digital download, as well as on CD and Limited Edition 12" Vinyl here. Archery Guild is set to make an appearance during NXNE at the Monarch Tavern, in Toronto, on June 13th. - New Canadian Music - Nerese Richter


Interview with Michael Cota and Marshall Vaillancourt of Archery Guild - The Main


Episode 1: Montreal band Archery Guild visits Champions of the Local Scene to talk about their upcoming album, Din. The show features some brand new unreleased tracks that you won't want to miss! - CJLO


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Archery Guild is a rock band that was formed in 2010 by Michael Cota and Marshall Vaillancourt. The name came from a friend who was describing a movie he had seen, but kept tripping over the words "Archery Guild". One year later, their first EP was made and posted online. In spring 2012, "DIN" was pressed on vinyl and copied on CD's as the groups first full length release.

"Manitk" is the Guild's sophomore album. The production steps away from the chaos of "DIN" to leave space for more complex and dynamic arrangements. The album is planned to be released in January 2014.

Described by Alan Cross as sounding like "a train speeding from one ear to the other", Chartattack says "there's always a sense of direction and purpose, like an unpaved path hidden away in a forest of obsessive compulsive trees."

The current lineup consists of Cota on vocals, Vaillancourt on drums, Tristan Giardini on bass, Mariah Andrews on synth, vibraphone and trumpet, Ian Gibbons on cello, Huei Lin on sax and synth and Casimir Kaplan on guitar.

Band Members