Copilots
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Copilots

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative

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"Vancouver’s Copilots are an inventive math pop quartet that often come across as the West coast’s answer to the Wooden Stars. Led by Skye Brooks (Fond of Tigers, Inhabitants), the band’s quirky arrangements are bolstered by strong, dynamic guitar parts and a similarly impressive rhythm section. As songs like “Atavistic” and “In Your Heart” suggest, Brooks possesses a great gift for unique phrasing and can muster a cool pop lyric as easily as he can turn out a gutsy roots-rocker. For their part, drummer Dylan Smith and bassist Pete Schmitt adeptly lay strong foundations for multi-layered rockers like “Basic” and the building storm that is “What You Give,” which conjures a Pavement/Richard Buckner collaboration. Guitarist Chad MacQuarrie contributes one song here but his “The Pain Moves Across the Sky” is an excellent, gritty indie rocker reminiscent of Archers of Loaf. Copilots are too interesting a rock’n’roll band to ignore."?- Exclaim! - Exclaim


"The tricky time changes, the loping rhythms, the heraldic trumpets all spell postrock, but beneath the surface of the Copilots' debut there's something stranger and wilder...not since the Meat Puppets came along has a modern rock record simmered with this kind of lysergic heat...always in fresh form...this is not retro psychedelia."?- The Georgia Straigh
- The Georgia Straight




copilots-Not having been alive for certain things really gets me down. Paul Henderson’s goal in ’72, now that would have been something. And I suppose watching Neil Armstrong would have been a bit surreal. But not being able to enjoy psychedelic rock in at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco seems like a place I really would have enjoyed.

But being born in the early 80’s wasn’t all that bad either. After all, I was able to say that I enjoyed some of the last of the honest guitar-driven rock and roll bands before rap-rock and scream-o came in and ruined things for everyone. And now, Escape Through The Trees, the second LP and first on Drip Audio from Vancouver’s Copilot has me stuck wondering: Did I miss out or am I better off?

You see, Escape Through The Trees fuses subtle yet never subdued psychedelic melodies with some of the most pungent riffage Canada’s west coast has ever played host to. There are palpably murky elements to Escape Through The Trees, which rather than bog down the record’s sweeping anthems, give them a decidedly candid feel. Copilot could have easily tweaked many of the tunes on Escape Through The Trees and came out sounding like every other generic, radio-ready band. Instead, on cuts such as “Husk,” fuelled by a chugging rhythm, Copilot never hits the panic button. Instead, they choose to subtly tempt listeners instead of bowling them over with an obvious and pandering chorus.

The only thing that might bowl listeners over is how far the scorching guitars reach on Escape Through The Trees. “Long Hauling,” the album’s blistering opener, features a slow groove of chorus, kept afloat by the aforementioned guitars in all their searing glory. Guitarists Chad MacQuarrie and Skye Brooks feed off each other rather remarkably throughout the record, balancing both their psychedelic and modern rock influences with daring precision. The result is a cohesive and beguiling 10 tracks from a band that, regardless of whether or not they were alive in ’72, has a bright future ahead of them.

By Joshua Kloke
- Skope


SUNSTROKE
Copilots
On mesmerising new album Sunstroke, Copilots serve up trippy psychedelia laced with avant-garde and noise inflections, and they do so with a level of instrumental excellence not usually exhibited by most current practitioners of the genre. Band members are or have been in the likes of Juno-winners Fond Of Tigers (leader Skye Brooks drums for them), Inhabitants, Pugs and Crows and more. Many of the songs clock in at eight or nine minutes or more in length, yet they never seem over-extended. Cited influences include Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Frank Black and Husker Du. This is Copilots third full-length and it is one worthy of serious attention.

They perform at the ArtsWells fest in Wells, BC, Aug. 1-3, then head east for six dates (including the Bloor Ossington Fest in Toronto on Sept. 18) plus a date at the Copper Owl in Victoria on Oct. 2. Check their site for a full itinerary.

Kerry Doole - Kerry Doole


CANADIAN BANDS
Copilots
July 21, 2015By TimComments:
Copilots, from Mission, British Columbia, in Canada is the gloom-rock quintet of Skye Brooks (Vocals / Guitar), Pete Schmitt (Bass / Vocals), Cole Schmidt (Guitar), Karma Sohn (Keyboards / Vocals) and Dylan Smith (Drums).

Copilots - gloom-rock from Canada
Copilots

Underpinning the material of Copilots is a brooding darkness which the synths spread around the room like decaying moss, to which the two guitars provide an Épée Coulé, as all twelve strings feint across each other. The bass and percussion further enhance this mood of melancholia keeping point score as the vocal floats gracefully like a bird of prey scanning the ground – wings stretched on a thermal.



This is not music to take out of the box at a twenty-first birthday party, rather to bring out on a damp, misty pre-dawn with plenty of time to spare to sink in to the cloisters of Copilots. Having been around a few years now the quintet are able to seamlessly thread their ideas and instrumentation to afford the audience with impressively delivered compositions that evoke of emotion and sadness, without ever becoming introspective self-communication.

If you enjoy music with an oppressive cloak, Copilots are well worth taking time to spend to get to know, if you don’t – then you may well find you do after giving their music an airing.



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Sunstroke – Copilots is available on iTunes.*

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It’s been a circuitous journey for Copilots to reach their musical destination.

Formed almost a decade ago, the Vancouver-based experimental rock band began as a drummer-less folk quartet, populated by jazz musicians. Founding members and half-brothers Skye Brooks and Dylan Smith, along with close friend Pete Schmitt, have been playing music together since they were in high school in Mission in the late ‘90s, but the band was always a side project. Brooks put in his time as the drummer for the Juno award-winning Fond of Tigers, as well as backing up touring musicians like Veda Hille, Ndidi Onukwulu, and Tony Wilson. Schmitt and Smith, meanwhile, both earned Juno nominations as a member of Inhabitants.

Despite musical paths that have, at times, taken them in different directions over the years, the trio’s musical bond has held tight.

“We all grew up together, lived together, figured out how to play together, how to write together,” says Brooks, the band’s frontman. “It’s always kind of been a family band.”

The modern Copilots began to take shape after Smith moved to drums, and the band began experimenting with rock music. The addition of guitarist Cole Schmidt (who won a Juno of his own as the leader of Pugs and Crows) and Brooks’ wife Karma Sohn on keys further helped to chart the way forward.

On their third and most recent album, Sunstroke, Copilots have finally landed on a sound that is distinctly theirs. Both experimental and accessible, the band’s psychedelic art rock is reminiscent of Radiohead’s transitional work from the early aughts. But whereas Radiohead was comprised of rock musicians experimenting with jazz music, Copilots have reached a similar sound from the other direction: as jazz musicians experimenting with rock music.

The songs largely ignore the typical verse-chorus-verse song structure, instead growing and evolving from movement to movement, with many tracks clocking in at more than eight minutes in length (the exception being the radio-friendly indie rock tune “Mountain of Time”).

“The songs themselves dictate the length,” says Brooks. “I didn’t want to curtail them or place any preconceived notions about length on them. I just let my inspiration go where it would.”

To record the album, Copilots enlisted the help of another Juno award-winner, famed violinist and producer Jesse Zubot.

“He had a massive impact on the album,” says Brooks. “It was absolutely a positive experience working with him and it sounds like we spent 10 times as much money on it then we did.”

One of the biggest impacts Zubot had on the production of the album was the decision to record it all live off the floor, including vocals.

“As a jazz musician, I’m used to recording like that, but that’s pretty rare for rock music,” says Brooks.

That meant Brooks not only had to sing live with the band while recording, but play guitar too, as opposed to recording isolated vocal and guitar tracks after the fact, as is commonly done on rock records.

“There was a little bit of anxiety,” Brooks admits. “I was very intimidated as a singer… and playing guitar as well, it’s my distant second instrument.

“So I just had to practice. A lot.”

The months of preparation paid off, and the band was able to record the entire Sunstroke LP in just three days in the studio. The album’s longest song, the 11-minute “Come to Life”, was nailed in just one take.

The band has already toured across Canada in support of the album, which was released by Zubot’s own label, Drip Audio. This Friday, Copilots headlines the Biltmore to celebrate Sunstroke’s vinyl release, along with Calgary’s Ghostkeeper and Colin Cowan and the Elastic Stars.

Despite the numerous side projects the band’s members are currently involved in, Brooks says they plan to hit the road again in the new year and focus on the festival circuit.

“Everybody is busy, but we have a commitment to the music.”

- See more at: http://www.westender.com/arts-culture/music/copilots-soar-on-sunstroke-1.2109034#sthash.GNm0nWAg.dpuf - Westender


reviewed by Michael Thomas

After a long slumber, Copilots have dusted off their aircraft and retooled for an entirely new journey. And they’ve got a sixth co-pilot making sure their flight takes off okay. That is Jesse Zubot, who produced and played on the album, the band’s second with Drip Audio.

Zubot’s bold, fearless touch brought music from Tanya Tagaq and numerous others to new worlds, and it’s clear he’s done the same thing with this Vancouver five-piece. The band in its previous records hinted at going for longer, more ambitious songs, and here they’ve done just that.

Six-plus-minute songs can be tricky—too much repetition can make one question why the song has to be so long—but Copilots strike just the right balance on their more sprawling numbers. The biggest gamble they take is on “Come to Life,” a song just more than 11 minutes. It’s carefully constructed with several moving parts, but the blend is so seamless you may not even realize the tone has subtly shifted. The band flirts with gloom and a sense of optimism, and “Come to Life” has both. The interplay of bass and guitar at the beginning speaks of the sun, but before you know the mood has shifted ever so slightly, and by the end the song has gone from sunny to gloomy to cathartic to chaotic, the latter part marked by screeching violin and electronics.

“The Falls” is a similarly adept work, where the lyrics beautifully match the breathless melodies. “As I started to climb one more time/I lost my grasp and slipped” is a bold way to start a song, and the lyrics speak to falling into a raging river and going over a waterfall. As the song goes on, more instruments join the fray, drum and bass, then keys and electronics, and the story begins again, only on a totally different path.

“When It’s New” and “Leaving Unknown” are both around the six-minute mark and work more as bookends, a sense of winding down after the heights the previous songs reach.

The middle three songs are where the band has the most fun. “Defences,” sitting smack-dab in the centre of the album, is the best kind of roller coaster imaginable, at times urgent thanks to the unique electronic sounds that resemble a demented alarm clock going off, but also featuring strong group vocals in the choruses that you almost want to sing along to. “Mountain of Time” is merely three minutes of forward-momentum rock and roll, with hearty vocals and of course some jamming. “The Possible” is perhaps the sunniest song of them all, and comes to a close significantly slower, as though it just won a race.

You may not immediately know the destination, but trust Copilots to take you along for a ride.

Top Tracks: “Defences”; “The Falls”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) - Gray owl point


Discography

Copilots(self titled) 2006
Escape Through The Trees (2008)
Sunstroke (2015)

Photos

Bio

Copilots came out of a long musical relationship between founding members Skye Brooks, Pete Schmitt and Dylan Smith. There is a wide scope of influences and experiences that has created the band's sound, which is both raw and refined, expansive and intimate. A restrained intensity simmers throughout their performances, at times boiling over into ecstatic abandon.

Band Members