i see rowboats
Gig Seeker Pro

i see rowboats


Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Sure Thing""

Inside Luke Fisher’s living room i see rowboats practices while its biggest fans, Fog and Spit, sit mesmerized. Well, mostly mesmerized. Sometimes Fog can’t resist batting at drummer Darcy Fraser’s brushes. That’s because Fog and Spit are cats. Their feline fascination is typical of i see rowboat’s audience.

“The best kind of reaction to our music is staring. There’s complete silence in the crowd,” says Fraser. “We know everyone’s paying attention to us and wants to hear what we’re doing.”

They’re changing Canada’s strings-happy indie scene. The five-piece features a viola, cello and fiddle; it sounds like a Beirut-ish chamber choir.

Lead guitarist and lyricist Will Robinson formed the band a year ago. The strings aren’t classically arranged and aren’t used whimsically. The band sounds and looks as rock’n’roll as a traditional six-string.

“Certainly we’re not playing any niche,” says fiddler Luke Fraser. “It’s not like we’re a band with strings trying to sound like another band that has strings.”

The strings are visually and aurally catching and add weight to Robinson’s lyrics. The music makes his simple lyrics epic. In “mine & strike” even “oh”s are elevated to heart-wrenching poetry. Fisher embodies the band’s grandiose nature. Robinson calls him the Angus Young of the fiddle. He plays hard and can go through three bows a week.

Awkward time changes make the songs hard to dance to, but keep you listening. For the release of its first EP, hide & seek behind the throne, violist and visual artist Lisa Lipton is planning something special. Not that she needs to—the sight of i see rowboats’ classical instruments in the North Street Church and its striking sound will already have fans mesmerized.

—Mike Landry

- Mike Landry - The Coast - August 9th, 2007

""CD Review""

i see rowboats
Hide & Seek Behind the Throne

While songs and conventional rhythms have their place for Halifax’s i see rowboats, it is spirited instrumental interplay that enlivens the listening. Luke Fisher’s violin gets into a scrap with drums and group vocals on “Mine and Strike,” giving as good as it gets. On “Ci Ci,” guitar, viola and melodica beat as one to herald a dialogue between violin and cello. The five players have an acute sense of each other’s capabilities and push each composition into varying degrees of winging it. “In Cars” builds into a Broken Social Scene-like fury of collective energy, precisely emitted. These long strings reveal a vast potential.

Doug Taylor
categories: Local artist - The Coast - September 20, 2007.

""Pop Rocks" - Pop and Rock Reviews"

I See Rowboats
Hide & Seek Behind the Throne
By Chris Whibbs

The debut EP from this five-piece from Halifax is deceptively confident, as just when you think the songs have run their course a new curve is introduced, making this music a little frustrating but ultimately quite satisfying. The best example would most likely be the atmosphere-heavy “Begging For It,” which spends its first two minutes in an unremarkable instrumental haze until the evocative vocals of Will Robinson kick in, bringing a new dimension and depth to the song. Cutting close to Beirut style melodramatics, it’s a highly promising start. Of course, just when you’ve relaxed, the bouncy, energetic album highlight “In Cars” comes out of nowhere and, again, it’s Robinson’s admirable voice that really nails the song. Finally, closer “Waiting Up” is beautifully subtle in its floating strings and affecting harmonies. Although it’s just a taste, the mix of interesting instrumentation and Robinson’s gorgeous vocals make this a pretty awesome start. (Independent) - EXCLAIM! - November 2007

""Hero Hill Reviews": i see rowboats - hide and seek behind the throne"

I think we've given the Halifax music scene plenty of solid coverage this past year. So hopefully the fact that I am only now discussing i see rowboats' excellent debut EP, Hide And Seek Behind The Throne says more about the abundance of quality acts in this city then it does about my laziness.

i see rowboats (it appears the rowboats do not enjoy the capital letters, so I will follow suit) was formed after friends Will Robinson and Luke Fisher reconnected and set about filling a roster of friends to accompany them as they began to play the songs Robinson was writing. Soon after, Fisher's frenetic fiddle playing and Robinson's melancholy vocals and steady guitar work were meshed with Darcy Fraser's solid drumming as well as the string-heavy, multi-instrumentalism of Lisa Lipton and Soloman Vromans. It didn't take long for a heavy buzz to build for the new quintet's string-tastic indie rock - they had only played together live 12 times before landing a slot at this years's Halifax Pop Explosion alongside Polaris nominees the Besnard Lakes.

A listen to Hide And Seek Behind The Throne certainly reveals that the buzz is well deserved. ISR's sound is led by it's strings, the fiddle, viola, cello, all play a prominent role. Strings in indie rock is nothing new, but rarely do you see them integrated as organically and to such a captivating effect as they are here. This is but a 5 song EP, but the vastness of the songs make it feel like an experience on a much larger scale.

The fantastic instrumental Mine And Strike kicks off the album in high gear, with Fisher's fiddle racing out into the lead, soon to be joined by guitar, drums and vocal Oh-oooo's in all the right places. The drumming over the last minute and change is stellar. I'm not sure it's accurate to say that vocals are secondary on an ISR song, but certainly the music is given all the room it needs to do it's thing on a song like the seven minute epic Ci Ci. Mournful glockenspiel opens the song and some lonely, lovely fiddle work holds your attention until Robinson's tale of trans-Atlantic love begins at around the two minute mark. Great song, certainly a seven minute investment you won't regret.
The raucous In Cars is simply a great song with all musical elements of the band working together. It brings Arcade Fire to mind, but the more focused AF of Funeral vs. the more theatrics-laded AF of late. I resolve to see i see rowboats play live next year in order to see them do this song.

I'm about as far from a classical music enthusiast as one can get, but the classical influence on this EP makes me think I might be missing out. It also makes me think that ISR's full-length album is going to be excellent. In the meantime, I'd suggest getting a copy of Hide And Seek Behind The Throne, as this is certainly a band to keep an eye on in 2008.

by Naedoo - www.herohill.com

""Concert Reviews""

Sadie Hell / Rich Aucoin / I See Rowboats

Café Dekcuf, Ottawa ON March 11
By Chris Whibbs

Ah, charm. It’s a hard thing to quantify, but in a show it usually can be found by a sense of wonderment about the music and people in front of you, and for this night, it seemed to be full of charm. I See Rowboats, a five-piece from Halifax, easily threw themselves into their lush soundscapes that, accentuated by cello, violin and saxophone, really filled the room and worked their magic quite well. Crammed onto a tiny stage, the instrumentals were expertly done, but the passion really came when Will Robinson sang to the audience with his impassioned voice. “In Cars” brought the energy up considerably and new song “Sky Builders” left everyone with goosebumps as the band’s three-part harmonies and ghostly ambient accompaniment perfectly matched the cool air seeping through the brickwork... - EXCLAIM - April 2008

""Canadian Music Week 2008""

Day Three: Halifax the Music Week Menace

by Tara Thorne

...Jenn Grant, Dog Day and i see rowboats -- someone lock this lineup down at home please – played three of the most killer sets I have ever seen from any of them, and they are all bands I've seen a lot...

...i see rowboats...this band has been monumental to me since the first time I saw it last May at Gus' Pub. Its underappreciated acoustic set, at this year's In the Dead of Winter, marred by sound problems and a confused crowd, had become the reigning highlight for me, but this set is at the top now. Starting almost half an hour late due to technical problems, I worried they wouldn't be allowed to perform their whole set, but luckily common sense on the part of those in power won out. Violinist/vocalist Luke Fisher was on fire, summoning more violin, more cello, more vocals from the sound guy – who the band had graciously applauded earlier once all of their problems got sorted – as he absolutely reveled in his band's tight, epic set. Singer/guitarist Will Robinson, normally a stoic sort, smiled widely for the last couple songs while drummer Darcy Fraser narrowly avoiding giving himself whiplash. A rousing, monster "In Cars" was the last song I heard at Canadian Music Week, an apt choice considering the long road home.

- The Coast - March 09, 2008

""I see potential in i see rowboats""

Listening to Hide & Seek Behind The Throne, the debut EP from i see rowboats, I can't help but think of Beirut or Final Fantasy. After all, frontman William Robinson has a voice that sounds eerily like a synthesis of Zach Condon and Owen Pallett, while musically the band has all kinds of classical and avant-garde flourishes (and, of course, a string section). If someone had told me that Hide & Seek... was a stopgap follow-up to He Poos Clouds or The Flying Club Cup, I might wonder why the vocals sounded a little different, but I wouldn't be inclined to question it.

The biggest reason why the similarities arise, of course, is that -- like those other two bands -- i see rowboats make some pretty interesting music. Opener "Mine & Strike" is an instrumental (albeit one with some pretty epic-sounding "woah"s) careens along at a breakneck pace, while "In Cars" takes that same feeling and builds on it with Robinson's dramatic style of singing. Obviously, the fact they're a five-piece is the crucial difference between them and those one-man genius bands, Hide & Seek Behind The Throne shows that i see rowboats deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.

by Matthew

- i (heart) music - March 5, 2008

""Best Local New Artist" - Best of Music Reader's Poll"

Best local new artist, Winner
i see rowboats

When Luke Fisher, Lisa Lipton, Darcy Fraser, Solomon Vromans and Will Robinson hit the stage as i see rowboats, their strings, percussion and vocals fuse together with such graceful, artistic synergy it’s no surprise that the band answers questions together and counts “becoming closer as friends and musicians” as one of the highlights of 2007. (They also want to acknowledge the memory of Solomon’s mother, Nancy Elizabeth Leaman.) Since their EP release party in August at the North Street Church, i see rowboats have been amazed by the “positive response and feedback surrounding hide & seek behind the throne and the support from “the music community in Halifax, our friends and our family, local and national media, warm attendance and attendees at shows.” Quickly establishing themselves as a favourite around town, the band had only played live 12 times before their shows with The Besnard Lakes at the Halifax Pop Explosion and Pop In Session... - The Coast - March 27, 2008

""NXNE Festival Review 2008""

I See Rowboats
North By Northeast Toronto ON
June 11 to 15
By Scott A. Gray

I See Rowboats appreciated the excellent sound treatment they received at the Cameron House. It was the perfect venue for their multi-instrumental East coast rock and I wish I knew the soundman’s name to give kudos for keeping everything balanced and under control. I was tempted to call them orchestral rock at first, but really, I See Rowboats are a straight-up pop rock act that choose their instruments and arrangements wisely. Utilising viola, violin, cello and keys alternately with tastefully played bass, guitar and drums, the group performed with passionate professionalism and the over-capacity crowd responded in kind. It was leavening to see the band geeks dominate the night, even earning an encore, which gave the band a chance to demonstrate its diversity, opting to end with a track composed almost entirely of vocals and percussion.

- Exclaim - June 2008

""New Waves" - New Music Issue"

Earlier this year i see rowboats didn't even have a name. nine months later, the chamber-pop quintet has sailed up the campus radio charts to become one of the city's favourite indie bands.

Nine months ago, i see rowboats held an emergency meeting. They had recently played their first show and were still without a name. Their second show was coming up and they didn't want to be listed as "and TBA" again.

The band hunkered down in fiddler Luke Fisher's house, determined to find a name. Fisher was renovating his home at the time, so they wrote dozens of names on a wide slab of pine that was lying around. It took a few hours, an admittedly salty brie-pasta dinner and a significant amount of wine, but through a process of elimination, they ended up as i see rowboats.

"It was tough," says multi-instrumentalist and resident artist Lisa Lipton. "The most democratic thing to do was for us to present it to the table and use the process of elimination and hope—hope—that we came up with something we can live with."

The house renovations are now finished and the slab of pine is safely tucked behind Fisher's fridge. Since settling on a name, i see rowboats has followed success with success. But the process of choosing a name, which so many other bands have gone through through before their rise on Halifax's music scene, is a reminder of how difficult it can be to steer five individuals (playing a unique blend of chamber music meets indie rock), in one direction.

"It's a challenge, but it's a challenge that I'm totally OK with fighting through," says frontman Will Robinson. "It's just hard to get everyone on the same page sometimes, but that's what ultimately makes it more interesting. Now I'm just trying to trick myself into believing that, but I do believe it's true."

As individuals, i see rowboats are like an outspread hand. Lipton, Robinson and Solomon Vromons, who plays bass and cello, bring a quiet demeanor to the band. Meanwhile, Fisher on fiddle and Darcy Fraser on drums boisterously compete to see who can play the hardest. It's when the band come together, like a fist, that their signature sonic tension arises, to deliver one hell of a punch.

Robinson brought the band together last fall, piece by piece. It wasn't long before a string section was accompanying the heartbreaking songs he was writing in his bedroom. Fisher was happy to be playing something other than the tired old fiddle music he grew up with in Newfoundland. Both Vromons and Lipton set playing strings as a condition for joining the band. "I lived on the South Shore, so classical music was really the only music that was available," says Vromons, who lends the band his ear for classical structures. "I really looked up to people who could play strings."

After months of practice, the results were grandiose songs about love and loss—and "all the usual cliches," admits Robinson. "There's something really special about having this collective project with four of my really close friends," he says. "I was really doubting it until we played our first show. Then, our first show came and we clicked. Someone said we were like levitating off the stage. And ever since that first show I have wanted to make this work."

And so far, it has—and in a surprisingly short time. They only played live 12 times before sharing the stage with The Besnard Lakes at the Marquee in this year's Pop Explosion. Even before they played that show, they were accepted into Canadian Music Week '08.

The band's EP, Hide and Seek Behind the Throne, which came out August 10, was number one on CKDU's charts and has made it on to other campus radio charts across Canada. It even reached number 22 on the !earshot national campus and community radio report's top 50.

"I've been doing this with my hand," says Lipton, tilting her hand up in a steep angle, "going "OK, this is going to stop very soon and then are we going to be able to sustain something?' It's a huge fear of mine."

Afraid or not, experimentation is the band's cornerstone. Forced into working with four other people, each musician has had to subdue their own biases and put everything through what Robinson calls "the i see rowboats filter."

"I feel kind of like an asshole trying to be like, "There should be a drum solo here,'" says Robinson. "But more and more I'm starting to realize everyone has a more acute sense of how something should go and I just have to open up and respect that."

Since finishing the EP, they've been working on becoming more sensitive to each other's instruments. When they first started, it was a competition about who could play the loudest and with the most intensity. To help develop sensitivity, they've been practising quietly in Vromons' living room, something Fraser can't wait to be done with so he can pound the drums again.

"It's a gift and a burden having so many instruments," says Vromons.

And even after almost a year of playing together, when asked if they can find a way to describe their music, there's still a resounding, "Nope."

"My immediate reaction is "Let's do it. Let's make something great,'" says Lipton. "The simplest way I can say it is, "What can't we do?' If you're asking yourself that question you're willing to do anything and then, with that, comes indescribability."

One example of that ethic is featured in a new song, "Skybuilder." The band traded in their instruments for drumsticks to form a massive rhythm section, with only a keyboard for melody.

Still, the band relishes and encourages attempts to describe their sound. It's a good mirror for what they're doing. Robinson says some of the comparisons people make to describe their music can be quite funny.

"Someone said "Sonic Youth meets string quartet meets whiney guy from Simple Minds.' And I was like, "That's me! I'm the whiney guy.'"

Having a relationship with the crowd was one of the reasons Robinson brought the band together. It was meant to be a step away from his last band, The Audients, which featured whopping solos—not particularly conducive to sharing the loneliness that was motivating him to write.

"I wanted to be in more of a pop-rock band," he says. "There wasn't a connection with the crowd when we played. It was more of an intellectual thing than an emotional thing, and I think, with i see rowboats, there's some kind of exchange with the audience."

If you've ever been to one of their live shows, you'll know exactly what Robinson is talking about. "When I'm playing drums I'm constantly staring at the crowd and watching their reactions," says Fraser. "People don't take their eyes off of us when we play."

This week the band is testing their sound on virgin ears for the Atlantic Canadian end of Rebekah Higgs's CD-release tour. It's their first time on the road and the band says it's a big test for them: As critics and fans attempt to attach a label to i see rowboats, the band is fighting to find itself.

"That we're great doesn't make sense. Maybe it's because I always hear the mistakes," says Robinson. "I think we're great in the sense that everyone in the band is a really lovely person. But in terms of musicians, we've got so much work to do it's crazy."

Rather than dreams of fame and fortune, right now, the band's biggest dream is having time to spend with each other. With debt from producing the EP still lingering, and everyone's personal careers in full swing, it's been hard for the band to find time together over the past few months.

"I think we're in limbo right now, trying to balance jobs and things," says Vromans. "If this is going to go any further we're going to have to figure out where to cut time somewhere."

Both Fraser and Fisher work in the film industry. It's taken up the bulk of their time recently. They wrapped up a shoot the day before heading out on tour. "It kind of drives me crazy, because I'd rather be playing than working and I work so much and play so little. It's really frustrating," says Fraser. "Our biggest problem is distractions. Whether it's work or whatever. It would be fucking fantastic to get away from all that and be able to just concentrate solely on music and nothing else."

The band's planning on taking a week later this month to hunker down together and start working on new songs. And although they've applied for grants for an album, it's unlikely to happen for a while. You'll have to wait until then to see if i see rowboats can come together and prove they have what it takes to be great.

"I just see so much potential in everyone," says Robinson. "I just want them to quit their jobs and focus on the band and I feel like really good things can happen."

by Mike Landry
- The Coast - November 15, 2007


hide & seek behind the throne. EP (2007)



i see rowboats formed in 2006 when long time friends William Robinson and Luke Fisher reconnected & collaborated to form the band. The duo turned to percussionist Darcy Fraser, multi-instrumentalist Lisa Lipton and multi-instrumentalist Solomon Vromans, and together have established themselves as one of the most exciting new bands in the Atlantic Canadian scene.

Their debut EP "hide & seek behind the throne" has been called the "striking sound" that will "change Canada's strings-happy indie scene."

Booking - Will Robinson:

Publicity - Matt Charlton:
(902) 482-4579

Band Contact:
(902) 488-6390; Luke Fisher