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Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Pop Indie


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



"Repartee's synth-pop/rock dominates MusicNL Awards"

If you've ever thought it required a banjo and/or fiddle to be a successful music act in Newfoundland, then you may be in for a surprise.

Repartee, a St. John's four-piece that mixes dance, rock and synth-pop, dominated the MusicNL Awards Sunday night, winning every award for which they were nominated: group of the year, album of the year, rising new artist of the year, pop/rock artist of the year and the fans' choice award.

"I'm overwhelmed," lead singer Meg Warren, whose group's self-titled debut was released this year, told CBC News.? "I've said that word so many times tonight, but I don't know how to describe it. I just feel so much love from the people in this room ... this is really amazing."


"Might this be their year?"

“People in St. John’s have always been, right from the start, really, really supportive and excited and enthusiastic and wonderful. The feeling that you get when you walk on stage at the Rock House and you look down and you see your friends in the audience as well as new faces that you haven’t met yet – it’s just a pretty overwhelming feeling. And we feel so lucky to be part of that scene that’s happening in St. John’s right now.”

Meg Warren has plenty of reasons to be excited – the classical vocalist-pianist-turned-downtown-synth-pop-star has been fronting Repartee since a 2009 gig at The Levee. In three years, the face and sound of the group has changed entirely, but they have steadily built a committed following in St. John’s. And the love is spreading. I spoke with her just before a show in Halifax during the group’s fourth tour outside the province in the past year.

It was also the day after she learned her band was leading the annual MusicNL nominations back home, tied with Chris Kirby and Baytown with five nods: FACTOR Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Rising Star, Entertainer of the Year, and Molson Pop/Rock Artist of the Year.

“You always hope that you’ll be nominated – in one category, we’d be excited. I was so surprised to find out that it was five. I couldn’t believe it. We were in Sydney and I got a text from my friend Jenn at MusicNL – it was really, really cool!”

Hello to an expansive sound

“The first time I ever played in a bar was with this band,” Warren admits. “I had every intention to pursue a classical career as a performer, but I ran into a lot of roadblocks. Basically, it just wasn’t going to pan out, so I went looking for other outlets for performance.”

She began writing an album for The Scope’s annual RPM Challenge, but quickly realized she wanted to take the music more seriously. Repartee was born, a danceable ensemble fronted by Warren’s synthesizer and spunky vocals. An EP, Lost Like We All Are, preceded their full-length, self-titled 2011 debut, and the group just released another EP, Hello Hello Hello.

Arriving at their current sound and line-up (Robbie Brett on guitars and Nick Coultas-Clark on drums) has been a continual process.

“The band in 2009 is completely different from the band that it is now. Collectively now, all three of us do the writing, which wasn’t how it was done before. Even with the first album, Robbie only came on board a few months before we recorded, and so at that point a lot of the music we recorded was written by me and arranged and tweaked by the band, but now a lot of it is written a lot more collectively. You can hear that in the sound – I feel like there’s a growth.”

“It took a while to get used to, but once we figured out how to make that work, there’s no way to go back. Basically what we’d do is jam three or four times a week and just try out a bunch of different ideas and write constantly. Nothing was put down right away – everything was open and we were experimenting with a lot of different sounds and a lot of different melodies and textures and instruments even, and I think that that’s reflected in the EP.”

<a href=”” mce_href=””>Hello Hello Hello by Repartee</a>

Hello Hello Hello opens with the title track, followed by “Your Masterpiece,” a catchy number that incorporates synthesizer fills but is more guitar-driven than some of Repartee’s earlier work. The other bookend on the four-song disc further exemplifies the group’s musical growth: “Missing The Sun Part II,” a collaboration with another local talent, Andrew James O’Brien. The track reinterprets a song from their debut record, toning it down and layering it in such a way so that the vocals stand alone from the pulsing drumbeat and interlocking melodic lines.

“The arrangement on the full-length felt a little awkward for the bandmates, because it’s one of those songs that I had written a long time ago, and the arrangement didn’t really fit the new setup. We also still wanted to keep a cohesiveness with the album and the EP, but it’s mostly a way to incorporate the new band members and their styles.”

Part of a local community

Warren jokes that O’Brien’s harmonies were a last minute decision, texting him the night before the session. It’s funny, but the presence of a downtown music community is a very noticeable thing – one that constantly offers practical support and encouragement to its ever-growing population.

“Having the support of people that we look up to is amazing,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do that if there’s anybody that ever needs a hand with anything – that just seems to be the attitude that people have, to help however you can.”

“A few years ago, I didn’t even know half the musicians that I contacted – I would call up Duane Andrews or Mark Bragg and be like, ‘I’m a starting musician and I want to know what I’m doi - The Independent

"Repartee - Lost Like We All Are"

"...the kind of music that allows you to let loose while dancing, without giving a fuck about how foolish you look." - The Muse

"The Newfoundland Herald's Band to Watch for 2011"

"strong songs, a great live show, and a sound that dares to be different, yet still widely accessible..." - The Newfoundland Herald

"2011 Atlantis Prize Short List: Repartee “Repartee”"

"Aside from putting on electrifying live shows here in town and throughout Canada this year, the band’s self-titled debut LP is a whip-smart riposte of an indie pop record, and one of the year’s best." - The Scope

"Repartee - St. John’s dance-pop that you can take home with you"

"Repartee are forerunners of the pop tradition, and have boiled down the raucousness of a live show into a layered collection of infectious songs – songs that aren’t vacuous or lazy attempts at grabbing a fleeting slice of radio play, but rather invested with a subtlety that demand multiple listens to get at the core of it." - The Independent


"...great hooks, driving beats and a boundless energy..." - Noisography

"Songs You Need to Hear This Week"

Repartee, 'Dukes'

Everybody's gotta have a fight song: something that pumps you up as you strut down the street and prepare to take on the world. Repartee's got you covered with "Dukes," the sparkling new single from the St. John's synth-pop group; the band packs it full of hooks and snappy, catchy beats reminiscent of early Sleigh Bells and Sleepless Records labelmate Allie X. But it's lead singer Meg Warren's lyrics that really grab you: if you happen to be a young woman, you'll marvel at how she's tapped into those semi-critical, mantra-like thoughts you regret keeping on repeat inside your own head. Lyrics like, "keep it quiet/ no flying off the handle," "I'm nervous/ just keep it on the surface/ don't wanna stir the pot" and my personal favourite, "They tell us when we're little/ it's better to be quiet and to not cause trouble/ sit pretty, keep everybody happy/ and don't speak up, you don't wanna be bossy." Reading these lyrics on your screen hardly does them justice — Warren's voice leaves no room for surrender, shattering each of these preconceived notions as she sings them. Give it one listen, and you'll be fired up enough to put your dukes up, too.

— Emma Godmere (@godmere) - CBC Music

"Repartee announce debut album, Canadian tour dates"

The release date for the long-awaited debut album from St. John's synth-poppers Repartee is just around the corner.

On Tuesday, the four-piece band announced it will release All Lit Up, from the Toronto label Sleepless Records, April 29.

The band, which splits its time between St. John's and Toronto, also announced a cross-Canada tour coinciding with the record release.

The All Lit Up tour kicks off April 27 in Grand Falls-Windsor, and then heads to St. John's before moving to the Maritimes, Ontario and western Canada. - CBC News

"Pop Goes the World Wide Web: 2 New Local Singles Tear Up Social Media on the Same Day"

If music is a drug, Repartee is a dancy upper, and Fog Lake is a moody downer. They’re indie pop and bedroom pop — one meant for a dance at a bar, the other meant to soothe your hangover the next day. Your music collection needs balance, and go-to singles like these for your every mood.

Make no mistake about it, Repartee are about to blow up nationally with the release of their new album, All Lit Up. It’s been years since their last well-received release, and they’ve been very busy getting 10 times better and tighter. They’ve signed to Sleepless Records (so they’re now label mates with the likes of July Talk and Allie X). The engineering on the album sounds like a million bucks, and the songs have more hooks than the Canadian Tire fishing aisle. They’re releasing Al lLit Up April 29th at The Rockhouse here in town. - The Overcast

"First Play: Repartee, All Lit Up"

I can’t stop moving. Even while writing this piece, my toes are tapping and my knees are bouncing and my shoulders are shaking. Moreover, I feel the feeling of dance — pure, unfettered, unrestrained delight — inside me, too. My brain is no better; it can’t contain my joy and it keeps forgetting to tell my mouth that it doesn’t need to smile. I am, literally, a dancing fool — and I love it.

The non-stop dance party is thanks to Repartee’s new album, All Lit Up, which you can stream in the player above one week before its release. It’s also available for pre-order here.

The St. John’s pop band features vocalist Meg Warren, guitarist Robbie Brett, drummer Nick Coultas-Clarke and keyboardist Josh Banfield. The group has taken its time with this full-length debut and the result is an incredibly self-assured, confident collection that’s decisive, fierce and fun. It’s also full of feminist anthems and real talk, and distinctly establishes the incredible inner lives of every protagonist on the record.

Death and addiction intersect throughout several songs, including the shimmering titular track. “It’s barely morning/ but you’ve been up for a while now/ counting the rain up on the roof to make you come down,” Warren sings, compassion and helplessness evident in every word. “Die B4 U” unfolds a doomed love affair over pulsing beats. “Come on over to my humble abode/ I wanna see what’s under your clothes every minute/ but your heart’s not in it,” Warren sings, sly and knowing.

All Lit Up's most prevalent themes centre on self-esteem, agency and identity, all couched in synth flares and drum machines. The first, “Miracle,” is truly fascinating. “But when your heart went black / I tried to get it back / by changing everything about me,” Warren sings, prompting a heartbreaking moment of universal recognition. “I started carefully/ building the parts of me/ to make a version that you like better/ knowing down deep inside/ if you were the man I liked at first/ you’d love me for what I’m worth.”

“Nice Girls” resonates with the weight of a sledgehammer. It’s the kind of song I wish I’d had when I was a teenager. “Broke, broke, broken up/ am I ever good enough?/ I try to co-co-cover up/ but secretly I’m not so tough,” Warren sings. “Watch them rip me up and tear me down/ shake me up inside/ but whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger every time.” And the next track, “Dukes,” is another must-listen, a hype song and a fight song that will get you through all the rough patches and negotiations in your life. "They tell us when we're little/ it's better to be quiet and to not cause trouble/ sit pretty, keep everybody happy/ and don't speak up, you don't wanna be bossy."

There are just eight songs, but every single track is required listening and a total dance party. I'm calling it now: All Lit Up is one of the best records of 2016. - CBC Music

"Repartee Launch Killer New Pop Album"

Repartee are poised to blow up nationally with the release of their new album, All Lit Up. The album’s not out until Friday coming (April 29th), but it has been streaming to rave reception as part of CBC’s First Listen series, and their first single, “Duke,” is a stunning sample of the hook-heavy, fabulously polished sound on the new album.

It’s been years since their last well-received release, and they’ve been busy getting 10 times better and tighter. They’ve signed to Sleepless Records (so they’re now label mates with the likes of July Talk), and the sound engineering on the album sounds like a million bucks: we’re talking Rick Rubin level sound engineering.

The songs on All Lit Up have more hooks than the Canadian Tire Fishing Aisle. If you need a “sounds like” reference for what to expect on the 29th at The Rockhouse, imagine if Taylor Swift replaced Emily Haines in Metric. Repartee are known for putting off high energy, memorable, sold-out shows, with plenty of people standing around outside the bar for falsely assuming they’d get in at the door without a ticket. Don’t be one of them.

“We sound pretty different now,” Meg Warren told us back in the fall, “I’d like to think it’s a bit more refined, a bit less all-over-the-place in terms of structures and genres. Robbie and I have been writing this album over the course of nearly 4 years.” You can hear that hard work on the new album, which has two points of reference: there are new, blazing versions of their townie favourites “Nice Girls” and “Die B4U.” - The Overcast

"Repartee is All Lit Up"

Your favourite local synth-pop band is back with a new album
The more things change for Repartee, the more they stay the same.

Repartee are back in town with a new record label and a new album. They’re playing the Rockhouse in St. John’s Friday night as part of a coast-to-coast Canadian tour.
It’s been more than a year since the synth-pop four-piece has been based in St. John’s (two members moved to Toronto; two go back and forth), and more than a year since they picked up a record deal, management and booking agents. With a brand-new full-length album, they’ve put in a lot of hard work and come a long way, and now they’re back home to show it to you.

Meg Warren, Robbie Brett, Nick Coultas-Clarke and Josh Banfield were the stars of the MusicNL Awards in 2012, taking home five of them before going on to earn an East Coast Music Award nomination the following year. They did a national tour, shared the stage with the likes of Lights, Tegan and Sara and the Arkells, and were known for their dance-rock and synth-laden tunes and energetic live shows.

In the summer of 2014, with a second album’s worth of material recorded, Warren emailed the owner of Sleepless Records some tunes. A few months later, she was at a Green and Gold show in Toronto when a manager from the record label came up and introduced himself; a few meetings and a trip from label executives to St. John’s to see Repartee perform live and they were signed.

“Oh my God, it was super exciting,” Warren says of that moment in a phone interview from Toronto. “We went from being a completely independent band to having the full team, and it was insane.”

Along with giving up their indie status, Repartee relinquished some control over their material, as difficult a pill that was to swallow. First on the agenda: re-record the new songs.

“We had an album ready to go and they basically came on board and said, ‘We think the songs are good, but it needs to be re-recorded. We felt it was a little hard to hear, but we realized it was for the better and we were going to come out the other side. We all realized it was going to make for a better album.”

Oh my God, it was super exciting. We went from being a completely independent band to having the full team, and it was insane. Meg Warren, lead singer, Repartee
They were right, Warren said, adding how excited the band is to finally have a new recording instead of “touring on fumes.” The new CD, “All Lit Up,’ features a half-dozen different producers: “Dukes,” the first single, was produced by Young Wolf Hatchlings, who have a co-write on the last Fallout Boy album.

Catchy melodies, fun times and musical artistry are as alive as they ever were with Repartee, enhanced by what Warren says is a lot of growth in the band members over the last little while.

“We all spent a lot of time in rooms with other songwriters and writing for TV shows and potentially other artists and that kind of thing. We spent a long time outside our comfort zone when it came to that stuff,” Warren — formerly an opera singer — said. “A lot of the songs on the album are older ones that got a new injection. We opened ourselves up to other people, other songwriters and producers, for the first time, and I think the songs were made better because of that.”

The band’s live shows are still the biggest focus (and Warren’s mom in Grand Falls still makes her glitzy, colourful costumes). That, Warren said, will never change.

“It’s still our main focus, making the show as fun and as energetic and inclusive with the audience as possible.”

Repartee started their All Lit Up tour in Toronto earlier this month, and played Grand Falls Wednesday night. They’ll play at the Rockhouse in St. John’s Friday night before hitting the road to tour all the way to BC. “All Lit Up” will be officially released Friday. For a peek, check out . - The Telegram

"Repartee Strike Pop Gold with All Lit Up"

With their infectious energy, and exciting live shows, Repartee has earned their place as one of the most notable groups exporting from Newfoundland today. The band has carved their success through relentless touring, television placements, and festival dates, while supporting groups such as Dragonette, Tegan and Sara, Lights, Arkells, and more.

With half of the ensemble having graduated from MUN’s School of Music, and all well-established players locally, the group recently made a move to Ontario. All Lit Up is the first release from Repartee on the Toronto-based label Sleepless Records.

The album features a strong new direction for the group, taking ownership of their sound with a unique devotion to contemporary pop music. These are densely layered, heavy hitting pop tracks, each with the potential to stand on its own as a single.

The songs feature thick synthesizers, shimmering guitars, and some truly mesmerizing vocal hooks. With this new album, Repartee are poised to be a leading force of pop music nationally and beyond. It’s an exciting time for this band from home. Below is my interview with Meg Warren and Robbie Brett of Repartee.

Congrats on the new album! It seems this was a long time coming …

ROBBIE: Thanks! It’s certainly a relief of sorts to finally release this album. Not only have we been sitting anxiously on these songs for a while, and wanting people to be able to take them home after a show, but it’s also our first full length release with our current line up. So it’s great to have finally made it to this point.

How did you come to develop this new sound, with such complex and steadfast pop arrangements?

MEG: We spent the last year working with all kinds of different writers and producers. I think 2015 was a big year for us in terms of learning how other artists do things. We were able to take certain bits of inspiration from all of these different people and bring it to the band and put our own flavour on it. I think that this album is the closest we’ve come yet to something concise and representative of where we are as a band right now.

ROBBIE: Honestly, I think one of the biggest things we learned was what not to put in a song! I get really excited in the studio and start grabbing instruments and layering everything before the vocals are even finished, so finding where everything should reside has been quite the learning experience. Thickening vocal harmonies and rhythmic sections and giving you one or two easter eggs per song to keep that guitarist listener satisfied!

Meg, there’s a fresh sense of connection to your voice on this album. Where did your inspiration come from lyrically/vocally?

MEG: That’s a really lovely thing to hear, thank you. I feel like my voice/singing is evolving a lot, I’m always trying to figure out my limits and strengths/weaknesses. For a long time I was looking up to other singers and trying to figure out where my voice fit among others, but I think I’m slowly learning more about my personal singing style and trying to write within that.

Were there any happy accidents? Or, songs that took a new life once recording started?

MEG: All Lit Up was a pretty simple idea that was kicking around for a long time. Robbie had sent me this awesome instrumental verse/chorus but for a long time I had only written a few lines over it. We took it to our management, and out of something like 20-odd ideas, that one stuck out. So I took it back and wrote and rewrote – and after a bunch of attempts I showed Robbie and Josh the current chorus idea over my laptop speakers in the van after a show. Thankfully, that one worked!

How has moving to Toronto helped your process and career in music?

MEG: For the kind of music we’re making, Toronto is a bit of a hub. We spent the last year working and writing with so many people from a lot of different backgrounds and levels of experience. It’s also much easier to tour from here. We can go play a one-off in Guelph without having to book a full two week tour around it. But I miss Newfoundland a lot. I miss going to shows at The Rockhouse and The Ship every weekend.

Dream act you’d love to tour with in the future?

ROBBIE: A band like The Killers would be a dream to me … creating top 40 hits but still fitting a band structure.

MEG: Chvrches, Charli XCX, The Killers, Robyn, T-Swizzle (YOU SAID DREAM, RIGHT??) - The Overcast


'All Lit Up' - Released April 29, 2016 on Sleepless Records



Come on over and we'll settle it right, put your dukes up 'cause I'm ready to fight... for you. – “Dukes” from All Lit Up

This St. John's, NL four-piece has been doggedly fighting to carve a place for themselves in the music world for the last few years. Initially started by Warren, Repartee became fully formed in 2012 with the additions of Robbie Brett (guitars), Nick Coultas-Clarke (drums) and Josh Banfield (keys).

Having criss-crossed Canada multiple times in recent years, Repartee have shared stages with the likes of Tegan And Sara, Lights, Dragonette and Mother Mother and the band's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. In 2012, they won five MusicNL Awards and in 2013 they were nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Rising Star.

Painstakingly crafted through multiple recording sessions in 2014-15, Repartee worked with a number of notable producers to create All Lit Up, the band's debut Sleepless Records album.

Adam King (Jill Barber, Good Lovelies) worked on "All Lit Up" and "Carelessly, Carelessly" at Canterbury studios, Matt DeMatteo (Hey Rosetta!, Danko Jones, Hawksley Workman) helmed four tracks — "Die B4 U," "Electric Every Day," "Nice Girls" and "Fall Apart" — at Graduate Studies, Alex Bonenfant and Howard Redekopp (Tegan And Sara, New Pornographers) did "Miracle" at Dreamhouse, and Young Wolf Hatchlings (Fall Out Boy, Thomas D'Arcy) worked on "Dukes," also at Dreamhouse.

The fighting spirit displayed on "Dukes" and throughout All Lit Up is no accident. Shining a light to combat the darkness is very much a theme that runs through the record and its title track.

"'All Lit Up” is about basically being there for somebody when they’re going through a hard time," says Warren. "There was a specific catalyst. I basically wrote it about my partner. There’s a line in the song, 'like a beacon I'll be all lit up, you can follow me out of the dark.' So there's definitely a visual connotation of lightness and darkness."

Band Members