She's Got a Habit
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She's Got a Habit

Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Band Alternative Avant-garde

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Call & Response is a series of Q&As with bands, artists and random people we dig that live in Montreal, visit here, or have some dubious connection to the city.

She's Got a Habit is a Montreal trio made up of Emma Frank (soulful vocals) Martin Rodriguez (multi-instrumental programmer) and Andy Bauer (Drums, Bass, Wurlitzer, Programming). Depending on what their doing (recording an EP, filming a video, etc.) they also pull in help from other talented friends around town. Earlier this summer, they released a 6-song EP full of spliced bits of soul, hip hop, jazz and pop (free download here). The result is warmly comforting downtempo sound, though tracks like "Plus Minus" suggest there's some edginess hiding in the lush synth soundscapes. She's Got a Habit play Divan Orange on Tuesday night, but before that, we grilled them with our hardball questions about making music in Montreal. Not only were they kind enough to answer, but they even let us debut their brand new oh-so-local video for "Stars that Come".

Am I allowed to ask what Habit She Has?
Martin Rodriguez: Well, it's definitely open to interpretation. Originally, we just liked how it sounded.

Besides family, friends, other music, and summer nights, what influences your music?
Andy Bauer: Humans, earth, food, living, energy in the universe.
Emma Frank: Bike rides and psychoanalysis.
MR: My cultural background, being a mixed baby - half Mexican, half Polish - has had a pretty big influence on me artistically.

I hear a bit of jazz, a bit of ambient (as in Esthero, not as is Muzak), and a bit of pop thrown in for good measure. Where do you situate your sound?
MR: We're definitely mixing a lot of different things together. But labels are hard. We're definitely incorporating some jazz elements, some hip-hop/soul, some rock. The EP is really a mix of all of our different backgrounds - folk, introspective pop, experimental jazz, ambient electro, film scoring, and whatever else you hear.

Where is the best place to listen to your music?
MR: I think fall is a perfect time to listen to this EP, especially right around dusk.
AB: In a red-lit room late at night with some drinks, drab, and shag carpet.

What do you love most about Montreal?
EF: How everyone I meet is doing something creative and amazing.
MR: Damn J'aime beaucuop Montreal! I've lived in Nogales, Seattle, Boston, and New York and none of them can do me as good as this city does. For me I think it's the balance of urban & nature.

What do you love most about Poutine?
MR: Well as you know there are a couple schools of thought into what makes the perfect poutine. My personal favourite recipe is crunchy fries with the squishy cheese curds and plenty of gravy.

What do you hate most about Poutine?
EF: Warm poutine is a double-edged sword. Blissful, but fleeting. Soggy poutine, total turn-off.

You're EP is a bit of a tease....is there a full-length in the works?
EF: Martin and I met up this week to look over our material. We have about 9 song sketches right now and we are going into the studio this spring to record a full length.

Who was your first live concert? Was it everything you had ever imagined?
EF: It was a community theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I had a huge crush on Judas and learned all the words afterwards. I'm still pissed that Peaches has already done a one-woman show of JCS. Maybe that's my next step, after SGH.

What's the best way to spend a Million dollars in 10 minutes?
EF: Wow, this question stumped me. I think I've overthought it too much. Hello Kitty paraphernalia. A degree in modern dance. In a spaceship. Moving on.
MR: Roadtrip. in a Ferrari, plus a time machine, throw in a Samari sword for good measure...ohhh 10 minutes left...mmmmmm bling gotta have some bling
AB: Poverty, peace, gourmet desert.

What's the best place you've ever been to?
EF: Nirvana.
AB: Venice? Or the woods, nature.
MR: Dude, just got back from Madrid about 2 weeks ago. The food is amazing, the wine is cheap & delicious, and the city just vibrates with energy.

What's the worst place you've ever been to?
MR: Jail. No Comment

How did you spend your 16th birthday?
EF: I was crying because MTV refused to feature my party on "My Super Sweet Sixteen"

In a Blindfold Test between you and New Coke, who would win?
AB: Blindfold Test. Without sounding conceited, and substance abuse aside, Blindfold Test won't make your teeth rot and you can spin it again and again for the same price. Wink. - Midnight Poutine


Montreal-based trio of vocalist Emma Frank, multi-instrumentalist Martin Rodriguez and drummer Andy Bauer unveil thick and heady tunes with this high-impact EP, a surprisingly rich and ambitious debut. Blindfold Test mines trip-hop, jazz, soul, rock and psychedelia with uncanny effectiveness; Frank's smooth, innocent voice is in the Dusty Springfield vein but, when combined with the EP's layered and almost overproduced sonics, reminds one of Martina Topley-Bird's work with Danger Mouse or Yukumi Nagano of Little Dragon, two comparisons that should serve this fledgling unit favourably.
- Steve Lalla - Hour


I don’t know what it is, but 2010 is the year for light, sunny, and soulful voices. Whether it’s Sonnymoon’s Anna Wise to New Look’s Sarah Ruba, this year is most certainly winning. Well, add another name to this list. She’s Got A Habit’s Emma Frank.
The Montreal based trio combines trip-hop, indie rock, and soul into a tight and consistent package. Co-conspirators Martin Rodriguez and Andy Bauer produce a template that is so delightfully different from anything else you will hear this year. Whether its the steady drumbeat vs atmospheric keys of “Plus Minus,” or the downtempo vibe of “Call It Love,” they where able to produce a consent sound throughout the project.
Comparisons to Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano are evident, however there is something more traditional about Emma’s voice, and the trio eschews the “left field” beginnings for more accessible sound that draws more from the psychedelic 60s and American jazz than futuristic Sweden.
Not bad for a band that began on Craigslist. Their Blindfold Test EP is on Bandcamp right now, and it’s a MUST RECOMMEND to stream or download. (via The Incubator) - The Couch Sessions


I remember sitting down with vocalist Emma Frank and producer Martin Rodriguez a few summers ago at a cafe by my old apartment to talk about a project they were working on. She’s Got a Habit is that project, a production rich, melancholy creep that features the haunting vocals of Emma as the center of attention. Now, this is clearly something that MTL has yet to produce: deep, subtle and soulful vocals backed with strong production and great songwriting. Comparisons to Little Dragon certainly can’t hurt this solid team, but I believe their unique sound can only grow into something much more powerful and engaging than it already is. Please check them out and let me know what you think. We’ll be watching them rise to the top… - The Incubator Blog


Discography

Blindfold Test, EP

Photos

Bio

Based out of Montreal, She’s Got a Habit began in summer 2009 when vocalist/songwriter Emma Frank teamed up with producer/guitarist Martin Rodriguez. The debut EP, Blindfold Test, is named in part for how the duo met - they got in touch when Emma responded to a cryptic posting on Craigslist by Martin looking for vocalists. He sent her a track and suggested they meet up. Emma hesitated. She did not trust the internet. A week later, Martin came to her show and introduced himself. She trusted that, and the two started making music with the help of Martin’s long-time production partner and drummer Andy Bauer (Twin Shadow, Eli Paperboy Reed and the True Loves).

The trio began developing their sound, playing with a mix of live drums, samples, and layered voices. They shared a background in hip-hop and soul and wanted to fuse the heavy beats and lush production styles they loved with softer, more intimate, sounds. The blend they found is both dreamy and momentous, combining hushed vocals and room sounds with glowing synths and huge drums.

Live, She’s Got a Habit is a five-piece ensemble featuring J-P Saint-Cyr (Sweet Mother Logic) on cello, Evan Tighe on drums, and Beavan Flanagan (Ismism) on synth and samples. Sometimes, vocalists Anna Goren and Akua Carson add an air of vintage with smoky back-ups vocals and doo-wop dance moves.
The band has been performing in Montreal and is preparing for a summer tour of Blindfold Test through Canada and the U.S. They are also working on their first full-length album.

The EP is now available for free download online at http://www.shesgotahabit.bandcamp.com/. Listen to it while biting your nails and drinking coffee, or doing whatever you do.