Statue Park
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Statue Park

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock


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



"Statue Park: Montrealers Make Music About Architecture, Deep Sea Diving"

The old line goes, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

Montreal's recently-reformed Statue Park are messing around with that very idea: they're musicians who write music about architecture. The dancing part is optional, but encouraged.

"I think there are a lot of similarities between songwriting and architecture, life and architecture, relationships and buildings," Statue Park's Toby Cayouette told Spinner during this year's M for Montreal. "They're all about the process of building something, and they always turn out differently from what you'd hoped, and inevitably, at some juncture, they fall apart.

"In a way, I think relationships are the one creative act every human being partakes in."

Shackleton, the band's recently-released EP, takes its songs from a yet-to-be-released album tentatively titled The Cities We Planned, The Cities We Made, a title which gets to the heart of a lot of the lyrical content on the album itself.

"[That title] implies that they're different, that nothing ever turns out in the nice, idealized way blueprints look," says Cayouette. "There's a lot about loss, devastation, but more idiosyncratically, there are songs about architecture, urban planning, deep-sea diving."

Cayouette knows a thing or two about building, about how long it takes to make something; though Statue Park formed almost a decade ago, the forthcoming full-length will be their first, and was precipitated by a years-long period of inactivity, which was prompted by a breakup, which itself was the product of some bad luck.

"We put out two EPs [in 2004 and 2005]. We had recorded demos for a full-length, our hard drive got stolen, and after a shitty cross-Canadian tour, everyone quit."

For a while, he spent time in Chinatown, a Montreal-based franco-pop band which had its own successes. Then, in 2010, a heartbroken Cayouette hit the road to do some soul-searching, and the songs that he wrote during that time helped put Statue Park back together. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the songs are about the concept of relationships. Shockingly they're not overwhelmingly happy in tone.

"I don't come from the west coast, so it's hard for me to write about having fun at the beach, but it's not all 100 percent about the negativity," he says. "I just tend to be more interested in struggle, conflict, being at odds with your environment [and] with yourself.

"I could write about a diver who really likes his job, but I find it more interesting to write about a diver who finds it more and more difficult to find reasons to come back up."

It's pretty dour-sounding stuff, lyrically, and yet the music itself is calmly but clearly alive; spare and sparse, it almost necessarily can't be soaked in bad moods. Still, one can't help but think Cayouette has to work hard to shed the "downer" label.

"Sometimes," he says, "but it doesn't really come through all the time, only in my writing. If I want to have fun, and I do, a lot, I'll go dancing to soul music, not write a song." - Spinner

"Statue Park is a place in Budapest"

Q&A with Toby Cayouette

Statue Park is Montreal’s newest post-rock outfit from playwright-cum-musician Toby Cayouette. The forthcoming full length album, incubated in the creative caverns of Breakglass Studios, offers a bolder, noisier rock that compels listeners to “dig a little deeper into the music to find the hooks; they’re there if you want to find them.”

Upon the release of their newly minted 7” vinyl last Thursday at Il Motore, lead singer Coyouette took the time to answer a few marginally relevant questions for Where Are the Shows. Read on to learn about his unorthodox introduction to music: on a 1989 Yamaha synth (which he still owns), and his ultra-orthodox approach to egotism: the Pope keeps him in check.

How is Statue Park’s music different than other bands you’ve played in/collaborated with?
I also play bass in a band called Chinatown, which is a far more pop-oriented francophone rock band (in the Beatles sense, not Lady Gaga/’N SYNC). The guitars are also a lot louder in Statue Park than in Chinatown (but that’s mostly Jon’s fault, his amp doesn’t go below 11). There’s the electronic element too, there’s a good dose of programmed beats, sampling and analog synths, which takes up a lot more room in Statue Park than in Chinatown.

Favorite venue you’ve played:

Venue you dream of playing:
A planetarium, any one, doesn’t matter.

Most influential music artist for Statue Park:
There’s definitely more than one: Grandaddy, Yo La Tengo, Pavement, Can, The Notwist, My Bloody Valentine, and many more.

Most influential music during your teens:
I was lucky enough to have an older brother who introduced me to great bands like The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, New Order, Depeche Mode, but my first great musical shift occurred when, during the grunge era, I shifted my allegiance over the pond to Britpop, and discovered music I still listen to today, like The Stone Roses, Blur, Oasis, Suede.

Guilty pleasure pop artist:
Duran Duran. I was going through their earlier albums this week, and I can’t imagine any of those really bizarre arrangements would ever make it to # 1 on the radio charts today. I mean, listen to “The Chauffeur,” or “Rio,” or “Save A Prayer” – the music is weird! Grimes and Diamond Rings are not nearly that weird.

How does being the frontman change your experience onstage?
Actually, I’ve been the frontman in each of my bands since I was 14, Chinatown being the exception, and since Chinatown has been the most successful band I’ve played so far, I might want to take a hint… It was a nice, humbling break for the last 5-6 years, not being the center of attention. There’s a lot less pressure and responsibility. I could just focus on what tie I wanted to wear… rather than the technicalities I have to manage now as frontman, such as: do I come across as a humanoid robot? If so, exactly what kind of hardware am I running on? Has my firmware been updated recently? Have my cogs and gears been greased? It’s a completely new set of concerns, as you can see.

Any pre-show rituals?
Sometimes I wish music was more like sports. You’d have a loud, nasty coach yelling at you and pumping you up, and going through all of these complicated stage routines in a playbook, like: “Ok, in the first quarter of the second song Michel is going to launch a drumstick into the air, which Matt is going to catch after a jumpkick, and hit the crash cymbal on his way down.” As it stands, pre-show rituals usually limit themselves to drinking a few beers, making sure there’s at least one set list on stage, and mostly, just finding the other members of the band.

How old were you when you first started writing music? Describe your first song.
I wrote my first ever piece of music after my first lesson when I was eight years old. For some reason, instead of the standard piano lessons, my parents sent me to “synthesizer” group lessons, which I went to with my trusty Yamaha PSS-270 Soundbank synth. I had a huge crush on my teacher, a beautiful blonde in her twenties, and I wrote her a little tune. But I didn’t even know what notes where which yet, so I had to use colour-coded dots on my keyboard. I think she liked it.

What band is your Montreal crush?
Well, for me Montreal music would not exist without Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Back in the early 90s, being in a Montreal band sucked. There were barely any places to play, not a lot of great bands, and not much of an audience, either. Then, Godspeed came along, had a certain amount of success worldwide, and they started reinvesting into the scene, opening Casa del Popolo, Sala Rossa, El Salon (now closed)…To me, those are the roots of everything that’s going on now, and on top of that, I’m a huge fan of their music. They’ve given some of the most impressive and inspiring shows I’ve ever seen, and they continue on their unshakeable path of integrity and ethics.

What inspired the band name?
I visited this odd, unnerving “theme” park called Statue Park in Budapest. After the iron curtain fell in the late 80s, the city of Budapest dumped all of the oversized, monolithic monuments to communist Russia there – with the biggest hammers, sickles, and Stalin mustaches I’d ever seen. I loved it. I knew I wanted to do something with that name. Originally it was supposed to be a play, but I never wrote it, so when I ended up back in Montreal I used it for the band.

What would you be doing if you didn’t play music?
I’ve tried a lot of different things. I worked in finance for 3 years (big mistake). I wrote a novel and a half (they weren’t very good), a bunch of plays. But even these days, I have a lot on my plate, I’m a freelance translator, I received a grant to write a feature film screenplay (that one’s pretty good), and I’ve had a few photography shows. I’m a workaholic and I like making things, so that’s what I’d be doing – music or no music.

What is the experience like recording at Breakglass? How is the atmosphere there conducive for creativity?
Breakglass is amazing, and so is everyone who’s associated with it. I’ve recorded two albums there, and I can confidently say that they were the best recording experiences I’ve ever had. I also had the chance, on the Chinatown record, to spend a full month there. They have so many beautifully inspiring toys to play with, and a kitchen full of plants with a couch and a Nintendo. It’s basically heaven for a thirty-something musician.

What would qualify as ‘success’ for you with Statue Park – and is that a priority?
I’m not sure I know what success in music means anymore. I’ve also long stopped expecting some cosmic horseshoe to suddenly fall into my lap and allow us to “make it big.” I’d like to be able to keep making records that I don’t have to pay for out of my own pocket, find some enthusiastic partners to help distribute the music to a global audience, and tour – lots and lots of touring. I want to play for as many people as possible.

Do you ever worry about the effect of smoke machine fog on your voice? Overall health?
You see, after Matt needed to get his lungs pumped for an overdose of smoke machine fog, we started looking into the matter more closely, and seriously. Since then, we’ve started using this new, non-toxic fog, made with a genetically modified strain of algae found in the north-east corner of the Adriatic. You can huff as much of this stuff as you want; it self-filters itself out of your system.

How do you keep that big ass frontman ego in check? (or do you?)
I was raised Catholic, so I have a sense of guilt commensurate with my ego. It helps create a delicate equilibrium wherein I constantly feel awful for everything I ever do or ever say, but all the while being fully aware that people would hate me even more if I hadn’t done or said any of those things. The tightrope of the soul, as it were. I’ll be sure to discuss it with my therapist this week. - Where are the shows

"Statue Park, avec Toby Cayouette, en concert à Montréal (VIDÉO/ENTREVUE)"

MONTRÉAL - Statue Park est un groupe montréalais dirigé par Toby Cayouette, également bassiste de la formation québécoise Chinatown. Le 6 novembre dernier, paraissait un vinyle (45 tours) de deux chansons, Shackleton et A letter Before Leaving, au souffle à odeur de territoire américain, au propre comme au figuré. Rencontre avec le leader du quatuor qui est en concert ce jeudi soir, au Il Motore.

Bien que le projet Statue Park ait émergé en 2002 (sortie de deux EP les années suivantes), c’est seulement après la longue tournée de Chinatown en Chine, en Europe et au Canada que Toby Cayoutte a pu véritablement s’y consacrer.

C’est d’ailleurs après l’enregistrement du second disque de Chinatown, à l’été 2011, que le musicien trentenaire a ressenti l’urgent besoin (avec une extrême fatigue et une déprime causées notamment par une crise amoureuse) de changer d’air: traits tirés, cernes sous les yeux, longue barbe, il achète une voiture d'occasion et s’élance vers le sud des États-Unis. Accompagné d'une guitare, celle d’un ami qui a autrefois appartenue à John Wayne, il arpente seul le désert et dompte la rupture. Chaque jour suffit sa peine, comme on dit…

«Ça a été une période terrible dans ma vie personnelle», raconte-t-il en entrevue, dans un café de la rue Fairmount (pour appuyer ses dires, Toby montre une image de lui-même archivée sur son téléphone portable… En effet, la vie semblait lui être pénible! Rires). «Partir paraissait la meilleure des solutions. Et je peux dire, avec du recul, que ce voyage d’un mois a été très bénéfique. Seul avec soi-même, l’occasion était parfaite pour composer. Même si je braillais tous les jours!»

Nouvelle dimension

Qu’à cela ne tienne, Toby Cayouette termine son périple américain et revient avec de nombreux morceaux. Avec l'aide d'un collaborateur de longue date, Jon Hill (guitare, chœurs), Cayouette (voix, guitare, claviers) refait l’instrumentation des maquettes créées chez notre voisin du Sud. Ensemble, ils reconfigurent Statue Park en lui dénichant deux nouveaux musiciens: Mathieu Dumontier (basse) et Michel Aubinais (batterie).

«Je voulais donner un feeling plus organique. Ça manquait de dimensions, de couches. Les éléments électros (une musique qu’il affectionne) sont demeurés, mais c’est le rock qui sert de base. Je tenais à élargir la palette de sons, disons. En ajoutant des instruments comme la batterie et la basse, il était possible d’aller chercher beaucoup plus de textures, et ainsi de répondre adéquatement à mes intérêts musicaux…»

«J’écoute beaucoup d’électro, mais je voulais des arrangements (outre les instruments mentionnés plus haut, on retrouve aussi sur le disque des cordes, des cuivres, une guitare à l’archet, et des synthétiseurs) plus complexes et des mélodies plus enveloppantes», précise le chanteur. «Le groupe flirte donc avec le postrock et les sonorités électroniques […] Malgré le fait que les deux chansons sorties ne sont pas nécessairement les plus accrocheuses, elles représentent bien l’univers de l’album à venir (idéalement au printemps).»

Toujours à la recherche d’une maison de disque qui pourra s’arrimer à l’esprit du groupe et de sa musique (Statue Park cherche au Québec, certes, mais aussi en Europe et en Grande-Bretagne), le disque sera retenu encore quelque temps.

D’ici la parution de ce bel album que nous avons eu le privilège d’entendre, et qui a été enregistré au cours de l’été 2012 au studio Breakglass (lieu influent de la création musicale indépendante montréalaise), on peut visionner le vidéoclip de la chanson Shackleton, réalisé par Rodolfo Moraga.

Encore mieux, un spectacle-lancement du 45 tours aura lieu ce jeudi soir, au Il Motore. Le coût d’entrée est 10 $. Avec ce geste d’encouragement, on obtient le vinyle en question. Statue Park se produira aussi sur les planches de la Casa del Popolo, le 16 novembre prochain, dans le cadre de l’événement M pour Montréal. - Huffington Post

"Statue Park - Shackleton"

I don’t want to get anyone emotional tonight, but you must all watch Statue Park’s latest video for their single “Shackleton”. This glistening play on star-crossed romance brings forth two individuals, who are connected together yet so far apart. Their hearts intertwine as they follow similar routines, continuously hinting on a relationship that could be, or has been. The question of whether the two have ever been together is one that remains unanswered throughout the entire clip, thus left to your own interpretation. While it is somewhat melancholic that the two follow similar paths but never seem to meet, you could always seek consolation in the harmonious sounds and the yearning lyrics that bring this clip to life. -

"Statue Park Shackleton 7" Review"

Recently once thought dead, Statue Park have been resurrected by co-founders Toby Cayouette and Jon Hill – the former laying down his Chinatown torch that's been burning bright the last few years – and their Shackleton 7inch is the proof in the pudding. The two tracks here offer us a tasty taste of the band's debut record – is it really their first? The band's been scuttling these parts for near a decade – what's sure to be a brimming album full of big shiny tunes. Cayouette's mellow-tone croon is easy on the ears as he leads the four piece through gorgeous four-minute classic indie alternative pop tracks: concise, sparse, subtle and well constructed. The guitar pickings and rhythms intertwine with a bass and drums section that lays off the pedal, preferring the groove to the power while synths, keyboards and samples float hazily in the background. November 8th at Il Motore.
- Nightlife Magazine

"Statue Park's Broken-Hearted Pop Perfection"

“I just love vinyl,” says Toby Cayouette, frontman for Montreal’s Statue Park. The band’s new single, “Shackleton,” is coming out on seven-inch, and despite Cayouette’s fondness for wax, he’s less than enamoured with the Brooklyn pressing plant where his order has been held up. The records will most likely arrive in time for tomorrow night’s launch party, but it’ll be a squeaker.

lf you’re not familiar with Statue Park, it might be because lately, aside from the occasional show, they’ve been out of the public eye. The band formed in 2003 and was more active in the mid-aughts, before Cayouette joined local francophone band Chinatown. The rest of the current line-up (Jon Hill, Mathieu Dumontier and Michel Aubinais) are equally involved in other projects, but despite coming on board as Statue Park 2.0, they’re not hired hands, but equal contributors to the music and arrangements. Cayouette handles the words.

You may also know Cayouette as DJ Parklife, founder of Mod Club Saturdays at Blizzarts. If you caught the Britpop reference there, it’s one that’s relevant to Statue Park’s current sound — their aesthetic was more electro-pop in the beginning, but now, though you won’t detect any anglophilia or actual thievery from the big British bands of the ’90s, Cayouette’s vocal style and melodic tendencies will strike a familiar chord to fans of that U.K. sensibility.

The new songs (including the B-side “Letter Before Leaving”) are available digitally, and “Shackleton” is also viewable. The impressive music video, shot in several very recognizable locations around town, depicts a day in the life of a broken-up or otherwise disconnected couple, haunted by an alternate reality in which they’re together and happy. It was conceived and directed by Statue Park’s photographer Rodolfo Moraga. “We were both coming out of big, devastating, terrible breakups at the time, and the pathos behind [the concept] was matched perfectly,” Cayouette explains.

Although it doesn’t show, the video was a no-budget DIY affair, and given the complexity of its literal duality (the estranged couple with projections of their alternate life in the background), it took four days to shoot. Luckily, the team’s enthusiasm made up for the lack of resources and monetary reward.

“We had a good DOP who was pretty much a stunt guy. He did stuff that I found extremely dangerous, but he was up for it, like rollerblading backwards down the Jacques Cartier Bridge to shoot us on our bicycles. If you were to shoot a scene like that legally, you’d have to block the bridge and get cops and insurance and cranes — what a nightmare. But no, we had a dude on rollerblades going backwards down the bridge.”

The next time Statue Park makes a video and places an order for vinyl, it’ll be in conjunction with the long-awaited release of an LP.

“Right now, we’re still shopping around for a label for the record, which is mixed. It’s done; I love it. We don’t know who we’re going to put it out with, but I didn’t really wanna wait a year, sitting on this record, without releasing some of the music. I wanted Statue Park to become part of the music sphere again and have something out there that people are talking about and listening to, and it’s very hard to do without a record. But I didn’t wanna let the cat out of the bag too much; I didn’t wanna self-release the [LP], because I think it deserves a wider release.”

Until then, check out “Shackleton,” the video and the single.

With Montag at Il Motore on Thursday, Nov. 8, 9 p.m. A Cult MTL co-presentation. - CULT #MTL

"City Re-Planning: Montreal's Statue Park build their debut LP a decade after the foundations were laid"

"No one ever expects to take ten years to put out your first album," says Statue Park frontman Toby Cayouette. "No one."
Considering Statue Park started writing as Statue Park in 2002, the Chinatown bassist finds himself in that unenviable position, after resuscitating his dormant band last August following a monthlong introspective roadtrip in the American Southwest. "It's funny, I remember when Chinatown were playing their first shows, there were articles saying that 'the guy from Statue Park is in this new band'. Back then, people knew Statue Park more than Chinatown, although that's obviously not the case anymore."
But besides sharing Cayouette's time, the bubbly French pop of Chinatown and Statue Park's blend of complex guitar interplay (courtesy of Cayouette and longtime band member Jon Hill) with moody, murky samples share little in common. Statue Park have a pair of EPs, and even did cross-Canadian and American tours to support them during their 2004-2007 heyday, but upon joining Chinatown, Cayouette put Statue Park on the backburner.
"I kept working on my own music over the years, even when Chinatown was recording and touring," he says. "I'd be doing stuff at home, so a lot of programmed drum loops crept into the Statue Park sound. Before Chinatown, I used to be a harsher critic of the pop writing sensibility, but now I think it's okay to write something that's easy to listen to. I think it's important for the survival of Statue Park to strike the right balance, to have a lighter touch, but to create a universe you can seep into."
In keeping with the prevailing moods of passing time and mutating architecture, Cayouette already has a name for the upcoming album: The Cities We Planned, The Cities We Made. "Things never turn out as you planned. There's an opposition between the idealistic blueprint and how, thrgouh cost-cutting, changes in materials and the elements affecting them, you end up with something less perfect."
Not unlike Statue Park and their roundabout history? "It's turned out much better [laughs]. If every band took 10 years to write a record, maybe there would be better records out there." - Montreal Mirror


EP1 (2005)
EP2 (2006)
Shackleton EP (2012)



Statue Park is a Montreal-based band formed by road-worn musicians Toby Cayouette (Chinatown), Jon Hill (Bomb Camera, Stab Ability), Mathieu Dumontier (Kiss me Deadly, Or Condor, Le Husky), and Michel Aubinais (Hey Hey My My, Farewell, Poetry). For these boys, music isn’t a hobby, or even a choice, it’s an imperative, it’s their life. And even after years of struggling through dusty pan-american tours and sleeping in cobwebs, they’ve become older, more experienced, and have their share of DIY wrinkles, but are no less passionnate about their art than they were at 18.

The band was out of the gates back in 2003, when Toby Cayouette started writing under the name Statue Park. He cribbed that particular moniker from the surreal theme park that he visited on the outskirts of Budapest, a field of Stalinist monuments and scarlet fever.

Then they needed a studio, so they built one and crammed a house in the back. It was six months of sweating and swearing, hauling drywall up four flights of narrow Montreal stairs to our top-floor warehouse. And because of the construction in his blood, and his blood all over the construction, Cayouette wrote about buildings, and when he stumbled across a stack of old urban planning journals behind a dilapidated wall, he wrote about that too. And then they were forced out of the building, so he found another, and built another, hoping never to be found, and they were eventually forced out of that one too. And when, after a cross-canadian tour, the hard drive containing the demos for their entire album was stolen, it was time for a pause..

Cayouette went off to record 2 critically acclaimed albums and tour China, France, Switzerland, and Québec with Montreal French pop wunderkinds Chinatown. Cayouette spent the summer of 2011 driving through the American South, documenting loss through photographs and writing songs. Equipped with this material, Cayouette was going to need help to turn these blueprints into the aural cladding, buildings and structures that would populate the album he so urgently needed to make. So he re-assembled Statue Park with long-time contributor Jon Hill, old friend Mathieu Dumontier, and fresh-off-the-boat Parisian drummer Michel Aubinais.

Now, Statue Park makes music by introducing different sounds to each and letting them eat each other alive: drums, laptops, guitars, old synths and amps, tape machines, the odd wind instrument and voices too; anything that can make sound is worth using.

Behind soaring, breathy vocals, Statue Park is a blend of intricate guitar interplay, completed by moody, murky samples and bubbly analog synths, driven by a live pulsating, heartbeat of bass and drums. The Montreal quartet manage to carry their complex arrangements to the stage with verve and intensity, delivering a 90s inflected indie rock breathing through epicly layered electronics.

In keeping with the prevailing moods of passing time and mutating architecture, Statue Park’s upcoming album, The Cities We Planned, The Cities We Made is about things never quite working out the way we expect them to, whether it be heartbreak, failed urban planning experiments, or other manifestations of loss.