The Painted Birds
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The Painted Birds

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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



"Flying home"

Flying home
A debut recording under wing, The Painted Birds return home to Salmon Arm but first play Kamloops

WHO: The Painted Birds
WHEN and WHERE: The Leisure Loft, 203 — 255 Victoria St., Aug. 17, 8 p.m. Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, Aug. 17 (afternoon performance) and 18 (afternoon acoustic workshop).
LOCAL SHOW: $6 cover charge. Doors open at 8 p.m.


Daily News Staff Reporter

After flying south to Vancouver and hatching a new musical project, Dominique Fricot and Shawn Berke can rightly crow about So Much For The Rain, their debut release as The Painted Birds.

After two years of writing and recording, the rock band released their debut CD Tuesday, a week ahead of a performance Aug. 16 at the Leisure Loft in Kamloops.

Originally from Salmon Arm, the pair and bandmate Josh McNorton return to the Interior next week for two additional performances Aug. 17 and 18 at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

Call it a deliberate coincidence that their recording debut dovetails with their hometown performance before a crowd numbering in the thousands, including old friends.

"We had this driving passion and objective to get to the next level," Berke said of the coincidence. "It's the first time we've done such a high-profile gig together."

Considering the band has developed a reputation, playing countless Lower Mainland gigs, so it's a little ironic that their biggest show should be in the Interior. But the band's ultimate goal with this release is about the quality of the music and the pride of self-reliance that comes with every step in the indie band process.

"Of course, I do have dreams of playing in arenas and stadiums and selling millions of records. But if those things don't happen i won't feel as though I've failed in my goals."

Fricot, the band's lead singer, and Berke started songwriting together while in senior high school, when they formed their first band, That Much.

"Basically we spent the whole summer together," Berke, the bassist, recalled. "We had a goal to write as many songs in as many styles as possible. It was a very good beginning, great as an introduction to the recording process."

Fricot later moved to Vancouver to attend UBC, where he connected with McNorton, a guitarist from Windsor, Ont. McNorton wanted to develop an melodic but emotionally intense sound similar to that of Radiohead. Fricot was also a fan of the band. They formed a group called Spark That Screams, which morphed into The Painted Birds when Berke landed in Vancouver last year.

The name is lifted from the 1965 Jerzy Kosinski (Being There) novel of the same name. The book stirred controversy in its day for its dark depiction of humanity as inherently cruel. In the story, a professional bird catcher makes a practice, when he's bored or upset, of painting a bird. He watches as the birds return home to their flocks only to be rejected as an intruders and torn to pieces. Kosinski, a native Pole, was a Holocaust survivor.

In their songwriting, Fricot and Berke take on subjects that others tend to avoid — hatred, fear, perversion and death. But Berke said this is not a defining characteristic of The Painted Birds. They settled on the name only after mulling over a list of 120 possibilities.

"We're not making a conscious or collective effort to be socially aware.

"Really, what it's about now is we're kind of shifting gears," he said of a three-year creative cycle. "Going forward it's about finding every avenue possible to get out there. We've done all the hard work and now we've got something to run with." - Kamloops Daily News - Kamloops, BC - Daily - August 16 Issue - FEATURE

"Nerve Magazine album review"

The Painted Birds
So Much for the Rain

Shawn Berke and Dom Fricot are pretty much the Lennon/McCartney of the sensitive-lad indie genre. After a seven-year hiatus taking them to opposite sides of the country and through a number of vastly inferior bands, they've reunited once again, along with former Spark That Screams guitarist Josh McNorton and a rotation of various drummers. What does this mean for you, humble reader? A FUCKING KICKASS ALBUM, THAT'S WHAT. The McNorton/Berke/Fricot axis provide considerable musical chops to back up the stellar songwriting, running the gamut from jittery, angular rock numbers reminiscent of Radiohead ("Tease", "Lights Out", "Though Every Dog Bark") to gentle, Coldplay-esque piano ballads ("All I Can Do", "Sidewalk"), and even a haunting, string-drenched track that wouldn't seem out of place on an Arcade Fire album ("East of Eden"). In a perfect world, these local boys would be riding the express train to superstardom. Tragically, this is not a perfect world, and instead of reading my review of their sophomore effort a year from now, you'll probably be reading about some talentless dickhead Nickelback/Finger Eleven clone while actual musicians continue to bus tables and mop up peep-show leftovers as a reward for not compromising their integrity.

- Derek Bolen - Nerve Magazine, August 2007 issue

"This week's best music bets - July 26, 2007"

When Vancouver indie rockers the Painted Birds titled their debut release So Much for the Rain , they made it obvious they've never spent the summer in town. One more summer like this, and we'll be killing birds, bees, and every single barista who feels obligated to ask the question "Wet enough for you?" But back to more positive things. The Painted Birds hold their CD release party at the Plaza next Thursday (August 2), with Bend Sinister and Elias providing support. You like guitar-saturated pop that somehow fuses the best bits of Pearl Jam, Coldplay and Snow Patrol, but without the soul-sucking depression you get after reading the collected works of Jerzy Kosinski? If so, the weekend starts here. - The Georgia Straight

"Live review - April 13, 2007 @ The Media Club"

WHO : The Painted Birds
WITH: Ben Sigston, Parlour Steps, and Laura Harley
WHERE: The Media Club
WHEN :April 13th 2007

The Media Club was thick with girls in front of the stage, all of them shouting at lead singer, Dominique, telling him how cute he was. Some of them had face paint on. Others may have been prompted to wonder if these were The Painted Birds. Perhaps the band and women travel together over running clubs as a 'flock' convincing onlookers of the band's value through sheer force of group personality. After all, some dude was dolling up willing participants outside the washrooms at the back of the club. It took the three band members and stolen drummer, the onstage Painted Birds, to set things straight.

Citing Radiohead, Wintersleep, Mogawi, The Mars Volta, and The Beatles on their MySpace site as influences, The Painted Birds played an eight song set containing many of the tracks currently in the mix for their forthcoming album. The band wasted little time, launching into their set with no intro.

It's hard not to notice the tall singer centre stage. Dominique took on elements of Adam from the Counting Crows and had moments when he verged on Maynard from A Perfect Circle. Good amounts of midrange crooning went down in most of the songs. Lead guitarist Josh played enthusiastically, perhaps with a vision for more rocking out in the music than was actually being done. With the exception of the last song, things were kept decidedly mid-tempo. The other Dominique, the stolen Dominique, played drum beats that gave a steadiness to the wandering guitar work, at times feeling a little like Coldplay's percussion section. The standout element in this band's live show, however, was definitely the bass playing.

Shawn played bass on seven of the songs making use of a fretless electric four string the whole time. The presence of this instrument was front and centre and cut its own path consistently. Shawn's chord patterns and use of ALL FOUR STRINGS (make note rockers, not just E and A, but E, A, D, & G) filled out the instruments place in the overall sound to fantastic effect. The quick finger work was great to watch without it being an exercise in ego, or rather, without playing in excess of what the song demanded. It was Shawn's bass playing that provided the strong undertow for the pulling guitars, a combination that created a crashing storm-like sound. Quite intentionally, Dominique's singing was then the tranquil centre of it all holding the listeners attention in suspension between the vocals and music.

All this was highlighted with splashes of creativity: Dominique's guitar pedal effects during the fifth song; the introduction of an egg-sized shaker during the same number. The swath of girls ate it up with supportive cheering and dancing throughout, some of the front row singing along to a bunch of it. When the set ended, only questions about the role of the painted birds in The Painted Birds remained.

- Matt O. - KE Zine - Issue 21

"Vancouver’s experimental indie-rock band presents us with its best"

So Much For The Rain
by Joo Young Seo – Mountain, Langley

Contrary to the title, this moody debut is best for rainy days – perhaps for background music as you sit at the window and watch the puddles form, or as a gray morning wake up call when all you want to do is lie in bed. Dominique Fricot’s wistful voice and versatile instrumental accompaniments dominate this album. While this suits the style of some songs, it renders the intensity of the lyrics in others quite soft. Still, the nuisance of hitting the forward button to find the better songs is worth it for the melodious treasures hidden among the tracks.

Joo Young’s fave track: "Clouds" - YouThink Magazine

"The Painted Birds stretch their wings"

Midway through our interview in a sunny Gastown restaurant, my subject turns to me. He’s been talking about a possible release date for his band’s new album, but he’s suddenly stalled.

“It feels weird talking to you like this,” Dom Fricot confides.

It’s okay, I reassure him, I set it up this way. Fricot takes a minute. He nods, and continues. He talks about shopping a new album for The Painted Birds—a band he shares with Sean Berke and Josh McNorton—now that the mixing and finishing are completed. He talks about touring, how his band might (or might not) fit into the scene (or lack of a scene) here in Vancouver. We plow through the history of his band. Then, finished, we get to the good stuff—each other. I turn the tape recorder off.

In case it’s not clear: I know Dom Fricot. I’ve known him for more than four years, since we met as students at UBC. I followed him and his first Vancouver band spark that screams. I have been following his new band from afar. And I say this not to seem cool or connected; I say it to clear the air. I know Dom Fricot and I care what happens to him and his band. I am writing this as a writer but also as friend. Being uncomfortable with the blurriness of this is warranted, but just think: how many music writers have the opportunity to see first hand how a band came together? Not many. Here’s mine.

The Painted Birds is, for Fricot and Berke, just the latest incarnation of a set of circumstances that began when the two were teenagers in Salmon Arm. Fricot began in
piano, encouraged by his mother, but quickly switched to choir when he realized his natural voice talent meant he didn’t have to practice so much. Berke played in the school’s jazz band. When Fricot’s father died—Dom was just sixteen—he sat down and wrote a song about it. It was the first time, the singer/songwriter says, he really felt he knew what he was doing.

“Everything was contrived and meaningless,” he says of trying to craft songs before his father’s death. “Then all of a sudden, I sat down to write something and that was when I knew I could do it.” Fricot took his new work to Berke, and the two began working together. When Fricot moved to Vancouver to attend university, he started spending time with Josh McNorton, a guitarist from Windsor, Ontario who was eager to craft the kind of music he enjoyed listening to: moody indie rock along the lines of Mogwai or Radiohead. Dom, also a Radiohead fan, was on board quickly, and the two (along with cellist Christina Rzepa and drummer Gavin Dew) began making a name in Vancouver as spark that screams.

“The thing about spark that screams is,we were always trying to fit into a genre and trying to bring out that electronic rock feel,” Dom says. “[The Painted Birds] is a lot more organic and based on writing.” In other words: he and his band have grown up (Berke moved to Vancouver last year). This is further evident when Fricot talks about the recording process for TPB’s album. “Recording my first album was hell, everything showed our weaknesses, nothing sounded like I wanted it to,” he says. “This time, everything is much better.”

A lot of the enjoyment Fricot has found in recording this album comes from producer Dr. Boss (Shawn Cole), a Vancouver area vet who has worked with stellar acts like You Say Party, We Say Die! and Bend Sinister. It’s Boss’s willingness to push, Fricot says, that makes for great studio time. “He’s manipulative, in a totally great way. He knows how to push you to do better work.” An example of this?

Late one night in the studio, the band and Cole were enjoying some well-earned postwork beverages. After a few hours, Dom says, a song he’d been having trouble nailing the vocals on came into full focus. “It’s a song Sean [Berke] wrote about an alcoholic who commits suicide, and suddenly sitting there after a few hours of drinking, Shawn and I knew I was ready. I had a transcendental moment there, feeling I was in this person’s head.” I nod enthusiastically: the good stuff! Dom looks at me sideways again. “That’s a bit weird. Maybe don’t write that.” Oops, sorry buddy. The Painted Birds new album will be released this summer. Track their progress online at

This was taken from - Off-Centre Magazine, June 2007

"Live review - June 2008"

Vancouver’s the Painted Birds managed to sonically motivate the audience from note one. Although singer/guitarist Dominique Fricot’s sleek melodies proved to be unspoiled, his songwriting appears more eminent than emotional. The Painted Birds most distinctive characteristic was the juggernaut guitar playing of Josh McNorton. The Painted Birds lead guitarist, balanced the band’s prosaic songwriting with a wholly unbridled style, co-starring as Nels Cline or perhaps, Guy Picciotto alongside Fricot’s Adam Duritz.

Link: - Exclaim! Magazine

"Feature article - June 2008"

Link: - Vancouver Courier - June 27, 2008

""Local Motion" feature article - June 2008"

Link: - The Georgia Straight - June 26, 2008

"Feature interview - June 2008"

Link: - Windsor Star - June 6, 2008


"Wash Away"
- single released as a free download online on October 6, 2009

So Much For The Rain
- debut full-length album released in Canada on August 7, 2007



Since forming in the fall of 2005, Vancouver indie-rockers The Painted Birds have secured a loyal following throughout Canada. Their debut album, So Much For The Rain, was released independently in 2007 and the band has since performed over 100 shows, including two tours across Canada and five regional tours, all self-booked. They have been invited to such reputable festivals and conferences as Canadian Music Week, NXNE, Sled Island, Western Canadian Music Awards, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, and Vancouver Jazz Festival. Features on the band appeared in the National Post, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Edmonton Journal, Windsor Star, and Vancouver Courier.

The Painted Birds have a distinct sound that is rhythmically dynamic and melodically rich. The fusion of Dominique Fricot's powerful voice with Shawn Berke’s melody-driven bass lines and Josh McNorton's effects-laden guitar conjures up intense emotions for the listener. Fricot co-writes most of the songs with Berke and working with him feels like fate. “I've never been more confident in anything in my life until I started writing music with Shawn. It's not only regimented and professional, but it's also spontaneous and can happen at the drop of a hat without any instruments around.”

2009 has already been an incredibly busy year for the band. They have showcased at Canadian Music Week, performed at JUNO Fest, and made their debut south of the border at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Most recently, The Painted Birds were selected out of 450 artists to participate in the Peak Performance Project, a five million dollar initiative sponsored by Vancouver’s newest AAA station, 100.5 The Peak FM.

On October 6th, the band released a new single, “Wash Away” which was produced by Shawn Cole (You Say Party! We Say Die!, Bend Sinister), mixed by Warne Livesey (Matthew Good Band, 54-40) and mastered by Joao Carvalho (The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts). The new single is available for free download on the band’s website,