a, Arts & Entertainment, Music

Back to basics: Intimacies of the MontréaLive approach

When watching the perfectly engineered music videos of our generation, I can’t help but feel a sense of detachment from the actual music. To me, music represents an inherent connection to the raw emotion of the musician(s) who create it. MontréaLive serves to bridge the gap that plagues viewers like myself. A collaboration between TVM and CKUT, MontréaLive is an enriching web series of live music sessions that showcases the plethora of talented bands and musicians in the aesthetic city of Montreal.

“MontréaLive grew out of McGill Music, a similar project that I worked on last year with Sarah Leitner,” says Sasha Crawford-Holland, co-founder of MontréaLive. “In launching MontréaLive, we [TVM and CKUT] wanted to create a series that was a little more curated and less McGill-centric.”

For many people, there is nothing more fulfilling then getting centre seats to a live concert and basking in the adrenaline and passion of the musicians on stage.

“MontréaLive is all about celebrating the power of live performances,” Crawford-Holland says. “We love to showcase bands in arrangements or contexts in which people may never have seen or heard of before, while also exposing Montreal’s diverse music scene to people who may not be as familiar with it.”

“Excellent music from your local scene, delivered right to your screen,” Dorian Scheidt, sound engineer of MontréaLive, explains. “[It gives you] strange new sounds in strange new places.”

The settings where the live sessions are filmed reflects the band’s music as well as the vibrant artistry of Montreal.

“[The] spaces are always different,” says Schedit. “We often shoot in musician’s rehearsal spaces, which I think gives an added level of intimacy to the performances. Seeing music performed in the place that it was written can be extra exciting.”

Past acts have included the Loose Strife, Archery Guild, Femmaggots, She Divides, and participants in POP Montreal’s Fall festival, Look Vibrant. The live sessions that feature these artists cater to the band’s distinctive musical style. From Look Vibrant’s live session in Citizen Vintage, a bright and colourful vintage clothing store; to Loose Strife’s live session in a dark and enigmatic room; each video is different in its sound and aesthetics, capturing the essence of the band’s music.

Other locations where these live sessions have been shot include Midnight Kitchen, RVC’s cafeteria, Solin Hall, and a McGill physics lab.

“Generally, we think of what are really cool spaces that look vibrant,” Tatyana Olal, managing editor of MontréaLive, says. “We’re looking into doing an upcoming shoot in a hair salon, Salon Metropolar, which has a really cool aesthetic to it.”

Analogous to the artistic and down-to-earth attitudes of MontréaLive’s crew, the filming process reflects a unique collaboration between the local musicians and MontréaLive.

“We’ll go through a number of takes,” Olal explains. “The band will usually have a vibe for which take they felt was the tightest and we’ll all put in our input [….] the take which we’ve all decided on will be the master take that I’ll edit.”

As the sound-mixing guru, Scheidt describes himself as “the resident audio nerd” of MontréaLive.

“Since January 2013, I’ve been recording and mixing all of the live performance videos released under the ‘McGill Music’ and now ‘MontreaLive’ labels,” Scheidt explains. “Going forward, I’ll be training new volunteers in the art and magic of sound recording in uncommon spaces.”

That prompted Scheidt to discuss the future prospects for MontréaLive.

“The project will continue, bringing in more volunteers and working with more excellent artists. We hope to make it an institution that allows for music discovery, as well as training and collaboration between volunteers, students and community members,” Scheidt says.

Given the zeal and artistry delineated in these live sessions, it’s not hard to understand the desire to showcase the intimacy of live performances.

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  1. what a cool video series!

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