a, Arts & Entertainment

Reaching a fever pitch

Colin MacDougall, guitarist and co-founder of Ottawa-based indie-electro outfit Fevers, has loved music ever since he developed fine motor skills.

“I’ve been playing music since I could bang notes out onto a piano,” he says. “My faith in wanting to be a musician has never died, and being in FEVERS has given it a boost.”

MacDougall and fellow band members Sarah Bradley (vocals, keys), Martin Charbonneau (keys, guitars), Jim Hopkins (bass), and Mike Stauffer (drums, sampling) all brought this devoted attitude to their debut album released last month, No Room for Light,  as well as their own refreshing brand of the ubiquitous electro-rock sound.

FEVERS will unleash their musical stylings at POP Montreal this week, with a show at Club Lambi on Friday. For MacDougall, a McGill Management graduate, this is a chance to return to Montreal—the city that he playfully says casts a “shadow of cool” on Ottawa—and the place he originally relocated to because his songwriting collaborator moved there.

While living in Montreal—a time that coincided with the meteoric rise of the city’s indie darlings Arcade Fire—MacDougall explored the its music scene, played gigs at Barfly, and admired the cultural variety of McGill’s student body.

“You kind of go in with a conception of what type of person is going to be studying business […] I went in thinking I would be the token liberal lefty, […but] I was really impressed with the diversity of the students studying there.”

These days, MacDougall and the rest of FEVERS are dedicated musicians who support themselves by working outside the band. According to MacDougall, this is mostly due to Canada having a somewhat less than hospitable environment for musicians who wish to earn a living playing their songs.

“[Canada is] a small market,” he says. “[It’s] really far apart, and you have to spend a lot of money to get from city to city.”

Despite these difficulties, MacDougall remains enthusiastic about making music, and is unafraid to admit that the band sounds exactly how it is often classified: indie-electro. Similarly, he humbly welcomes the frequent comparisons to fellow Canuck band Stars.

“I’ll take that any day of the week,” claims MacDougall. “They’re a very inspirational band […and] they’ve put the Canadian music scene on the map internationally.”

Although he admits that touring is integral to a fledgling band’s success, MacDougall’s heart currently lies in in-studio production, rather than live performance.

“My favourite part used to be getting up in front of the crowd, rocking the house,” he says with a laugh, “But right now, album writing and recording is what excites me the most.”

Thankfully, he’s good at it too. When “No Room for Light” was released this summer, it was met with positive critical attention. FEVERS released a music video for the main single “Pray for Sound,” which chronicles the relationship between a young woman in an unhappy straight relationship, and her much happier lesbian lover.

For the time being, “proud Ottawa boy” MacDougall will remain based in the nation’s capital, which he says enables the band to delve into Franco-Canadian realms more frequently (a couple members of FEVERS are bilingual), and maintain a strong connection between both of Canada’s current music centres—Toronto and Montreal.

As for FEVERS’ future? “We’re taking it in three month chunks at a time,” explains MacDougall [.…] As long as I can keep writing records and putting them out there, and playing shows whenever we can, I’ll be a pretty happy dude.”

FEVERS performs at Club Lambi (4465 St Laurent) at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door.

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