Sunday, September 5, 2010

2010-05-23 - Tulsa World

original article.

Of Montreal still fresh after 15 years

Published: 5/23/2010 2:20 AM
Last Modified: 5/23/2010 9:21 AM

Of Montreal formed in Athens, Ga., in the mid-1990s from a loose collective of musicians at Elephant Six Recording Co. The quirky, funky, indie-pop act returns to the Sooner state for one show.

Here are five (or so) questions with the band's founder, Kevin Barnes, on its live shows, fans, makeup, music and upcoming album release, among other things.

What's the biggest difference in your sound compared with when you formed nearly 15 years ago?
When we first started, we were 1960s analog purists, and the thought of using programmed drums or backing tracks of any kind would have been unthinkable. I was very militant in my thinking about what was "real" or "authentic" art. I've since mellowed on that and have become more open-minded regarding different compositional and performance techniques.

Of Montreal is pretty well-known for its live shows. What drives you to keep concerts fresh and unique?
Just the desire to create something exceptional and multidimensional. What reason is there to go see a band perform multiple times in a year, if they don't really do anything differently from one tour to the next? We always try to add some new element to the performance and try to avoid repetition as much as possible — not only for the audience's sakes but for ours, as well. It gets boring doing the same thing again and again.

When is your next album, "False Priest," due? What does the title mean? Will it be another concept album?
It's gonna come out this fall. The title is open to interpretation. I can't really say exactly if there is a concept floating around in there somewhere. There always seems to be, at least upon later reflection.

Why the funky dress and offbeat makeup when performing live?
It's just a part of making something exceptional out of the live presentation of the songs. We could just go on stage in our street clothes, but that's too mundane for us. I don't really see the point of going on stage in front of people and not doing something out of the ordinary, I mean, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the whole world is a stage, so when one is on the stage at a venue, one is really on two stages, like a double stage. So man, you'd better do something spectacular if you're gonna be that high up! Ha ha, of course I'm just joking — but not really.

Of Montreal's been around for close to 15 years now and seems to be building momentum like never before. Why do you think that is?
I'd like to say it's because of all of the hard work we've put into it, but I know that's only half of the reason. The real reason probably has something to do with Bryan's wild guitar playing or Davey's boyish good looks.

What's your typical set (if there is such a thing) like? Lots of new music, a combination of new and old or primarily previously released material? Are no two sets the same?
We're gonna be playing mostly songs from the past four albums, as well as some "False Priest" songs and maybe a few covers, as well. We're going to be trying out some new theatrical and visual ideas. I'm looking forward to getting out of the studio for a few weeks and performing again.

with Noot D’Noot and James Husband
8 p.m. Tuesday
Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N. Main St.
$20, plus fees, Cain’s box office, reasor’s grocery stores, Ida red, Starship records & Tapes, by phone at (866) 977- 6849,

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