Humble Ottawa-based electro-pop band Fevers took Kristen Cochrane backstage to talk about the quintet’s genesis and their apparent inability to describe their music. For the record, Jim does know how to play bass, and he is in fact from England, and not from Arnprior, Ontario.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
The Charlatan (TC): Where are you all from?
Sarah: I’m from Sudbury, Ontario.
Mike Stauffer: Cambridge, Ontario.
Jim: I’m from England, just outside of London in a town called Woking.
Martin Charbonneau: I’m from Alfred, a small town east of Ottawa.
Colin: I’m from Ottawa.
[Booing, followed by laughter]
I grew up in Westboro, I live in Chinatown now. Carleton alum.
TC: How did you all get together?
Martin: Initially, Colin knew Mike, the drummer, from previous projects, but then Colin met Jim playing soccer, and then through a mutual friend of mine, Jim, and Colin’s, I was introduced [to them]. Then I knew Sarah from a show we did in Sudbury.
Sarah: Yeah from a music festival called Ontario-Pop. I was working on my solo Franco stuff, and [Martin] was with another band.
Martin: When me, Jim, and Colin wanted to put a band together, I had the equipment and the know-how to do it live.
Jim: He had a practice space in his basement, so that’s very helpful.
Colin: We don’t like Mart—
Colin: We had all these songs that were recorded, like written and recorded on a computer, and Marc was the person who [said], ‘oh, here’s how we can do this live.’
Jim: —‘find a drummer, find a singer.’
Martin: Yeah I guess that’s how I introduced Sarah to everybody else, but Colin knew Mike before, so that was easy.
Mike: Got the call!
Jim: We auditioned him, you know, we had like 500 applicants or something like that?
TC: When people ask you to describe your music, what do you say?
Jim: We throw up.
Martin: It’s because we’re nervous about the whole thing.
Martin: That’s it.
Sarah: We should also include pop in there.
Jim: Pop, yeah.
Colin: I like keeping it simple. We are like an indie-rock, backside, and electro rock side.
[The band begins to muse on what they consider silly, hypothetical labels like “post-fairtrade, post-organic, and space jam-y].
Jim: I think you can tell that we can’t describe ourselves very well.
TC: Do you have any musical training or did you just start jamming?
Martin: We have ambitions.
Martin: We have training. I have training wheels.
Martin: Musical training wheels.
Colin: I did piano and guitar lessons.
Sarah: I took classical piano as a kid, and I never made it past grade one. And then in high school, I took music classes as my electives. I took basic theory, and picked up piano then.
Martin: I went to the school . . . of love.
Colin: That does sound douchey, doesn’t it. ‘I went to the school . . . of douche.’
Colin: How long have you been playing bass, Jim?
Jim: I just learned it, actually. I’m not good, I just picked it up.
Colin: The accent is not his. He’s from Arnprior. He self-taught himself the British accent.
Jim: [In a terrible American accent] Pass me that water.
TC: When did you move here?
Jim: Hmm, probably about 10 years ago. Actually I went to Carleton and it was like the third year of my degree. I went to Swansea University and the third year was like ‘go abroad somewhere, spread your wings.’ And I would say I picked Carleton, but it was more of a lottery. It was kind of like ‘you’re gonna go . . . ’, they spin a wheel, wheel of fortune, and I ended up here. And I met a girl, and yeah I came back to see her and I never left. And now I’m a citizen.
TC: What are your favourite venues to play in Ottawa?
Martin: I like Ritual.
Colin: I like Bluesfest.
Colin: Lebreton Flats is my favourite venue.
Mike: Ritual is good to us, [the Blacksheep Inn] is always fun [although] it’s not technically Ottawa.
Jim: There are different elements of venues that we like, like Blacksheep is picturesque, you know, Wakefield, beautiful venue. And then there’s the sound as well, like Babylon and Ritual have great sound and great sound guys. So it depends on what you’re feeling like.
Colin: Do I want to jump in a lake or—
Jim: —do I want to be inspired by jumping in a lake. Yeah. I don’t think we’ve played a bad venue. Ottawa has just great, great venues. We’re very lucky in that respect.
Jim: So cheesy, so cheesy.
TC: Any last words for the Charlatan?
Jim: It’s been an honour.
Colin: It’s been an honour. [laughing]
Sarah: He’s British.
Colin: Say ‘kind regards, warm wishes, sincerely, FEVERS.’