Think About Life has a lot to ponder over the next few months as the band approaches the release of its as-yet untitled third album.
Forming in Montreal in 2005 as a side project for Miracle Fortress' Graham Van Pelt and his friend Matt Shane, the band became a three-piece soon after with the acquisition of vocalist Martin Cesar. Releasing a self-titled debut in 2006, the band went from a small experimental project to being thrust into the outskirts of the exploding Montreal music scene, perhaps a tad too early.
"The first album was more a sort of demo that we created. We just had the lucky ability of releasing it with a local label," says Cesar. Although the band's energetic and raw dance music gained fans, these same sounds on the lo-fi debut left some critics wanting more.
With 2009's underground hit Family, the band flushed out its sound and a few hits, including the minimalist "Sweet Sixteen," which sounds like what happens when your Casio Tone Bank and copy of Super Mario RPG have a baby. But following the release of its sophomore release and a lineup change, Think About Life finds itself back in the recording process with some decisions to make about the future of the band.
"The last two albums have been very experimental-minded and now we want to get into more of a melody oriented approach to the sound," says Cesar.
Although some critics faulted the recording process of the previous records for its brash sound, these factors added to the charm of the group on the live circuit. Using DJ techniques on Family, like the sounds of a turntable slowing down on "Johanna" and pitch-shifting on "Havin' My Baby," the band creates club beats that recall hits of the '80s.
"It definitely just comes from being a fan of underground hip-hop music as well as dance music, such as really early house music," says Cesar. "I'm a big fan of pitch- shifting. I find it a very amazing accent of contemporary music."
While the band will continue to create the energetic dance music it's become known for, it also plans to make the album a bit more professionally this time around. Where previous efforts were recorded in a more DIY way, Cesar says its jam space is set up so band members can record the majority of the sounds they come up with pretty easily, while relying on a more professional studio to create clean drum sounds and certain tones they can't quite recreate at home. Even still, studio precision and songwriting mastery aren't the main goal for Think About Life: "We're not into a specific sound, we're more about approach. That's always been the fun aspect: trying different things and not pigeonholing ourselves."
And as the band comes to Halifax to play two shows, at King's on March 11, and the Paragon the following night, those in attendance may be the final piece of the puzzle to the recording of its new album.
"We're excited to play the songs and see what the reaction is," says Cesar. "That's the exciting thing about live music especially. We always take the reaction of the crowd to rework a song. The crowd is very much part of the band."
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