Villages’ trad pride

After laying an indie-rock base in Mardeen, the folk quartet Villages goes back to its Cape Breton roots with its debut LP.

Travis Ellis, Matt Ellis, Archie Rankin and Jon Pearo explore “the merit of tradition” as Villages. - DYLAN CHEW
Travis Ellis, Matt Ellis, Archie Rankin and Jon Pearo explore “the merit of tradition” as Villages.

Villages w/Thomas Stajcer
Friday, March 22, 7pm & 10pm
Good Robot Brewing Company, 2736 Robie Street

W hen the members of Mardeen left Cape Breton after high school and formed an indie-rock band, the music associated with their island home was the opposite of what they wanted to play.

"We totally rebelled against traditional music for sure," says vocalist Matt Ellis of Mardeen and the traditional-leaning Villages, which share the same lineup of Ellises Matt and Travis, Jon Pearo and Archie Rankin. "When we were hanging out and listening to music that we grew up with, it was something that was really satisfying, that nostalgia. At some point you realize the merit of tradition, the stuff is important."

On March 22, Villages releases its self-titled debut full-length album, comprised of eight original songs that dig into the roots of the Celtic and British folk music the members used to run away from.

"It's something that's really exciting, to delve into a new genre that we weren't used to writing in," says Ellis of tapping into their influences."It was like a rebirth, that excitement. I remembered what it was like to start a band and you're like 'This is really exciting.' Even though it's with the same crew, you're doing it."

When approaching the writing for these new songs, the band wanted it to be genuine and not seem like a schtick. They also wanted the originals to sound like their own—not just a re-hash of existing songs. "You feel some responsibility to do it correctly," says Ellis. "There's something about that, we want to treat it right."

The songs of both bands may be distinctly different, with the only common thread being the music makers and the work ethic behind the songs, but one doesn't replace the other. "They both co-exist," says Ellis. "As far as us writing, we're still writing Villages and we're still writing Mardeen. We hope to record future albums with both bands for sure."

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