In The Know...The Art of Carrying On - Interview w/ Rod Slaughter

>> Sunday, 29 May 2011

Novillero (Slaughter second from left)
Photo: Jason Halstead

If you live in Winnipeg, the chances are you’ve seen indie-pop purveyors Novillero perform at least a few times.

Whether it was their opening set back in 2004 for Stars, a gig that earned the quintet lavish praise from Torquil Campbell, or their packed cd release show in 2008 at the Pyramid Cabaret, Novillero firmly established themselves over the years as one of the city’s most dynamic, memorable, and consistently entertaining live acts.

But since 2009, however, the pop-loving five-piece have faded from the local consciousness with Novillero opting for an extended hiatus.

Two years later, Novillero founder and frontman Rod Slaughter is back, having put together a nascent band with erstwhile bandmate, Dave Berthiaume, called The Shallow End. Fleshed out by the remaining ex-Novillero members, the new act will take part in the bands vs. filmmakers fundraising event for Cinematheque, going down at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, June 2nd.

I recently caught up with Slaughter and asked him about his new band, The Shallow End; his connection with Cinematheque and the event; and the current status of Novillero.

Painting over Silence: So the new band is The Shallow End. When did the band form and who plays in it?

Rod Slaughter: It’s kinda still in formation. Novillero stopped playing quite awhile ago, but we still did a couple shows for whatever reason. John Samson asked if we’d do this benefit and I said, “Well to be honest, I don’t want to do another Novillero show, at least for a little while.” But I had new songs, so I asked Dave (B) if we could flesh out the songs and see how it goes and we would agree to do the show. Then we made up the name. *laughs* Then we ended up asking the other guys in Novillero to help up out for the show anyway.

It kind of all formed just because of the show and if we end up being happy with it, we’ll continue.

PoS: How would you classify the new sound? 

RS: Anything we’re involved in seems to have the same sort of sound, so it sounds a lot like Novillero. But it’s also very minimal. I was in a band before called Duo-Tang that was just bass and drums, and it almost sounded more like a cross between the two but done with piano or guitar instead of bass. But as the guys from Novillero came in, it ended up sounded closer to Novillero.

PoS: Any plans for a Shallow End EP or an early sampler?

RS: Actually, we recorded three songs, just as a demo. It was very, very rough – just Dave and I did it. I don’t know if it’s able to be released or not, but we may consider building upon that and adding more songs and maybe releasing an EP. Everything’s kind of up in the air right now – we don’t even know what will happened after the show. I think Dave and I will continue in some form, but I don’t know who with.

PoS: Do you have a special connection with Cinematheque, perhaps you saw certain films there in the past?

RS: Oh, yeah. The whole time I’ve been in Winnipeg I’ve always loved Cinematheque. There are all sorts of films I’ve seen there. And when I found out they were have difficulties, I thought, “Wow this is definitely a cause I’d like to help out with.”

PoS: The event features a series of bands performing music while a local film or short plays behind you, in the background. Do you know which film you’ll be providing the soundtrack for?

RS: No, I know nothing at this point. *laughs* I was away for sometime, so I’m quite behind.

PoS: And finally, we sort of touched on this earlier, but what’s the current status of Novillero? 

RS: One of the guys, Grant, left back in the summer of 2008. When he left, it was right before we were putting out second album, so we made a commitment to Mint that we would still continue and our friend Reg joined in. Then we did a whole bunch of touring, we were over in Europe and did some show in the States and across Canada. It was great. That was through the fall of 2008 and in 2009 we knew we had to take a break since Shawn, the guitar player in the band, became a father. So he was the second guy in the band to become a dad and at this point we started thinking “wow, we keep taking breaks then just get going before taking another break.” We kind of figured let’s just put this aside for now, and it never really developed again.

Catch The Shallow End this Thursday at the West End Cutlural Centre for the Bands vs. Filmmakers Concert in Support of Cinematheque. Also on the bill is John K Samson, Nathan, The Jaxon 3 with visual by Mike Maryniuk, Heidi Phillips, Aaron Zegers, and Clint Enns. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. 


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