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Blogging Bluesfest 2013: Roberta Bondar

By François Levesque on July 10, 2013

We’ve featured Roberta Bondar a few times on Apt613. Last March, contributor Lily Peper wrote: “The group shows that you can play weird, noisy music without being dour or self-important. Their shows are energetic and fun, and show an appreciation for theatricality.” The band has been touring more and more – played last year’s Arboretum Fest (and are back this year). This is their first Bluesfest appearance…and their playing the biggest stage there is!

How would you describe your sound?

We aim to maneuver whoever is listening into a trance, but still maintain a sense of physicality. We want to get physical with the listener. We don’t want people just standing around, we want them to move. Most often while writing and preparing for a performance, we’ll talk to each other in terms of ‘hypnotic’ and ‘groove’ (not to be confused with ‘groovy’). The only other descriptor I could throw out there would be “doomy”, but not in an angsty way. Our hope is that it comes off more sensual than angsty. As sensual as doom can be.

How long have you been playing music together, and how has your sound evolved over that time?

The band has been together for a little more than two years now. Sound-wise, I think the initial idea is still very present, but we’ve put a continued effort into playing with more and more energy. And not just in a “be more active on stage” way, but also in figuring out how to present a music that seems to have a high charge or electricity to it. Perhaps we’ve gone from writing songs and then simply presenting them, to wanting to actively engage the listener/audience. I suppose that would be the evolution I’ve seen in us myself, and this goes for both recording and in a live setting.

What are you hoping to get out of your Bluesfest performance?

We’re looking forward to gaining the experience of performing on such a large stage and seeing what we can do with it. For instance, we’ll be joined by Arturo Brisindi (aka. Hard Science) who will be taking the live video feed of the camera operators on stage, manipulating it through his machines, and projecting them real-time on the big monitors that flank the stage. All this said, having a team of camera operators and jumbotron screens isn’t an every day occurrence for us, so we’re looking to make use of them and impress whoever comes out to watch us.

Are there any other bands on the bill you’re excited to see?

Wu-Tang was incredible. I can only speak for myself, but Wu-Tang was incredible.

If you could develop a Suzy-Q donut flavour, what would it be?

Has anyone fused cinnamon and ginger together in a donut yet? With thinly shaved walnuts on top? Or maybe not shaved, but crushed finely. I know that cinnamon walnuts are dynamite… and who doesn’t need/want more ginger in their life?? They could call it “The Pleather Bed” and I would be happy.

Check out Roberta Bondar’s Night Danger.

Roberta Bondar play the Bell Stage Saturday July 13 at 1pm.