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The PepTides (photo by Terry Steeves)

Listen Local at Bluesfest: The PepTides

By Terry Steeves on July 5, 2016

Bluesfest, now in its 22nd year, is the city’s largest and fastest growing outdoor music festival. Although continuing to brim with big-named acts, the festival’s mandate also includes recognizing, nurturing, and providing a platform for local musicians ranging from budding talent to professional recording artists. This year roughly one-quarter of the acts at Bluesfest will be local. With an increasing number of music festivals and venues stepping up to showcase these bands, it’s no wonder that support for existing and new Ottawa talent is rising steadily. Whatever day(s) you choose to visit Bluesfest, make sure you take the time to soak in some of our amazing local talent. From Monday to Thursday this week Apt613 will be featuring a few of these homegrown must-sees. 

It started in the earlier part of the millennium by Claude Marquis as a one-man project of strong, colourful beats and electronic arrangements that reflected an energetic array of pop, funk, and disco sounds. The premise was “if you build it, they will come”, and come they did. By 2011, the solo project had morphed into a 9-piece larger-than-life band that we know as The PepTides.

Each of the band’s several albums have been put together as conceptual projects, with a multitude of tracks that flow seamlessly from one to the next. The fundamentals of love, hate, and other themes of human fellowship, frailty, and truth are brought forth in the unique flavours of their retro-meets-modern dance music and multiplied to the nth degree in their stage shows. This time, however, they plan to release an album where each song will be a piece of work unto itself. Singer Rebecca Noelle and keyboardist Scott Irving explain:

“We’re releasing an EP in September, and I know some might think it funny that we’re doing that when isn’t that what a band usually puts out first, when they’re just coming onto the scene? We thought this time it would a good idea for once just to curate and narrow it down a bit. Everything we’ve released so far has been massive, and so it would be really cool to just release this strong, small, cohesive, super-curated collection of our stuff. We took this exercise of making the most concise statement with the intention of every recording choice, arranging choice, and compositional choice, to make the listener feel that they’re at a PepTides show, which is an experience that’s unique. Our past albums never really delivered that live show experience…they were all very studio.”

Fronting the four instrumentalists – Alex Wickham (drums), Andrew Burns (bass), Scott Irving (keys), and Juan Miguel Gomez Montant (guitar) – are The PepTides’ five amazing vocalists: Claude Marquis, Olexandra Pruchnicky, DeeDee Butters, Rebecca Noelle, and Dale Waterman. Each take their turn to shine individually as well as collectively. With professional backgrounds ranging from acting to various side musical projects, they bring that extra zing of theatrical and animated zest to their performance. Add to that the colourful, almost comic book-styled costumes, an assorted blend of incredible vocal timbres, and well-choreographed routines, and you have a show that both audibly and visually pops with electricity.

Be sure to catch The PepTides on Bluesfest’s, City Stage, Sun. Jul 17th from 3:00-4:00pm. Tune into Apt613Live on CHUO FM 89.1 this Tues., Jul. 5th from 6:00-6:30pm to hear more on The PepTides.