Chanting, tribal cries and rough vocals only describe half of the sounds Bruce Peninsula exploit with every note.
Using a choir along with a lead vocalist and instrumental accompaniment, the group – at times comprising 11 or more members – takes folk to new boundaries.
“For us it’s about unique, original sounds,” band member Neil Haverty told The Cord in a phone interview.
“It’s not really in our interests to play a song we’ve heard before in the exact way it’s been done before. For us it’s the constant pursuit for something new.”
Haverty thinks that the bulk of music has already been explored, but he believes there are still avenues through which one can create something new.
“I do honestly believe that most music has been created already, so it’s sort of a matter of mixing it up and cross-breeding,” said Haverty.
And that’s just what Bruce Peninsula strives to do with their full-length album A Mountain is a Mouth, which took almost two years to record. Using gospel music as an inspiration, Bruce Peninsula relies heavily on the eclectic mixture of bandmates to help create its diverse sound.
“Music is just such a wild net,” explained Haverty.
“If you take the net even further and talk about your experiences, that’s 11 different lives to distill down into an art form.”
But that 11-voice unit has not always been so large. Haverty explained that the group formed in Toronto years ago when he met Mischa Bower and Matt Cully.
After meeting Bower at a record store and living with Cully, the group began to play at a friend’s variety show.
“As the shows went on we decided we really wanted to develop into this different thing. So gradually we recruited more people,” he explained.
Ever since, Bruce Peninsula has been on an incredible journey, releasing their seven-inch vinyl at a church on Toronto Island and recording in places ranging from serene to decrepit.
“Recording has gone from being in really sketchy studios in Scarbourough to drinking too much and having to get up the next morning for recording time. We run the gambit of things,” laughed Haverty.
Just ending a three-week tour out West, Bruce Peninsula will be performing at Hillside Festival – an experience they’ve been looking forward to for years.
“Ever since we started a band people have been saying ‘You guys should play Hillside.’ Everybody’s been telling us that so we’ve been trying to get on it,” explained Haverty. “So it’s a pretty big deal.”