The Cord speaks with Polaris-nominated group Karkwa

Karkwa, an “atmospheric rock” band comprised of five proud fathers, was recently selected as one of ten bands to the Polaris Music Prize shortlist.

They are the only fully French band to make the list and their most recent album, Les Chemins De Verre, is only the third French album to be selected to the Polaris shortlist since 2006.

Though none of the band members consider themselves bilingual, drummer Stéphane Bergeron, managed to struggle through a mostly comprehensible English phone interview with The Cord with an enthusiastic attitude.

“We don’t speak English very often,” he said through a thick accent. Later he added, “though if we sang in English we’d have a larger public.”

During the interview Bergeron mentioned that the members of Karkwa like traveling and hope to perform in cities around the world.

“Our goal is to get more fans in Europe,” he said. “I’d like to go there. We’ve played in Quebec many times but we’ve been to places like Vancouver. We’d also like to tour the rest of Canada.”

In regards to Les Chemins De Verre, Bergeron said, “we prefer to have an album, you know, not just 12 songs thrown together on a CD. On our albums the songs all have something to do with each other.”

Last Wednesday Karkwa recorded with iTunes. Bergeron considered this “an honour [because] a lot of bands and artists ask iTunes to record their songs, but iTunes asked Karkwa to do it, which was really cool.”

Bergeron is excited to have been selected for the Polaris shortlist, though he isn’t concerned about winning.

“It is an honour to have made the list at all and be competing with the other bands, who are all very good,” he said on the matter.

Bergeron likes the Polaris awards because of the judicial selection process. “The way they choose the winners isn’t the industry vote and it isn’t the public vote – it’s a committee of judges.” He likes this because he considers this method “less political.”

Bergeron also noted that he doesn’t want to win just because Karkwa is the only French band, which is where the music “politics” come into play.

“We’d like Owen Pallett or Caribou to win,” Bergeron said. “Broken Social Scene is really cool too.”

Other bands that have made the Polaris Music Prize shortlist include Radio Radio, The Sadies, and Shad.