Q&A With Repartee & Music Video Premiere!

We catch up with the rising Newfoundland band’s lead singer Meg Warren to get the deets on what it’s like to sign to a label and film her first music video—and why she hearts her hometown crowd

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Describe your sound in 5 words.

Indie band with pop hooks.

Where did the band name come from?

There’s not really much of a story behind it [laughs]. It was something that was picked a long time ago and basically was chosen because it looked cool visually.

What has been the biggest milestone in your journey as a band so far?

Signing to Sleepless Records and getting our team. Basically, in one move, we [guitarist Robbie Brett, drummer Nick Coultas-Clarke and keyboardist Josh Banfield] went from being a completely indie band to getting signed to Sleepless Records and getting management and getting a booking agent. So that was a huge, huge change for us.

Is your process different now that you’re signed to a major label?

It is. We’re technically signed to an indie label; Sleepless is independent, but we have distribution through Universal, so that’s the major label connection there. But it definitely is [different], because we have a lot of people coming in now and critiquing our music, and we have outside opinions and stuff. We’ve learned that that is an incredibly valuable thing to have. It’s nice to have people that we love and trust come in and give us their valuable insight into our art.

In an article on Do416.to, Indie88’s Raina Douris described Repartee as “challeng[ing the] idea of “east coast music.” What’s your take?

That’s interesting! I mean, to us, we don’t really feel like we’re doing anything different. In Newfoundland now, there’s a lot of different styles and different types of music happening there. There’s a vibrant DJ scene, and hip-hop scene, and all kinds of music that you’d find anywhere else. I guess, unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of those acts exporting right now? So maybe, to the rest of Canada, it’s kinda hard to tell that that’s what’s happening. But I mean, we definitely feel like an east coast band, we feel like a Newfoundland band. You know, our music, and the band, started there. It doesn’t feel like we’re challenging anything. But I can see why, to people not on the east coast, it can seem like we’re doing something a little bit different.

What drew you to pop/dance music?

We’ve always had, or at least we’ve always tried, to have a really electric, energetic live show. And I think that the kind of music that we make compliments that really well. We’re all drawn to synth-pop and electro-pop and pop music in general—everybody in the band—so when it comes to writing and performing, I think a lot of our personal influences come out.

Who are your top music influences and inspirations?

We really like The Killers. Recently, we’ve been drawn to a lot of Canadian pop music, like Dragonette and Lights—we’ve been fortunate enough to open up for both of those incredible acts! And of course there’s The Arkells, and acts like Robyn, that kind of indie-pop, electro-pop deal.

Is there a lyric that you’ve written that is especially meaningful?

I think the song “All Lit Up” kind of captures where we are right now, and that’s the reason why we chose that song title as the album name as well. It captures us musically and visually: like I said, we try to keep everything energetic and electric, and I think that that particular title and that particular lyric represents us really well. The song is about staying bright and positive and light for somebody else who’s going through something dark. It’s a neat association for us, to be associated with light and energy and electricity.

How did the song “Dukes” come together?

It sounds clichéd, but it was the very last song written for the album. This album has songs that came from like, five years ago, and two and three years ago, and stuff like that; “Dukes” was written in January [2016]. We had the album release date set, and we were like, “Let’s just do one last push and see if we can get something else to go on it.” So we had eight or nine demos, or at least sections of songs done up, and we showed our management, and “Dukes” really stuck out to them. We put the gears in motion and finished the song really quickly and we’re super excited about it.

How did you decide on the look for the “Dukes” video?

That was a concept that was presented to us by Josh [Warburton] and Peter [Dreimanis], the directors, who are also in the band July Talk. And they’re incredible, they’re our label-mates, and they’re buddies of ours as well. We just wanted to do something really simple, but also exciting and interesting visually, and I think they captured that really well. Those guys are brilliant. They do all their own videos for July Talk as well, so we knew that we were in good hands.

It almost feels as if it were a live show, but up close. It’s very cool.

Thank you! I think that was the intention, to capture some of that, the aspect of the live show.

This is the band’s first official music video. What was your favourite part of filming?

Walking onto the set, and seeing all of the really cool lighting that they had set up there. It was a beautiful space, a bright studio with these crazy LED lights all around it. It felt super cool.

You’ve toured across the country. Do you have a favourite city to play in?

I think that, always, playing in St. John’s is going to be our favourite. I mean, that’s our hometown, and, I don’t know, maybe I’m a little bit biased, but the crowds in Newfoundland are so wonderfully warm and receptive and enthusiastic. And they always have been. I always tell the story about how, when we first started touring, we were a little bit spoiled, because the crowds in Newfoundland are so wonderful. And then we left [Newfoundland] and were like, “Nobody cares about us.” [Laughs]

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