Eating & Drinking

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Holobodys bring musical fugues and chaos to the Black Sheep

By Chrissy Shannon

Holobodys is a mélange of musical chaos. The self-taught sextet consists of Nathan Curry (octave mandolin), Jan Lis (viola), Jessie Pratt (violin), Linda Miller (accordion), Paul Stevens (bass), and Geoffry Pye (percussion). Hailing from Wakefield, the group represents a musical presence outside of the Ottawa norm.

And outside of the studio, the band members represent the eclectic demographics of Wakefield: Lis is an organic vegetable farmer; Curry is a professional luthier (specializing in mandolins and violins); Pratt is a public servant; Stevens dabbles in contracting; Miller manages produce; Pye is a full-time musician.

On a typical Saturday they’re busy invoking the spirit of jazz musician and philosopher Sun Ra, but this weekend one can actually witness the band’s eccentric sound in person.

How did you first come together as a group?
A few years back, we [Curry, Miller, and Lis] sat down to experiment with some William Blake lyrics, mashing together several generic styles including traditional Canadian fiddle music, Celtic folk, and traditional Eastern European influences. Each member that joined the group brought their own distinctive flavour depending on the instrument and their musical background

How do you describe the musical genre?
We’ve been called lost of things (especially because we amplify typically acoustic instruments): Gypsy punk, post rock, acid folk. But we think “elusive” best fits the bill.  We are working up to Sex Pistol covers but we agree that the traditional music we grew up on will always pervade the sound.

What was the first instrument you learned? Were you forced to play?
Most of us first played piano and, yes, we were forced (or else encouraged) by our parents. As a youth, Curry went out with $100 one day and picked up a whimsical variety of instruments including a lap steel guitar, a viola, and a mandolin; he’s been playing any instrument since. Lis picked up a banjo and learned bluegrass as a rebellious effort against his traditional musical upbringing.

Where was the 2010 self-titled album Holobodys recorded?
We recorded the album right here in Nathan Curry’s home to get an authentic feel.  We plan on recording the second album in a studio that Pye manages in Venosta, Quebec.

What are your future plans?
We would like to record a live album, set up some touring through Quebec and especially Rouyn-Noranda. With Lis’ help, maybe set up a tour through the Czech Republic. And get some high-class gigs to make some good money and take off to Florida.

With Danielle Duval. Saturday, Oct. 29, 8:30  p.m.  $10  The Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, 753 Riverside Drive.