Want to be the guitarist for one of Canada’s most promising bands, one earning a reputation as the next Arcade Fire?
Take guitar lessons from Halifax’s Daniel Heikalo.
“He was this super open-minded cool guy and just let me go,” Plants and Animals’ Warren Spicer says about his old teacher at the Halifax Folklore Centre.
“I was pretty motivated, and we ended up playing music more than learning a typical lesson. He guided me.”
Spicer, along with bandmates Nic Basque and Matthew “Woody” Woodley — a fellow Haligonian — are bringing Plants and Animals to The Marquee Club this weekend.
The Montreal-based band has burst onto the Canada-wide music radar in the last few months thanks to its critically-acclaimed release on Secret City, called Parc Avenue, and its extolled EP, With Avec.
“We had no idea, but it isn’t a hard thing to get prepared for,” Spicer says about the band’s success. “If someone said ‘Get ready, people are really going to like your record,’ there’s not much to do to get ready for that.”
The band has received some attention-grabbing musical comparisons, from Radiohead to Queen, and labels like prog, folk, rock and roots.
“People listen to the record and then they compare it to their education and their musical background, and they pull things from there,” Spicer says. “Which is great, because there is so overwhelming a comparison that pigeon holes us into one thing.
“I like to think of us as a rock band.” Spicer traces his owns musical lexicon to his time as student at Gorsebrook Junior High School, where he first meet a young Woodley. Both were turned off by the “insanely bad” pre-grunge pop music on the airwaves in the early-’90s.
“Musically, the stuff I was into as a kid was blues and rock, stuff my dad was always listening to, that ’60s and ’70s stuff,” said Spicer, whose father, Wiley Spicer, is a Halifax lawyer. “We met and started playing; it was the same music Woody was into.”