The Wintermitts are lucky enough to be three quarters bi-lingual, excel at racket sports and have an accordion player that just thinks everything is awesome. But can this young flock of do-gooders outwit their greatest threat: Canadian customs and immigration? I met up with Lise, David, Christian and Swann at their practice space attached to a house suspiciously occupied by three men named “Ian” to find out.
ONLY: So none of you are actually from Vancouver, and you just finished a nation-wide tour. Why do you want to be here? What is “This City” to you?
Swann: It’s better than France.
ONLY: France is a city?
Lise: You should ask us questions NOFX style – like how many [questions] in under five minutes.
ONLY: Oh I see, you guys want me out of here in under five minutes. Point taken.
Lise: Ha ha. No no… um…. how’s your beer?
David: Shit my cat ate through my cord.
Lise: Was it Goldfish?
ONLY: No really, why do you want to stay here?
Christian: I don’t really like Vancouver either, but there’s more to be involved in here.
Lise: I think if I stayed in Chillawack I’d be playing in a cover band at the local bar, and, like, bar stars would be listening.
ONLY: Fair enough. So you’re pretty comfortable here, do you see that changing at all? Vancouver seems so ripped apart.
Christian: It’ll get better!
ONLY: Oh! Optimism! I know a lot of people are moving out of Vancouver because the costs are so high here. I had like three friends move to Montreal this year. You guys are the opposite.
Lise: Screw Montreal. Sackville, New Brunswick is the place to be. We were looking at house prices and you can buy a decent house for under a hundred grand.
David: We just want to live closer to Julie Doiron.
ONLY: Your music has so many different sounds, different instruments, influences and languages. How do you keep it together?
David: (Pensive pause) We’re united… towards… awesome.
Lise: We bow down to sexy. A lot of bands have… well, if you’ve never heard them before its like one long song for their whole set.
David: We’re like an awesome mixtape!
ONLY: Is your experimentation kind of an evolution towards something?
Lise: Because of all these different influences, we don’t really have a choice in some ways.
David: Yeah, Swann can even read music.
Lise: I can too!
ONLY: Oh yeah, we’re in the same music composition class at school, its funny.
Lise: You actually sat beside me once. It’s a funny story actually: I was wearing gum boots that day because it was raining, and I took them off, and you came and sat right beside me, and I was like, “Damn! What if my feet stink?”
ONLY: They didn’t smell. Only would not be printing this story right now if you didn’t have good foot hygiene – you’re OK there.
ONLY: OK, so I don’t speak French and therefore I don’t understand most of what you’re saying. Is there an important storytelling element there? What am I missing as an Anglophone?
David: Awesomeness, radtastical.
Lise: Apparently, if you listen to “Que Toi”, it sounds like I’m saying my own name in the beginning. (Sings) Liiiiissseee Moooniiquue.
ONLY: Oh I thought it was too- like how Missy does a shout-out on every track.
Swann: (Impersonates a shout-out; tries to hide her thick French accent) Under my umbrella-ella-ella hey hey hey.
(Someone plays Rhianna’s Umbrella lick)
Lise: My friend was like, “Aren’t you saying your name dude?” And I’m like, “No… who the fuck does that?” It’s actually “la vie sous mon lit (life under my bed)” which is a little different.
ONLY: What does the post-2010 world look like for the Wintermitts?
Lise: Well, we’re going to be playing the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Yeah, Bruce Allen called me last night. They needed someone who could sing in French and English.
ONLY: You’ll get up there and you’ll be like, “Sorry everyone, my cat Goldfish ate through my ukulele mic chord.”
David: Yeah, sorry everyone. Awesome.
Lise: They told us they’d give us a free Roots jumpsuit.
Swann: People in France love Roots.
The Wintermitts play a French Immersion Records showcase this Saturday, October 20 at Hoko’s with Lost Lovers Brigade, Chris-a-riffic, Dylan Thomas and more.