With their infectious energy, and exciting live shows, Repartee has earned their place as one of the most notable groups exporting from Newfoundland today. The band has carved their success through relentless touring, television placements, and festival dates, while supporting groups such as Dragonette, Tegan and Sara, Lights, Arkells, and more.
With half of the ensemble having graduated from MUN’s School of Music, and all well-established players locally, the group recently made a move to Ontario. All Lit Up is the first release from Repartee on the Toronto-based label Sleepless Records.
The album features a strong new direction for the group, taking ownership of their sound with a unique devotion to contemporary pop music. These are densely layered, heavy hitting pop tracks, each with the potential to stand on its own as a single.
The songs feature thick synthesizers, shimmering guitars, and some truly mesmerizing vocal hooks. With this new album, Repartee are poised to be a leading force of pop music nationally and beyond. It’s an exciting time for this band from home. Below is my interview with Meg Warren and Robbie Brett of Repartee.
Congrats on the new album! It seems this was a long time coming …
ROBBIE: Thanks! It’s certainly a relief of sorts to finally release this album. Not only have we been sitting anxiously on these songs for a while, and wanting people to be able to take them home after a show, but it’s also our first full length release with our current line up. So it’s great to have finally made it to this point.
How did you come to develop this new sound, with such complex and steadfast pop arrangements?
MEG: We spent the last year working with all kinds of different writers and producers. I think 2015 was a big year for us in terms of learning how other artists do things. We were able to take certain bits of inspiration from all of these different people and bring it to the band and put our own flavour on it. I think that this album is the closest we’ve come yet to something concise and representative of where we are as a band right now.
ROBBIE: Honestly, I think one of the biggest things we learned was what not to put in a song! I get really excited in the studio and start grabbing instruments and layering everything before the vocals are even finished, so finding where everything should reside has been quite the learning experience. Thickening vocal harmonies and rhythmic sections and giving you one or two easter eggs per song to keep that guitarist listener satisfied!
Meg, there’s a fresh sense of connection to your voice on this album. Where did your inspiration come from lyrically/vocally?
MEG: That’s a really lovely thing to hear, thank you. I feel like my voice/singing is evolving a lot, I’m always trying to figure out my limits and strengths/weaknesses. For a long time I was looking up to other singers and trying to figure out where my voice fit among others, but I think I’m slowly learning more about my personal singing style and trying to write within that.
Were there any happy accidents? Or, songs that took a new life once recording started?
MEG: All Lit Up was a pretty simple idea that was kicking around for a long time. Robbie had sent me this awesome instrumental verse/chorus but for a long time I had only written a few lines over it. We took it to our management, and out of something like 20-odd ideas, that one stuck out. So I took it back and wrote and rewrote – and after a bunch of attempts I showed Robbie and Josh the current chorus idea over my laptop speakers in the van after a show. Thankfully, that one worked!
How has moving to Toronto helped your process and career in music?
MEG: For the kind of music we’re making, Toronto is a bit of a hub. We spent the last year working and writing with so many people from a lot of different backgrounds and levels of experience. It’s also much easier to tour from here. We can go play a one-off in Guelph without having to book a full two week tour around it. But I miss Newfoundland a lot. I miss going to shows at The Rockhouse and The Ship every weekend.
Dream act you’d love to tour with in the future?
ROBBIE: A band like The Killers would be a dream to me … creating top 40 hits but still fitting a band structure.
MEG: Chvrches, Charli XCX, The Killers, Robyn, T-Swizzle (YOU SAID DREAM, RIGHT??)