Volume 93, Issue 93

Fridday, March 24, 2000


Weekend Pass

Creative tension helps Blue Rodeo go the Distance

Strange Bargain a real deal

Exploders pack diverse sounds in one punch

Sammie offers solid vocals, pinchable cheeks

Blood and guts a Merry old time


Strange Bargain a real deal

Gazette file photo
"MAYBE I'D FACE YOU IF YOU PUT A FRIGGIN' SHIRT ON." Strange Bargain bring their strange wardrobe decisions to Call the Office tonight.

By Matt Pearson
Gazette Staff

In their quest to bring "funkipopihevimusik" to the mainstream, brothers Ben and Matt Wilson and drummer Zel Domanski are using their band, Strange Bargain, as a vehicle to bring their unique blend of music out of the basement and onto the club scene.

After growing up in Northern Ontario, both brothers moved to London to study at Western.

While Matt finished his undergraduate degree in music, Ben is currently completing his degree in English. After the class, however, the brothers Wilson have both been busy churning out music, including their 1999 EP, Mean Old Son Of A Bitch.

Strange Bargain relies on the term "funkipopihevimusik" to help listeners put their sound into context. "It's our way to categorize ourselves," says frontman, Matt. Accordingly, last year's EP went a long way in helping the band establish their stylistic foundation. "[The album was] our way to find ourselves," Wilson offers.

A major part of finding themselves as a band included refining their collective attitude, which Wilson happily describes as anti-rock.

Strange Bargain's mindset remains in line with a strong funk mentality, mainly centered around having fun with each other and the audience.

"We walk into the club and we try to meet everybody and it ends up being a big party," Wilson explains. "By the time we end up on stage, there's no mystique there at all because people know that we are the guys they were just partying with. We've taken our house party and brought it into the club."

For a band with such diverse sounds, it's no surprise they have equally diverse influences. In conversation, Wilson relies on his wide knowledge of music to draw comparisons and relate inspirations. He also explains the origin of their unique collection of sounds, one of which was inspired by heavy metal music.

"We grew up heavy. I remember being three and running away from Black Sabbath. My Mom would throw "Iron Man" on the record player and I would be running away," he laughs.

"Heavy comes from the feel of the song," Wilson explains, citing everything from the groove of a favourite Temptations song, to the music of Alice in Chains. He also believes there is a difference in heaviness, depending on whether or not one is listening to an album or attending a live show. "The heaviness comes out more live than on the album," he says.

As an avenue for the band to expand their fan base, Strange Bargain have developed their own web site to market themselves online.

The site includes band pictures and their biography, as well as tour information and music for fans to download. As a band, they appear open to new tools that will surely help them reach new audiences. "You gotta do it, man. The web site is the newest thing," Wilson states.

Along with understanding the importance of the internet, Wilson also considers the history of 20th century music, from the jazz age to the current trends, including electronic music. "It's so powerful, it's new," he says. "I'm excited about it, I like the ideas."

Despite his extensive knowledge of the industry and its sounds, Wilson recognizes the troubles sometimes encountered by the band when knocking on music industry doors. He uses a loose analogy to address the issue of being taken seriously.

"If you're going for a job, you might be the best guy for the job, but if you don't dress up in a suit, then how does that guy know you are [the best]?" he says. "We don't dress up in a suit."

With an original sound and a wild live show, Strange Bargain has no reason to wear a suit, for fans seem to like them just the way they are.

Strange Bargain plays tonight at Call the Office.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000