Hot Springs on Montreal music scene

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Hot Springs

The strange evolution of singer and songwriter Giselle Webber has taken her from hardcore punk to claymation musical.

The unique music of her band, Hot Springs, stems from the continuous changes frontwoman Webber undergoes in sound, songs and vocals.

Hot Springs came together in 2004 amidst the explosion of the Montreal music scene. The band is composed of indie veterans who deliver pop music that packs the punch of psychedelic rock. The group garnered attention after the release of EP Rock Partouze in 2005 and LP Volcano in 2007, in combination with solid live shows.

Webber is notorious for intense and spontaneous performances, but she does not complain about the numerous cuts and bruises that prove her dedication.

“I just get really shredded up hands because I play a lot with my hands, with my fingers " without a pick or whatever. So I just get the hand that looks like it went through a cheese grater.”

Hot Springs delivers a combination of material to maintain the level of performance that is its hallmark.

“We’re getting into playing the old stuff because they’re kind of punkier and people get into dancing,” Webber explains. “We’ve got some new stuff we’re working on playing live without even real endings or lyrics that we’re just testing out.”

The older material from Rock Partouze displays the years of hardcore punk experience Webber brought to Hot Springs. However, the sound of the band has transformed to become more contemporary and complex.

“Playing in punk bands, all I could do before was play power chords really, really, fast. Now I’m actually getting into being a guitar player in the greater sense of the word.”

The change in approach to Hot Springs’ sound reflects a change in the approach to the lyrics: “I just started to think of myself as an actual songwriter who can write songs. I feel a little bit more proud of the music I make.”

Webber’s pride in the songs she has written is warranted, given her experience as a member of the Montreal music scene. After 10 years in the city, the lead singer is expanding into work with filmmakers by providing both a voice and score for Rose and Violet, a claymation musical about Siamese twin acrobats with opposing personalities.

The bizarre content of the film appeals to the variety of voices Webber expresses in her songs.

“I’ve got a lot of different voices inside. I used to be able to sing a lot more like shiny and pure and now I find I don’t really know where that person is anymore. She’s just getting a lot more raspy and a little harder. It’s coming a lot more from the gut; always mutating into something else,” Webber explains.

She interprets Hot Springs’ psychedelic sound as a kind of spiritual performance in which she sends out energy to the audience.

“Sometimes I can really feel it and I’m not thinking about the song anymore, I’m just thinking about energy flow and currents and stuff.”

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