If the spirit of Savannah Stopover Festival is to discover the next big break-out band, then Corridor’s performance at El Rocko Lounge may be a good place to look.
Corridor, which is Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass), Julian Perreault (guitar), Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths), and Julien Bakvis (drums), come from Montreal, Canada. They may fit the traditional four-piece indie-rock mold at first glance, but their punky, jangly guitars and dreamy, reverb soaked harmonies immediately set them a cut above. They were even impressive enough to be the first Francophone band ever signed by legendary record label Sub Pop.
"We never expected to be on this roster of this label so it was a great surprise," said Berthiaume.
Even though they sing in French, it hasn’t been a hurdle for Corridor while touring outside of their home in Quebec. Berthiaume has described audience reactions to their shows as "surprised and great." "The biggest difference would be that the audience just can’t sing along, but even when we play in another French-speaking country, some people are having a hard time to understand what we are saying, so it’s fine," Berthiaume added.
When Corridor got signed by Sub Pop, they wanted to put out a record before the end of the year, which left them a very small window to get a new recording into the label’s hands.
"We were not asked to record quickly," Berthiaume explained. "It was self-imposed because we just wanted to release a new album last year. It was like a creative process to make an album very quickly. It was fun to do—I don’t know if we’ll do it again, but it was a cool exercise."
The final result, "Junior," is their most focused and sonically rich release yet, despite the quick turnaround. Working fast didn’t dull their catchy hooks, infectious harmonies, and jagged guitar interplay.
"It didn’t change the songwriting," said Berthiaume. "We have always been doing the same thing, like we’re always jamming, all of the guys in the rehearsing room, and trying to make songs. It was the recording process that was different. We were going everyday in the studio to work on something new everyday. We were never really looking back at what we’ve done in the previous studio sessions. It was a big sprint, looking forward and never backward."
There are a lot of different influences that shade "Junior" like psychedelic 60’s pop, 70’s punk, dream pop, and the kaleidoscopic harmonies of Panda Bear.
"Our very first influence when we started the band were Sonic Youth and Woman," said Berthiaume. "After that we tried to create our own sound and after our second album, ‘Supermercado’ we achieved that, that now there is the Corridor sound."
A band’s music should be enough to earn an audience’s attention, but Corridor have the added benefit of having an eye-catching, unified visual aesthetic in their album artwork and animated music videos—all created by Robert, who is a full time animator. The video for "Topographie" combines the whimsy of Wes Anderson with surreal, stop-motion animation featuring the band in subtly bizarre costumes marching through a "Metropolis"-like factory.
If you check out Corridor at this year’s Stopover Festival, expect to see one of the tightest, and most energetic bands on the bill.
"Our sets are very close to the sound of the album—they are a little faster and with more energy," said Bathiaume. "If you like ‘Junior’ you will like us live."
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