By James Keller

Growing up amid century-old churches and culture stretching back even further, Fuzbox is nothing if not a product of its own environment. With layers of sound that rival the small army of art-rock musicians like Do Make Say Think and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Montreal-based band is quickly migrating from the benches, aging trees and tourists peppering Mount Royal Park to cross-country distribution and an upcoming tour.

Füzbox is, in no uncertain terms, outgrowing its origins and humble beginnings.

“We grew up in this scene, with culture and art and music all around us, and I think we all had a sense that we wanted to be a part of that,” describes frontman and Quebecois Marc Lecoupe. “And with this vibrant modern music scene in Montreal, and starting the band in the shadows of artists like Godspeed!, we had a lot to live up to. But I think we’re achieving that.”

Simply name-dropping established Montreal-area artists doesn’t do Fuzbox justice. Their unique fusion of rock and jazz, with the experimental, commanding instrumental undertones of the groups Lecoupe points to, have indeed created something entirely new, something wholly original. And while a humbled and surprisingly quiet Lecoupe shies away the suggestion, their new album triumph in london; understanding the revolution is nothing short of a masterpiece.

“What we’ve done, what we’ve tried to do, is take all the music that we admire and respect and build on in,” Lecoupe explains of the evolution of the six-piece band, which incorporates everything from guitar to horns to even a didgeridoo in some songs. “But at the same time, we’re nothing special. We’ve come from somewhere that shaped us and caused us to evolve in a certain way. What we’ve done with this scene will be built upon again, and then again after that. It’s fluid; nothing is constant.”

Like the band’s style and sound, their special interest in the political is no coincidence, either. Living just miles away from the tear-gas-filled Summit of the America protests in Quebec City two years ago, Lecoupe and company are also surrounded by arguably the most fierece and visible political activism in the country. And if the photos included in the liner notes of bloodied protestors and oceans of political dissent don’t say enough, the text between the images, also penned by Lecoupe, offers a very direct insight into the politics of Fuzbox.

“We are very clear about where we stand, politically,” offers Lecoupe unapologetically. “We see the corporate machine in every aspect of our lives: in the clothes we wear, in the cars we drive, in our universities, in our wars, and in our music. But it’s difficult to fight back. Richard Parsons has CNN, Izzy Asper has Southam, and George W. Bush has his war broadcasting live 24 hours a day. We try to reach people through the messages we promote, but sometimes, it’s difficult to know if people are even listening.”

While it might feel like an effort in futility, Lecoupe is undoubtedly making progress, if only in fans and record sales. Self-proclaimed novices only a year ago, Fuzbox have created a solidified fanbase, bringing devout followers of many different genres together.

“We appeal to all sorts of people. At our concerts, we see people who swear by chamber music listening alongside metal fans, all standing beside people into folk or pop. They’re all liking what they hear, and they’re hearing both the music and the message,” says Lecoupe. “We’re excited to watch it all grow and see where it can take off to. Not just our band, but the scene in general. It’s a continual process that’s ongoing, and this band is just another stepping stone in something much greater than itself. “

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