By Amanda Hu
“Being in a relationship with one person is hard sometimes, but imagine being in a relationship with six people, in a confined space, for an extended period of time,” says Consonant C cellist and vocalist Clea Foofat of her group’s first tour.
The burgeoning Calgary band has worked through a lot of milestones in their short two years of existence, from recording their first record, Capes and Crowns, in 2007 to their performances at various events across the country. Spending their musical childhood in Calgary has proved beneficial for the group’s development, given some of the community’s unique attributes.
“I think what’s great about Calgary is that it’s not a competitive environment,” Foofat says. “It’s a really supportive environment. Everyone’s always willing to work on other people’s albums, take time to listen to things. If we can’t play a show, we refer someone else.”
All of the members also have other projects on the go, another indication of the city’s interconnectedness. Foofat and fellow vocalists/multinstrumentalists Laura Leif and Jennifer Creighton are continuing their involvement with the Summerwood Warren Collective, bassist Danny Vescarelly spearheads the Mukwah Jamboree festival and drummer Jared Andres co-produces various electronic shows around the city.
Together, the group is now at a new stage, working on writing new material and towards recording another album and going on another tour. They recently made a stop at POP Montreal to aid their exposure on the national stage in a showcase/festival environment. Foofat cites the experience as an amazing learning and connection-building opportunity, though somewhat of a precarious situation for a growing group to be in. Andres agrees.
“I think at a showcase, it’s harder to get seen by as many people and that seems to be an opinion that’s shared by lots of bands about things like South by Southwest and that kind of stuff,” Andres says. “Everyone who’s in a showcase is kind of a buzz band by nature of the fact they’re there, so how do you pick which buzz band you’ve never heard to go see?”
Despite the challenges facing an up-and-coming band along the road, the Consonant C’s members seem to manage to keep a focus on the artistry and musical development of the group, something Foofat says is easy to lose sight of.
“So much happens and there are so many shows to play,” Foofat says. “There’s so much momentum behind getting stuff done. For us, we sit down every sit down every three or four months. We have really intense band meetings. We talk about how we want to be making the music and the different approaches we want to try, what we want to do in the future and where we’re headed.”
With that direction, it’s easy to see why the Consonant C genuinely seems to appreciate making music for all the right reasons, not to mention being able to play at venues that work with who they are as a group.
“That Empty Space is cool,” Andres says. “Especially for the kind of stuff we play, it’s nice to have people sitting down in a comfortable environment. They’re there to watch you, whereas if you play at a bar, not everybody’s there to watch the band. It sounds really good in that room. I’ve been to a lot of shows in that room, so it’s kind of close to my heart in that way.”