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Drake pleased to Michou

Hailing from the deep south, Windsor band Michou will replace the Detroit skyline with Rocky Mountains as they stop in Canmore on their Western Canadian tour.
Michou play the Drake Inn, June 5.
Michou play the Drake Inn, June 5.

Hailing from the deep south, Windsor band Michou will replace the Detroit skyline with Rocky Mountains as they stop in Canmore on their Western Canadian tour.

“Canmore is a wicked town,” said Stefan Cvetkovic, the band’s drummer, from a stop in Winnipeg last week. “We only hear good things about the shows there, so it’s a no brainer for us.”

Michou, which consists of Michael Hargreaves (vocals), Sasha Appler (keys/trumpet), Ryan Frith (bass) and Cvetkovic, will play the Drake on June 5, alongside USS. The show is free.

This is the band’s first foray into the western reaches of the country.

“Winnipeg’s the furthest west we’ve previously gone,” said Cvetkovic. “It’s so exciting, it really is. Getting that change of scenery is good for the head, to see something new.

“And I know we’ll be driving more than anything; as long as there’s something new to look at, we’re all stoked on it.”

Their sound is best described as being good old rock music, said Cvetkovic.

“It’s just pop rock music, man,” he said. “We just have fun doing what we’re doing and you can definitely see that on stage from us. We’re four close friends who wanted to start playing in a band together – and get free beer, and it turned out to be so much more than that – and we just continued playing. It’s really just happy music.”

The band formed in 2007 and in four years has released two full-length albums and three EPs. Recently Michou picked up the Artist Of The Year award at the 2011 Verge Music Awards, beating out some of the country’s better-known rising stars, including Arcade Fire, Stars and Tegan & Sara.

“Michou is the nickname of Michael Hargreaves, the singer of our band,” said Cvetkovic. “The band started from that – he played some solo shows and we hopped on – and it became more of a band, rather than a solo project.”

At first, the writing of the music all belonged to Hargreaves, said Cvetkovic.

“He had a ton of songs and we’d pick 10 and really work at those,” he said. “Then we’d keep sifting through these acoustic ideas and then bring them into a full band idea.”

“It’s to do with a lot of past experiences of Mike’s, but he’ll flip it into a different story – it’s not the direct ‘I like this girl, but she doesn’t like me’ type of thing. It’s more personal than anything, but the way he writes the lyrics is so that hopefully a broader audience can understand and relate to it and feel the same as he was feeling.

“Musically, we all just do our own parts. We all sing backing vocals, and we all put our opinion into it, but we really leave it up to Mike, because if he’s writing from the heart or a past experience, three other dudes can’t really jump in on something and change it.”

“More recently, we’ve been able to jam more, and maybe a song will come out of it, it’s now more recently a collaborative thing.”

Michou is touring with USS, or Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, a dramatically different band consisting of two musicians, Ashley Buchholz (vocalist, guitarist and erhu player) and Jason Parsons (turntablist/hype man).

Cvetkovic explained that while the decision to tour together was out of having common itineraries, it turned out to be a great pairing of musical talent.

“It happened to be we wanted to go out west the same time they were going and our agents were really digging the idea that they’re too very different styles of music, but both of us put on exciting and happy shows, and it worked out,” he said.

“They’d already been out west a ton of times, and same thing for us with the east coast and they’d never been there, so we swapped and went both ways.”

The tour started in Toronto and first went east, then west across the country to B.C. and after the stop in Canmore the band will double back on its way home.

“The first show we did was in Toronto and then the next day we drove to Fredericton, so it was a 17-hour epic drive,” said Cvetkovic. “So much stuff happens on tour that shouldn’t be said, anything can happen on the road. We get to meet some very interesting people that make the days go by better too.”

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