I met Will Scott years ago through my husband who Will grew up with in Beaumont, just south of Edmonton. Will was one of the groomsmen in our wedding and plays in the Will Scott Band with my husband. Will also plays in the band Pigeon Breeders with Myles Bartel. I sat down with Will and Myles to discuss their upcoming tape release. The new tape is called “Live at Skymall” and features 2 live recordings. The first is a recording with Tyler Harland, the band’s sometimes third member who is now living in Nova Scotia. It was recorded in 2014. The second recording is with Nicholas “Smokey” Johnson recorded this past May. Both recordings were of performances at the local house venue “Skymall”.
Will and Myles met in 2011 when Myles moved into Tyler’s house where Will was also living. Will explains that “I was doing experimental stuff with the U of A and then one day I come home and Myles is making his own music in the basement, and I was like ‘Holy, that’s sounds exactly like what I’m into. That’s the same style - experimental improv’ and I was like ‘Woah, what’s that about? How is it possible that this guy is also into this stuff?’. So then we started jamming and Tyler started jamming with us too and it started out with us jamming out of convenience because we all lived together.” Will, Myles, and Tyler jammed a lot because it was so easy for all three of them to be in the same place at the same time. Their first live performance was not long after their first jam session.
A Pigeon Breeders show is not like any other show that I’ve been to. If you go to a show you’ll notice that all the member perform on the ground with their gear laid out around them and there is incense burning. Myles says that “It creates an atmosphere that allows for people to sort of escape from maybe expectations they may have for other bands. A lot of times when people talk to us after shows they’re always saying something like ‘that took me on a journey’ or ‘I really got lost in what you guys were doing’. That’s always good to hear because that’s more or less our intention. Because that’s what we want for ourselves too. We want to go on our own journey. It’s cool to take the audience with you on that.” Pigeon Breeders most recent show was in the lobby of the Garneau Theatre preceding a showing of The Holy Mountain.
I asked them what their plans are now that the band has changed with Tyler’s move out east. Myles shares that “We still have other people that we want to collaborate with. It’s really nice to play with Nick. We have a whole series of recordings from last year from when Tyler visited. We did three nights of jamming and we have hours and hours of material that we’ve kind of whittled down into an album that we’re still fine-tuning that we’ll release sometime next year. We have some other archival material that we’re reviewing.” Will expands, saying that “Tyler, even though he’s gone, he’s still kind of a part of the band but we’re still going to play without him. When we see him again, when we all get together again, of course we’re going to play again. We’ve also enjoyed though, collaborating with other guest third members for the time being and we will probably continue trying some different people although we really like Smokey right now.”
With every jam or live performance, Pigeon Breeders records it all. Myles describes the recording process as very uncomplicated and that “It’s sometimes a matter of what we decide to do with the content afterwards because we’ve gotten a little more complex with how we decide to represent the material. Pulling from different sources and kind of shifting the original narrative that’s inherent in the original recordings. It’s kind of like finding pieces of a puzzle that you don’t know what it’s supposed to be.” Will says that every potential recording is something that they might release.
After 6 years of playing together I asked what they like most about being in a band together. Will says that “I always feel like there’s something new happening. I never try and do the same thing twice so I’m always trying to get better myself or come up with new sounds that I haven’t made before. And also, it’s just a good outlet if you’re having a good day or a bad day. Just to be in that moment and to release it. Jamming with Myles, and Tyler, and guest members, it’s an enjoyable feeling of camaraderie too. Knowing that there’s other people that you’re connecting with.” Myles adds that “It’s really interesting to develop this language that’s very specific to other people you’re performing with. And the experience of performing is very cathartic sometimes.”