A Primitive Evolution undeniably made their mark in the Toronto alternative music scene. Their music has a grungy, true rock and roll spirit that is a reminiscent to the bands that dominated the 1990s music era. As well, they secured their spot in Toronto’s alternative street fashion with their drummer’s clothing brand Playdead Cult Clothing. This past year they toured their visually eclectic stage show across Canada, and are in the process of recording a new release. A Primitive Evolution has developed a loyal fan following and I had a chance to talk to vocalist Brett Carruthers and bassist Stephany Seki when they stopped in Toronto to open for The Birthday Massacre.
What is your name and role in the band?
Brett: I’m Brett and I’m the singer and guitar player
Stephany: I’m Stephany and I play bass, cello, tambourine and a whole bunch of other instruments. I sing too!
How was the tour you did back in May with Never More Than Less?
Brett: It was really fun! It was the first time we’ve taken A Primitive Evolution on the road. I thought it went pretty well. It wasn’t too crazy but things got a little dirty in Montreal. Yeah pornstars…
Stephany: And an anarchist meeting! We had to park the tour bus somewhere after the show and we parked in an old greyhound lot where they had out of service greyhound buses. A woman drove up in her Volkswagen beetle with a flower in the flower holder with big sunglasses on and said “Um excuse me do you know why you’re here? Who told you you can park here? I can get you a ticket and get towed!” We also noticed that a lot of hippies were walking around the parking lot and disappearing. The lot backed onto this big abandoned building and we were bored so we went to go explore the abandoned building. So me and Stu ended up going to the upper floor of the building and we noticed that there was a meeting going on with all of the hippies! They were all sitting on those milk carton boxes. They all looked over at us and we awkwardly introduced ourselves cause we were at their mercy cause there was around 30 of them. They were just like “Oh hey guys we are just having a meeting we’re all anarachists! If you want to join in feel free to pull up a carton!” It was a sketchy situation because we were really outnumbered so we got the fuck out! [laughs]
[laughs] Did you overhear what they were saying?
Stephany: No I think they were just getting started. They were mingling and stuff. [laughs]
As I listened to your music I thought it had a 90s Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilot kind of feel to it. What would you say are your influences while recording?
Stephany: Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots [laughs]. They actually are!
Brett: Mine are Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins all of the 90s bands. I was a teenager during the 90s so it was the music that really absorbed in me, made me want to be in a band and inspired me to make music! It was the movement from ’93-’97 that formed the building blocks of my musical brain. And my dad was a big rock fan so I grew up listening to AC/DC, Kiss, Judas Priest, Guns N Roses and all of those bands.
What modern bands then would you say have an influence on your sound?
Brett: Kasabian, Radiohead, Death From Above 1979 are really cool bands.
Stephany: Arcade Fire.
Brett: Their first major record was really great!
Brett, you were a touring manager for The Birthday Massacre. Is it weird for your band to be opening up for them now?
Brett: No, it’s really good! We all went to college together in London, where we met, and started our own bands and we’d play shows at the college all the time. When their keyboard player left I ended up in the band for a few months and did small American tours. Then I got my friend Owen to take over the position so I could focus more on starting my own project.
Why did A Primitive Evolution decide to work on creating an acoustic album?
Stephany: It started off being mainly acoustic. Now it’s still acoustic but she just added a lot more. It initially was supposed to be a three week project but now it’s turning into a three month project that we’re still working on.
Brett: The whole idea was based on the MTV unplugged series. John, our producer, fell in love with the band as we were tracking and it became a musical love affair and now we’re really carving out the songs and making new versions of older songs and adding cool string arrangements to them. We did a couple shows at the Hard Rock in Niagara Falls acoustically and we had really good reception from them. Also, acoustic songs could appeal to other audiences.
Check out the song “Beyond True” here.
On your website it said that the band was asking for donations. If someone donated 50 dollars the reward was that you were going to be making them dinner. Did that end up happening at all?
Brett: People have donated but what we didn’t consider is that some people are vegetarians and have different food allergies! We had in mind that we were just going to do one of our crazy taco nights! And Steph makes an amazing guacamole! Everyone in the band is a really good cook.
Do you have any tours coming up?
Brett: Not right now! We’re going to take a bit of a break in the winter to just regroup and prepare for the acoustic release. The album should be released publically around February and then we would set up a tour.
Why should people who never heard of A Primitive Evolution check it out?
Brett: We do everything from the bottom of our hearts and we’re just trying to make good music that’s soulful and awesome. I hope that comes across and I entice people to listen to it for that reason. I challenge you to listen to me and not tell me it’s good!