In our series Home Scene, Grid City asks music fans to share what they love most about the city’s music culture. This time we check in with multi-instrumentalist, composer and all-around “action man”, Tate LeJeune.
What have you been listening to lately?
Golly, this is already difficult! What’s on my iPod changes super often, but there are some consistent themes. I’ve been really into intense, dissonant rock groups that use odd time signatures, like Massacre, U Sco, Thighs and Chinese Cookie Poets. Futuristic pop trendsetters like the PC Music crew, Oneohtrix Point Never and Magic Fades always have me coming back. Lots of post-punk-ish material too. My last vinyl purchases were Gazelle Twin’s Unflesh and Viet Cong’s debut, which both had my hairs on end and mouth agape.
Most anticipated local release of 2015?
Hands down, I am most eagerly awaiting Cedric Noel’s new solo release. It will feature his most alluring and heart-wrenching songwriting yet. I’m also very excited to see what NUAGES have to offer. Their new track is both heavy and heavenly, and it seems those folks are pushing in a beautiful new direction.
Name the one Fredericton band you believe more people should know about.
Sentimentals slay. Perfect power pop. Undeniable. They’ve been performing quite often, so go see them whenever you can!
Live music culture is an important part of Fredericton’s identity. If you could improve one aspect of the city’s music scene, what would it be?
All of our scene’s woes trace back to a general lack of collaborative activity. It’s not severe, but it’s noticeable. Our city is quite small, so any division between musicians and non-performers or other musicians is unhealthy. Performers need to work with show-goers to create an inviting realm for them and encourage them to bring their friends to the next show. Increased demand would make it possible for more than one venue to have regular performances every week; promoters will be encouraged to book more shows if more people go out. More shows means more opportunities for musicians to test new projects. We’re stuck in a cycle of the same handful of bands playing every show, and that can change if more musical collaboration occurs and creative risks are taken. In turn, the variety would excite a greater amount of people and bring them out. It’s all a cycle, it’s all interconnected. Our scene is lovely, but it can only improve through collaboration on all fronts. It has so much potential, and we just need a few motivated individuals to get the wheel turning.
Looking back at the past year, what would you consider to be an important highlight for the city arts scene?
Only one? The third Shifty Bits Circus in July was wonderful. I really appreciated the well-curated out-of-town acts, the appealing artwork on display, the interesting venue choices, and the general fun spirit of the weekend. Such a good atmosphere. In visual media, the SHIFTWORK shows were a brilliant addition. That cluster of people produces some top notch art. I’ve also been loving the exhibits at Connexion ARC since they moved to their new space in the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. It’s an inspiring and worthwhile place to visit. Finally, the caliber of musical acts performing at all-ages shows was consistently high, particularly at ReNeu Boutique. What a great year!
Tate LeJeune is a multi-instrumentalist performing as Union Suit, in Pastel Skeleton, and now with Cedric Noel. He has helped with booking all-ages shows at ReNeu Boutique and across downtown, and has recently become the chair of the showroom committee at Connexion ARC.