Members of the klezmer band Gypsophilia immersed themselves in a Montreal studio for a full week to record their latest album, Constellation, which bassist Adam Fine said is nothing like anything they’ve previously done.
The album has more reggae influences than the band had incorporated before, Fine said, and his favourite song, the fun party tune Montreal, was chosen as the first single because it’s the kind of song people can dance to.
He added that it was much more fun to make the new album, because of how the band had grown together.
“We’re great friends, and we wouldn’t have come this far if we weren’t,” Fine said. “We challenge each other and we make musical jokes.”
Gypsophilia will be touring across Canada in the next few months, including a performance with Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax in March – the show Fine said he’s most excited about – and performances in Prince Edward Island, Toronto and other parts of Nova Scotia. He hopes that in the future, they’ll get a chance to perform outside Canada.
The best audiences, Fine said, are the ones that dance or sing along, adding that the new album is especially danceable.
He said Gypsophilia has grown as much in its performance ability as in its sound.
“Our band has grown up a little, and our stage show is getting better,” he said. “When you get to perform for a great audience that participates, you can see that they’re really enjoying it, and you can learn from your peers while you’re performing.”
Gypsophilia formed in 2005 and was inspired by Parisian gypsy jazz guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt. Fine said his influence can still be heard in the band’s music, but its current sound is more a mix of klezmer, salsa and classical.
The band now mostly performs songs they’ve written themselves.
“We tend to write songs individually,” Fine said. “I’ll start with a kernel of an idea and play something on my bass. Sometimes I sit on ideas I really like for quite a while.”
Choosing the album’s title, Constellation, was an arduous process, and they debated a few options. He added that any decision is difficult in a band with seven members, but as always, they eventually came to an agreement.
“The title came from thinking of images of space and space travel,” Fine said. “Music itself is a kind of journey.”
Constellation offers 11 new tracks, including Bercy, a jazzy song written by Fine that sounds like it would fit perfectly on a mystery movie soundtrack. Other songs include the lively, upbeat Vino Griego and Opa (War Gone Man), a softer tune with a slower pace.
Fine said the variation in songs has been something the band has been working toward since they got together in 2005 for what was supposed to be a one-time performance.
“I think everyone will react differently to the songs, which really speaks to the diversity of the album,” Fine said. “I think we’ve really developed a sound and people will really enjoy it.”
The East Coast Music Association gave Gypsophilia a best jazz album award in 2009 for their last effort, Sha-Ba-Da-OW!. This latest album was a collaboration with producer and former Arcade Fire band member Howard Bilerman.
Fine is also involved with several solo projects, but he said they don’t compare to working in such a large group.
“It’s all about being playful. You feed off each other, and it makes the experience more enjoyable than if you were solo.”
For more information, visit www.gypsophilia.org or www.littlezaide.com.