By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — What do you get when you mix three friends who worship iconic ‘90s bands (think Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and Mudhoney), have good work ethic and were children in the ‘90s? Edmonton’s indie rock outfit Counterfeit Jeans. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because all three members of the band are self-proclaimed “Simpsons geeks” who couldn’t resist dubbing their band after “The Springfield Connection” episode where Marge becomes an officer and busts Herman, who is running a counterfeit clothing operation in her garage.
To learn more, BeatRoute touched base with Jed Gauthier (guitar and vocals), Spencer Heykants (bass) and Tyler Bedford (drums). We chatted over beers and a grilled cheese sandwich that Heykants slowly savoured throughout our chat, although he did eventually finish it, unlike Homer Simpson’s notorious sandwich that was stashed behind the sofa.
Counterfeit Jeans have only been making music together since the summer of 2014. The band started somewhat inconspicuously, as Gauthier and Heykants are both members of The Sorels. After writing a song that didn’t fit with that project, they recruited Bedford on drums.
Their resulting sound is hard to categorize, but they won’t disagree with a post-punk categorization, nor will they argue with the following description provided by Sled Island. “With the ‘90s revival in full effect, it’s wonderful to hear a band taking their queues from the Jade Tree roster. The sometimes angular, soaring guitar and steady, driving drum work combined with confident, genuine vocals make the band powerful, but not overpowering.”
When asked what bands on the Jade Tree label they are fans of, Bedford explains, “We are into all sorts of music. Pedro the Lion is a big one for me personally. I really enjoy some of the stuff that the Kinsella brothers do… It is a sound that I am proud to be associated with.” “I think the ‘90s are a huge influence for us, those were really formative years for us,” adds Gauthier.
Although their nostalgic influences can be heard (the track “Nothing” does channel some Dinosaur Jr.), Counterfeit Jeans has a sound all their own. Gauthier writes all of the vocals and the three write the musical elements of songs very organically during jams and are equal contributors.
“Everyone brings a little bit of that to the songwriting process. What we spit out is pretty original. It definitely has aspects of all those different influences. We are not trying to be any sort of genre or sound like band really,” says Bedford.
They like to keep things simple, but lyrically they don’t mind getting complex. For example, Gauthier wrote the lyrics for “Heavy Weather” before the music.
“It is based on a conversation that I had with a guy at work… he was talking about how strange it is in a city, you can always see some sort of logo and brand everywhere. It is almost obnoxious, that someone is telling you something at every moment. You are being shouted at.”
Heykants notes, “The lyrics are almost a dark satire… it is funny, with our songs because we like to keep them simple. But the way we structure some of them, the song itself it telling a lot of the story.”
Expect as much from their self titled EP, which will not be far off from what will come out of the speakers at one of their many upcoming live sets.
“[We have] a lot of energy. Movement. A very interactive show. Like to hang out and have fun with the audience,” says Bedford.
Heykants adds, laughing, there will also be “lots of flailing.”
Check out Counterfeit Jeans’ self titled EP release on June 6th at Wunderbar in Edmonton. They play June 19th at the Pawn Shop in Edmonton. The band also plays Sled Island in Calgary June 24, 11 p.m., at the Ship & Anchor.AB, Alberta, Pawn Shop, Ship & Anchor, Sled Island, Sled Island 2015, Wunderbar