The rapid rise of Montréal-based quartet Corridor can be likened to contemporary rock folklore, even if the story is a familiar one. After the band’s tour agent sent the iconic Seattle label Sub Pop their four-song demo, representatives who attended their show in New York a month later promptly sent them a record deal within days of the performance.
It’s an impressive trajectory. The four-piece, consisting of Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass), Jonathan Robert (vocals/synth/guitar), Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums), are the first francophone band to sign with Sub Pop, and the first Montréal-based band since Wolf Parade in 2004.
Chatting to BeatRoute over drinks at Notre Dame Des Quilles, a quaint, cozy cocktail bar in Montréal’s Little Italy district, Berthiaume says their third album and Sub Pop debut, Junior, maintains the songwriting approach of its predecessor, Supermercado (2017), while dialling up the production calibre.
“Our first EP and the first two records sounded more lo-fi,” he says. “Junior still has this warmth and analogue feel, but it feels like a bigger production.”
Berthiaume explains that the album focuses more on how songs feel rather than what sonic category they fall under. “All of the songs came out of jams and improvisation, and then we structure it. We don’t think about genre or anything, because this is where you restrict yourself.”
“I think one of the things that we have [throughout] our three albums is a unity in the songs, but it’s really diverse too. That Corridor signature has to be somewhere, but the point is, if it’s a good song, it’s a good song. We don’t mind the rest.”
While the band took their time constructing previous albums Le voyage éternel (2015) and Supermercado (2017), they had no such luxury with Junior.
In January, Sub Pop told them that they needed to submit their masters by mid-May if they wanted a fall release. By March, they had begun writing and recording the album’s six remaining songs, finishing by late April. Berthiaume describes the sessions as “intense,” spending a month and a half recording six days a week. “For every song, we kept it really simple: one, two or three riffs,” he explains of the process. “[We] just keep on repeating them, adding layers and creating something more hypnotic.”
Berthiaume continues. “Our producer and engineer would never bounce anything off in the studio, so we never listened at home to what we were doing. Every day, we did something new and never looked back. It was exciting but, at the same time, it was weird doing that at such a quick pace.”
The result is a carefully crafted mélange of indie rock, post-punk, and shoegaze with dance-punk sprinkled throughout, plus a generous dose of reverb, lush harmonies and call-and-response vocals.
By the end of 2019, the band will tour throughout North America and in Europe. Although the language they sing in is a hotter topic with media outlets in Québec and France, Berthiaume says that their audiences in English markets don’t tend to focus on language as much, instead letting the music speak for itself.
“When we go to the U.S., or the U.K., or even Germany, it’s not really a subject. They’re more focused on music than anything else,” he says. “We put effort in writing lyrics, but the most important thing is just that we play music, and we’re a band.”