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And All the Tigers

Canadian songsmiths The Hoof & The Heel release their folk-tinged debut EP

by Mike Giles in Culture on 18 May 2010

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Consisting of Harris Shper (on vox and guitar), Christine Hale (vox and keys), Al Mal (bass) and Farid Rener (drums), The Hoof & the Heel make unforgettably beautiful music that fits easily on dreamy summer playlists. Based out of Montreal, the quartet's EP called "And All the Tigers" mixes folksy, poppy, hauntingly magical sounds to create some incredibly captivating tunes. We recently sat down with them down for a few questions, answered below.

Who's the Hoof and who is the Heel and why?

This is a question we get a lot. Let's just say Farid is both for now.

What's the best show you have played?

Hard to pick just one, but an incredibly fun show was not too long ago at the Interstice loft in Griffintown. We played with Gutstrings and Peter Nevins, and everyone was just having a great time listening to music. There was no stage, so we were very close to 100 people dancing right in front of us and the energy was fantastic!

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How did you meet?

Farid and Harris met through a mutual friend, then met Christine through a local promoter. She met Al when their names were picked out of a hat to play together in a band for Pop Montreal's Rock Lotto, and voila!

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Favorite song of all time (each of you) and brief description why?

Harris: "A Damn Good Disguise" by The Mendoza Line. Obviously a difficult question, but this is a song I can listen to forever and not get tired of. If I listen to it when I'm happy, I get happier. If I listen when I'm sad, I get sadder. It has a very simple melody and a lo-fi production, and the lyrics are beautiful and ugly and perfect.

Christine: I have two—"Jesus, Etc." by Wilco because of Tweedy's lyrics, voice and the overall production—and "Wally, Egon & the Models in the Studio" by Rachel's because the cello somehow wraps around my heart and squeezes. Sometimes you just don't have words for how music makes you feel. Both are so bittersweet, simple and honest.

Continue reading and check out a video after the jump.

Upcoming tours or plans?

NXNE in June, U.S. tour in July/August, mixed with local shows as well. Recording, writing, etc.

Why Montreal?

Love this city! So many creative, kind, beautiful people and the cold just makes us enjoy the summer more.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Work. [Harris is a recording engineer; Christine is an illustrator/designer.]

Who writes the songs?

Because it's been hard to get us all in the same room at the same time other than practices and shows, Harris been writing the melodies/lyrics so far, and then we all work out arrangements very quickly in our practices. We all usually write our own parts with input from everyone in the band once the song is put on the table.

Anything else we should know?

Share our music with friends—if you don't have enough cash at the moment to buy it from iTunes or the like, send us an email and we'll send you a digital copy of the album! We love having people come out to our shows and want everyone to enjoy the music, thanks!

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