HomeNewsBusinessCultureHealthVideoNewsletter

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Montreal Folk-Rock Band, Lakes of Canada

Jake Smith talks the band’s beginnings in synagogue, upcoming album based on a Margaret Atwood novel, and being a “Cashew”

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: August 27th, 2013 in Culture » Music » Interviews
Lakes of Canada

Lakes of Canada may be the most popular band you’ve never heard of. The five-piece folk-rock band was named one of CBC’s must-see picks for NXNE, has performed at Montreal’s POP Montreal, CMW, and Fringe Fest, and recently got a personal blessing from Margaret Atwood after she discovered their upcoming album was inspired by her novel, A Handmaid’s Tale.

Formed in 2010 after best friends Jake Smith (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Charango, Ukulele, Songwriting, Sleighbells) and Conor O’Neil (Vocals, Drums, Glockenspiel, Vocal Arrangements), who met in a synagogue choir, began performing as a duo, Lakes of Canada now consists of 5 full time members, adding Tim Dobby (Vocals, Classical and Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Drums), Gwen Bergman (Vocals, Piano, Organ, Flute, Harp, Glockenspiel, Various Percussion), and cellist Quinn Brander to the mix.

Their debut full-length album ‘Toll the Bell’, made possible after successfully raising $11,000 through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, helped Lakes of Canada amass a national following, win Montreal Fringe Festival’s ‘Band of the Fringe’ award, and has paved the road for future endeavors.

Shalom Life chatted with frontman Jake Smith about the band’s beginnings, upcoming projects, Indiegogo, and how a Jew ended up with the last name Smith.


ASHLEY BAYLEN (AB): Congrats on the success of your debut full-length album! Let’s start at the beginning in 2010. How did all of you come to form a band together?

JAKE SMITH (JS): Well, Conor and I met in Synagogue choir about six years ago, and we hit it off. We didn’t end up playing music together for another few years though. Three years ago, Conor broke his arm and we decided to start making music together… you know cause that made sense. About a year after that, Lakes of Canada was formed. We had known Tim for years and he joined the band early in its inception, we found Quinn on craigslist, and Gwen replaced our original keyboard player (Chris Barillaro) after he went on to do more musical theatre-y things.

AB: Smith and O’Neil aren’t the most Jewish names! How did the two of you end up in a temple choir?

JS: Well, we’re both Cashews (a term coined by our Cantor’s wife that refers to those of us who are half catholic/half Jewish) so that helps explain the names a bit. Plus my full name is actually Jacob David Smith Dabinsky ,so really, the Smith is the only non-Jewish part of my name. People do ask us about that a lot though.

AB: Your debut album was funded through IndieGogo. Can you tell us about your experience using a crowd-funding site, and your thought process behind your choice to take that route?

JS: Well, we needed money to make an album, so we decided to go the crowdfunding route since we didn’t have a lot of other options. We had no idea we would do so well with it. The response from our family, friends, and fans was overwhelming, and we’ll probably do another campaign even if we get the grants we applied for.

AB: For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe Lakes of Canada?

JS: Whenever anyone asks me this question I usually say “Death Metal” and then laugh hysterically because no one would name a death metal band Lakes of Canada. But if I’m being accurate, I would say, Indie Folk Rock with a dash of Soul/Gospel, and these days just a smidgen of Prog.

Related articles: Exclusive, Interview, Montreal, Lakes of Canada, Jake Smith, CBC, Indiegogo, Crowdfunding, Margaret Atwood, a Handmaid’s Tale, Toll the Bell
0 times
EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Montreal Folk-Rock Band, Lakes of Canada

Jake Smith talks the band’s beginnings in synagogue, upcoming album based on a Margaret Atwood novel, and being a “Cashew”

EXCLUSIVE: Interview & Giveaway With New-York Based Rocker, Anna Rose

We caught up with Anna Rose just before her Knitting Factory show in New York on Friday night.

EXCLUSIVE: Rick Moranis Interview and ‘My Mother’s Brisket’ Giveaway

The ‘Ghostbusters’ star discusses ‘My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Songs’, his new collection of smart, cheeky, and catchy tunes infused with Jewish life and jazzy styles.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With California Alt-Pop Band, The Neighbourhood

The band discusses their upcoming tour, fondness for black & white, their love for California, and much more.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Canadian Singer-Songwriter, Dana Sipos

Sipos recently played Toronto’s NXNE and looks forward to a musical bike tour in August.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Toronto Art Rock Band, CRHYMES

Shalom Life chats with band founder, Sebastian Shinwell.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Montreal Folk-Rock Band, Lakes of Canada

Jake Smith talks the band’s beginnings in synagogue, upcoming album based on a Margaret Atwood novel, and being a “Cashew”

EXCLUSIVE: Interview & Giveaway With New-York Based Rocker, Anna Rose

We caught up with Anna Rose just before her Knitting Factory show in New York on Friday night.

EXCLUSIVE: Rick Moranis Interview and ‘My Mother’s Brisket’ Giveaway

The ‘Ghostbusters’ star discusses ‘My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Songs’, his new collection of smart, cheeky, and catchy tunes infused with Jewish life and jazzy styles.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With California Alt-Pop Band, The Neighbourhood

The band discusses their upcoming tour, fondness for black & white, their love for California, and much more.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Canadian Singer-Songwriter, Dana Sipos

Sipos recently played Toronto’s NXNE and looks forward to a musical bike tour in August.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Toronto Art Rock Band, CRHYMES

Shalom Life chats with band founder, Sebastian Shinwell.

news_scroll_down
OUR FACEBOOK FANS
Blogs
Take Responsibility for Your Own

The 19 year old sophomore sat on the exam table looking at the floor. A college student with obvious charm

The Stanford Prison Experiment at

In 1971, researchers set up a prison in the basement of Stanford University’s Psychology Department. The idea was to

U.S. vs. Europe: Health Care

As I have tried to make abundantly clear the United States is the only country in the industrialized world that

Hands Off America

Alright, that does it.Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have been willing to do their part for

Fat Returns After Liposuction …

A study appeared in a journal titled “Obesity” which was reported by a group from the University of Colorado. In

What does Victory Look Like?

Sixty-five years ago today, World War II officially came to an end. On September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister

Share This Story With Your Friends!

Your Name:

Friend’s Name:

E-Mail:

Friend’s E-Mail:

(This information will not be displayed publicly)

Optional Message: