Breaking the mold on your standard Newfoundland band, St. John’s rockers Centrefold aim to impress on their debut full-length album.
When setting out to start a band, there are usually a few things to consider, certainly if one aims to make a dent in the local music landscape. Has this been done before? Is there a certain level of uniqueness? Are we actually good musicians? These are important questions to consider.
All of the above are not necessarily prerequisites. Sure, there are a fair share of garage and bar-bands that can churn out covers and haphazardly string together riffs just for kicks, but if you aim to break away from the pack in Newfoundland and Labrador, you best bring your A-game.
Dare to be Different
Centrefold are a band that checks all the boxes, one that is nearly unrivaled in terms of authenticity and a daring ability to try something a little different.
Their sound is one that the common sonic pallet would have trouble articulating. A mix of emotive noise rock and shoegaze (best characterized for loud droning riffs and waves of distorted feedback that were popularized in the UK in the late 1980s and early ’90s), the band is the brainchild of seasoned local musician Lucas Spurrell, who, alongside longtime friends Michael Lewis and Nicholas Meadus, sister Rebecca Spurrell and sought-after instrumentalist Kieran Dooley (The Analog Age, Lucas Hanrahan and the Shady Oaks), broke into the island’s dense music scene with their debut EP High Stakes.
“I had a specific idea in mind. I had the skeleton, but it didn’t have the sound that it has now until these guys actually put their touch on it,” Lucas shared with The Herald. “I came to them with a skeleton and they put the meat and skin ontop of it.”
“Lucas really kind of wanted to do a guitar-thing. He always played drums, and he came to me when the idea of the band was just a sliver and said he wanted to do a guitar project and asked me if I could do some simple drums ontop of it,” says Rebecca. “That’s really how it started.”
Not content just to pull off a notoriously complex sub-genre, Centrefold’s members predominately tackle instruments outside their comfort zones. Rebecca Spurrell, a trained pianist, takes on drums and vocal duties. Lucas, a respected drummer, switches to guitar, a role he shares with usual bassist Nicholas Meadus (who took on lead guitar duty from Michael Lewis as he pursues an engineering degree), while Kieran Dooley, known for his slick guitar-work, mans the bass.
That’s just another level of depth to a band that operates on a level one would never consider status-quo, and that certainly extends to their live-performance.
“The whole shoegaze term comes from how boring these older bands were on stage. All of us have been trying to fight that stereotype,” says Dooley.
“There’s a song we do, and in this song Nick has a guitar-solo, and I put him in a headlock when we’re playing,” he adds. “I just did it one day, thinking it was funny, and now I do it every time we play. We do weird stuff like that. It’s more fun. We want people to say, yeah, they’re a shoegaze band but they’re not just staring at their feet like a bunch of idiots.”
Centrefold are set to release their debut full-length studio album on April 21st at The Ship in St. John’s, alongside Nicer and Town House. It is the next brave step for a project that has welcomed creativity, and flourished on throwing ideas to the wall and seeing what sticks.
“It’s so natural and easy to come up with ideas,” shared Meadus. “There’s no fear of being judged when you’re coming up with ideas or anything like that.”
For Lucas Spurrell, the bands’ primary songwriter, putting pen to paper provides a creative outlet that he would not normally afford himself in the everyday.
“A lot of the lyrics were things that I would find hard to talk about, but I would still bury it and make it as vague as possible so I was the only one who knew what I was talking about. When I started to do this it was really nerve-wrecking to have anyone else hear them, or to even have someone else sing them,” he said.
“It’s inner thoughts and feelings that I have a hard time telling people, because I tend to be emotionally closed off. This is my way of trying to get over that hurdle and open myself up more.”
For more on Centrefold visit the bands’ official Facebook and Bandcamp pages, and check out their album release show on April 21st at The Ship in St. John’s.