Local Calgary band Freak Motif have been around for a little over a decade and it’s there first time playing at the Calgary Folk Festival.
“It’s definitely a milestone for us,” band member Stuart Wershof says, “the festival is such a cool gig for us.”
The band has eight core members but features a lot of guest artists. They have built their connections over the years. “Early on when we started playing live, it opened us up to the big creative scene in Calgary. Rappers, dancers, and artists were coming to our shows and improvising with us. It really connected us to the creative community,” Wershof says.
Improvisation is what sets Freak Motif apart. When they first started out, 100% of their music was improvised. “That was the spark that got the band going,” Wershof explains. “Back in 2009, a guy named Kurt put a call out on Craigslist, looking for musicians to play Funk and Afrobeat, Wershof says, “we went to a jam session on a Wednesday night, and none of us knew each other, and after playing together for a bit one of the guys suggested why don’t we take our instruments and go on a parade? The idea was just crazy enough to work, so we picked up our instruments and went down 17th Avenue and we caught a vibe. There were people who jumped off restaurant patios to improvise with us. It was very weird, very special experience.”
Since then, they have wrote and recorded lots of material but still stay true to their roots. “The goal musically is to create music that connects on an emotional level and makes people feel good, brings people joy, makes them dance, and not think too hard,” Wershof says, “every instrument plays a small but significant rhythmic role, so that no one is doing anything too fancy, we are all trying to be one piece of the puzzle that locks together that creates something beautiful.”
At the festival, for their concert, they plan to play tracks from their most recent album Hot Plate and improvise within those tracks.
“And for the workshops? well we have no idea what’s going to happen!”
Freak Motif plays a session Saturday morning with The Garifuna Collective, Celeigh Cardinal, and Willie Thrasher & Linda Saddleback. They also play another session Sunday afternoon with The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Sam Lewis, and Revel in Dimes.
The most awesome way to experience their music according to Wershof? Live. The second most awesome way? On vinyl. You can pick up a copy of their latest through their website.
The Calgary Folk Festival runs July 25-28. Weekend passes are still available! More information is available online.
Photo Credit: Chris Tait