The Olympic Symphonium is a winter band. "The music we play is more suited towards the winter, I think," says Kyle Cunjak, who is, like his bandmates, a multi-instrumentalist. The Fredericton-based band launches its third album---and third winter release---at In the Dead of Winter on Thursday, and at the Shivering Songs festival in Fredericton on Saturday. They had a show lined up at Sackville's less-frigidly named winter music festival Stereophonic last weekend. Due to a blizzard, they never made it.
"I'm starting to realize that we need to release an album in summer," Cunjak says. He lives in Halifax and couldn't drive to New Brunswick in the storm, and part-time collaborator Mike Feuerstack, of Snailhouse (also performing at IDOW on Thursday), was stuck at the Montreal airport. "We had to cancel the show, and that happens a lot. Basically we have this running joke that if we have a show booked in the winter, there's going to be a snowstorm on that day.
"After every winter we try to say, 'No more winter shows,' but then we keep putting out albums in the winter...maybe we find that's the time when people relate to us the most, or that's when we want to play because you're cooped up in your house and want to go out and do something creative."
Winter seems to fuel The Olympic Symphonium's creativity---the new album, The City Won't Have Time to Fight, was recorded over a week last January at an empty house in Fredericton. They describe their music as "chamber pop." The band's arsenal of instruments includes classical guitar, upright bass, lap steel, banjo, violin, cello, drums and percussion.
The City is a "documentation" of the week spent recording. The previous album involved a lot of time spent "tinkering" with the sound, which was "not a process we enjoyed," Cunjak says, and they resolved to get the new album recorded in a more hasty fashion. They chose the house to record to escape both distractions and the atmosphere of recording studios.
"There were different rooms to record in, and you could get all these different sounds, and have space to set up. It also had this kind of creepy feel because it was this abandoned home, and I think that comes across in some of the songs. We used a lot of natural reverb where we set up microphones in different parts of the house," he says. "There's a lot of creaks, and since it was the winter, you can kind of hear the wind blowing and the house moving on some of the tracks."
Three of five band members are the songwriters, all "pretty different," according to Cunjak, and the resulting album is an amalgam of their styles and voices. Cunjak calls The Olympic Symphonium's style "more cohesive musically than lyrically." So if it's not lyrical content that keeps the music together, it must be all the snowstorms they've shared.
The Olympic Symphonium w/Paper Beat Scissors, Thursday, January 27 8:30pm, St. George’s Church, 2222 Brunswick Street, $15-$20, ticketweb.ca