Nuance Beats 

The New Deal a natural progression to success

Who: The New Deal

Where: Garibaldi Lift Co.

When: Feb. 4

The New Deal plays off one another to obtain their breakbeat sound.

"We’re constantly moving on stage and play to the audience. Everything we do is improv on stage, (which is) intense and exhausting, but it constantly makes us think," says vocalist and bass player Dan Kurtz. "We’ve always worked on the nuance level."

The band has been through enough music playing years – 25 years each for Kurtz and drummer Darren Shearer, keyboardist Jamie Sheard has 15 years experience.

With backgrounds in a plethora of musical styles, they’ve settled in for a genre, which has both structure – in repetitive beats or loops – and un-structure, through total improv play.

"We’ve all been in a variety of bands previously, including rock and funk. Then once we played together and taped it live, The New Deal got rolling," says Kurtz.

"Most of our shows and songs are improv. Back to The Middle, a track from the latest album, was actually recorded at that first show."

From local to global; from the single Technobeam to Self-Orbit, The New Deal evades a kind of style.

"We really started playing in the basement of the Wetlands bar (which has now closed down in New York’s Tribeca area)," says Kurtz. "Music has always been a strong thread through our lives. Jamie and I did history and English degrees at McGill. But the kind of music we make can’t really be taught."

They have played 32 shows to date in New York, including a CMJ presentation at the Chelsea Hotel, recorded by David Wisdom of CBC’s Radiosonic. The New Deal has opened for Gil Scott-Heron, Big Sugar, Dimitri from Paris, and the National Art Gallery in Canada. College shows played include the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta last November, in addition to Vancouver nightclub Sonar, the Gastown watering hole in Vancouver.

On the Area One Tour at the Docks in Toronto, 2001, The New Deal played with Moby, Victoria-born Nelly Furtado, and Incubus. Larger festivals are familiar territory, having done a stint on the polo fields at Palm Springs’ Coachella Festival in 2001 for a crowd of 60,000.

"To me that’s really a festival, headlined by Jane’s Addiction and Fatboy Slim. It was a great experience when we were playing in this corner of a stage, and slowly these people started looking our way and coming over to listen," Kurtz says excitedly.

The band’s mandate is to work with the crowd, so "if they want to get out there and dance all night, we’re going to play along with that."

The self-titled The New Deal album is the band’s third production, but there’s another album in the works at Jive Electro Records in New York.

Kurtz spoke about the deal for The New Deal.

"We were growing up so fast and then all of a sudden there was a group of people exposed to our music. There was a little frenzy with the Toronto record labels, and I guess they were excited that here were these guys making our kind of music, and they could put a name to a face," he says.

"With our music experience we wanted to sign with a label based in the U.S., and Neil Harris, head of A & R in New York at Jive Electro, signed us."

The album was recorded live in Atlanta, Ithaca, NY, Northhampton, MA and Montreal. Sound finishing was at Kurtz’s house, Metalworks and Iguana Studios. Guest musicians on the New Deal album are Cathy Craig on trumpet, Antonia Whyatt on vocals, and Genevieve Makinson on vocals.

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