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Pilate Is Headed Back To Australia For A Summer Tour With The Panics.

Pilate Is Headed Back To Australia For A Summer Tour With The Panics.

Who: Pilate

Since forming Pilate, lead singer and lyricist Todd Clark has consistently employed a firm no-nonsense approach while navigating the music industry’s murky depths. When the band’s full-length label debut Caught By The Window releases in the fall remember you read it here first: don’t be fooled by that angelic falsetto.

Clark didn't stumble upon that voice, in fact he received formal vocal training while enrolled at the University of Western Ontario’s music program. “The funny thing about being in a rock band is that I’ve had to unlearn a lot of what I was trained to do as a singer,” says Clark now. “Yet that’s what is helping me as a vocalist. If I’d never learned to do it one way, I wouldn’t have been able to push myself in another direction.” When the New Zealand-born, Unionville native graduated and relocated to Toronto in 1999, he started looking for other players. Ruby Bumrah was second to join after finding an online call for a bassist.

“I had just learned to play,” laughs Bumrah, already trained on viola and violin. “I had picked it up to play with some friends who were in dire need of a bassist. They were impressed I could tune it! I was itching to play in a band when I saw Todd’s ad.” Bumrah turned to his colleagues at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and brought guitarist Chris Greenough into the fold, who in turn invited drummer Bill Keeley to join when Pilate went through a line-up change.

“I’ve been in bands since I was in high school,” says Keeley. “When I joined Pilate I was already playing in another group. Music has always been part of my life whether it be through school or otherwise.” By the time Keeley joined, Pilate already had an EP, the independent, decidedly DIY disc For All That’s Given Wasted. Interest in the band began to build.

“We made that EP and we knew nothing,” says Clark now. “At that time we didn’t feel a need to take any steps towards getting our music out there. We were just getting used to playing. We had to feel comfortable with the situation before we could throw ourselves into the spotlight.” Comfortable with it or not, For All That’s Given Wasted would nudge Pilate into the Toronto club spotlight. Their six song EP was a dark, melodic emotionally fuelled pop disc that put Clark’s heartbreaking voice on display for all to experience. For All That’s Given Wasted would sell out its initial run.

Using the web as best they could, Pilate responded to all email enquiries about the band, promptly adding fans into their database. A particularly high profile opening slot with the UK’s Alfie would prompt one Toronto scribe to write of Pilate: “It’s not too often that you catch a show where more of the audience is there to see the opening act than the main attraction.” By the end of 2002, on the strength of that EP, searing sets at the 2002 NXNE festival in Toronto (for which they were named “Best Unsigned Band” by festival-goers), and after sharing stages with the likes of Sam Roberts, Hot Hot Heat, Matthew Good and Ian Thornley (Big Wreck), Pilate would sign with MapleMusic Recordings in November 2002.

Work on Caught by the Window began in the early part of 2003. The album title is lifted from “End Game” a two-part song that brackets the disc, opening the album as “End Game” before emerging once more at its close as “A Reprise.” Initially sombre and mysterious “A Reprise” turns raucous and almost angry with distorted vocals merging into searing guitars and crushing drums. Together “End Game” and “A Reprise” seem to mirror Pilate’s musical evolution.

The core tracks are an eclectic mix of arresting vocals and genre bending instrumentation that captures each player in his own, glorious light. One moment you can expect a Brit-ennui dreamscape poised to go awry, the next be prepared for a bright, ear-catching pop riff. The thumping, hopeful lead single, “Into Your Hideout,” is drummer Keeley at his best. “Don’t Waste Your Breath” begins like a jam band session that builds and builds. “Collide” is a particular highlight pairing the sublime hushed intimacy of an extraordinary Clark vocal with a crystalline Greenough guitar figure. Greenough showcases his rock chops on “Out On Your Feet” and proves his versatility plucking a banjo on fan favourite “Mercy”. Meanwhile, live onstage, bassist Bumrah approaches the mic more and more, gently imbuing Clark’s lead vocals.

Caught By The Window is a remarkable leap for Pilate, recorded at UmbrellaSound studio in Toronto with producer Jo o Carvalho and mastered by Greg Calbi. Caught is the result of a year of relentless performing and a band’s willingness to take risks and experiment.

“The EP was more melancholic and almost gloomy. This album has a lot of those things in it, but it’s more playful in some ways, more tongue-in-cheek. There’s more hope on this disc,” reflects Clark. “It’s a truer representation of where I am lyrically and where we are as a band.” (this text Copyright 2005 http://www.pilate.com/ )

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