Acoostic Sessions: Live musical performances done in and around Montreal.
We felt we needed to bring out the big guns for the season finale of Acoostic Sessions season two, and one band has been on the lips of many people we meet on Montreal’s streets: Po Lazarus.
On the back of their unique sound, dynamic live show, and releases like EPs Po Lazarus (2014) and O Body (2017), debut album Ways To End The Night (2016), and Christmas track “Meet Me Under Mistletoe Tonight,” Po Lazarus have developed a healthy reputation as one of MTL’s finest up-and-coming groups.
The band has been together in some formation since 2010. Founded in Montreal, it started as a duo with Josh Carey and Paul Mascarenhas, but has been a four-piece since 2014. Now the line-up boasts another Josh (because you can never have too many), Josh Grant on drums, and Greg McEvoy on lead guitar.
We were able to sit down with Josh Carey and Paul whilst filming the guys at Angus McDoogal Alley in the Plateau-Mont-Royal.
You chose an alleyway called “Angus McDoogal Alley” in the Plateau. But that’s not its official name, YOU guys gave it that name. There has to be a story behind that?
Josh Carey: We call it Angus McDoogal Alley because a dog walked by and its owner said his name was “Angus McDoogal” (laughs). And thus ever since its been that name for us. No idea if that alley has an actual name, as most do not (laughs).
Is the name “Po Lazarus” from the chain gang song featured in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Why that name?
JC: It’s an old folk song. An epic tale of a criminal hiding in the mountains, until the deputies get him. Foretelling our ultimate demise possibly…
You performed songs for Acoostic Sessions from your last two releases; “I’ve Been Sitting Here (All Alone)” from debut album Ways To End The Night and “Student Body” from EP O Body. How do those two records differ, apart from the obvious, and how has life changed for Po Lazarus in the year between those releases?
Paul Mascarenhas: The two songs differ in that the first was created acoustically with one guitar and a voice and was one of the first songs we wrote. It survived the test of time and made it onto our debut album years later.
The second came out of more of a band setting and in fact is a much more danceable song. The LP and the EP were released only a few months apart but are indeed quite different. We recorded them at different studios with a different sound engineer. Also, it took almost a war to record the LP whereas the EP was done within a few weeks because of deadlines with the studio. We had a rambunctiousness behind the newer tunes and were more savvy about how to record because of our experience with WTETN and therefore they have a much different feel. Not the same drummer on the LP also, which leads to a different vibe.
How do you reach the decision to release an album or an EP? Do you set out to do either, or do you have a collection of tunes you want recorded and released ASAP, and the amount of tunes you have dictates the format?
PM: We are always working on new material and recording them is obviously the end game. It’s simply a question of having them polished enough to our satisfaction and then accruing enough money to get to the studio process.
How has Montreal nurtured Po Lazarus? What has this city given you that no other could?
PM: Josh and I are both from the south shore of Montreal, and we always enjoy getting out into nature and strumming the guitar. But the city is vibrant and is somewhat of a muse for us. Montreal is a wonderful music hub and definitely a good place for artists due to low rent and things like that (laughs). Lots of competition to keep us on our feet as well.
To keep up with Po Lazarus, and to see find information for upcoming shows, check out polazarusband.bandcamp.com and be sure to like their Facebook page (facebook.com/PoLazarusMusic) and follow them on Instagram (@po_lazarus).
Words – Zac Strevens
Cameras – Zac Strevens & Peter Thompson
Editing – Peter Thompson
Audio – Zac Strevens & Peter Thompson
Direction – Zac Strevens