TRURO – Anytime Jon Hutt has a chance to perform on the same stage as Wintersleep, it’s like homecoming to him.
“It’s awesome, really cool,” said Hutt, who, as one of three members of INSTRUMENTS opened for the Juno award-winning indie rock musicians at The Loft on Jan. 31. “It’s great for them to see us play live and to be a part of our lives. To me, it’s almost the perfect combination. If I could pick someone to share the stage with, it would be them.”
The connection with Wintersleep, a rock band that originated in Halifax, goes back to when Hutt and fellow Cobequid Educational Centre graduate J. LaPointe were bandmates in The Motes with Daniel MacDonald. It was the late 1990s when The Motes were taking a break and LaPointe formed another band, North of America.
Through North of America, LaPointe became acquainted with Brian Borcherdt, who had created the Dependent Music collective, which was very similar to what LaPointe said he was doing with Ant Records in Truro.
“It was through Brian that I heard of a Yarmouth-area band called Kary,” said LaPointe from his mastering studio in Mineville. “I invited Kary to record in my home studio in Tantallon and got to know them through that experience.”
At the time, Paul Murphy was the singer of Kary while Tim D’eon was the guitarist.
“I believe they already had songs in the works for what would become Wintersleep,” LaPointe added.
It was through that connection that Hutt and LaPointe realized that The Motes became an inspiration for Wintersleep, which consists of Murphy, D’eon and Loel Campbell.
“I was inspired by them as well,” said Hutt. “When J and I first made the Motes cassette, we were living in Halifax and taken them to sell at one of the local stores. We were shocked when we went in one day and they were all gone. We were just this scrappy, nerdy, independent band.”
Hutt heard Wintersleep’s first album thanks to a recommendation from another friend, and wanted to see them perform live.
“I fell in love with them and knew they were playing at Dalhousie University. I caught their show and was so impressed by them, I went to say ‘hi.’”
Hutt knew LaPointe was recording with Kary, but didn’t know Kary’s connection to Wintersleep.
“I went to introduce myself to them and they said, ‘you don’t need to introduce yourself. We know who you are.’”
Ever since then, Wintersleep and INSTRUMENTS, which was created 13 years ago, get together as often as they can, with Wintersleep requesting the local band to share the stage.
“Those guys are important, cultural fixtures,” said Campbell about INSTRUMENTS. “We are all fans of theirs. They’re great guys and it always makes for a pleasurable performance.”
Campbell said it’s cool that Wintersleep can facilitate putting the musicians in front of a group of people they know would like INSTRUMENTS.
“It’s always a big surprise to me to be well-received,” in front of a crowd, said Hutt. “It seems like the college crowd is really digging the INSTRUMENTS. With the Motes, we were more of a scrappy pop with some weirdness thrown in, but with this, we’re able to master our sonic force. It’s a bigger kind of sound. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see people grooving out to our music.”
LaPointe says he thinks of Wintersleep as his friends and peers.
“We share the common background of having come from isolated small towns and have spent our lives driven in pursuit of our own paths in music,” he said. “So it feels very comfortable and natural to share the stage.”
To Campbell, the musicians are “very genuine” people.
“They do things from the heart. They are an interesting, incomparable people and should be role models for people everywhere. They were for us.”
Members of INSTRUMENTS, from left, Dan MacDonald, Jon Hutt and J. LaPointe, have been an inspiration to an award-winning indie rock band - Wintersleep. The musicians, from the Truro area, got to open for Wintersleep at the end of January at The Loft in Truro.