Raphaelle Standell-Preston: lead vocals, guitar
Austin Tufts: drums, vocals
Katie Lee: keys, vocals
Taylor Smith: bass, guitar, drums, vocals
Braids was formed by four best friends in their last year of high school. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters in Calgary, Alberta. Then the band –still in their teens– took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting what would become their debut album Native Speaker.
Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS’ sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.
The band’s music reflects an extraordinary, deep-seated maturity originating from time spent playing and growing together in their formative years. With an unusually collaborative dynamic, the bond between the four friends (lead vocalist/guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston, drummer/vocalist Austin Tufts, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Taylor Smith and keyboardist/vocalist Katie Lee) remains as impermeable – and remarkable – as ever. BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members’ musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input
On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS release the product of these labours, Native Speaker, a coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature for a young band just getting started. Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band’s entrancing live performance. The albums’ songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speaker maintain a deep seeded focus.