“If you haven’t caught a glimpse of Lakes of Canada, don’t worry – you probably will. Fresh out of the studio, the band is winning Montreal over with its warm, folky tunes.”
-The Montreal Gazette
“Frontman Jake Smith was, at all times, sweaty and captivating, singing with his whole mouth, his whole body; when he walloped his guitar for percussive purposes you felt it was going to splinter.”
“They’re like a Canadian Fleet Foxes. I’m a sucker for random instruments, and boy did they deliver on those.”
Lakes of Canada began in Montreal in the summer of 2010 when best-friends Jake Smith and Conor O’Neil began performing Jake’s songs as a duo. The duo soon added the dynamic Chris Barillaro to their group, adding his voice and piano playing to their already expanding sound, as well as guitar-expert Tim Dobby. Described as “a cross between Fleet Foxes and Simon and Garfunkel” (Ottawa Sun), Lakes employs lyrically driven songs rich with vocal harmonies.
Fresh out of Foxhole Studios, where the band recorded their debut full-length album “Toll the Bell” (for which they raised over $10,000), produced by Christopher Fox of Montreal-based Folly & the Hunter, Lakes is gearing up for the spring and summer festival circuit. Having added a fifth member, cellist Quinn Brander, to their ranks since their Summer 2010 tour, Lakes have changed and grown significantly since the release of their EP Broken Mirrors (Spring 2011) and are excited and encouraged by all the positive feedback. Recently Chris Barillaro was replaced by organist Gwen Bergman, who also plays Harp and Flute. Gwen’s addition to the group has expanded their sound even further and they are already putting together songs for their sophomore album. Lakes of Canada recently won the Greenland music “Band of the Fringe” award at the 2012 Montreal Fringe Festival, and also played NXNE. Having recently played 3 packed shows at POP Montreal, Lakes are currently putting together material for their sophmore album. Lakes of Canada are excited to play at CMW this year and to return to NXNE in June.
Fleet Foxes, Simon & Garfunkel, Sufjan Stevens, The Beach Boys, CSNY, Lucius, Dry The River, Mumford & Sons.
Fleet Foxes meets Sufjan Stevens meets CSNY meets Mumford & Sons.
Members of the Band
Jake Smith (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Charango, Ukulele, Songwriting, Sleighbells) Started singing at the age of 6 and went on to sing in competitive small ensembles and choirs. Studied as a soloist (with Bill Reed, Chuck Schneider, Lauri Young, and Amy Williams) from 16 on and Majored in Musical Theatre Performance (with a double minor in Psychopathology and Classical Literature) at Wagner College in NYC. He played clarinet in the VYO for several years and later picked up Piano and then Guitar. He sings as a Tenor section leader in the world renowned Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir under the direction of Stephen Glass. He has studied guitar with Tim Dobby and also has taught himself Ukulele, Charango, and Mountain Dulcimer.
Conor O’Neil (Vocals, Drums, Glockenspiel, Vocal Arrangements) began his lifelong love-affair with music at age 5. Nearing the end of his Master’s Degree in Music Composition for Film and Other Media at Université de Montréal, Conor can barely remember where this crazy journey all started. He sings in a choir with Jake in which he is a section leader (baritone). He also sound-designs theatre: credits include “Mental Floss” (Feb 2010) and “Shades of Grey” (June 2010), the latter winning the Frankie Award for Best Production Design. He also occasionally scores film.
Tim Dobby (Vocals, Classical and Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Drums) began studying guitar at age ten at the McGill Conservatory, with Nick Di Tomaso. After graduating from Marianopolis College, where he was awarded the Gerald Wheeler Prize for Music, he completed his undergraduate studies on scholarship in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California under William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, James F. Smith, and Pepe Romero. In addition to private teaching and performing, Timothy is presently on faculty at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he also received his Artist Diploma studying with Dr. Garry Antonio.
Quintinius Norin (Vocals, Drums, Cello) started playing cello at age 9, and was told that he had started music too late to be any better than a middling cellist. He was self taught for the first 4 years, but learned to read music very well because of it, as he was entirely reliant on scores for musical direction. Quinn attended Lord Byng’s Arts Mini School where he was a member of the Honour String Orchestra and the Lord Byng Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Vancouver Academy Orchestra, and in Grade 12 his Symphony No. 1 was performed by the Lord Byng Symphony, and his piece Awake in the Night was performed by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Quinn went on to attend Mcgill’s Schulich School of Music for two years studying composition, and now he is a freelance musician, playing with a number of Montreal bands including the Lakes of Canada, and practising absurd amounts of cello every day. Quinn regularly performs, more or less from memory, all 6 bach cello suites.
Gwen Bergman (Vocals, Piano, Organ, Flute, Harp, Glockenspiel, Various Percussion) began her musical studies in piano and voice when she was four; flute, piccolo, harp, percussion, and finally the organ were soon to follow. After being awarded first place at the national level of the Canadian Music Competition for organ in 2006, she became a colleague of the Royal Canadian College of Organists the following year. In 2011 she was awarded her ARCT in flute from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music (with a double major in Organ Performance and Music History) from McGill University, having studied under Dr. John Grew and Prof. Hans Ola Ericsson, and will begin her Masters in Organ Performance in the fall of 2012 with Prof. Ericsson. Gwen is also currently studying voice privately with Jonathan Patterson, and sings with Voces Borealis under the direction of Michael Zaugg.