Free Punk, a New Musical Genre

Peregrine Falls To Introduce Free Punk To Montreal’s Music Scene

  • Photo courtesy of Webster Media.

Peregrine Falls is a Vancouver-based instrumental duo composed of drummer Kenton Loewen and guitarist Gordon Grdina. The musicians mix their musical backgrounds in jazz and heavy rock to create a rousing musical combination with an improvisational feel. Their unique sound is difficult to place in a single generic category, so the duo coined their own genre and called it “free punk”.

Their EP Two Fish, released last year, received praise from a number of people, including CBC producer Brad Frenette, who described it as “a soundtrack to a Guy Ritchie film that Guy Ritchie hasn’t made yet.”

The songs on the EP are hard-hitting and energetic. They contain skillfully performed melodies, ripping guitar solos and powerful drum beats. The duo is currently about three quarters of the way through producing their first full-length album with Juno-nominated producer Jesse Zubot. Before putting out the new album, however, they are heading east in the next few weeks to play shows in Montreal as well as Ottawa and Toronto.

Gordon Grdina had lots to say about Montreal, the band’s upcoming shows and album, and the mysterious term they use to describe it.

“This project is gaining a lot of momentum and we wanted to be able to come back to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto fairly quickly. We came last fall and we were looking forward to coming back and building on the audience and fan base we had on those last shows. That and keeping the energy and the music alive,” said Grdina.

Indeed, the Vancouver duo is very passionate about the energy they transmit through their music. PopShifter.com has described Peregrine Falls as “gritty, hard hitting, in your face,” but Grdina claims there are other elements to what their music is about.

“Our music gets described as gritty and dirty and all that but sometimes it gets misrepresented as really aggressive, where I feel like it’s more energetic than that,” explained Grdina.

“We always feel that aggression is this male, dominating kind of angry feeling, where as our music doesn’t come from that. It’s coming out of a more loving, excited and joyous kind of feeling. It just comes through in a more gritty kind of way.”

Grdina stated that their music is about inspiration, a love of being alive and just letting those feelings out as openly and as loudly as possible.

The way he describes the band’s energy greatly helps to understand the term they use in order to define their genre of music.

“Free punk is the name that makes the most sense to me. Our music is free and open but conceptually it’s totally coming out of punk,” said Grdina.

According to Grdina, a lot of punk music has radical lyrics and energy, but is quite formulaic when it comes to the actual music.

“Especially with the newer pop-punk music emerging in the early 2000s, there are the really simple melodic things that are happening and simple chords and that’s not really true punk music to me.”

Peregrine Falls takes the punk vibe and frees it from its strict generic melody by mixing in improvisation and liberating guitar solos.

“I’ve always felt like a lot of the punk music out there should have a lot more freedom in it and a lot more melodic interest in it and stuff that’s more dense. So that’s why our music is kind of like punk music, but free and open.”

Grdina says that we can expect the same musical vibe as the EP Two Fish in Peregrine Falls’ first full-length album.

“The aesthetic of it is sort of coming from a ‘rock’ idea and how we’re going about it in the studio is also coming up from our rock roots, but the improvisation and the experimentation is still there.” In fact, improvisation and experimentation are an important part of Grdina’s musical background.

“I started playing rock music when I was like nine years old and then got into blues and jazz. I went to university to study improvisation and studied in New York too. Once I got out of university I started playing a lot more rock again.”

Loewen and Grdina have been playing music together for more than a decade, but Peregrine Falls is their first project as a duo.

“It’s our eleventh year making music together; we had our ten-year anniversary together last year. In basically every band we’ve played since we’ve met, we’ve played together.”

When the duo began, it was called PinkBrown. Loewen and Grdina had to change the band name because other bands had similar titles. “We were almost killing each other coming up with a new name,” Grdina said.

Peregrine Falls is excited about the upcoming events in their musical career, including coming back to Montreal.

“I’m looking forward to having some bagels and some smoked meat sandwiches,” Grdina said. “I love coming to Montreal; there’s a great vibe there. I love the people and the energy. We’ve also got lots of friends in the improv music scene as well as the rock scene. […] We’ve got some great bands, I hope, that will be playing with us.”

Peregrine Falls // Feb. 22 2015 // La Vitrola (4602 St-Laurent Blvd.) //10 p.m

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