Soap-Box Assembly

Soap-Box Assembly isn’t exactly a political band, although you might get that impression from their name. They named themselves after Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, where anyone and everyone is invited to get up on a soapbox (or any other box they have handy) and speak, preach or rant.

“Onstage, it’s like we’re standing on our own soapbox,” said lead singer and guitarist Jonathan Blake. “And the ‘assembly’ stands for the people around us.”

Up there on the platform with him are Tariq Sattaur (vocals, bass), Marc Richard (vocals, sax), and Joel Massinon (drums). Each from a different province, they all met in Montreal and formed the band last year.

Even Blake has trouble describing their sound. “I always feel like other people can tell what our band is better than we can,” he says before settling on ‘folk ‘n’ roll.’

It may not be easy to tell from their upbeat tunes, but much of their music is fueled by angst.

“I think our sound is really defined by what our generation is going through and has to deal with,” he said. “It’s all about finding a place, finding a niche. We’re trying to express some of that. Call it young person angst, but beautiful things come from conflict.”

In their Mile End apartment/makeshift studio in December, they played their catchy track, “Working for the Manic.” Written after the 2008 federal election, it’s about getting people to question their beliefs, says Blake.

“It’s like giving the man the finger, I guess. Well, not really. It’s more like telling them to look at everything around them.”

—Geoffrey Vendeville

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