It’s difficult to imagine Montreal-based trio Afternoon Bike Ride‘s music being loud enough to bother the neighbours. Their debut self-titled album is more like a sonic hug collecting 15 tracks conveying messages of self-love, kindness, community and hope.
There is a strong communal element to the band, who chose to work with multiple friends and collaborators to bring the songs to life. The album features Ryan Hemsworth, Sleepy Fish, Kogane, Naji, Eli Bishop, Santpoort, Aso and Park Bird. I ask them what these artists brought to the project.
“So much individuality that each person has,” says Tanton. “It’s really funny because everybody says that the album has such a consistent sound. And it definitely does because the three of us have a very distinct energy to what we make. But when you go through every track that has a collaboration or a collaborator on it, it’s so distinctly theirs as well as ours. And I mean, personally, I just love everybody’s music who’s been on the album. So it felt like a really good way to just kind of share that space with a lot of friends.”
David Tanton, Éloi Le Blanc-Ringuette and Lia Kurihara met in Montreal and formed Afternoon Bike Ride in 2018. Originally intended as a creative, collaborative aside to their own solo projects (collectively they’ve amassed 100’s of millions of streams), they found the music progressing. They say “We each felt like it was a space to experiment with different sounds than we were typically used to making. As we crafted our songs, we realized that our sound progressed into a more refined and intricate version of our beginnings, letting vocals take center stage on some tracks, involving different instrumentalists, spending more time on sound design, incorporating facets of unexpected genres wherever we can.”
Following EP releases with College Music and Dust Collectors, the project steadily developed throughout 2019 before signing with LA-based label Friends of Friends Music in 2020. ‘Skipping Stones’ EP was released in March, which picked up support on BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music in the UK.
“I think because of the BBC plays, a lot of people hear us, like when you look at who Shazams our songs, it’s a lot from the UK. A lot of our songs don’t have a typical structure or even an obvious hook. And I think people in the UK tend to embrace something that is more forward-thinking before North America.”
On the live front, there is a show scheduled for April 2 at Montreal’s Bar Le Ritz. You can purchase tickets here. But how do they see these mellow songs translating live?
“We worked hard on that. We had to figure out how to play them or how to remake the sounds for a live environment. But I think it’s very soft, but it’s still the way we made it. It’s still engaging. Like we played it for a few people and some of our music friends as well, and everyone seemed to really like how it turned out. It’s also a very different environment when you’re at a show and everybody’s giving off a little bit more energy than if you were just to be sitting at home with your headphones on. And I feel like our songs really toe that line perfectly to where you can really get into them if you really want to, you know?”
Beyond that, the band say they would love to tour the album. Who do they see as their dream artist to go on the road with?
“Oh, there’s a few. We really like Men I Trust. I mean, I don’t want to say too big. Phoebe Bridgers would be amazing, but it’s like the next level.”
You can watch the full interview with Afternoon Bike Ride below.
‘Afternoon Bike Ride’ is out now on Friends of Friends Music
1. Dog Years feat. Middle School
2. Before The Fall feat. Ryan Hemsworth
3. It’s Alright feat. Imagiro
4. Sunday Sketch
5. I Can Only Imagine
6. Terrace Rain
7. Grid Search feat. Sleepy Fish
8. If I Was A Bird feat. Kogane
9. C’était feat. Naji
10. It’s OK, I’m Here feat. Eli Bishop
11. Summer Plums
12. Sprinkler Oasis feat. Santpoort
13. Tomorrow feat. Aso
14. I’m Glad You’re Happy feat. Park Bird
15. Rise Again