Let’s Be Giants – Interview with Montreal multi-instrumentalist Esther Spiegelman

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“I honestly just want my music to get to the ears that appreciate it.” So says Esther Spiegelman from her home in Montreal. It’s a fairly simple wish, but not always easy in a world over-saturated with music across multiple streaming services.

Having fronted several outfits over her tenure as a singer/songwriter, it was Spiegelman’s assembly of Let’s Be Giants where she found her niche. After recruiting Jeremie Dallaire on guitar, Matt Wozniak on bass, and Simon Pesant on drums, songs Spiegelman had started penning began to take a life all their own.

“It has like a lot of dream pop kind of influences, but I just can’t get away from that nineties kind of grunge sound, no matter what I write, it’s like, It’s tormenting me. Someone recently told me that my album sounds like something of the brainchild of Nirvana and Nick Drake and I was like, whoa, okay, cool. I mean, I’ve never heard that before, but that was nice.”

Let’s Be Giants’ debut album is Fade In/Fade Out and was preceded by the single I Don’t Mind; a song that delves into the core of ‘human spirit,’ and challenges it to leave it all on the dance floor, the subsequent music video is another brainchild of Spiegelman where she found her creativity not only in song and on-screen, but also behind the lens. . The ‘walk, sing, think, speak, cry, cringe, beg, plead, play it out, dance it out, figure it out’ nature of the video is immersive, and its cleverly drawn animated features keep audiences’ interest piqued. Hand-crafted by Spiegelman and her co-director, Dominic Levert, the pair had mere days to assemble the crayon drawings, storyboard the set, determine the appropriate shots, and see their concept through to translate to video.

Citing, and albeit jokingly, they recall never having “worked that much” in a three-day period, the effort pays off in fastidious ways. The detail in post-production with live and animated elements, mingling with the ingenuity of the whimsical indie-rock melody of the song, produces a snapshot in time — from losing it all, but clinging to the aspiration of winning one day again.  

When it came to making the album, it was more of a passion project. “We basically took like almost eight months to get the album together. And obviously, everything was harder cause last year nobody was meeting and everyone was stuck in their house. I’ve been wanting to do an album for a while and most people were saying why are you going to put out an album? Like nobody cares about albums anymore. Everybody just wants to hear singles.

But I’ve been a songwriter for a long time and I wanted to put out an album for so long. And I just felt like now’s the time. But it was a lot of work. I recorded everything on the album basically on my own. And then a lot of it was just getting online with my band and having them send over some parts and resend some parts. But the guitar was recorded in my bedroom pretty much. I love the idea of just having done the album and, you know, just have an album that I’ve worked super hard on.”

Watch the full interview below where we chat with Esther about the importance of albums, the writing process and her favourite venues in Montreal.

Fade In/Fade Out is out now

Interview – Steve Gerrard

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