In Conversation With: I, The Mountain
By Jenna Aquino
Five-piece Canadian folk-pop band I, The Mountain is levelling up after an eventful year of writing, performing and recording new music. Based in Kitchener-Waterloo, the group dynamic features Matthew Lamers, lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist, percussionist Matthew Rappolt, bassist Matt Morgan (yes – that’s three Matt’s and no, the name is not a band requirement), Rory McLachlin on the electric guitar and Allison Dyjach on the keys.
As an added bonus, they’re all natural vocalists who love to harmonize – a strength they use to their advantage during live shows, initiating sing-alongs and stealing the hearts of audiences who can’t resist joining in.
“All five of us sing on almost all of our tracks and I feel like that’s a big part of what classifies us as a folk group. Think of those great folk acts like Mumford and Sons, for example. Their harmonies are so rich and we try to emulate that,” said Dyjach.
The band initially formed several years ago at Trent University, where “the three Matts” let’s call them, began jamming and writing music together. Flash forward a few years, the members not only reunited but acquired Dyjach and McLachlin helping the band evolve as a whole.
“All of our recordings are pretty full. We have lots of instrumentation in them, but when we used to play [as a group of three] it was always just an upright bass, an acoustic guitar and a box drum. We really wanted to get some other members in the mix to try and fill out our sound and to make it a bit more true to what people hear on Spotify. When Rory and Allison came along, you could say we aggressively lobbied for them to join us,” said Rappolt.
The band frequently performs at some their favourite venues including The Cameron House in Toronto and KW’s own Descendants Beer & Beverage Co. to name a few. They have a number of upcoming shows on the horizon, including a show at Starlight on March 7 where they will be playing with another local band, Safe as Houses, as well as at the Elora Brewing Company on June 6.
Good Company Productions' team was thrilled to have them play at January’s pop-up Show hosted by Inspiroue at downtown Kitchener’s Project 220 space.
“The whole experience just felt really special, what with no one knowing who was playing or where to go beforehand,” shared Lamers.
“I’d list that as one of my favourite shows – incredible venue, incredible crowd that was super attentive. Everyone was really there for the music and it showed,” he added.
McLachlin opened up about the band’s pre-show ritual: “we picked this up from a musical duo called Arrest in Peace when we were playing in Ottawa a while back," he said.
"They told the audience to ask the person next to them if they could give them a high five. We started high fiving each other which turned into kind of a clapping circle. We paired that with some of our favourite lyrics from the duo’s songs and now we chant “do what you want” and “you are good enough” while we do it. It always psyches us up."
Though not all of the band’s members are native to Kitchener-Waterloo, they have some early, sentimental ties to the area make it feel especially like home.
“We recorded our first two EP’s at a little studio called The Sound Distillery in downtown Kitchener ... It’s not open anymore, but they were just fantastic. We sent them our demos and they made them into this really incredible sound,” said Rappolt.
Those early EP’s, "Two Birds" and "Land & Sea" were released in back in 2013. Last year, they came back strong with the release of singles including The Boat, Rosa, and I Swam.
Even more recently was the well-timed release of their newest single Winter Blues. This is sure to be another monumental year for the band as they look forward to the release of their first ever full-length album "Little Wild," set to drop in early April 2020. The album’s title track will be available on March 6, along with their first music video.