What: Qristina and Quinn Bachand
Where: Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell St.
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 advance (online at www.qbachand.com), $20 at door
With their new album, Little Hinges, Victoria duo Qristina and Quinn Bachand have swung somewhat from traditional folk territory.
Don’t worry, the Celtic/roots music that made them a popular West Coast act is still much in evidence. But this mix of original and traditional songs occasionally takes flight into brave new worlds.
Take the opening number, titled Introduction. It consists solely of 18-year-old Quinn’s spooky-sounding guitar, which sounds like it’s emanating from a deep well. Certainly, it’s a shift from their previous music, or that of fellow Celtic groups such as the Barra MacNeils or The Rankins.
Quinn says Introduction was an experiment conducted by him and Joby Baker, one of the album’s two producers. His guitar was run through a Roland RE-201 Space Echo, a vintage analog delay effects unit.
Baker was able to achieve the distorted sound by manipulating the Space Echo’s tape loop with his finger.
Quinn says he and Baker (who’s produced Grammy-winning tracks) share a love of “f—-ed up sounds,” that is, sonic textures that may sound unusual or avant garde to some.
The teenager, who recently won a $250,000 scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, is in town visiting his parents. He’s joined by Qristina who, as well as being a musician, recently completed a master’s degree in public health in Amsterdam.
Little Hinges is the Bachands’ third album, and their first in four years. Co-produced by Adrian Dolan, it features Qristina on vocals and fiddle, with Quinn playing a battery of instruments including guitar, banjo, electric bouzouki and vintage keyboards: Hammond B-3, Wurlitzer, Rhodes.
On Saturday the duo will serve up some of these new tunes at a concert at Oak Bay United Church. The event also features guitarist Adam Dobres and percussionist Jesse Boland.
Quinn and Qristina say listening to boundary-pushing bands such as Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles and Radiohead influenced the creation of Little Hinges. At the same time, the siblings wanted to avoid making a folk album with a gratuitous indie-band gloss.
Quinn added he sometimes finds so-called “alternative” musicians to be more about style than substance.
“People say ‘indie’ and ‘alternative’ and things like that, but [those labels] are so meaningless … It can be like this guy wearing skin-tight jeans, playing one chord. It’s more about the vibe. I hate that,” he said.
Qristina recently spent three months in Uganda, doing research on infectious diseases. She aims to take a PhD in the field. Ultimately, she hopes to divide her time between being a medical researcher and a professional musician.
Quinn, who has performed with Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, aims to be a musician full-time. He also hopes to teach in the future, following the completion of his four-year degree at Berklee.
As well as performing with his sister, he fronts the gypsy-jazz band Brishen, which in September garnered five nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Brishen didn’t end up winning. However, Quinn was happy to get the multiple nods.
“I was surprised we were even nominated for any them,” he said. “That album clearly wasn’t a folk album.”