2 min

The PepTides light up Glowfair festival

The pop-noir ensemble play the mainstage of the cultural street fair

The Peptides are equally as comfortable with big, dancey pop anthems as they are with soul, jazz and even classically influenced material. Credit: The Peptides

It just makes sense that a massive street party like the Glowfair festival demands a serious party band, and The PepTides fit the bill beautifully. This all-Canadian, nine-piece “pop noir” sensation has been wowing crowds with its intoxicating blend of cerebral lyrics and irresistible dance beats for the last five years and shows no signs of slowing down.

Their latest album, 2014’s Love Question Mark, cemented the band’s reputation as an eclectic ensemble, equally as comfortable with big, dancey pop anthems as they are with soul, jazz and even classically influenced material. For keyboardist Scott Irving, it’s this diversity that keeps The PepTides interesting and relevant.  

“It really is people music,” Irving says. “Sometimes the pop genre can have a vacuous connotation, so we put the ‘noir’ in to show we have fewer boundaries lyrically and comment on humanity in a way that artists can and should. We can mix in art that provokes, art that entertains and makes people dance.”

DeeDee Butters is one of The PepTides’ five singers, a vocal powerhouse whose sense of the visually theatrical adds to the group’s thrilling live shows. Whether she’s sporting a plastic space bubble on her head or decked out in glorious dayglow, this vivacious redhead deftly handles the band’s complex harmonies along with her own standout solos. For Butters, the artistic chemistry with band founder Claude Marquis was apparent the first time they met.

“A friend had told me about Claude, so we sat down and had a kitchen party together,” Butters says. “Five minutes later we were out in the hallway choreographing a disco routine.”

After the group’s fourth album, For Those Who Hate Human Interaction was voted best album of 2010 by the Ottawa Citizen, Marquis scrambled to pull together a larger live band to support his unexpected hit.

“A lot of bands start in the garage and move into the studio, but this one started in the studio and moved into the garage,” Irving says with a laugh.  This new iteration of The PepTides went on to record their EP I’m In Love, followed by Revenge of the Vinyl Café and Love Question Mark. Glowfair audiences can expect a sprinkling of songs from each album, served up with high energy and vivid spectacle.

“We design-specific shows,” Butters says. “Our catalogue is so varied that we can go from soul to jazz to big brassy dance tunes.”

And what can we expect for festival night? Butters laughs. “Big. Brassy. Fun.”