this is an archival site of the band sofa (1993-97) whom were making music out of montréal and released a vinyl only 7″ single and full length CD on the nascent constellation records (cst001 and cst002) in 1997 and disbanded five months later. the audio and video on this site are artifacts of the band’s output prior to their constellation releases. the tracks made available here for the first time in 15 years are from two self released cassette only albums entitled Town Unsafe and Record, both from 1995. they were all recorded live to DAT straight off the floor with no overdubs by paul drouhin in his loft on rue St. Laurent. the songs were remastered by harris newman in 2006.
the single new era building and the full length grey are both available from constellation, shops worldwide, itunes et al. for more information visit the sofa page at constellation.
Sofa was a band from 1993 – 1997. Based in Montréal for their tenure as a working group, the 4 members: ian ilavsky, brad todd, keith marchand and scott clarkson, wrote and played for the most part in a state of semi-obscurity. The music scene of the mid to late 90’s was not especially sensitive to work which went beyond the adolescent and grunge-inflected bombast of the moment, and in Montréal this was no exception. The band found themselves with little or no contemporary peers interested in exploring some of the further reaches of the indie canon, and looked on from the outside as the city’s insular scene valorized a more comfortable brand of expression firmly rooted in the fashions of the day. Interested in a more damaged form of art-rock and informed by some of the darker elements of Factory and SST era labels, Sofa began to craft unusual hardcore and post-punk influenced work, often coupled with melancholic and yearning pop-like songs. This schizophrenic approach to making music was as much a hazard of “learning” to be a band as it was a testament to the notion that music, or more correctly, a musical group, could convey this broad spectrum of emotions and psychological states without “branding” the band as either a “heavy” or “pop” group. Invariably, this led to problems finding sympathetic bands to play with, and any support from outside the inner circle ranged from the indifferent to mildly curious (the odd devotee notwithstanding). Writing, playing and discarding material on a feverish basis led to a kind of interior logic of expression (and despair) within the group which resulted in a string of releases, only one of which would see the larger light of the world beyond their mile-end / plateau neighborhood. The two cassette only releases were pressed in editions of 50 and 100 respectively, in the hopes of securing some further interest in regards to a label or airplay, (as Sofas work had never penetrated beyond the icy limits of the city) – neither of which would come to pass.
The end came sooner than anticipated. The impetus for a new album was born out of the necessity of committing yet another batch of songs to tape, but was realized only after Ian began to sculpt plans with Don (Wilkie) to create a homegrown label to put out some of the nascent local music just starting to emerge. The label was ideally going to answer a number of the problems that had plagued the band for years, namely distribution of the music beyond the confines of the local scene, as well as the fostering of a sense of community, one in which Sofa could perhaps finally participate.
Upon recording their final album, Grey, the band embarked on a couple of small tour’s, the first of its kind for them, which brought them to Boston, Toronto and New York, giving them a brief and final taste of what could have been. After battling for a number of years for any kind of wider visibility and indeed acceptance, the band finally imploded out of sheer frustration with their lot, a mere 5 months after releasing their “debut” album.