Gang Signs strike it rich at Fortune Sound Club

Tapping into passion and outside inspiration hasn't held them back despite not going to school for music.

With their fresh new record, Geist, the band tapped into their horror movie knowledge and paid homage to classic films such as David Croenenberg’s The Fly. The songs smoothly transition from one to the other, with an electronic/new wave sound and a laid-back vibe.

Gang Signs features Peter Ricq, Adam Fink, and Matea Sarenac. On the record, the three musicians grasp at the darkness surrounding the album and bury their sound in it. When playing live though, this trio likes to take things to a slightly happier, more dance-friendly club vibe. The only real exception to their theme is “Tonight,” which was Sarenac’s turn at writing lyrics and melody.

It was a fan favourite at the show, and is also one of the group’s favourite tunes to play in front of an audience. Their live set is a happy mix between their self-titled EP and Geist, which satisfies fans’ cravings for either one. According to Ricq, “Fans ask which one we’re playing that night [and] I reply ‘both,’ so you’ve got to buy both CDs.”

Not a bad business strategy.

All three members have been involved in music from a young age. Ricq grew up learning how to play piano, which he hated, before trying out the bass in high school; Sarenac joined an all-girl pop group named Mystique; and Fink toured around the world after learning to play the drums in his teens.

Although none of the members sought structured training in music — Sarenac remarked that the closest she came to taking music classes was vocal training during her Mystique days — the crowd that came out to support them at Fortune Sound Club proves that you don’t need to have a degree to do something well.

Despite not having gone to school for music, they all agree that it’s not a bad route to take. “[Touring is] like a different kind of music. It’s different when you’re playing in a band for a very long period of time. Especially when you’re on tour because you’re playing the same material all the time for a couple years, and so it doesn’t feel like you’re really growing as a player. Like, the band gets better, I think, but as an individual player, no . . . unless you have time for that,” Fink said.

“Anybody who’s gone to school for music producing, they learn everything about queuing and mastering and sound and how to not make a mix muddy and all that. For me, I’ve been producing music for, I don’t know, 15 years now, and some kids who just did school for like two years are producing way cleaner music than I could ever do. So I would’ve gone [to school for music] if I could [have],” Ricq added.

Fink’s drumming was spot-on during their hour-long set, as were Sarenac’s harmonizing vocals and lead work on “Tonight.” Ricq’s purposeful monotone wove in and out of their sound seamlessly.

They’re currently on tour across Canada, but once that wraps up, they’re heading back to the studio to start work on their next release. Ricq already has some ideas floating around, and is just itching to see what they evolve into.

If they sound like your style, catch them at the Khatsahlano Street Party on July 9.