Short Bio #1
The History of Gunpowder is a freak out ensemble from Montreal, now based in Vancouver, with an ever changing cast of members that put on unpredictable, chaotic live shows. A staple of the Canadian scene, the band is back from their headlining European Tour supporting their newly released album, The Epileptic Vol. 1. The History is devoted to constantly pushing the envelope on stage and in the studio and has built a community around them that consists of some of the best musicians in Canada.
The History of Gunpowder is a five-piece, independent and experimental band based in Vancouver. Boasting three studio albums, the group is currently completing their fourth LP, The Epileptic, building on leader Axmo's writing while in India, Vancouver and Montreal. They have been playing shows in Montreal since September 2014, when the current lineup was formed. To support their upcoming full length, they are departing on a European and cross-Canada tour.
The music of The History is couched in traditional blues and played with traditional but highly affected instruments. The band’s extensive use of loops and drones is contrasted by heavy, swinging passages that carry long and winding melodies. Drawing inspiration from blues, soul, jazz, funk and punk, this group emerges as a delicate balance between order and chaos.
Stained Glass, Rye, and Wax; the third studio album released by the band, was the culmination of a move from the experimentation and jazz musings of the first album, Slowness, to a heavier, more dissonant, and boisterous sound. John Julius, writing for Beatroute, had this to say: “After years of depreciating in traditional beauty and appreciating in aesthetic roughness, he has finally hit the point of no return and it is truly glorious.” In 2017, The History was voted #6 in the Top Ten Best Bands in Montreal by Cult Magazine. Sharing the category with good company: Arcade Fire and Half Moon Run.
Most intriguing about this album is the process that brought it to life. While travelling India, Morison rented a small, bare room and began writing. He emerged after a month and travelled to Kerala, where he found a group of Bollywood string players and began recording. The Kerala sessions were fruitful and Alex returned to Canada, packing a hard drive loaded with the strange and complex string arrangements that would instruct the rest of the album. More than eighteen musicians showed up at the 2015-2016 sessions, laying track on top of track, building the songs into monstrous, melody-driven, orchestral cacophonies. During this time Alex was managing The History’s busy gigging schedule and already writing for The Epileptic Volume 1.
The Epileptic Volume 1 was released in the summer of 2019 followed by a headlining European Tour. The album, a single piece of three parts, was met by widespread critical acclaim. Meanwhile, the band’s live performances continue to be untamable in their own right. Since having integrated themselves in Montreal’s thriving burlesque scene, the History’s shows often feature the burlesque and performance artists to ever ambitious compositions.