Bernice Share New PASSENGER PLANE Video, Plus Announce US Tour Dates
In May of this year, rising Toronto experimental pop group Bernice released their Polaris Music Prize-longlisted album Puff: In the air without a shape - the minimalist follow-up to 2017's maximalist, Grammy Award-winner Shawn Everett-produced Puff EP - which garnered critical attention from from its first single "Glue", which Stereogum lauded as both "gorgeous" and "surprising" and Pitchfork praised, noting that though Bernice's enigmatic sound is difficult to categorize with traditional genre labels, "reinvention continues to be one of few constants in Bernice's music, and they're all the more interesting for it," through the latest offering "He's The Moon," grabbing the attention of the New York Times who proclaimed it to be "a monument to ephemerality."
Today, Bernice return with the serene, dreamlike video for album track "Passenger Plane" along with the announcement of new US Tour dates. Directed by Ayisha Gariba, the new visual, featuring Alpacas, citrus, bubbles, and lush Canadian greenery, perfectly bottles the phantasmal and carefree atmosphere of the song.
"We didn't really have much planned before we started shooting, and although that is usually the recipe for a chaotic shoot, this was the exact opposite. I think everyone wanted the shoot to have a relaxing vibe and it did," Ayisha Gariba says. "In terms of the vision, all that I really wanted to achieve was a video that was a little weird and so pretty that people would kind of forget how weird it was. I wanted to make sure that no one (including me) was ever taking anything too seriously during the process of making it, and I hope that no one takes it too seriously while watching it either. I just want people to get lost in this magical place with alpacas and bubbles for a few minutes," they continue.
"What could be better than a day with Shelley and her Alpacas?" rhetorically asks Bernice principal singer/songwriter Robin Dann. "She and her love for her long necked and deeply dopey herd were very, very sweet to behold and a perfect setting for a song about the city at night, old heartache resurfacing, and feeling like a speck in the universe. Ayisha brought bubbles and that helped too."
Sometimes "I still feel sad about stuff that happened a long time ago. It's hard to let go of things, and actually, the pain of experience is something that makes me feel more myself so I am protective of it," Dann previously explained of the meaning and inspiration behind the song. "Memory can feel like an alien at times, dropping down to overtake me. Biking along Dundas St past a night-time sidewalk celebration. Night time clouds, and the closeness in the city to strangers living full lives in strange parallels with our own," adding that "the pitched-up vocal was a happy accident!"
BERNICE TOUR DATES:
Nov 30 - Syracuse, NY - Spark Arts Space
Dec 01 - Boston, MA - Lilypad Artificial
Dec 03 - New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
Dec 05 - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb's
Dec 06 - Brooklyn, NY - Alphaville
Dec 07 - Baltimore, MD - Joe Squared
Dec 08 - Washington DC - Vinyl Lounge
Dec 10 - Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe
Dec 11 - Bloomington, IN - Bishop
Dec 12 - Cincinnati, OH - MOTR
Dec 13 - Kalamazoo, MI - Shakespeare's Pub
Dec 14 - Guelph, ON - E Bar
Dec 15 - Hamilton, ON - Mills Hardware
+ More US Dates To Be Announced Soon
Puff: In the air without a shape is Bernice tackling pop minimalism; the stripped-down album touches on jazz as much as the enigmatic mix of pop, electronic, and R&B with their unique air of playfulness. Sitting between Enya, Julia Holter, Chairlift, and Deerhoof where clear vocal melodies fly kites over spare arrangements, Bernice's new album attempts to mimic the playful intimacy of the band's live show.
"Our goal was to capture how we really sound," says Robin Dann of the new album, which also features new takes on EP standouts "David" and "St Lucia"."Some people in a room, playing music together."
Recording the album to tape at Breakglass Studios in Montreal (with the exception of "He's The Moon" and "Passenger Plane"), the band fell in love with the open spaciousness of the studio and how much it allowed them to connect whilst performing. "The vocal booths have sightlines to the band room through windows. We did live takes of each song to tape. We could look at each other, try different things, mostly we got each song in a few takes," said Dann of the recording process.
More About Bernice:
Bernice, the project of Toronto-based vocalist/songwriter Robin Dann, blends "melodies reminiscent of artists like Sade with the playful sounds of artists like Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors" (Pigeons & Planes). Dann, the daughter of two symphony orchestra performers, is a trained vocalist with a Masters in Music from Goldsmiths, University of London, and her band - Thom Gill (keyboards/samples), Felicity Williams (vocals), Phil Melanson (percussion), and Dan Fortin (bass) - features active members of Bahamas, Owen Pallett, Leif Vollebekk, and DIANA.
Formed in 2010, the band's first release, What Was That, landed in 2011 and saw critical praise from Exclaim Magazine and Globe & Mail. Bernice performed shows with Colin Stetson and supported Tegan & Sara on tour. In 2016, the band returned from a residency at the Banff Centre, and supported the release of two singles, "St Lucia" and "Don't Wanna Be European", with a series of performances at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Bernice started 2017 by supporting Martha Wainwright on tour across the UK before returning home where Dann wrote a bespoke composition for choreographer Ame Henderson's production of Toronto Dance Theatre's NOISY. The band was then invited to Miami to support Angel Olsen for Red Bull Sound Select's 3 Days In Miami festival.
Puff, a 5-song EP, was released in June '17 to resounding critical acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR, Zane Lowe, and The Fader. Stereogum and Exclaim named the release as one of the 'Best EPs of 2017'. Puff was produced by Grammy Award-winner Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius) and Matt Smith (Owen Pallett). The release was supported on tours with Charlotte Day Wilson and The Weather Station.
Bernice followed the maximalist EP with minimalist sophomore album Puff: In The Air Without A Shape released in May '18 on Arts & Crafts. Continuing their enigmatic exploration of pop, jazz, and R&B, the new album attempted to mimic the playful intimacy of the band's live show. The album was called "a monument to ephemerality" by the New York Times and received a long-list nomination for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.