words + pictures / KEEGAN HUGHES
“Kitten storm cloud.”
“Glitter-infused jelly on toast.”
Do these phrases speak to you?
If you’re intrigued, consider checking out Sparklesaurus.
The four-piece Ottawa-based band has been pumping out tunes best described by the above phrases for the past couple years.
Felicity DeCarle and Shamisa Schroeder, the lead singer/guitarist and keyboardist respectively, played in bands together starting in high school. They eventually met their bassist, Colleen Jones, while playing in their family bands at a music festival outside of Ottawa. The final piece of their band was originally a session drummer, brought in to help them record a song. He turned out to be Brad Lapensee, who Jones had previously met and jammed with at a house party.
Finding a genre that encapsulates the band’s sound is a difficult task. Influences come from everywhere. Psychedelia, indie rock, pop, and blues from all sorts of musical eras are cited.
When describing the band’s sound for promotional material, DeCarle says she wants to “paint a picture of what it sounds like.”
Once assembled, the band clicked. They spent as much time performing as possible, sometimes playing more than show a week. This made them plenty of money (or as much money a band paying small venues can make) and helped the band mesh.
From Live! on Elgin, to House of TARG, to little Irish pubs in Hamilton, Sparklesaurus has played anywhere that will have them. They have a hard time picking a favourite venue.
“Every [venue] has good people,” says DeCarle. “When you go to one, you start thinking about the sound techs and the bartenders.”
A big part of playing so many shows, especially at local spots, is the amount of enjoyment the band pulls from the experience.
“It’s hard to have a bad time when you’re having a good time,” says Lapensee.
The band is no stranger to festivals, and had a blast at Bluesfest in 2017. MEGAPHONO, an Ottawa-centric festival with plenty of local acts, is coming up in February with Sparklesaurus on the bill. DeCarle says she finds that friends and family are often more willing to come see the band when it plays at big events like these.
“I’d have people say to me like “Whoa! You got into Bluesfest!” says Decarle. “People would rather pay 50 bucks for a big show [rather than come see a local one].”
Many people just aren’t acutely aware of the Ottawa music scene, but Sparklesaurus would like to see that change. Even in the cold weather there is room for everybody to come out to a show.
“If you come, you’ll have a good time,” says Jones. “We put a lot of effort into what we do, we’re not gonna half ass it.”
“We’re gonna whole ass it,” laughs Lapensee.
Currently Sparklesaurus has one EP available for download: Perennials. The five-song package released in 2016 to some praise from local publications. The effervescent synth and guitar combo enchanted listeners as moody-but-dreamy vocal harmonies kept it grounded.
In December, the band got together to lay down a whole new LP. Over a period of seven days the quartet met in Jones’ living room to tape-record the album. They chose to use tape, regardless of its limitations, because it would provide a “live, off-the-floor sound,” according to DeCarle.
According to the band, their self-titled effort will be released at some point during this spring. Expect digital formats, as well as vinyl editions.