My Blog__ Montreal Style – Tim Fletcher
photo by Marilis Cardinal
Who better to represent the ever growing musical talent pool in Montreal than Tim Fletcher of the Stills. A charming man who, before leaving the interview, quoted Leonard Cohen with "do what you love and everything else will fall into place." Makes sense doesn't it?
Tim's talent and performance abilities speak volumes when I sit down with him. His modern day greaser look - which everyone and their mom tried achieving after watching the Outsiders - is natural and well suited for a front man of a rock band.
With three full-length albums under his belt Tim is a successful musician with a worldwide fan base located right here in Montreal.
Are you a native of Montreal?
Yes, I was born and raised in Montreal. My parents still live here.
Have you lived anywhere else?
Well, I lived in New York, with some of the guys in the band for, if you put it all together, probably about a year and a half in New York City, in Brooklyn, of course.
Did you like it?
Yeah, it was awesome; I mean it was right after the Strokes and 9/11. It was a supercharged atmosphere and there was a heat-wave the first summer; our band was just starting out and we were writing all these songs. There was a lot of crazy wild energy happening in that town, it was cool.
In your opinion is Montreal a city with good style?
Yeah, what I like about Montreal and what I like about New York is that people are not that uptight about it and they don’t think about it that much. Not to dig on Toronto or Vancouver, but I find that English Canada, some of the cities, they’re into money-fashion, it makes me feel uptight and uncomfortable and separated from them. Class becomes an issue. I don’t feel that fashion (in Montreal) is a class thing; people are more chilled about it and free to express themselves.
Do you ever find yourself mentally complementing people on the street?
Usually, the people that I mentally compliment are punks.
Yeah the skids, punk has never gone out of style!
There’s a certain side to it, where you think like "dude, where did you get the fucking money for that, I mean, come on." I think that the skinhead look is awesome too, I mean you don’t see them around that much…
(I agree because - you can even Wikipedia it - the base of their outfits is simple, clean and sharp.)
If you get a pair of rolled up blue jeans and a pair of dock martins, you’re set. I was watching Romper Stomper the other day, and, I mean, they’re obviously racist skinheads, but man, they look cool.
Do you feel more comfortable dressing up or dressing down?
Well I think I feel more comfortable dressing down really. I like slumming it a lot because otherwise I feel uptight.
New or used? Would you say your wardrobe consists of more vintage stuff, or brands?
Okay, well I think for pants, stuff like that, it’s hard not to buy new stuff, but for everything else is sort of fair game, obviously socks and underwear (we laugh). Lower body wear is usually new, and upper body wear can go either way. You know you can find a lot of awesome stuff at vintage places, shoes too.
Do you have a best find ever; was there ever a time when you found something that was the greatest thing in your wardrobe?
My best find ever, it’s not like a vintage thing, it’s something I bought new, but it’s just got so many holes in it, I should almost bronze it, it’s just a black Levis jean jacket.
(At this time I would like to draw your attention to the lack of elbows below)
photo by Marilis Cardinal
Would you say your closet is mostly color or monotone?
It’s pretty monotone, I like gray, simple. I like minimalism.
Do you prefer dressing for summer or winter?
Well the thing about dressing for winter in this (referring to the arctic-like weather), here (in Montreal), it’s really an annoyance factor. I just want to go out and everything is like a stupid rigmarole and its comfort over fashionability. If you’re trying to look cool in the winter you look like an idiot, because you’re freezing. It’s either that, or you’re wearing a Canada Goose parka and you look like everyone else, or something in between.
Actually no, spring and fall are the best.
Do you have a style icon?
My style icon, I don’t really think about it but if I were to drum up who I think looked cool, on the spot…I think the quintessentially coolest looking band, the band who did it right first, out of all the bands in the world, is the Clash. You can’t dress cooler, and the thing is that they had fun with it and it was part of a message and a political aesthetic. Rebels. It’s awesome. You can’t get more forceful and awesome.
I like The Specials too, I was into wearing tight pants that were too short when I was 14 in high school, you know mod, I couldn’t find tight pants anywhere - unless I ordered them from England - and I didn’t have money to do that and then low and behold, it’s hipster. But they shall not ruin it.
If you were a fictional character which book, sitcom, or movie would you see yourself living in?
Hopefully not Twin Peaks.
(we laugh), I ask if there's a movie he would have like to have been a part of.
It would have been really cool to have been in Sin City.
If you’re life had a theme song, do you know what it would be or what it would sound like?
Well I mean there’s a lot of different theme songs, at some point there would probably be a little Napalm Death and at some point there would be a really cheesy 1980s fusion jazz, for when I’m feeling cheesy, but I think mostly it would be new age feeling.
Can you think imagery in a movie that you find aesthetically appealing, or that reflects you?
I love a lot of movies, I was in film studies, but I think the aesthetic I like the most are war movies. Apocalypse Now, it’s a really frightening movie, but I dig that kind of stuff. I really think Blade Runner is awesome too. And I’m really into Asian movies like Hong Kongand all the actors in those movies; like Tony Leung, he always looks so sharp, he’s a cool dude.
The ad for Holt Renfrew, how did that come about?
The whole way that came about was because of the designer John Varvatos. He’s been a fan of out music and he opened a section in holt Renfrew in Montreal, so he was like the Stills are from Montreal, I’d love to have them play! He’s such a cool guy and such a nice guy, that we decided to do it. After that Holt Renfrew approached us to do a thing (Advertisement), and they’re all really nice people.
I guess I have my issues with it. I know that people have personal shoppers there and it’s really elite. And it’s really, I think that there’s a side to fashion that’s very associated with elitism and upper crust and it’s so symptomatic of what people are lacking in their hearts and souls.
I find that theres a certain negative side of the fashion world. (He references the rumors of Britney Murphey's eating disorders since she's recently passed). And I’m not saying Holt Renfrew is that, and I don’t want to make that association at all, but I’m saying that I think that Wu Tang Klan looks cooler when they started out and they had nothing, they were just in t-shirts and parkas and baggy jeans.
I mean... then they started Wu wear and that’s a thousand bucks for a pair of socks.
Are you biased towards any brands? Do you wear John Varvatos?
It’s hard to afford that stuff, our buddies Kings of Leon, they have a lot of John Varvatos and there’s a reason. But it’s funny because when we did the opening at Holt Renfrew for John’s thing, Oliver had seen a leather jacket, and he was like this is such a cool jacket and it’s so badass, so when we played the show, he went up to John, and he planned his speech, like he had been thinking about it for weeks, and he’s like, hey john, you know this jacket and John cuts him off "just take it, it’s yours".
Is there a go-to store that you have?
A great place to go in Montreal is Jeans Jeans Jeans on De Gaspe. They have a lot of great gray shirts (he points to the one he's wearing), and a lot of cool stuff, and good jeans like Levis, O’Bleak, Cheap Mondays and it’s not overly expensive and it’s a neighbourhoody vibe.
Fashion antics in the band. In the summer you performed at Osheaga, in different colors, and we wanted to know if you fought over who got which color?
It came together really quite easily. Dave was red because in the Don’t Talk Down video he’s the devil, and he’s already got red Doc martins. All he had to do was to buy red pants. And I was like Oh cool, I have these J shoes that are blue, and so I was just like I need to buy a pair of blue pants. And then everyone else just had their stuff..
Photo from CBC blog post here.
Does everyone in their band have their own style, or do you meet up with all stripes sweaters on, or all plaid?
Well, for instance, this is Dave’s sweater. Over the years, me and Dave have definitely shared stuff. I guess we all have a common vibe.
Do you have any other interests, or are you interested in getting into anything else?
I think at this point, while we’re sort of taking a break before we think about our fourth record, it’s given us time to think about other artistic ventures.
In the end, we’re musicians, but there are a lot of other creative avenues out there. Dave and Liam have started a project with Justin (Peroff) from Broken Social Scene, and they’re sort of getting going on that, and they’re working in different way then they do in the Stills. So they’re exploring that.
I’ve been thinking that I’m going to just start submitting poems and stuff, there’s this thing called the Poet’s Market you can just find places to get poems published, and I’m thinking I should just blitz that for the hell of it. Just to keep my flow going.
And I want to start a thrash band, like Megadeth before Dave Mustaine got off drugs kind of vibe. Like 80s thrash, because that’s how I learned to play music.
Hell yeah. We'd listen to that!