For L’anarchiste, winning the City Weekly Music Awards Band of the Year title in April 2013 came as a surprise. “We just felt really good about it because we didn’t expect to win, and so we didn’t have this pressure,” says Rob LeCheminant, chief songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist.
But the experience was the key they’d needed to unlock their own potential. It “helped us really get things moving and gave us a lot of momentum,” LeCheminant says. According to Alex Gilvarry (bass, keys, ukulele, vocals), it also helped the local indie-folk quintet challenge themselves to rise to the occasion: Then and now, he says “it makes us want to try harder.”
L’anarchiste has more than made good on that goal in the past year, cutting several impressive notches into their band belt. A successful Kickstarter launched about a month after the CWMAs funded their forthcoming debut full-length album, Giant, which was recorded in September with Nate Pyfer at June Audio in Provo and will be released sometime this year.
In August in San Francisco, during a West Coast tour, L’anarchiste recorded a Daytrotter session, which Daytrotter listed as one of its top sessions of 2013. One of the songs from the session, “Juneau,” was included on Daytrotter’s Best Songs of 2013 list.
While L’anarchiste’s music could often be heard in Utah on KRCL after they won the 2013 CWMAs, it was also popular in the U.K. Through British indie label Choose My Music Records, “Juneau,” was featured on BBC6 and Amazing Radio.
After winning the 2013 CWMAs, L’anarchiste began playing their first shows in Provo, and credit the showcases for helping bands that are limited by geography to discover new fanbases.
“A lot of times, it’s harder for bands to cross over into the other valley for whatever reason, because your friends and stuff are in one,” Gilvarry says.
That’s why the cross-pollination effect of the CWMAs is so important. “I think [the CWMAs] give a chance for bands to make a following elsewhere,” LeCheminant says. “But we were lucky that it helped us break into Provo in a lot of ways. … I feel like we helped kind of connect the cities a little bit, in a way.”
After their tour wrapped up, L’anarchiste released a second EP, titled The Traveler. LeCheminant says the album is “more or less B-sides from [Giant] … but it ended up being really strong on its own, too, so it worked out really nice.”
As for future projects, in the coming year, L’anarchiste hope to get official management, be signed to a record label and tour heavily outside of Utah. They will also perform at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise in March, and are continuing to work with Pyfer to polish the new album.
While L’anarchiste have already proven they’re ambitious—The Traveler had only seven tracks, but clocked in at more than 30 minutes long—Giant sounds like it will be their most monumental undertaking yet. “It’s really diverse,” LeCheminant says. “It kind of melds the two EPs and then it expands upon that, too. It’s a wide spectrum of things. It’s really where we start living up to the name L’anarchiste, which is meant to be a musical statement—like musical anarchy.”
Illustrating the wide range Giant will encapsulate, Gilvarry says there will be “lots of lush orchestration,” but “some of the songs are a lot more punchy and sparse.”
To weave everything together, Gilvarry and LeCheminant explain that Giant will feature recurring melodic themes originating in the titular track, giving it a feel, “on a small level,” LeCheminant says, of a concept record. The “overarching melody,” he says, “gives [Giant] this cohesiveness so it really sounds like an album.”
As L’anarchiste pass the Band of the Year torch to the 2014 winner, they give the following advice:
“They have every reason in the world to utilize that fame and that momentum that they gain from this,” LeCheminant says. “Or, if anything, just notoriety.”