Interview with Ellwood Epps, February 17, 2013
Last Sunday night, CKUT had the pleasure of sitting down in a back room of La Brique with local trumpeter/improvised music promoter Ellwood Epps. The purpose of the chat was to shed some light on the current edition of concerts he is organizing, as well as discussing improvised music, music within the greater cultural sphere of Montreal and the pros and cons of running a loft venue.
Can you give some background on who you are and what you’ve been up to?
I’m a trumpet player, improv player, concert organizer, I’ve been In Montreal for seven and a half years or so and loving it here. 5 years ago I started L’Envers with another trumpet player Philip Battikha, who has since moved to NYC.
What was the story behind that?
L’envers was a loft space on Van Horne in the Mile end area of Montreal. Philip and I had a dream of having a space that was dedicated to improvised music. We were also looking for a place to live at the same time, so everything lined up. The space on Van Horne was the 1st building we walked in to. We visited some more, but we knew that was going to be the place. It was also expensive, we knew to make it workable we would have to build rooms and have room mates. We did that and also did the electricity, built a kitchen and bathtub, all these things to make it livable and suitable for concerts. 3 months later, June 28th 2008, we did our first show. 500 shows later we’re not in the building anymore, due to problems with the law and also with the very high rent. We did eventually move to a smaller space in the same building, but again rents just got too high. Which brings us to now, where we are presenting shows weekly here at La Brique on Sundays. And on Thursday nights we’re presenting concerts at Café L’Artere, also around the corner from here on Parc Avenue.
What’s changed aside from the venue?
We’re doing the same kinds of concerts as we used to, same kind of music. This format has even allowed us to focus more on improvised music