Treefort 2023 Profile: Montreal’s Teke::Teke

What is almost definitely the most highly anticipated edition of Treefort Music Fest kicks off this week, and it is our honor to bring you an interview with one of the bands that music lovers are most excited to see perform, psych-rock luminaries Teke::Teke.

The seven-piece band takes something of a kitchen-sink approach to making tunes. They incorporate distorted guitars, drums, trombone, flute and more instruments to create an idiosyncratic yet thoroughly dynamic mixture of Japanese rock and surf rock.

Hailing from Montreal, they are the 20th band to participate in the Bad Penny’s ongoing series profiling international artists coming to Boise to play the state’s best and brightest music festival, Treefort.

Teke::Teke not only have an ardent following but critical praise too. Their last album, 2021’s Shirushi, landed on the long-list nominations sheet for the Polaris Music Prize, which is bestowed to the Canadian artist that puts out the best album of the year. The timing of their Treefort appearances works out especially well, as the ensemble has its follow-up, Hagata, set for release June 9 on Kill Rock Stars.

Teke::Teke encompasses Serge Nakauchi Pelletier on guitar, Etienne Lebel on trombone, Ian C. Lettre on drums, Hidetaka Yoneyama on guitar, Yuki Isami on flute and synths, Mikhail Stein on bass and Maya Kuroki on vocals. The group chatted with us about their expectations playing Treefort — and even stepping foot in Idaho — for the first time.

[Go here for a primer on this series of Treefort Music Fest previews. Check back for new profiles of international artists playing the festival every day leading up to the fest’s kickoff Wednesday.]

Artist: Teke::Teke
From: Montreal, Canada
Genre: psych-rock
Treefort info: Playing Friday at El Korah Shrine at 8:10 p.m., Saturday at Bandshell at 7:50 p.m.

Why did you decide to play Treefort Fest this year?

TEKE::TEKE: We had heard a lot of great things about Treefort and knew some bands who had played there. We were stoked to be offered a show and are super-excited!

What excites you the most about participating in it?

TEKE::TEKE: We love a good festival, and we’re honored to be part of this incredible lineup.

Is this your first time playing Treefort? If so, how did your booking come about? If not, why did you choose to return?

TEKE::TEKE: This is our first time at Treefort. We got an invitation to play, it was a no-brainer. We made sure we could make this work. It will be a great reunion as well, since our label president [Slim Moon of Kill Rock Stars] will be there along with our U.S. agent.

Have you visited Boise/Idaho before? If yes, do you have any fun stories to share? If not, what have you heard about Boise/Idaho?

TEKE::TEKE: We’ve never been to Boise, Idaho. This is a first for all of us. We’re always excited to discover new places and learn a bit of the history behind them. Please send restaurant recommendations!

Did you face any challenges or headaches in securing a visa to come here?

TEKE::TEKE: No, not at all, as we already had an active American visa, valid until 2025. So it worked perfectly. The cost and process of the American visas for international acts is a whole other story, though!

What expectations do you have for your experience here and at Treefort?

TEKE::TEKE: We expect good times! We think the festival’s setting is ideal for people to enjoy a performance by TEKE::TEKE.

How would you describe your state of mind going into Treefort?

TEKE::TEKE: I’d say we always want to go into festivals, and any shows for that matter, with the same level of enthusiasm. We’re just excited to play and share our music with people. We’re pumped for Treefort and very much looking forward to it.

What other artists on the Treefort lineup are you excited to see? Are you friends with any of them?

TEKE::TEKE: It’s an amazing eclectic line-up! We obviously know Montreal-band Godspeed! You Black Emperor, our friends and labelmates Big Joanie are there too… I would love to catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Protomartyr, Kae Tempest, Pinback … Hopefully we’ll get to see some of them. 

What do you enjoy most about performing at music festivals in general?

TEKE::TEKE: The festivals we’ve been to and that we enjoy the most are usually run by local communities, with ecological awareness and inclusivity. It’s also nice when it is outdoors, to be in natural settings, in a forest or a beach — as long as it is, of course, respectful of its environment.

Then you have the audience, which is usually pretty festive and energetic. That’s always fun. They’re usually wider audiences too, most of the time all-ages, which is great.

What can Treefort attendees expect from your performance?

TEKE::TEKE: They can expect an energetic, slightly theatrical and fun set with moments of improv and surprises. Do come check us out and find out for yourselves!

For more coverage of international artists playing Treefort, check out our recent conversations with:

• United Kingdom’s Demob Happy
• Spain’s Black Maracas
• British Columbia’s Bridal Party
• Tokyo’s DYGL
• London’s Big Joanie
• Germany’s Sea Moya
• Swaziland’s Dusty & Stones
• New Brunswick’s Motherhood
• Toronto’s Debby Friday
• Mexico City’s Son Rompe Pera
• Ireland’s Modernlove
• Montréal’s Thanya Iyer
• Mexico City’s Petite Amie
• Vancouver’s Mauvey
• Italy’s Dumbo Gets Mad
• Brazil’s BIKE
• Chile’s Sistemas Inestables
• British Columbia’s Mother Sun
• Norway’s Orions Belte
• Treefort Co-Founder and Festival Director Eric Gilbert

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