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WHAT STARTED OUT as a collection of files on Claude Marquis’ laptop is well on its way to becoming one of the most exciting fixtures in the Ottawa’s music scene. With one album of the year award from the Ottawa Citizen under their belt, the 10-person musical collective The PepTides are making some waves on the local music front.

“Claude and I met, I think, three years ago, at around this time, and he needed a vocalist to record for his album … For Those Who Hate Human Interaction,” says the band’s co-creative director DeeDee Butters, who joined the band in 2009.

Defining their previous release as a retro, pop-noir with a theatrical flair, Butters believes the varied genres on For Those Who Hate Human Interaction makes the band appeal to a wide audience.

The name of the album, For Those Who Hate Human Interaction, may seem strange but it actually comes from a description of a burrito restaurant in North Hero, Vermont.

“[It] sparked this more-than-30-song outpouring of thoughts about what’s sort of systemically flawed about human behaviour and how we treat our environment.”

Butters says the success of For Those Who Hate Human Interaction prompted her and Marquis to put together the whole 10-person band.

“We went on to recruit eight other people, so now we have five singers and five instrumentalists,” says Butters. “It’s definitely a unique configuration—usually you don’t have so many singers.”

She says the large number of vocalists is a plus, as it allows them to perform five-part harmonies. Their performance at the Elmdale House Tavern last year went on to win Best Live Show 2011 from Ottawa Xpress.

The band is now working on a second release, called Love Question Mark, and hopes to finance it through a crowd-funding site called
“One of our members, Andrew Burns [the band’s bassist] … crowd-funded his most recent album … and he was recommending that we should also do that,” says Butters. “It’s an Internet platform for people to be able to donate to a project.”

“[On the website], you also attach incentives to people’s donations, so you can do like an electronic copy of the CD for $20 and $50 [for an advance copy], and there’s signed copies and there’s front row tickets.”

Butters also mentioned that the website receives seven per cent of all profits raised. Rocket Hub users can also expect to get their money only when the project is complete. Even with its disadvantages, Butters still recommends the service to other local artists.

 “It’s also a really great way for your fans and your friends to support you.”

The PepTides will be performing live at Irene’s Pub (885 Bank St.) on Feb. 18. Doors open at 9:30. Admission is $10.

—Eddy Roué