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Rock musicians have a reputation for being surly and capricious, but those are two words one could never use to describe Mark Kupfert, who along with Richard Yanofsky, Noah Bernamoff, and Daniel and Ted Suss make up the Montreal-based band The Lovely Feathers.
Kupfert is thoughtful, articulate-even sweet-strange adjectives for someone who co-fronts a band that bangs out energetic power pop, packaged with a post-punk edge. Much of this has to do with Kupfert's intellectual and spiritual path, one that complements, and at times, conflicts with his musical journey.
"There's a line in one of our songs," Kupfert told The Jerusalem Post. "We are not afraid to admit that we are animals. But I'm always afraid to admit I'm an animal."
Kupfert contrasts the animalistic life with the spiritual one. He and his band mates attended Herzliah, a private Jewish school in Montreal, but most of the students in the school were not from particularly religious homes. This bothered him, so he began investigating Judaism in a more serious, more personal way.
Eventually, Kupfert left Montreal to study at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, an experience he recalls fondly. He then spent a year at Yeshiva University, but became disillusioned with its narrowness and returned to Canada.
"There was a certain point when my only conception of Judaism was Orthodoxy, and now I'm opening up to Mordecai Kaplan, Arthur Green, Heschel, trying to open myself up to not look at Judaism just from the Orthodox framework, but I still have a huge emotional attachment to it."
For now, Kupfert's musical life is at the forefront of his mind. The Lovely Feathers' impressive debut album, Hind Hind Legs, will be released in April, and they hope to follow up their successful show at South By Southwest with a full tour. Meanwhile, Kupfert nervously laughs about how the indie rock circuit will react to five kids who attended each other's bar mitzvahs.
"It's kind of embarrassing, especially in this culture where rock credibility is such a huge thing. Here we are five middle class Jewish boys. It's easy to hate that."