MATT LANDRY & THE DRYLAND BAND WITH THE UNIQUE BLEND OF INSTRUMENTS, AND LANDRY’S DISTINCTIVE VOCALS, IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT THE DRYLAND BAND IS ON IT’S WAY TO THE TOP.
VOLUME 2 // ISSUE 1 // MAY 2011
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sherree Elm ASSISTING EDITOR Kristen Wagner Thanks to Art Angielski, General
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Carrie Mayhew PHOTOGRAPHY Larissa Mack Nicole Ashley Daniel Wood WEB Cam Linke
Manager of Sherwood Park Toyota, Merge Magazine lives
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given back to Edmonton. But the bond between Sherwood Park Toyota and Merge is no ordinary partnership. Sherwood Park Toyota has proven its goodwill through its commitment to customer service, resulting in a loyal and ever-growing client base. In its short four years of operation, Sherwood Park Toyota has twice been awarded the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction. It provides knowledgeable staff, adhering to a higher standard of customer care, and commitment to client relationships. Providing new content, new design and new website, Merge
06 // Making it Big behind
Megan Sarrazin, Collin Davies, Kristen Wagner, Dave Falk, Danielle Paradis, Teresa Fisher, Lindsay Holman, Sarah Kmiech, Devon Bryce, Krista D. Ball, Paula Kirman, Trent Wilkie
presence and bigger network. Merge Magazine, the network hub of Edmonton, will be available each month, exploring content from all industries and bringing a variety of social and professional groups together into one convenient place.
the Scene: Colin Kobza
08 // Local Brew NOW
10 // Surviving as a Musician
will once again be available to Edmonton with a larger CONTRIBUTORS:
12 // Keyboards for Kids NETWORKS
14 // Social Media for the Musician
16 // The Dryland Band
20 // Yes Nice 24 // Oddball Productions: Rock Star 101
34 // Culina
Sherwood Park Toyota, Coventry Homes, Boonstock, Axe Productions, Culina Muttart, Yellowhead Brewery, Utopia Music Festival
26 // Jon Backett...
INQUIRES & ADVERTISING
28 // Long Way Down
30 // Holden Daniels
41 // Utopia Music Festival
32 // Sounds of Success
42 // Sounds of Spring
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36 // Live Music Venues
43 // Festival Showcases the versitlity of Jazz
44 // Rock the Square 46 // Event Calendar
MAKING IT BIG BEHIND THE SCENE: COLIN KOBZA STORY: MEGAN SARRAZIN PHOTO: DANIEL WOOD
Despite the potential shutdown of the event, Sturgeon County pulled through. Kobza adds, “They believed in the event and they believed that we were hosting the event properly.” “It’s been really good, but it’s been hard,” says Kobza.“ Just like
life in music is something many people aspire to: to have sold-out crowds in attendance, to make money off your passion and ultimately, to love what you do.
This type of lifestyle seems an unlikely future for a non-musician. But for Colin Kobza, a lack of musical skill is a detail that doesn’t really matter. Kobza, president of Boonstock Productions and founder of the
any business, you have growing pains and you have a dream and you have a vision. And you know, there have been a couple tough years where . . . it got a little bit challenging to keep the event going,” he adds. Overcoming the challenges may not have been easy, but the hard work has sure paid off for Kobza. With the success of Boonstock, other ventures in the music business have presented themselves. But he is hesitant to move beyond what he knows.
Boonstock Music Festival, was able to make a full-time career in music without being a musician. He was a hockey player and music was simply something he listened to and caught at the odd show. But now, it is a full-time gig that keeps him busier than ever. “I guess the first Boonstock was in 2005, but I did have a really big barn party in my dad’s barn,” says Kobza. “I loved throwing parties and that party was a success.”
“JUST LIKE ANY BUSINESS, YOU HAVE GROWING PAINS AND YOU HAVE A DREAM AND YOU HAVE A VISION.” “I’ve had a couple bands ask if I’d like to manage or promote
“We had cars lined up down to the highway and my dad didn’t
them as well, but it’s really, really tough to break [out],” said
understand what was going on. He was like, ‘You know what’s
Kobza. “I’m really blessed to have Boonstock break like this.”
going on? This is a bigger party than you said it would be,’” Kobza laughs. That party, the predecessor of the Boonstock we know today, featured just three local bands. The crowd topped out at around 160 people, which was a raging success for a relatively smallscale barn party with a stage made of hay bales. “I did not think it was going to continue. We did it the first year and I was like, ‘Well, it was kind of fun,’” says Kobza. Since then, the fun has grown and the festival has blossomed into a massive attraction, bringing in top-charting bands to play for thousands of festival attendees. Boonstock is currently gearing up for its sixth consecutive yeara year Kobza believes will be better than ever before, featuring a solid line-up of rock acts as well as electronic superstars like Steve Aoki and Edmonton’s Shout Out Out Out Out. The 31-year-old entrepreneur that never anticipated a future in music is now focused on making Boonstock the largest music festival in western Canada. But before the event could blossom into the success it is today,
With the dedication of a select few people and the hands of close to 300 generous volunteers, Boonstock has stumbled into success, growing in popularity each year. “I can take credit for the idea, but I can’t take all the credit for putting on the festival. There are so many people that come together” to make Boonstock a success, said Kobza. “It’s pretty amazing how people can be,” he added, regarding the hard work of volunteers throughout the three-day festival. Although he is happy with the way things have turned out, Kobza isn’t stopping there. He is currently in the midst of putting together another company with his fiancée. “We’re just putting together another company, just for something else to fall back on,” said Kobza. “We believe that Boonstock is going to last for a long time if we put our time and efforts to keep it exciting.” Perhaps this time and effort will help him reach the goal of becoming the largest festival as well as perhaps one day having The Tragically Hip or The Rolling Stones dance across the Boonstock stage.
there were some hurdles to overcome. The event, held in Gibbons, AB, falls under the jurisdiction of Sturgeon County and since nothing like this had ever happened in the county, the quest to obtain the appropriate permits and licenses was a “learning curve” for both Kobza and council.
nstead I find Scott Harris. He is average height and looks trim in a green dress shirt with tan slacks. He surprises me even more by telling me he used to be a ballet dancer,
the first soloist at the national theatre in Munich, Germany. He made the unlikely career transition to brewmaster almost by chance. “As my [ballet] career came to an end, I was looking
for something to do. Having a beer at the time, and I looked at
STORY: DANIELLE PARADIS
about the brewing trade. “After that I was working at a number
PHOTO: LARISSA MACK WHEN I WENT TO MEET THE BREWMASTER OF YELLOWHEAD BREWERY, I WAS EXPECTING TO FIND WHAT FIT MY IDEA OF A STEREOTYPICAL BREWMASTER—A MAN WITH A BIG RED, RUDDY FACE AND, OF COURSE, A BEER BELLY.
it and thought, why not?” He trained at Doemen’s Academy in Germany, where he learned of breweries around Germany, and eventually I was picked up by the royal family of Bavaria to brew in their brewery,” Harris says. “I learned so much from the old masters…it was the time of my life.” Although he has traveled through most of Europe, Harris is originally from Edmonton, and he had always wanted to build a brewery in Alberta. “I at first thought [I would build] in the Banff/ Canmore area but I ran into trouble with the investors. So I went out to Toronto to work for the Steam Whistle Brewery and I came back one time [to Edmonton] for a holiday and I walked by this building and saw that the equipment was still here…I found
The renovation created a building that is a mixture of historic and contemporary. On the south façade the historic signage is still visible, and large glass windows allow you to look in onto large stainless steel cylinders, the lager tanks. The windows also give employees a good view of passers-by: “Sometimes a couple will walk by and the woman will have to pull the guy away from the window,” says one employee.
the owner and phoned him up and said look, I can’t afford to
The Yellowhead Brewery also has a feature that most micro-
buy this thing but I can certainly set it up and get it running for
breweries don’t—a beautifully decorated special events room
you.” The name of the brewery is a nod to the former brewing
complete with a stage and exposed brick walls. “I think it is a
company Edmonton Brewing and Malting—they created a beer
great addition to the brewery,” says Harris, “and [the space] is a
that was named Yellowhead.
great addition to the community as well. We like to do charitable work, fundraisers, and of course private parties.”
“I THINK THE BEER REALLY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. PEOPLE TRY THE BEER AND THEY LIKE IT.”
I can’t resist asking for a tour of the facility—they gladly give tours, and you can walk in or call ahead if you would like to look around yourself. Harris takes me through the basement, where the malt grains are currently stored. There are two types of malt and I crunch on them while Harris explains the beer making
Harris seems comfortable in the business of the Alberta beer market. Although many people say the Alberta brew business is tough to break into, Harris says having a good plan and experience in the field are both key. As for sales,“We seem to be doing quite well. I think the beer really speaks for itself. People try the beer and they like it,” says Harris.
process, and leads me around the brewery equipment. I’m a novice when it comes to beer, but he is very patient when explaining the process. The most memorable information I carry out of the brewery was the knowledge that it takes three sips to properly assess a new beer. My first three sips of the Yellowhead Lager introduce me to a beer that is creamy with a definite hint
What many people who get into the beer making industry lack is
of hops. Seasoned beer drinkers will appreciate the naturally
experience, but Harris feels pretty confident that his background
carbonated beverage, as it goes down easier than the artificially
has given him a step-up. “Being around the block a lot I could see
carbonated brews of the larger companies.
what worked and what didn’t work. The keg contract is where you have to focus your efforts in the beginning. It’s easier to put the beer into a keg than a bottle.” Harris also sells his beer in local restaurants, including the Culinas and the Blue Plate Diner. The Yellowhead Brewery sits resplendently in its downtown
Currently Yellowhead makes only one type of brew, but they are planning on expanding their repertoire in the future. What Yellowhead may lack in selection, it makes up for with the care and skill with which each bottle is crafted. At Yellowhead Brewery, the secret ingredient might just be love.
headquarters, in the historic H.V Shaw building. Originally a cigar stand, the building was renovated by Edmonton architect Gene Dub, and it became the Maverick Brewing Company from 2007-2009.
S A G IN
N O T ON
A RY: D STO
While the Edmonton music scene is far away from the glitz and glamour of large scale production that draws many people to places like Vancouver or Toronto, the Festival City has a thriving arts community and is a well established incubator for new musicians.There is enough local interest in live music to make the dream of paying the bills by making music a reality. A musician’s life in Edmonton can be very fulfilling. There is a lot of interest in local and indie bands and there are radio stations, both independent and commercial, that are working with the local music scene to get the music out there. To gain perspective on what it’s like to be a musician living in the Festival City, I talked to local musicians Carol-Lynne Quinn, Jenesse Graling and Brittany Graling. Quinn is the vocalist for the local soul/rock band Rend, and for the cover band Oil City Sound Machine. She also holds a day job at her old alma mater, Grant MacEwan University, where she
Between them, Jenesse and Brittany have over twenty years of performing experience. The sisters have been making music as a duet for about twelve years. As children they tried everything from classical to country to rock. They formed Sister Gray through connections made during their time in the music program at Carol-Lynne Quinn
Grant MacEwan. Their bandmates—Kurtis Schultz (drums), Ajay Paterson (bass) and Mike Morrisseau (guitar) are friends as well as
Jenesse agrees with Quinn’s assessment that people are less
co-workers. “We all spend a lot of time together,” says Brittany.
dependent on record labels than ever before. “My opinion is that
The two ladies also teach music as a day job. “I want to always
fewer people are signing with the big record labels, and there
work with music,” says Jenesse. “For me, it makes sense because I have put so much time into my craft. It’s like a doctor going to med school.” It’s helpful to have a career in the music business as a job that pays the bills because they have found that the parents of their pupils are very understanding when it comes to having to reschedual students for the lessons missed while the girls are gigging or on tour. “I’ve actually had parents say, ‘Look, I saw you in the newspaper,’ and they’ll bring me a clipping,” says Brittany
are more groups of musicians forming their own label or working out there by themselves.” Brittany nods, adding, “Still though, if a record label came knocking, I don’t think a lot of people are going to say no.” Jenesse mentions Bandcamp, a site for musicians to distribute their music with no middle man to eat up the funds. She says this is how she would like to release Sister Gray’s next album. On Bandcamp, there’s an option to let your fans pay how much they feel the music is worth.“Sometimes you make more money
with a laugh. “They are always really great.” Of course, the sisters
than you would with an album or iTunes,” Jenesse says.
would still like to one day be able to make Sister Gray their official
While there are many opportunities in bigger centres, the benefits
don’t always outweigh the sacrifices. “A lot of people think you
Neither the Gralings nor Quinn is living the life of the tortured,
have to move to Toronto because the music scene is bigger, and
starving musician. Quinn also loves teaching vocals—“Everything I do is music,” she says with a laugh. While Quinn loves teaching, performing is her passion. “Because I’m the writer I get to say things with my message. It’s not just ‘Oh baby, baby,’ you know?” She strives for substance in her music, “I want those kids out there to know that times get hard. But there’s still love out there
it is, but there’s also more competition,” Quinn says. She has also noticed that because Edmonton is smaller, there’s a greater sense of community among musicians. A lot of cross-promotion happens between bands in Edmonton: “I’m always going out to someone’s show,” Quinn says. Networking is important in moving forward in the music scene.
and it’s going to get better.”
The sisters say that speaking with promoters is important if
outreach program. She spends her nights gigging with her two
Her long-term goals for Rend are well-thought-out and realistic.
bands. “[Oil City Sound Machine] did the Grey Cup, the Indy,
“We are releasing a CD this year, and I’d like to one day sustain
nice. “I’ve heard that other people have had problems with a
and a lot of corporate events. My original band [Rend] is fairly
a living. I don’t want to be the next Lady Gaga,” says Quinn.
spends her days in one-on-one lessons through MacEwan’s
new….about a year old,” she says. She also writes lyrics and
you want to move forward. Brittany says that the key is to be promoter and I’m surprised because they have always been nice to me.” Jenesse adds that sometimes, “Some of the people
A part of the reason why becoming a musician in Edmonton is
the promoters have to deal with are difficult.” A key element to
a more viable option now than it was in the past is because it’s
success is to be professional, and play nice with those who can
Sisters Jenesse and Brittany Graling are the co-frontwomen of
easier than ever before to distribute your music. “Back in the day
the local indie band Sister Gray. Sister Gray is about two years old
you would have to spend a lot of time touring,” says Quinn. But
and has already experienced some big successes. They were the
now, “With the technology out there like MySpace, Twitter, and
It takes passion and perseverance to be successful as a musician
Sonic Band of the Month in February, and they gig almost every
YouTube you can do it all from Edmonton.”
composes music for Rend.
weekend. The band is also working on its second album.
in Edmonton. But a whole community of people is out there that wants you to succeed and there are organizations to help foster the tradition of great music coming out of Edmonton.
AWA R N E S S
STORY: SARAH KMIECH PHOTO: NICOLE ASHLEY
hen I was younger, some friends kindly gave my family
their old piano. It was huge, dark brown, sat in the corner of the living room, and had a few keys that played two notes at the same time. Because of this free piano, regardless of its condition, my parents were able to put me into piano lessons where I learned chords, scales, flats and sharps. While I fully realize how lucky I was to have been introduced to music at a young age, I’ve never fully recognized the value in the gift of the piano and in the lessons themselves until now. If I was never given that piano, I would never have learned all about the bass and treble clef, and my appreciation for music may not be what it is today. I was lucky with this free piano. But for many children, a piano and lessons are not an option. When money is tight, musical in-
Keyboards ForKids GIVES THE GIFT OF MUSIC
struments and music lessons take a back seat to rent, food and winter boots. This is where Keyboards for Kids comes into play.
When money is tight, musical instruments and music lessons take a back seat to rent, food and winter boots.This is where Keyboards for Kids comes into play. The Keyboards for Kids program has taught hundreds of children in Edmonton the art of playing the piano, for free. Keyboards for Kids is run out of Mother Teresa Elementary School and is part of the Edmonton Inner City Children’s Program (EICCP), a notfor-profit organization that provides recreational and educational activities for children within Edmonton’s inner city. For almost 35 years Pat Frehlich has been teaching piano
After sending out letters to parents at the school regarding the
Conservatory Canada, which gives students the opportunity to
Frehlich hopes to see it continue to expand to more locations
program, Frehlich was shocked at the response. “To my delight and
take their piano exams for free. There are even scholarships for
and grow beyond what it is today.
surprise, about 30 children said they were interested,” she exclaims.
students from the Keyboards for Kids program available from the
In the beginning things were a little difficult, as there were only a few volunteers and no pianos for the children to learn on.
lessons out of her studio in Sherwood Park. Back in 1999,
“We had nothing,” Frehlich says. “No instruments, no keyboards.
Frehlich was approached by Doris Weiss, the program
We made cardboard keyboards with just pictures of keys on
coordinator of EICCP at the time, and was asked how she felt
them.” (Suddenly my old dark piano with dual key tones seems
about starting up a free program in which children were able to
like a majestic grand piano.)
learn the piano by a credible teacher from the Alberta Registered Music Teacher Association.
With help from the Alberta Music Education Foundation, the EICCP, and donations from the community, Keyboards for
“Needless to say the idea of it interested me,” Frehlich says,
Kids was given music to learn and keyboards for the children
“but, the first plan was to see if there was an interest in it.”
to take home and practice on. They have partnered up with
Alberta Music Education Foundation for children to carry on for one year with private lessons. Keyboards for Kids has approximately 26 participants this school year, taught by five volunteer piano teachers. Lessons are available for children in grades three to six, and are held once a week during the school lunch hour. Without such great
“If I could dream the dream, I would have enough volunteers to teach into high school,” she says. “That’s really substantial, because you can have that for the rest of your life.” That big old piano in my parents’ living room is now gone, but as Frehlich says, the appreciation I have for it, and for music, will stick with me forever.
cooperation from Mother Teresa School, the program would not
If you are interested in volunteering for Keyboards for Kids,
be as successful as it is, Frehlich acknowledges.
contact the Alberta Music Education Foundation at info@amef.
The popularity of Keyboards for Kids has grown around the province, with one program in Calgary and two in Red Deer.
ca. Schools who want to participate in Keyboards for Kids can also contact the AMEF. Students at Mother Teresa can register within the school.
The advent of social media has created a very different
Social Media For Musicians Kristen Wagner
As social networking tools become more and more prevalent, it’s easy to wonder if good old-fashioned face-to-face networking has fallen by the wayside. But for unsigned bands trying to gain a following in a large centre like Edmonton, becoming network-savvy in both real and virtual life is a definite asset.
Nathan Brown is the creator of the Edmonton Music Scene Facebook group, which now boasts almost 2000 members. He says a Facebook and Twitter presence is crucial to establishing a fan base. “It’s very vital for fan interaction. If people have questions about shows you can have it set up so you can respond right away,” he says. “It’s very vital for the future of bands and the indie scene.” Jenesse Graling, singer for the local indie band Sister Gray, agrees. “Social media is one of the number one things you can do as a band these days to promote yourself and connect with your fans.” She says her band uses social media to maintain a relationship with their fans. “I take it really seriously,” Graling says. “I’m always the one backstage at our shows, taking pictures and putting them up on Twitter,
world for self-marketing musicians. “With something like Facebook or Twitter, you can instantly check out a band, see what they’re about, watch videos of them, listen to music, check out their blog, things like that,” says Brown.
Brown sees podcasts as the up-and-coming resource for
“Facebook shows the diversity that’s out there in the
networking-savvy musicians. “They seem to be becoming
Edmonton scene, from hip hop to alternative to rock.”
more and more common,” he says. “JamUnion Podcast is
some people that have so many people ‘like’ them on
Brown says he started the Facebook group a couple
really focused on the Edmonton music scene.”
Facebook, but you’ll go to a show and it won’t be the
of years ago to help a friend’s band find resources like
same kind of turnout,” she says. “But what we try to do,
However, the increased exposure that social media can
venues and promoters. Although the group remains an
is when we see someone write on our wall or something
bring to a band sometimes comes at a cost. “I was
important resource for many musicians and fans involved
like that, we try to interact with them as well. We try to
watching a bunch of Garbage and Cranberries videos
in the Edmonton scene, Brown says he doesn’t need to
actually connect with that person.”
on YouTube, and I was thinking, no one got that inside
put as much work into the group as he once did.
look of them on the road,” Graling reflects. “That was a
And that’s where the crucial link between social and
“I used to send out mass messages every Thursday, of
bit of the appeal, the mystery. You never really got a big
traditional networking comes in. Despite the fact that he
show and event listings, but I’ve cut that back,” Brown
is not a musician himself, Brown realizes the importance
says. “I was doing that at a time before people fully started
So sometimes you lose some of the mystique.”
of live interaction to selling a band. “As important as
to embrace Facebook for promoting themselves. Now,
Facebook and Twitter are, to try and build your audience
“Even in the last year or two [social media] has really
every band can have their own fan page, and they create
you still need to talk to people face-to-face,” he says.
changed the way artists are seen. It’s a lot more
their own events, making the message that I was sending
“If you’re putting yourself out there, talking to people,
out a bit redundant. I do still send out mass messages
I think that still is more effective than mass spamming
if there’s someone putting on an event and they need
people with events. Not to downplay the importance of
bands, or if someone is looking for a musician.”
Graling emphasizes the importance of using social networking as a point of connection with fans, and not just a way to disseminate information. “You’ll see
[social media], but it’s still important to do both, social networking and networking in person.”
be a part of it.”
Graling says she has started incorporating video blogs. “I
primary means of getting your message out.“The nice
think they’re such a great way to communicate, and such
thing about Facebook now is you don’t have to hand out
a great way to connect. Sometimes written words can
handbills face-to-face for your show as much,” she says.
be taken in different ways, but if you’re physically saying
“You can actually promote your show on Facebook,
something to someone it can only be really taken one way.”
then at your show you can talk to people and you can
you’re interested in. But it can also be overwhelming—it makes clear exactly how much music is out there, as opposed to the days when word of mouth, websites and traditional media were the only ways of finding independent musicians.
Join the Edmonton Music Scene Designed to celebrate the music scene that is in Edmonton,
network.They’re both still important. You still have to go
Social media can make it easier to keep track of bands
musicians to share their art with the world. “It’s the way things are going,” Graling says. “And I definitely want to
a complement to traditional networking, and not as the
your friend on Facebook.”
evolves it introduces new tools and opportunities for
making other avenues of social media essential for catching and holding the attention of music fans. For example,
it’s almost a little bit easier to keep up with them if they’re
Nonetheless, social media is here to stay, and as it
The ubiquity of Facebook puts it at risk of becoming stale,
Graling adds that it’s important to use social media as
out there and you have to network and meet people, but
glimpse into Shirley Manson, and she was kinda sexy for it.
this is a place dedicated to local music and the promotion
“Social media is one of the number one things you can do as a band these days to promote yourself and connect with your fans.”
of bands in the Edmonton area. If you know a band, are in a band, or just love music feel free to post upcoming shows and introduce bands around Edmonton.
and keeping people updated.”
THE DRYLAND BAND STORY: MEGAN SARRAZIN PHOTO: DANIEL WOOD
When two local musicians set out across the country on a co-headlining tour in support of their solo acts, there was no intention of birthing a new partnership.
Rather, the coming together of this five-piece folk-rock ensemble happened as a “big accident,” according to guitarist Cody Nouta. Matt Landry and the Dryland Band came into creation when vocalist and guitarist Matt Landry stumbled upon djembe player Alain Arseneau at Boonstock. “I heard him playing, so I ran over and just started jamming with him and basically, it started then,” says Landry. Landry and Arseneau then paired up with Nouta to share their individual talents with Canada. Since then, two more members have joined on, strengthening the group and adding to its diversity and complexity. “[Matt] brought a djembe player around, Alain Arseneau,
“ A REFRESHING AND UNIQUE SOUND ”
who played djembe with the both of us and we went across the country and started learning each other’s songs and just became a lot better friends,” says Nouta. “By the end of it, we were pretty much just playing one set as a three piece.” The tour took the trio to Ontario and Quebec, where they played a few gigs together, with the addition of Alain’s brother, Sylvain Arseneau, who Nouta describes as an “amazing sax player.” In fact, Sylvain was so amazing he was urged to quit his job, move back to Alberta and become a permanent member of the band. Rounding out the group is classical violin player John Calverley, who has experience performing with the Strathcona String Quartet and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
“I didn’t plan on having a full band. I was just thinking of doing a solo
“It’s what I’ve been doing since before Tupelo Honey and it’s what
Although this may come at the disappointment of fans and
thing and it just so happens that these guys are great musicians,
I want to be doing,” says Landry. “It’s a completely different style.
consumers, the wait will surely be worth it when the expected
great guys, so, no point in kicking them out,” laughs Landry.
It’s a completely different feel. It’s very relaxed, not so business-
album comes out in the fall.
For almost two years, the experienced members have been hard at work establishing a sound that naturally sets the band apart
oriented. It’s just where I want to be. I’m just very, very happy and content here,” he says.
In efforts to ease some of the anticipation and to feed hungry fans, the band has uploaded two of its ballad-type tracks to its
from anything they have done previously as well as anything else
Many would imagine a band that incorporates violin, saxophone
MySpace page. But the ballads aren’t necessary representative
in the local music scene.
and djembe to be a quieter experience. This may prove to be true
of all the band does. “We’ve got some jammy songs too, some
in most cases, but don’t let that fool you—this band still knows how
upbeat, danceable songs,” Landry says.
With the diversity of instruments—from the typical acoustic guitar to a more classical blend of violin and alto saxophone to the
Nouta remains tight-lipped as to whether or not any more
unique addition of the djembe, an African hand drum—it is no
“If you come see us live, we’re not a bunch of saps singing some
songs will be uploaded prior to the release hitting shelves, but
surprise that the description of “folk rock with a hint of blues and
love songs. It’s pretty intense,” says Nouta. “It’s not drum, bass
he assures fans that new material will be played at upcoming
a little bit of country” doesn’t always cut it.
and guitar and some guy screaming into a microphone. It’s really
shows, including the band’s second annual performance at
easy to listen to.”
the Boonstock Music Festival in Gibbons, AB on July 2. A few
Each member is accustomed to playing different genres. Between the five members, there is experience playing folk, hard rock,
smaller gigs are booked across the country, but unfortunately,
MANY WOULD IMAGINE A BAND THAT INCORPORATES VIOLIN, SAXOPHONE AND DJEMBE TO BE A QUIETER EXPERIENCE. BUT DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU—THIS BAND STILL KNOWS HOW TO ROCK.
nothing else has been scheduled in Edmonton as of yet.
done in the past,” says Nouta, who has played in bands like The
Although Matt Landry and the Dryland Band has been in the
“We’re doing very well for the length of time we’ve been around
Casanova Playboys and Cody Nouta’s Funeral as well as with
studio preparing for its debut album to drop, the band isn’t
and the amount of shows—we really haven’t done too, too
chart toppers like the Kings of Leon and Matthew Good. “We’re
doing too much else, as the members want to stay focused on
much, but we’ve gained a lot of notoriety in the city,” says Nouta.
totally different than everything you would expect,” he adds.
the task at hand.
Landry, who is largely known for his previous role as the longtime
“We’re trying to keep a little bit of a low profile because we are
from the original qualities that the band brings to the table,
frontman of local rock group Tupelo Honey, seems to sway from a
writing and recording and trying to get all this stuff put together,
ultimately producing a refreshing and unique sound sure to
harder rock sound to a softer, more expressive vibe—something
so we’re trying to focus on the creativity part of it,” explains Nouta.
please the senses.
metal, blues, punk, orchestral and jazz. With the unique blend of instruments, Landry’s distinctive vocals and the evident chemistry between members, it is no surprise that many preconceptions tend to fall by the wayside once you press play.
“We kind of went out of our way to steer clear of everything we’ve
For a band just finishing its second year together, Matt Landry and The Dryland Band has done fairly well for itself. The band hasn’t had a particularly dominant presence in the music scene in Edmonton yet, but it has been steadily gaining fans and attention.
Both Landry and Nouta agree that much of this attention comes Matt Landry
that’s second nature for him.
STORY: LINDSAY HOLMAN
Left to Right: Peter Hendrickson, Nathaniel Wong, Jillian Mckellar. Scott Mckellar, Darren Frank
ith a polished, full-bodied and charismatic sound,
Singer/guitarist Darren Frank and drummer Peter Hendrickson
Jillian describes the Peak Performance Project as “pretty intensive.”
With the help of FluidArt, a Vancouver artist management
Yes Nice stands out in a sea of emerging indie bands.
aren’t able to attend the meeting, but Nathaniel describes them
Yes Nice was one of 20 bands to be accepted into the program.
company, the band has expanded their social networking and
But it’s not just the music that makes Yes Nice
as “totally rad dudes.” Peter, who plays for other local musicians,
Over several months, all the bands involved went through a
are learning how to promote themselves on the web. They also
unique; the band members have relationships with each other
including Colleen Brown, jumped at the opportunity to play
boot camp of sorts, participating in challenges, performing in the
recently completed a music video for the song “Horses” from the
that go beyond professional or artistic, and the familiarity shows.
drums for Yes Nice. “It was an instant, instant click,” remarks
Vancouver area, facing adjudications and learning how to make
Blindfolded album. Filmed by Emily Carr University students in Lynn
All-instrumentalist Jillian McKellar says it best: “We have the family
Scott. Darren pursues solo projects when not playing with the
it as a band in today’s music industry. The project also taught the
Canyon, B.C., the video is a testament to the band’s playful spirit.
dynamic: brother, sister, husband, wife.There’s something special
band. Jillian says the five members have a “very comfortable
band business sense, marketing and how to use social networks.
that goes on when we are all together.”
Jillian says the whole process was an eye-opener, and has helped
Jillian married lead vocalist Scott McKellar in August 2010. The
The band released their third album, Blindfolded, in 2009,
two had known each other for a number of years, as Jillian’s older
following two self-titled releases. Blindfolded appeared only a year
But she is confident that the band has become a lot more
before the song was. “It’s kind of a funny process, shooting a
brother, Nathaniel Wong, another lead vocalist, met Scott over
after Scott and Nathaniel punched out their very first CD. “We just
business-savvy as a result. “Three years ago, we were working
music video and then writing a song for it.”
ten years ago at a youth group. “I had always been the little sister
sat down one week and decided to write one song every single
on the substance of the band. After The Peak Performance
who had a crush on the rock star best friend,” says Jillian, smiling
day until we had an album,” says Scott. “It helped show us what
Project, it was all about establishing a foundation for a career.”
we could do.”
The McKellars and I sit on a set of mismatched couches in Jax
A second release, a self-titled EP, followed soon after. It contains
Bean Stop Coffee & Bistro in the north end of Edmonton. Hooka
five songs and a number of interludes. “We wanted something
smoke hangs in the air and the sound of chatter surrounds us as
that showcased the music that we were performing,” says Jillian.
we talk about the band’s past achievements, present projects and future aspirations.
Blindfolded has been acclaimed by critics, and has received considerable alternative radio play in Vancouver, where the band
the band to navigate their way through the industry.
“YES NICE’S UNIQUE SOUND AND BUSINESS SENSE WILL SURELY TAKE THEM TO THE NEXT LEVEL.”
A second music video is for a song called “We’ll Call it Home,” which will appear on the band’s new album, is set to be released online this spring. Nathaniel jokes that the video was finished
The band is currently planning their summer schedule. They hope to play the festival circuit, and are currently coordinating shows with promoters. In the mean time, they’re focusing on writing and recording for their new album, which will hopefully be out by June. Scott and Nathaniel recently embarked on another intensive week of songwriting. Scott said that some of the songs that were conceived during that time will be included on the next album. The new album will show the band’s evolution while retaining
Between a latte, a London fog and a mango smoothie sits
lived at the time. But the band admits the album was completed
From the tabletop, Nathaniel elaborates on how the knowledge
the distinctive Yes Nice sound. “Our new demos sound quite
Nathaniel—with the help of an iPhone he joins our conversation
before any of them truly understood the business behind the art.
they gained is invaluable. “There are two different ways that
different,” Scott says. “We are exploring.” The band’s stringed
from Vancouver, where he is currently completing an art degree
“We really didn’t know the business side of things,” says Scott. “We
bands are forming these days. One is that they’re really good
harmonies and layers of sound will remain in the new album,
at Simon Fraser University. Nathaniel describes Yes Nice’s sound
made an album and said, well we’re done, now what do we do?”
and they get recognized on their artistic merit. And then there
but certain elements may be added. Scott mentions the
They sent the album out to various radio stations, one of them
are other bands that work really hard, and they don’t necessarily
possibility of synthesizers.
have to be that good. They’re good business people, and artistic
“Music can have a predictability to it, and it’s really nice to the ear,”
as having a “polyphonic, very layered approach to filling out a simple song structure. We like to go to town on arranging a simple song for a big sound. We try to emulate orchestral or symphonic qualities.”
being Vancouver’s The Peak. The producers at The Peak liked the album so much, that they encouraged the band to apply for the station’s 2010 Peak Performance Project.
merit comes in a distant second.” Yes Nice’s unique sound and business sense will surely take them to the next level.
adds Jillian. “But also it takes a further element of unpredictability that is unexpected, and is comfortable but uncomfortable at the same time.”
Understanding the mechanics of the music industry helps people
STORY: KRISTEN WAGNER
fans. Oddball helps to make musicians more business-savvy and
You’re in a band and you’ve just spent your life savings recording a CD. Your music is great, but you have no idea how to let people know about you, or how to recoup the money you’ve invested. This is where Oddball Productions comes in.
on all levels of the music industry, from major label executives to easier for talent buyers to work with, thereby fostering a more cohesive music community. The goodwill between artists and venues is also instrumental in strengthening Edmonton’s music community as a whole. The music community may not be as large as Vancouver or Toronto,
Oddball is a combination independent record label and consulting
but Fournier says Edmonton has a lot to offer artists. “We have
company. It enables musicians to take their careers into their own
such a strong community,” he says. “It’s just a matter of finding it,
hands by giving them the tools they need to manoeuvre within the
and it’s a matter of using it, and a matter of working with it, and at
the same time contributing back to it.”
“It is called the music ‘business,’ the music ‘industry,’ and
Recently, Oddball hosted the first annual Edmonton Music Awards,
unfortunately there’s always been that divide,” says Danny
an event that Fournier calls a “huge catalyst” for uniting the local
Fournier, Oddball’s marketing and development manager. “There’s
music community. “The main goal [of the EMAs] was to bring
a portion of it that’s the music, and that’s the artist, and there’s a
attention to the artists of Edmonton,” he says. “I got introduced
portion of it that’s business. And an artist that can combine those
to artists that I never even knew existed in the city, and the same
two can create so much more for themselves and have so much
could be said for some of the artists.”
more control over what they’re doing, and I think that can really build a strong career.” Oddball’s consulting service works with independent bands to help them reach the next level in their career, whether that’s a deal with a major record label, or the ability to play music full-time in local clubs. Oddball also runs a series of “Rockstar 101” workshops, which focus on a variety of subjects, including marketing and setting goals.
The EMAs, held over two nights at Haven Social Club, were completely sold out. Next year’s awards will be held at Myer
out my group on MySpace,’” Fournier says. He stresses the advantages of having “taste-makers”-- fans who are champions
they still do a lot for artists, but not as much as they used to,”
of your music, who will spread the word about you, and talk about
Fournier says. “There’s so much potential for an independent artist
you with their friends.
Fournier has a unique perspective on music marketing. He has worked for both BMG Music and Proctor and Gamble, and he noticed marketing ties between the two companies despite the disparity in their products. “I’ve taken a lot of stuff I learned when
As a particularly educated “taste-maker” for Edmonton, Fournier has a few favourite bands of his own. “Jezibelle is a band I’ve been working with for a long time. They’re one of my favourites just because I’ve watched them grow, and I’ve watched them take the right steps and build their business properly,” he says. “It’s four girls playing metal music, and that’s already a rarity.”
[Proctor and Gamble was] launching a product and applied it to
Mars and Venus is another of Fournier’s recommendations.
a band when they’re releasing a CD,” Fournier says. “And when
“They’re probably one of the hardest working local bands,”
I was with BMG I saw the same thing. Whenever we had a CD
Fournier says. “These guys will do whatever it takes to get
release for a major artist, I saw them doing the exact same stuff
as I saw in my short time with Proctor and Gamble.”
Jeff Morris – Blue Sky Falls Jezibelle – Public Display Michelle Molineux – Just Say Go Mockteerah –The Long Kiss Good Night The Weekend Kids – Twenty Something
BEST SOLO ARTIST (TIE)
band. “When you think about the music you listen to, chances
has changed so much. Record labels still have their place, and
accounting, about financing, about marketing, about promotion.”
Christian Hansen & The Autistics – Swans Fire Next Time – Wild Rose Sorrow Hot Panda – How Come I’m Dead Jeff Morris – Original Songs On A Borrowed Guitar Wool On Wolves – Grey Matter
fans towards your music is a huge asset for an independent
opportunity for musicians to network, and word of mouth is a
are it wasn’t that artist who sent you an email saying, ‘Hey, check
the disconnect is. A lot of musicians don’t know anything about
huge part of marketing. Having fans who will direct other potential
With such a large turnout, the EMAs presented a great
an industry that is increasingly do-it-yourself. “The music industry
But they have to know how to do that, and I think that’s where
NOMINTIONS & WINNERS
Al Brant Cara Albo Douglas Mitchell Fendercase Jeff Morris Ky Babyn
Horowitz Theatre in order to accommodate more music fans.
Learning these skills gives artists a greater chance for survival in
to actually create their own career, to create their own business.
Shelbi and Heaviside are two more young bands with a lot
“In the end a CD is a product, and that’s a big part of what I try to
of potential. “They’re not trying to be anything, other than
get across to the artist.”
straight-ahead rock bands,” Fournier says. “They’re fun, they’re
Christian Hansen & The Autistics Mass Choir The Provincial Archive The Wheat Pool Wool On Wolves
BEST FEMALE ARTIST Ann Vriend Cara Albo Colleen Brown Dani Jean Kayla Patrick
BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE*
Acronycal @ The Starlite Room Cara Albo @ Lyve On Whyte DRT @ The Banger At The Hanger Fire Next Time @ The Wunderbar Jeff Morris @ Axis Cafe Jezibelle @ The Taphouse (Alberta’s Last Band Standing) One Way State @ The Pawn Shop Radio For Help @ The Pawn Shop The Red Threat @ The Avenue Theatre White Lightning @ On The Rocks
Al Brant Cara Albo DRT Jeff Morris Jezibelle Kayla Patrick Kemo Treats Ky Babyn Michelle Molineux The Red Threat
BEST POP/HIP HOP/ DANCE ARTIST
Cara Albo Christen Hansen & The Autistics Fendercase Kemo Treats Michelle Molineux
BEST COUNTRY ARTIST Al Brant Corb Lund Hey Romeo Kayla Patrick The Wheat Pool
BEST ROOTS/FOLK Eamon McGrath Fire Next Time Jeff Morris Ky Babyn The Provincial Archive Wool On Wolves
BEST METAL/HARD ROCK ARTIST DRT Hollywood Assassyn Jezibelle Mockteerah One Soul Thrust
BEST MUSIC VIDEO Mockteerah – The Long Kiss Goodnight My Sister Ocean – Please Don’t Say It’s So Radio For Help – It’s Not Me, It’s You Skidoo 32 – Robb Angus The Weekend Kids – Twenty Something
ARTIST TO WATCH (TIE)* All Else Fails Demon Republic Erica Viegas Heaviside Lisa Nicole Grace Mars & Venus Maryland Micelli Red Shag Carpet The Flash Jam The Frolics * Winners
energetic, there’s so much passion in both of those bands—I think there’s going to be so much potential for them in the next couple of years.”
Jon Beckett... Axe Productions STORY: DEVON BRYCE PHOTO: DANIEL WOOD
Thirty years ago, Jon Beckett started his career as a sound engineer. Today, he is the owner and operator of Axe Productions, a live event production company with a staff of 16. Axe specializes in large-scale events, but the scope of the shows is what makes them stand out.
Beckett has a lot of experience working behind the scenes of the entertainment industry. On one wall of his office, Beckett has a gold record from the band Wide Mouth Mason as well as a large poster from their tour of China, for which he was the tour manager. When he first began working with the band, they had just broken out with a hit single. Beckett worked with them for the next ten years, including a two and a half week tour of China. Every show the band played in China sold out, and Beckett says the experience was incredible. “They’re just so fascinated by Western culture there and we were treated so well
A typical week’s work spans sporting events, large rock shows,
everywhere we went.”
fundraisers and high-end political events. In 1995, Beckett
Still, Beckett says he doesn’t miss touring or even sound mixing.
started Angel Audio to get away from having to rent equipment
“I did it for a long time, and I’m enjoying the new challenges,” he
he was using as a sound technician. Since then, the company
says, gesturing at his desk. “There is so much to do here that I
has grown and Beckett only gets busier. Axe is a full service
don’t have time to miss it.”
rental company that can provide all the staff, equipment, and production needs for any occasion, including back-line rentals for touring bands and creative development for shows. As the events happen constantly, equipment is always on the move. Showing off the indoor loading docks, Beckett jokes that Axe is partly a moving company. “When you’re loading vans in -40, not only are the staff freezing, but it blows a cold wind though the entire place. You don’t see this in many buildings but it’s a great benefit.” The company is always busy, regardless of the season. Even during the recession work didn’t drop off for the company, he notes. The shows must go on. Beckett doesn’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about past events and shows. The company has furnished equipment for a lot of memorable names—big bands like AC/DC and the Rolling Stones, as well as well-known figures like former U.S. President Bill Clinton—but for Beckett it is the event itself that is important. On the Axe website is a time-lapse video of Rexall Place being prepared for a rock concert. Viewers can watch every step, from the floor being covered to the audience coming in, and the process is fascinating. “There are a lot of details,” he points out, “and because each event is unique we have a lot of meetings to make sure everything runs smoothly.” In the week we spoke, Axe had twelve major shows booked over the following six days. There is no room for error, and all pieces of equipment are kept well-maintained and inventoried.
Beckett isn’t star-struck by the high-profile personalities his company furnishes. “It isn’t that glamorous meeting the stars when you and they are all there to do the job,” he says. The huge range of events, from the Mayor’s State of the City Address to the My Chemical Romance concert at the Edmonton Events Centre keeps Beckett and his team on their toes. Every year, Axe also handles the needs of YC Alberta, a youth conference which brings 16,000 teens into Northlands Coliseum, which is the venue’s second largest event, smaller only than Capital Ex. Around the office is evidence of Axe’s charitable connections. Pictures of sports teams, Food Bank donation bins, and posters for cancer research head shaves are displayed. Beckett is most proud of the pictures of children connected to Compassion Canada, a charity the company supports. Kelly Kimo, owner and vice president of Axe, says they look forward to covering the entire wall with pictures of kids they have sponsored. Both men beam with obvious pride as they discuss giving back to the community on both a local and international level. Yet there is still humility to the notion as Beckett points out that community giving is something that every company should be involved in. Axe frequently sponsors community events as well, and will donate a part of their costs in order to be associated with causes they support. Beckett has worked hard to ensure the company is doing well, and enjoys that their success means they can give back to community as a whole.
“We can focus more on the songs with a smaller release,” says Grandy. “When you narrow the focus on a few songs, as opposed to a collection, you can spend more time paying attention to the details. Sure, there are financial reasons too, but we thought we would focus on the ones we liked the most. These three were the first ones out of the batch of 20 or more that we looked at over the months. We are still in the recording phase of it all, but we want to get these done, get them out there and see what happens.” “Right now we are in a sort of an off-season,” Grandy adds. “It’s the Canadian artist template to record when it’s cold and irritable, and get out when it’s safer to drive. Now we’ve toured in the winter as well, but we are in a bit of hibernation mode when it comes to touring.”
“EVERY YOUNG BAND ENCOUNTERS DIFFICULTIES ON THE WAY TO THE TOP. BUT IT’S HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT THAT SHOWS YOUR METTLE.” And toured they have. It is the great Canadian hazing ritual that every band worth anything has gone though. Our geography demands it. This isn’t the States where you can hit a major city every night. In Hoserland, you need to drive hours, even days to get to the next gig. It is a wild ride. “The first time we went across Canada was an adventure,” recalls Grandy. “Four of us in a ‘79 Ford Econoline with an improperly packed trailer; we were virgins to the long haul. It was wonderful, seeing the landscape and getting out there on our own. I guess you could consider it a growth thing. There is something to be said in your ability to be out playing music for remuneration or for the passion of it. To be out on the road and dealing with the break downs in a crazy territory where you feel pretty humble about what you are trying to do. I can’t say from an outside perspective because I’ve only ever toured Canada, but
fter almost calling a Dutch phone number, I realized that
“We were thinking about the name Pistols at 20 Paces, a
there are two bands with the name Long Way Down.
concept that doesn’t apply in the full sense,” Grady continues.
One is a band from the Netherlands that emphasizes its
“It’s more of a diluted idea. When you are working on different
punk sound.The other is an Edmonton rock-core band that writes
levels with different people and the rigmarole of it all, sometimes
original tunes. Guess which one I was supposed to talk to?
you are at your wits end. It’s a figurative reference to what we
trekking though.” And every band has their stories. From good to bad to funny to sad, they are all relevant and timeless. From a bad experience with Jagermeister at their CD release party to a bar reeking of
have gone through so many times.”
sewage in Saskatoon, Grandy and the band have seen their
name since 2001,” laughs lead singer Jakk Grady. “It’s funny
Being around for ten years will do that to a band. But, as Grandy
though; our band has somewhat of a coloured history, lots
shows me, it’s good to have a sense of humour about it all. This
you never forget.
of different members and scenarios, and like any band, we
time around, Long Way Down is focusing their efforts on a three-
considered a name change but we decided against it.”
“Just for the record, we have been around longer and had the
those overnighters can keep you on your toes but you keep on
share of mishaps. But often the mishaps turn into great shows
Every young band encounters difficulties on the way to the top. But it’s how you deal with it that shows your mettle.
MM: YOU WEAR THREE DIFFERENT HATS: MUSICIAN,
general, I’m into mainstream alternative rock, but as a producer
PRODUCER AND MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR. DO YOU
I try to listen to all pop, country, rock and folk so I can bring
PREFER ONE ROLE MORE THAN THE OTHER?
different sensibilities to the table when necessary. I think all that
MULTI-TALENTED MUSIC ENTREPRENEUR WEARS MANY HATS
I refer back to those notes when we’re tracking; or if I’ve seen
STORY: DAVE FALK
HD: Out of all the different hats I wear, I like producing the most because it involves attempting to ensure a song has the most impact as it possibly can. Many times an artist is already 95 per cent there with a song idea. I like to think that my role is to help the artist get out of their own way sometimes, and try to
for Mockteerah I needed to ensure we had a good AC/DC or even Seether/Three Days Grace vibe. MM: IS DIRECTING MUSIC VIDEOS A COMPETITIVE BUSINESS?
the band play the song live, I try to remember the vibe they were bringing and ensure they remember it too when performing it in
HD: Directing music videos is probably as competitive as any other business. You try to find clients that like you enough to hire you instead of somebody else. You also try to ensure that the work you’re doing now contributes to getting hired again in
MM: HOW DID YOU CROSS THE BRIDGE FROM
the future, either by the same artist or by someone who liked it
MUSICIAN TO PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR?
and wants you for their project. As far as I know, most Canadian
moments as a musician are during the recording and writing process, so it wasn’t a really big leap since I was doing it as part of my learning since I started.
bands are relying on grant money or donations to fund their bigger budget videos. I’ve never been approved for a bigger budget, so I always do things on a shoestring, which I think is the case for most everyone I know nowadays. MM: AT WHAT STAGE IN A MUSICIAN’S CAREER SHOULD THEY DECIDE TO MAKE A VIDEO?
IS ONE OF THE BUSIEST
Becoming a director came later, and it took a while for technology
MEN IN EDMONTON.
to get affordable enough to get great results with a low budget.
HD: I had a few people tell me that a band needs to wait until
DANIELS NOT ONLY
It’s really only in the last two to three years that I’ve felt like my
they’re charting at radio to do a video. I always thought that a
PLAYS AND PERFORMS
videos were on par with what I’m seeing elsewhere. It took
popular video would drive radio play. There’s no right answer but
ON THE GUITAR AND
a lot of learning on the job and every video is a new learning
the one thing I try to stick with is that a good video is a great tool
BASS; HE IS ALSO A
experience, but I finally feel like my tools can represent my vision
for bands at any time in their career, but it shouldn’t be relied
upon as the only strategy to building the artist’s “brand.” Also, a
VIDEO DIRECTOR AND
MM: WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN EDMONTON
SONGWRITER. HE HAS RECEIVED NATIONAL ATTENTION THROUGH
AS OPPOSED TO A BIGGER METROPOLIS SUCH AS TORONTO OR VANCOUVER?
poorly executed video can be detrimental to the artist’s career. So it’s not right to say that every artist needs a video just for the sake of having one. Ideally, the band will have an EP or full album to support, a tour to support that, and a video as well. However,
HD: Whenever I hear people complain about Edmonton I get
in the YouTube era, artists can be made by video alone and
STRATEGIES AND IS
very defensive. Many people here have a misguided inferiority
never need to rely on the old traditional way of doing things.
PROVING THAT YOU DON’T
complex when comparing us to other cities. Edmonton easily
HAVE TO LIVE IN TORONTO
has the same amount of talent per capita as any other city in
OR VANCOUVER TO HAVE
my opinion, so I know I’m not missing anything by being here.
SUCCESS IN THE MUSIC
I think as my clientele expands to other cities I might just work
INDUSTRY. THE AFFABLE
there while I’m needed, but my home base will likely always be
Edmonton. I feel like if I moved to Toronto I’d be paying twice
HD: I gotta say it’s been mostly promotional so far. The original
DANIELS SAT DOWN TO
the rent for half the pay. Edmonton just makes sense for me
purpose of music videos (even before MTV existed) was to
DISCUSS HIS CAREER,
because if I moved anywhere else, I’d be starting from scratch.
showcase the artist—you saw what they looked like and heard
WHERE IT’S GOING AND
Here I have a network that goes really deep and I think I could
what they sounded like. There have definitely been some great
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.
work in town forever if I wanted to.
artistic videos over the years, and I love so many of them, but
MM: WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL AND PERSONAL INFLUENCES?
Jezibelle I needed to bring out the metal/punk sensibilities, and
take notes when an artist plays a song for me the first time and
and learned really quickly that some of the most gratifying
HOLDEN DANIELS SURELY
Pawliw I needed to call up all the light rock and folk stuff, for
focus on what an audience would react to the most. Generally I
HD: Early on I started recording with a bandmate (Kevin Kossowan)
really shows with the last three projects I worked on—for Becki
MM: IS A VIDEO’S PURPOSE PROMOTIONAL OR AN EXPRESSION OF ART? AND HOW DO YOU MERGE THESE TWO THINGS WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE SPIRIT OF THE ARTIST’S MUSIC?
in the end even the most artistic videos had an underlying goal to promote the artist. With the videos I’ve done so far, the goal has been to showcase the artist as much as possible, and use
HD: My all-time favourite album is Scenery & Fish by I Mother
visuals that represent the song in a thematically appropriate way.
Earth, and Tripping Daisy’s I Am An Elastic Firecracker is
There’s an art to the whole approach, but I can’t say I’ve done a
something I’ve listened to way too much over the years. In
truly “artsy” video quite yet.
However, he admits that money needs to be spent on some
When the band went to California, they took Paholek with them.
equipment to ensure a quality recording. “There are certain
He had the opportunity to watch and mentor with the engineering
things that you need to bite the bullet on,” he says. “You need
team and be involved with the record, “and after that is when I
specific microphones. You need to buy good preamps to
probably started making my best records,” he says.
run them through. But there are some microphones that are
STORY: KRISTEN WAGNER PHOTO: LARISSA MACK
fantastic that are quite inexpensive.”
But his innovative approach has also helped recording artists here in Edmonton to make the record they want, without having
“To make a good record you don’t need to spend a ton of
to accommodate anyone else’s vision. One vocalist wanted to
money,” he says; but on the other hand, “you can spend tens
layer ten or fifteen vocal tracks on her recording, a difficult feat to
and tens and tens of thousands of dollars setting up a modest
manage. “So when she asked me to do this, I straightaway said
project studio and still make bad records with it.”
yeah, sure,” Paholek says. “And I guess I was the first person
In addition to keeping costs low, Paholek says the other key to staying in business is readily accepting the musical visions of clients. “A good policy to adopt is to never say no to people,” he says. “I think one of the reasons I do so well here and I stay
to actually let her do this. She had run this idea by a bunch of people, and everyone else said, ‘This is not going to work,’ or ‘This is not how it’s done.’ So as a result I’m doing all of her records, and it was just so simple as that one thing.”
in business is because I try not to sell people on what they don’t
Regardless of the approach an engineer takes to a project, or
necessarily want, just because I think it might be better for them.”
the amount of money that goes into it, it all comes down to the
But Paholek does have ideas that are worth incorporating. He places a lot of emphasis on good drum sound, and has a few tricks to ensure a fuller percussive sound. “A lot of people use augmentation—they drop in extra samples
product. Paholek does no advertising other than word of mouth, yet he is currently booking six months in advance for studio time—a fact that can’t be ascribed solely to his low rates. “You’re not going to get any work if people don’t like what you’re doing,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how cheap you are.”
for the drum sounds. I try not to use that at all, or I try to use it sparingly. Some records call for it, like heavy metal—it’s granted that
so I’ve got a lot of drummers who really love working here.”
“AND IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO SMASH ALL THE CUPS IN MY KITCHEN TO RECORD A SOUND, I LET THEM.”
he industrial area of Edmonton’s west end seems an unlikely destination for aspiring
In addition to the drum setup and homemade amp, The Physics
Financial gain is certainly no reason to get into music production.
musicians, but Terry Paholek’s recording studio, The Physics Lab, is making it the place
Lab boasts a Sony DMX-R100 digital console. Rather than the
“If you want to start a studio to make money, don’t,” Paholek
to be. The modest and unassuming studio, situated in a bay with a garage door, features
more common industry software Pro Tools, Paholek uses a
warns. “It’s taken me so long to do this full time, it’s ridiculous.
smaller, open-sourced editing program called Reverb, which he
And the competition is really fierce.”
you’re going to sample the kick, that’s just how you get that sound.” “I use a lot of room sounds. That’s a huge part of my drum recording. The room pretty much makes up almost half the kit,” he says. “I’m pretty good at making really big-sounding drums,
surprisingly good acoustics, homemade coffee and its own recording arts guru. Paholek, the owner and sole operator of The Physics Lab, has been interested in recording and
He says anyone considering a career in the field should be
production since his teens. He got his start recording on tape recorders, and honed his skill
Although The Physics Lab has only been in operation for a few
passionate about it, but also very patient. “If you don’t think you
mentoring and interning with engineers in a number of different studios. He supplemented his
years, Paholek has already amassed a network of local and
can listen to the same song literally hundreds and hundreds of
income by playing in a cover band, and it is only in the last few years that he has reached a point
international clients. One band from Calgary, Chy Shuga, has
times, and then multiply that by ten songs on a full-length record,
where it is financially possible for him to record and produce full time.
been particularly helpful in boosting Paholek’s career.
and then scrutinize it every time you listen to it, and think about
The cost of setting up your own studio makes it tempting to overcharge musicians for recording
The band came to Paholek to record an EP just as they were on
how to make it better, you don’t want to do something like this.”
services, but Paholek works at keeping his own overhead costs down, passing the savings on to
the brink of disbanding. Nevertheless, Paholek was impressed
“In some aspects it’s very rewarding, but extremely time-
clients. He owns the bay in which his studio is located, eliminating the concern of rising rent prices.
with them and finished mixing the CD as a keepsake. But the
consuming and sometimes boring job.”
And while recording gear can be expensive, there are ways to cut the cost.
band rebounded, and on the strength of Paholek’s recording
“The gear selection is really important. I own quite a few high-end pieces,” he says. “I also own a lot of pieces that most people probably wouldn’t expect to see in a normal recording studio.”
prefers because it is faster and more efficient than Pro Tools.
they gained extensive airplay on the Calgary radio station CJAY 92, climbing to the #2 spot on their top ten countdown. They also garnered a production deal with Sylvia Massy at RadioStar
There’s also the inevitable cleanup that comes with working with creative people. “If someone wants to break something in the studio and they’re willing to pay for it, I really don’t care. I can’t remember the last time I actually told someone, ‘You can’t do that.’”
He points out a hand-wired amp from the 1970s. “It looks like absolute hell, but sounds fantastic,”
Studios in California. Massy has previously worked with such
he says. “Everyone that’s come in has used it on a record in some capacity. It’s just a bunch of
well-known artists as System Of A Down, the Smashing Pumpkins
“And if somebody wants to smash all the cups in my kitchen to
spare parts thrown together. It’s the best amp I own.”
record a sound, I let them.”
Culina strives not only for quality food, but also for the continued support of local businesses. Carrying local goods creates a distinctive atmosphere in the restaurant, and also helps to boost the local economy. Metz emphasizes that teaming up with local suppliers is part of what makes the Culina experience special. “A lot of it is about creating relationships within the city with the suppliers,” she says. “It’s pretty amazing to have the owner of Mighty Trio [a local organics business] come and eat, and then
STORY: LINDSAY HOLMAN The aroma of coffee beans blends nicely with the humid scent of exotic flora at the Culina Muttart. The newest addition to the
have somebody who is sitting next to him eating a salad with a dressing that was made from his oil, and to say, ‘Oh, you like the salad? Well, this guy over here helped to make it.’”
Culina family of restaurants has partnered up with the Muttart Conservatory to create an oasis in the midst of Edmonton’s bustling downtown area. Culina Muttart may have one of the freshest and healthiest menus in Edmonton. “I don’t think anywhere else in the city has such a direct line to fresh food,” says manager Maureen Metz. Located within the Muttart Conservatory, the restaurant has the unique opportunity to grow some of its greens within the famous greenhouses. Arugula, herbs and experimental greens will be continuously grown upon hydroponic beds, and are just some of the freshly grown items that will be served on a daily basis. Culina Muttart’s location not only adds to the quality of the food, but to the visitor’s overall experience. Metz feels that not enough Edmontonians take advantage of the Conservatory, and says her hope is that customers will see the gardens and eat at the restaurant in the same visit, because after all, “Where else in the city can you go for lunch and then take a tour through the different climates of the world?”
“I don’t think anywhere
Culina Muttart opened its doors in December 2010. It is the fourth addition to the Culina family, owned by Brad Lazarenko, Director and Executive Chef. While all Culina locations share the same ideals about food, each one comes with its own flavour.
else in the city has such a
Culina Highlands’ Eastern European feel, Culina Mill Creek’s
direct line to fresh food.”
provide a pleasurable dining experience. “As far as quality goes,
Westernized selection, and Bibo’s café-like atmosphere all we are all striving for the same,” says Metz. Culina Muttart, serving a variety of sandwiches, soups and other healthy items,
Metz moved to Edmonton a year and a half ago and began working with Culina soon after. When given the opportunity to manage the new location, she didn’t hesitate. “I have an overall passion for growing food,” she says. “When I got the opportunity
could be described as an “express” version of its predecessors. Culina Muttart is open:
that involved working and growing food, and being involved
MONDAY TO FRIDAY
in providing fresh food to the customers I’m serving, I guess I
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
really went for it.” Her passion for gardening has also led her to volunteer at a community garden located on the University of Alberta’s South Campus. She says that a lot of the food
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
that isn’t grown right in the Conservatory will come from the University garden.
1 MERGE REVIEWS: LIVE MUSIC VENUES REVIEW: TRENT WILKIE
2 WE EXPLORED EDMONTON’S LIVE MUSIC SCENE ACROSS FIVE GENRES AND FOUND SOME OF THE BEST VENUES IN TOWN. DO YOU KNOW OF A BUSINESS OR ESTABLISHMENT THAT DESERVES A REVIEW? LET US KNOW ON FACEBOOK/MERGEMAGCA.
1. ON THE ROCKS // “It’s a place where you can relax and be who you really are,”
On the Rocks has everything a loyal patron can hope for: staff
says Rachelle “Roach” Sandy, representative for On the Rocks
who want to be there, a clientele that likes to have fun, and a
restaurant and bar. “Our clientele are 25 to 55 in age. That says
management system that cares about making their business the
it right there. It is comfortable for every age range. Not too young
best it can be for their customers. They aren’t looking for the
that you can’t have a conversation with the table beside you but
next big thing; they are looking to be consistent.
not too old that the kids can’t come in and let go.”
2. BLUES ON WHYTE //
3. CEILI’S IRISH PUB //
There are three constant truths in Edmonton. The sun will rise,
Ceili’s Irish Pub: Come for the beer, stay for the craic. What is
the sun will set, and Blues On Whyte will be open late.
craic? I’ll let Ceili’s general manager Grant Sanderson explain it
“I’ve been working here since 1981,” says Mike Purcell, general
“Craic is an Irish word for ‘a feeling of atmosphere,’ explains
around forever though. They are basically the same thing. I feel
Sanderson. “And that is what we like to have. You are going to
like I’ve been booking bands here forever. I get to book what
see lots of large groups of people especially on Saturdays; it’s
I like—I’m lucky that way. It’s mostly blues but every once in
a big night. Birthdays, stags, stagettes, fundraisers…. and it’s
a while there can be some reggae and rock. I’ve seen a lot of
a good crowd. We aren’t a pub club, we are an actual pub. We
greats come through here and seen a lot of them pass away.
don’t scan IDs and there aren’t any stab-proof vests—that isn’t
That is one of the best things and worst things about having
what we are.”
been open for so long.”
the pub gives patrons plenty of reasons to make a return
something for everyone, Blues has seen its fair share of people
visit. “There are a lot of reasons why people keep coming back,” Sanderson says. “Great food, great service and a great
Golden Fork award and self-proclaimed proprietor of the best
And also, you have to try to give the public what they want—we
wings in downtown Edmonton, On the Rocks is as well-rounded
are like a comfy old shoe. We aren’t those high heeled shoes
come through the door.
an establishment as you can get. From food to music to a
that leave your feet bleeding.”
“Our dance floor is always packed,” Purcell explains. “It is a very
The menu also reflects the TLC that goes into every aspect
eclectic crowd. If you don’t like who you are sitting with, move over two tables. You will be with a whole different group talking
In regards to the décor, “I’m an old Sidetrackian,“ laughs Sandy,
of On the Rocks. They offer a monthly wing flavor, dessert and
referencing the now defunct Sidetrack Café. “Brick and comfy
salad, and change the menu once or twice a year. “Everything
chairs, it’s the same kind of atmosphere. We don’t have the
is home made,” Sandy says. “We keep things exciting without
right. We’ve been serving the kids of kids of grandparents here.”
fireplace that the Sidetrack used to have but we are close.”
having to change everything.”
Blues On Whyte is a mainstay in the Edmonton nightlife scene.
The sheer quantity of live music that On the Rocks offers also
And On the Rock’s formula garners results in the form of patrons
Everyone knows about it and can tell you a story involving it.
makes it unique. “There are not a lot of us left who are doing
who line up to enter the establishment on weekends. “Our average
live music on a consistent basis,” Sandy says. “Fridays and
Saturday night is ridiculously high energy, a bazillion smiles,”
Saturdays we have premier A-league of cover bands. A rotation
continues Sandy. “It also gets around 104 degrees. It’s a fun-loving
of 12 to 13 tried, tested and truly great cover bands. But we
heat when we are jam packed. Everyone has a smile on their face.”
in something crazy like Wide Mouth Mason or Jay Sparrow or Tupelo Honey, you never know.”
Much of Ceili’s success comes from repeat customers, and
And the patronage is as consistent as the music. Offering
already have the right personality—that is why they are here.
do a lot of stuff. We have folk and reggae and then we throw
manager of Blues On Whyte. “The Commercial Hotel has been
That in a nutshell is On the Rocks. Winner of Vue Weekly’s
friendly atmosphere, it seems to have it all.
“Our staff like having a good time as well,” Sandy says. “They
about completely different things. From 18 to 80 and that’s all
Purcell believes Blues’ timeless popularity is due to the live music. “Seven nights a week really brings people together,” he says. “They appreciate eclectic crowds and dancing. We are
live entertainment package. We always have music and are constantly doing some version of battle of the bands. Be it acoustic, or student bands or what-have-you. We have live comedy on Wednesday and every Friday and Saturday we have a live acoustic set pre-DJ. It’s a nice way to start the weekend.” “My favorite is our Canada Day Rockfest. From 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. we have live bands. Five to six bands for the whole day and this year we are trying to move it into a portion of our parking lot. Everything from local bands to student bands and of course a lot of them have a really strong East Coast flare. It’s a great time.”
playing music that has been around for decades. Beatles were
With live entertainment, an outdoor patio and big-screen TV, the
blues, The Rolling Stones were blues. It’s branched out. No
craic is all its cracked up to be, and more!
matter what you think about music, everyone has enjoyed the blues during at least one point in their lives.”
4 4. JEFFREY’S CAFÉ AND WINE BAR //
5. RED PIANO //
Jeff Kolbuc, owner of Jeffrey’s Café and Wine Bar, is a very busy
For me, the idea of dueling pianos brings to mind a wild western
man and this isn’t a surprise. After talking to a few patrons about
scene where cowboys tickle the ivories in a life-or-death,
his establishment, they were convinced that he must not sleep
whiskey-fueled battle. But there are many differences between
because of the high level of care that the place is under.
my vision and the Red Piano Dueling Piano Bar and Bistro.
“We cater to all types of customers,” Kolbuc says. “On any given
“We also have probably the nicest rooms in the city,” says
day you will have a group of moms and their babies, an elderly
manager Mo Blayways.”We have a certain sophistication and are
couple, some Edmonton Oilers grabbing a coffee on their way to
little bit more upscale. That is what people have come to expect
practice, or some businessmen having a few drinks after work.
from us. We have a classy product they can’t get anywhere else.
Our clientele is a huge variety.”
We are happy to see that people have proven to us that if you
“The food is always fresh,” continues Kolbuc. “The customer service is always top notch. The staff is always friendly and the
build a really nice room and staff it with great people they will come and support you.”
cafe is always clean. We have good management which allows
The Red Piano’s uniqueness has been a major factor in its
this all to be consistent. Another consistency is our standard
success. “Nobody is doing what we are,” Blayways explains.
menu which we keep to pretty closely, with the exception of our
“We’ve taken what some other people have tried to do, with
daily sandwich special. That is always awesome.”
dueling pianos and made it work. It doesn’t exist anywhere else
And as anyone can tell you, if a place knows its food and wine, it must also know its music. And Jeffrey’s humbly does.
in Alberta, if not North America. Typically, dueling piano bars are in a pub environment, but we’ve built our stage in the middle of the room and added a technically advanced light show. We put
“Our Saturday nights we are generally full, as it only takes about
focus on that. We are also a full service restaurant. A lot of other
40-50 to pack the place,” Kolbuc says. “The crowd is upbeat
places are a one stop shot, or only offer one thing. We have an
and the music is the best that you will hear in this city... very
upscale casual menu and great entertainment.”
vibrant and alive. We have 80 per cent jazz, but also have a bit of Latin, blues, and country on occasion.”
“We definitely evolve our show; we stay pretty contemporary as we are a request-based business,” says Blayways.”Our players
On Thursday nights you might find a singer/songwriter, or an
put emphasis with today’s top forty and keep up with what
indie band. “My favorite is probably Jack Semple, a guitar
people may want. We don’t get repetitious; our nights can be
master from Saskatchewan,” Kolbuc says. “Our most popular
completely different from one night to then next. We have eight
artist is Canadian music legend Alfie Zappacosta who plays
different players who play for us on a full time basis. They switch
every few months. He sells out almost immediately. Semple will
during the night and there at times when they go four of a time
be here in May and to see this phenomenal blues guitarist right
taking a piece. Every night is different and that makes it exciting
in front of you, in an intimate setting is unbeatable.”
to go into work every day.”
UTOPIA 2011 SCHEDULE FRIDAY, JUNE 17: FEATURE CONCERT Utopia opens @ 5:00 PM (general admission, front row seats on a first come basis) Headline Concert - ANI DIFRANCO with special Guest JANET PANIC
SATURDAY, JUNE 18 Utopia opens @ 1:00 PM
EDMONTON’S OWN UTOPIA Dale Plourde says he got the idea for Edmonton’s newest summer music festival about 15 years ago.
(general admission, front row seats on a first come basis)
“I was travelling with my band and we played a festival in
WESTERN CANADA SHOWCASE
northern B.C.,” Plourde recalls. “There were some young girls
All day music 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM JUSTIN BLAIS MARK SHEPPARD MATTHEW LINDHOLM BOY & GURL DJ’s : D3VIANT & TIANNA J. SOULJAH FYAH
SATURDAY HEADLINE CONCERTS (immediately following the showcase, 5:00 PM) 5:00 PM: SUZIE MCNEIL
skipping across a field, and they said, ‘Wow, isn’t this awesome? Don’t you wish every day could be like this?’ And so that really resonated with me, and stayed with me for a long time.” From that idyllic image, the idea for the Utopia Music Festival was born. The inaugural Festival will run June 17 and 18 in Hawrelak Park’s Heritage Amphitheatre. The lineup will feature a diverse array of local talent, including roots/reggae band Souljah Fyah, DJ D3VIANT, and 2009 Bounce Showdown winner Justin Blais. Edmonton’s own will be complemented by several renowned national and international acts, including David Usher, Lights and Ani DiFranco.
6:00 PM: DAVID USHER 7:00 PM: LIGHTS with special guest RICH AUCOIN
OTHER ATTRACTIONS Big Rock Beer Garden( quality beer, cider, wine and coolers) Gourmet food vendors; flavors from all over the world Roving entertainers (jugglers dancers, street performers) Kids Zone (fun fantasy area for kids) Utopia Market tent ; where you can buy artist merchandise, unique gifts, music and art) 4,000 of the happiest people in Edmonton “like” us on facebook to receive a free Priority wristband; which gets you in the best concert seats and express line into the beer garden www./facebook.com/utopiamusicfestival
Festival closes @ 10:30 PM
FESTIVAL SHOWCASES THE VERSATILITY OF JAZZ STORY: TERESA FISHER
talented and hard working staff to the creative and inspired
director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which features fifteen jazz soloists and ensemble players. The Orchestra performs in New York, as well as across the US and around the world, and they play a variety of original compositions as well as the masterworks of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs in Edmonton on June 28 at the Winspear Centre. Tickets to both
vocals and big band dance music are just some of the treats that
shows can be purchased at the Winspear box office. Lepper says that there will also be surprises to tantalize jazz fans. “We are planning some extra treats for those attending the
Edmonton International Jazz Festival showcases talent from
festival, but in order to find out what those treats are, you’ll just
local, provincial, national, and international up-and-coming
have to attend the festival,” she says.
artists as well as celebrated acts. As the festival’s tagline declares, “There is a Jazz for Everyone.”
However, Lepper does reveal that the Festival is offering a limited number of Johnny Jazz pass for $99. The Johnny Jazz pass
choristers to the energetic team of volunteers, we are very
“The goal of the Festival is to allow people to hear jazz the way
lucky to have grown and developed with many outstanding
allows jazz fans to enjoy the whole festival, excluding headlining
that it’s meant to be heard,” says festival promoter Liz Lepper.
performance opportunities over the years. It is a joy to make
acts, for only $9 a day. The Festival is also offering free concerts
Spring brings with it feelings of refreshment and vibrancy. As the
This means that there is going to be a lot more to take in than
wonderful music and develop strong community and team
in Churchill Square weekdays from noon to 2 p.m., in partnership
dull whites and grays of winter melt away, new life comes forth
just your traditional blues. Cool jazz, bebop, Dixie land, funk/
goals throughout each season. We strive for diversity in our
with the concurrent Works Art and Design Festival. Bringing local,
with green foliage, blue skies, and sometimes, a rainbow.
groove and swing are just a small sample of what can be heard
programming and musical skills development and this always
national, and international artists and music lovers together; the
when you venture out to explore what jazz has to offer.
folks at the Edmonton International Jazz Festival guarantee to
Headlining this year’s festival are Madeleine Peyroux, as well as
deliver a jazz for everyone.
STORY: PAULA E. KIRMAN
Colours of the season can also be represented in music. Edmonton’s renowned Kokopelli Choir Association will paint a
keeps things fresh and interesting,” he says.
landscape with their voices at the Colours of Spring concert.
“Our goal is to bring the audience into the performance as much
the Jazz at the Lincoln Centre Orchestra featuring trumpeter
as possible, and we do this using many different means like
By attending the Festival you are not only listening to musical
Colours of Spring takes place Saturday May 14 at 2 p.m.
Wynton Marsalis. Peyroux is a songstress who is well-known
movement, instrumentation, and different standing formations,”
delights but you are also helping to support the Jazzworks
(featuring Kokopelli and its apprentice choir, Shumayela) and 7
to her fans for her mellow musical stylings, influenced by
education outreach programs which benefit from the festival as
p.m. (featuring its young adult choir Òran and children’s choir
jazz heavyweights like Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Louis
well as support the jazz tradition in Edmonton. So why not show
Armstrong. She is best known for her 2005 release Careless Love,
your support for the arts in Edmonton and indulge in the smooth
which brings her personal and vulnerable take to popular artists
sounds of jazz that are sure to delight your senses?
Kikimasu) at McDougall United Church.
“We have singers introduce pieces as often as possible to help
“The repertoire for our spring concerts is always a varied
the audience get to know the many amazing singers we are
program of music of many styles and periods that are studied
privileged to have on stage. Kokopelli also stands for a supportive,
throughout the year,” says Scott Leithead, conductor and
non-competitive environment for nurturing young singers, and
founder of the Kokopelli Choir. “Our choirs perform in many
it’s an important aspect of our concerts that our choirs listen to
provincial and national festivals in the spring and much of this
and enjoy each other as much as possible, and that our younger
music will be performed at our year end concerts.”
groups have the opportunity to be mentored and inspired by their
The Kokopelli Choir Association is a group of choirs made up of
Colours of Spring is not the only major Kokopelli event on the
founded the youth choir in 1996 after leaving his teaching
horizon. “We also have a more informal encore concert on May
position at Victoria School of the Arts. Since then, the choirs
29 at 4 p.m., at Sacred Heart Church featuring our two older
have expanded in number from one to four, and from around 45
ensembles, Kokopelli and Òran,” says Leithead. “We also have
members to now around 180.
our major fundraiser in June, our Sing-a-Thon for African Projects,
provincial and state honour choirs in seven provinces and one state,” says Leithead. “My interests in choral music started when I was completing my undergraduate degree in music at Wilfrid Laurier University. Since that time I have been fortunate to have
such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Peyroux is performing on June 26 at the Winspear Centre.
young people of different ages and musical experience. Leithead
“I have conducted numerous choirs over the years including
“I have an amazing team of people in these choirs—from the
than thirty recordings under his belt. He is also the artistic
you at Edmonton’s International Jazz Festival. Funky beats, sultry
day festival that runs this year from June 24-July 3.
Leithead has many reasons for enjoying his work with Kokopelli.
Marsalis, a nine-time Grammy award winner who has more
Trumpets and trombones aren’t the only things that will serenade
will be offered up in various venues across the city during the ten-
Sounds Of Spring
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis features
which consists of 24 continuous hours of live local music at the Bogani Cafe in south Edmonton. All funds donated directly support our organization’s African Projects Fund, which helps out our sister choirs in southern Africa and supports our ongoing chorister exchange program with them.”
travelled the world working with outstanding choral educators
Tickets for Colours of Spring are available at Tix on the Square
and professional musicians.”
or through any Kokopelli Choir Association chorister or parent.
or the fourth straight year, Rock the Square will
The participation of non-profits give the festival a tangible
complement the Festival City’s selection of great summer
purpose, beyond the music—last year, with the participation
music. The free, day-long event at Churchill Square will
of OneMatch, concert-goers received bone marrow donor
showcase nine local bands from an eclectic mix of genres. The event will be headlined by top Canadian blues-man, Marshall Lawrence. In addition to performances from more established home-grown talent, Rock the Square will also feature some of the city’s most talented unknown musicians found through the Edmonton Undiscovered competition. Co-founder and organizer, Arek Kozikowski is thrilled as the festival continues to grow in popularity and quality. “Over the years we were able to gather valuable experience in organizing an event of this magnitude,” Kozikowski says. “We’ve met great musicians and people from the industry. Above all, we have presented the greatest bands that Edmonton has to offer.” The idea for Rock the Square was conceived in 2005 when school teachers Daniel Jancewicz and Alexander Gillis formed a Saturday School of Rock at St. Basil School. Their students quickly learned how to play guitar through the instruction of
TAKES THE STAGE FOR THE FOURTH YEAR
at Rock the Square. The festival retains its grassroots tradition, and is able to give more than music back to the city.
“WE’VE MET GREAT MUSICIANS AND PEOPLE FROM THE INDUSTRY. ABOVE ALL, WE HAVE PRESENTED THE GREATEST BANDS THAT EDMONTON HAS TO OFFER.” Rock the Square takes place June 18 in Churchill Square from
three bands were created.
noon until 10 p.m. A new band will take the stage each and
In 2008, two of the bands performed at Churchill Square on a
every hour. The “Doctor of the Blues,” Marshall Lawrence plays
a great success,” said Kozikowski, “and we decided to try it again on a bigger scale.” In 2009 Rock the Square was officially born with nine bands and an endorsement from Mayor Stephen Mandel, who voiced his support through a pre-festival speech. The response and attendance over the past few years has exceeded expectations, and in 2010 over 5000 people attended
STORY: DAVE FALK PHOTO: EDWARD ALLEN www.edwardtakespictures.com
yet it is these opportunities that establish a unifying atmosphere
Kozikowski. Soon after, with the help of supportive parents,
summer afternoon in front of onlookers and passers-by. “It was
ROCK THE SQUARE
information for those in need. The focus is obviously the music,
the event, with 90 musicians performing. While the music plays this year, the beer gardens will be flowing, food vendors will fill Churchill Square and there will be plenty of fun activities for all ages. According to Kozikowski, the word is definitely getting out. “In 2010, we were able to attract some great bands again and rocked the square,” he says. “This year, I have received applications from 20 bands on the first day the festival was advertised. If that’s the way it goes, we will consider extending it to two-day event to accommodate more bands.” The event is open to any non-profit organization that would like to be a part of Rock the Square.
a 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. set to finish off the festival in style. Visit http://www.RockTheSquare.com for more information regarding band applications, sponsor opportunities and other ways to get involved. Any non-profit organization looking to participate in the festival is asked to contact email@example.com for details.
HAVE AN AWESOME
MAY // 2011
PEKING ACROBATS WITH THE ESO
ENERFLEX MS WALK
May 9 -10, 2011 // 7:30 PM
May 15, 2011 // 10:00 AM
UPCOMING EVENT, LET US KNOW. WE’LL PUBLISH IT IN
PRINTAND IN THE MERGE ONLINE CALENDAR. FOR
MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING EVENTS GO TO THE ONLINE
May 6 & 7, 2011
May 3, 2011 // 8:00 AM
Robbins Health Learning Centre
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SPRING 2011 AFTER BUSINESS MIXER
Writers', Editors' and Publishers' annual conference.
BOSSY MAMA ANNUAL SPRING BRUNCH May 15, 2011 // 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM
May 4, 2011 // 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Delta Edmonton South
Networking and social event for female
Networking event for small businesses
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.
IAABD ANNUAL CONFERENCE: CHALLENGES IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION
GROWTH BY DIVERSIFICATION BREAKFAST May 6, 2011 // 7:30 - 9:00 AM Westin Hotel Economic diversification in Alberta, in depth talk with Peter Lougheed.
YESS HOMELESS FOR A NIGHT
Professional Basketball Game
May 12, 2011 // 7:00 PM
May 27, 2011 // 6:00 PM - 7:00 AM
Art Gallery of Alberta
EDMONTON ENERGY VS. BELLINGHAM SLAM
Art Sale, proceeds going to the gallery.
Fundraiser for Youth Emergency Shelter
May 21, 2011 // 1:00 PM
U of A Main Gym
Haven Social Club to an audience.
EDMONTON REAL ESTATE FORUM
strategies for 2011.
AGA ART ON THE BLOCK
Opportunity to present a short story
GET PUBLISHING 2011: AT THE EDGE OF PRINT
Informational event focusing on real estate
May 20, 2011 // 7:30 PM
by the orchestra.
May 19, 2011 // 7:30 PM
Shaw Conference Centre
Fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Chinese acrobats perform, accompanied
EDMONTON STORY SLAM
CALENDAR AT: WWW.MERGEMAG.CA
ROLLER DERBY BOUT EDMONTON ENERGY VS. BELLINGHAM SLAM
UKRAINIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE VILLAGE CELEBRATION OF DANCE
ZAAC PICK WITH CHANDA COOPER May 29, 2011 // 7:00 PM Knox Evangelical Free Church Raise Funds for restoration the Knox Church, West coast folk sensation performs.
May 23, 2011 // 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
May 30, 2011 // 8:00 AM
Dance display, sheep shearing, exhibits
Lewis Estates Golf Course
and children’s activites.
Fundraising event for Win House women’s shelter.
TWEET THE ARTS MEETUP
RAINMAKER RODEO AND EXHIBITION
May 5, 2011 // 7:00 PM
May 27 - 29, 2011
The ARTery Networking event for Edmonton’s arts scene Tweeters.
OLD STRATHCONA FARMERS’ MARKET
Exhibition Grounds, St. Albert
Annual Rodeo and Exhibition Rodeo. .
EDMONTON KEYANO INTERNATIONAL SWIM MEET
ROYAL BISON ART AND CRAFT FAIR
May 5 - 8, 2011
May 28 - 29, 2011 // 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Kinsmen Sport Centre
8426 Gateway Blvd.
10310 - 83rd Ave.
Local art and craft sale.
Weekly market featuring local produce,
EDMONTON SPORT AND SOCIAL CLUB INDOOR VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
May 7, 14, 21, 28, 2011 // 8:30 AM - 3 PM
meat, crafts, etc.
May 14, 2011 // 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
CANADIAN OFF-ROAD EXPO
YESS GREAT EXPECTATIONS
May 17- 20, 2011 // 4:00 PM
May 8 - 9, 2011 // 10:00 AM
May 4, 2011
Robbins Health Learning Centre
Delta Edmonton South
Recreational volleyball tournament
International Academy of African Busi-
Unique booths and spectator shows.
Fundraiser for Youth Emergency Shelter
ness and Development.
May 8 - 9, 2011 // 12:00AM - 4:00 PM
May 25, 2011 // 7:00 - 8:00 PM
City Room, City Hall
Valley Zoo becomes a relaxing spa for
Mayor's Awards presentation and
any mother to enjoy.
EPL BOOKS2EAT GALA May 14, 2011 // 7:30 PM -11 PM
May 14, 2011 // 7:00 PM
MOTHERS’ DAY MAGIC
2011 MAYOR'S AWARDS
U of A and West Edmonton Christian
OIL CITY ROLLER DERBY ALL-STARS VS. THE RED DEER BELLADONNAS
Lois Hole Library Local chefs showcase their talents through edible book creations.
Professional Basketball Game
SUBWAY CORONATION TRIATHLON May 29, 2011 // 10:00 AM Hemingway Pool, Groat Road, Mackinnon Ravine 27th annual Triathlon
WIN FORE WIN WOMEN’S GOLF TOURNAMENT
U of A Main Gym
Oil City Grindhouse
Published on Apr 29, 2011
Edmonton music, boonstock, Axe Productions, Matt Landry and the Dryland Band, Long Way Down, Yellowhead Brewery, Yes Nice, Sherwood Park Toy...