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Summer Festival Guide 2013

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July Talk

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Jenn Grant


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Mic Check Letter from the editor

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jonathan . . . . . . . Briggins, . . . . . . .Editor-in-Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..... We kind of feel like an opening band at a festival. Some people may have heard of us or claim they have. The name is somewhat catchy but doesn’t really explain a whole lot. But now that we have your attention we hope you’ll keep coming back as we gear up to launch our first full-fledged issue in September. Hop over to mixtapemagazine.ca to find out all the subscription details and benefits. The summer festival season is the best time for music lovers to pack their bags and make a trip to see all the coolest bands at once. My first time traveling to a music festival was going from Halifax to Montreal with a friend for Osheaga in 2010. We took the train, killing the 25-hour trip by recreating that year’s FIFA World Cup on our

iPods (it came down to an unlikely battle between Chile and Ireland). We stayed at the McGill University residence located on a noisy Montreal street. The room didn’t have air conditioning, but it didn’t matter. After returning from days of loud music, dusty feet and sunshine, we could sleep just about anywhere. Those memories stick out just as much as seeing Arcade Fire and whoever else headlined. In this special issue, we give you the lowdown on this summer’s hottest new band, hear what it’s like to be an artist playing festivals around the world and of course give you insider tips to our favourite festivals across Canada. Come check out our big show in September.

Editor-in-Cheif JONATHAN BRIGGINS Managing Editor EVELYN HORNBECK Contributing Editor NICOLE FERIANCEK Creative Director HILARY CREAMER Photographer SCOTT BLACKBURN Illustrator EMMA COCHRANE Publishers BILL MCEWEN JONATHAN BRIGGINS Business Manager BILL MCEWEN Advertising Department mixtapehalifax@gmail.com To subscribe please email mixtapehalifax@gmail.com MIXTAPEMAGAZINE.CA Mixtape Magazine was originally created by Jonathan Briggins, Samantha Chown, Hilary Creamer, Ryan Hemsworth and Chelcie Soroka

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MIXTAPE SUMMER 2013


CONTENTS

Fierce & Physical

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July Talk’s steamy live act lights up your summer nights

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Summer Festival Guide ..... Sage advice on tackling the best of the 7

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Canadian circuit

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Super Connected

Ten years on, celebrated label Arts & Crafts continues to expand its roster

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Band Camp

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Festival veterans Jenn Grant and Daniel Ledwell know the drill

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New Island Party

P.E.I.’s indie-rock scene has a new reason to party

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Fierce and Physical Why July Talk will heat up your summer . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . . .by. . .Nicole . . . . . . . .Feriancek . . . . . ....................................

Photo: Scott Blackburn

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July Talk is the summer fling that will carry on long after festival season ends. “We’ve been able to travel the country, connect with people, and have people connect with us. We’re feeling pretty damn good about that,” says Peter Dreimanis, July Talk’s rough-and-tumble singer and guitarist. Now they’re taking their show to the festival circuit, making them a must-see this summer. A year after the band’s birth, the Toronto-based group is already being noticed for their unreal live shows, bluesy sound and their lead singer’s magnetism. Fronted by Dreimanis and Leah Fay, a duo with undeniable chemistry, July Talk is rounded out by Ian Docherty on guitar, Josh Warburton on bass and Danny Miles on drums. “I think it feels like we’ve all gotten through

our first year of marriage to each other and we’ve all become really close, closer than we thought we could,” says Dreimanis, who describes the group as a cohesive mix of heavy blues, Americana and indie-rock, with unexpected contrasts. Dreimanis says something about the band’s dynamic just clicks. “The physicality of the performance is really integral for us,” he says. “If you don’t care, the audience won’t either.” Fay’s clean, crisp voice sweetens Dreimanis’s husky Tom-Waits-like growl. The stage turns into a battlefield as the pair vie for both the audience’s attention and each other’s affections. Seductive and coy, Fay flirts with the front row, taunting Dreimanis, who eyes her hungrily and tries to nuzzle in. When she pushes him away, he channels the

rejection down into his guitar, shredding his fingers against the strings like cheese on a grater. He screams, pulls his hair, hits himself in the face, loses control. Fay, meanwhile, makes sure they don’t lose the audience. “I’m trying to look at them and have a connection, get a read for things like, ‘Are you guys okay? Is it too loud? Can I help you in some way? Is Peter scaring you?’ I’m trying to bridge the gap and reach out and feel what they’re feeling and try to connect as much as possible.” While the connection between Fay and Dreimanis is genuine, whether or not they are romantically involved is left to the imagination. “People see the way we look at each other and kind of fill in the blanks,” Dreimanis says. “It is vague” adds Fay. Since the band formed in 2012, July

Talk has opened for such heavyweights as Sam Roberts Band, the Arkells and Matt Mays. They’ve completed their first major cross-country tour, and are starting to headline their own gigs. “Creatively we’re kind of in a spot right now that I’ve always wanted, or I’ve always considered unattainable,” Dreimanis says. “We are completely in it – writing and creating what we are living and vice versa,” he says. Now they are gearing up for festivals, a U.S. tour and their second album. Fay says the band will continue with their goals of making music, creating worthwhile art and poking fun at male genitalia for as long as it feels right. “I always say, ‘Do it until the dick jokes aren’t funny.’ And it’s like, they’re still funny.”

Photos: Scott Blackburn

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Join us.

We’ll be at festivals all summer long

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@mixtape_mag

Mixtape Magazine

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Mixtape’s favourites from coast to coast Festival-goers are creatures of habit. They want to make sure they see the best bands, eat the tastiest food and bask in the nicest scenery with their closest friends. As soon as the festival finishes, the countdown to next year is on. In this festival guide, Mixtape takes a look at your can’t miss festivals and some new favourites. Along with the headliners, you get our Mix Picks — the bands that you’ll kick yourself for missing (since they’re mind-blowingly good and you probably won’t get to experience them in an intimate setting again).

To get the most out of a festival, take time to prepare and come up with a plan. Wear sunscreen. Looking like a lobster and feeling like fire will take away from your enjoyment. Remember to drink lots of water and find shade when needed. Don’t be afraid to put your phone away and enjoy randomly bumping into long lost friends — and making new ones. Take a break from technology. Immerse yourself in the experience. And don’t forget to keep this guide in your back pocket.

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Sackville, NB August 2-4 The unassuming New Brunswick town of Sackville is home to a tight-knit arts and music community. Out-of-towners who go gush for weeks afterward about the good times and City Mail, an in-town mailing system, no postage required. It’s a festival that puts performers and attendees on the same level — just a bunch of music lovers hanging out in a small town. It includes two tents as the main stage and several other side stages within walking distance. Eats and sleeps: Camping is the way to go, although the Mount Allison University residence is an affordable alternative. There are food and drink vendors at the back of the tents but don’t forget to grab a bite at the historic Mel’s Tea Room. What to wear: It’s the Maritimes, and it’s August. Be prepared to get sunburnt and sweaty in the day then seek your warmest, comfiest sweater for when the sun goes down. Make sure you bring something to swim in during the day. The big ones: Colin Stetson, The Luyas, Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens, Chain & The Gang, The Underacheivers Mix picks: Doldrums (BFFs with Grimes, this eclectic artist pushes the envelope live), AroarA (The newest project from Andrew Whiteman of Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle), Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire’s violinist will fill your appetite for more strings) Mix tip: You never know when a secret act might show up. Arcade Fire performed under the name Shark Attack in 2011, so keep your ear to the ground.

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Antigonish, NS July 19-21 One of the longest running and most loved music festivals in Canada, Evolve is more than a weekend festival, it’s a borderline religion. The three day outdoor fest is famous for positive energy and environmental awareness — think ecstatic field dancing, group hugs, river swimming and 5 a.m. sunrise dance parties.Voted the best music festival in Canada by CBC Radio 3 in 2010, the weekend is an immersive experience, complete with multiple stages, 24 hours of music a day and a sprawling tent city. Hard-core Evolvers begin the celebration a day early at the Thursday night “PLP”: Parking Lot Party. Eats and sleeps: Your ticket includes camping, so bring all your tenting gear, reusable dishes and food. Propane barbecues are allowed, but anything in a glass bottle is strictly prohibited (broken glass doesn’t mesh with barefoot field dancing). The festival is proud of being green, so be ready to clean up your mess. What to wear: The crazier the better.You’ll meet Vikings and aliens, people in morph suits and spirit hoods and more body paint than Cirque du Soleil. Go nuts. It’s Evolve. The big ones: Xavier Rudd, Classified, Skratch Bastid, Slowcoaster Mix picks: Pick a Piper (side-project from Caribou drummer Brad Weber), July Talk (profiled in this guide), Repartee (rapidly rising Newfoundland poprock band) Mix tip: Don’t camp beside the techno stage, and be ready to make friends with your tent neighbours.


Montreal, QC August 2-4

Ottawa, ON July 4-14

The three-day hipster summit of the summer. Keeners arrive on the island for the smaller bands early in the day. Everyone else sleeps in, then hits downtown patios until they’re ready to dance some more. This year Osheaga features bands known for “that one song,” including Macklemore, Icona Pop, and Baauer (the Harlem Shake guy).

This festival is a marathon. Designed to be friendly for workaday civil servants, Bluesfest gets a bad reputation. But its lineup earned it a spot in Billboard Magazine’s top ten outdoor music festivals — worldwide. From country superstars to dubstep giants, there’s something for everyone.You buy your day pass for one band, but discover many others.

Eats and sleeps: Osheaga organisers have caught on to what festival goers have known for a while — the best place to stay is McGill University’s residence. But you probably know about 100 people who live in Montreal, so grab a couch. Eat before you go unless you’re okay with missing a band or two while waiting in line.

Eats and sleeps: Pick your days strategically if you’re coming from out of town. The Ottawa Jail Hostel is downtown, has a great bar, and you get to sleep in former jail cells. Next door to the festival site, the Mill Street Brewpub offers great food and beer you can’t get anywhere else.

What to wear: It’s big, it’s dusty, and it’s hot. The main stages offer no shade, so invest in a wide brim hat. The key is balancing the fashion parade with sweating bullets. The big ones: Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, The Cure, Vampire Weekend, Kendrick Lamar Mix picks: Humans (Vancouver electro pop-ers), Dusted (Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck fame), Hannah Georgas, Tegan and Sara (touring their new electro sound this summer)

What to wear: This is not trendsetting Coachella. Sensible shoes and linen shirts are welcome. The big ones: B.B. King, fun., Wu-Tang Clan, Weezer, Dixie Chicks Mix picks: Toronto’s soulful Cold Specks, Neko Case (also of The New Pornographers), Half Moon Run (Mumford & Sons approved band that sounds nothing like Mumford & Sons), Loon Choir (hometown favourite indie-rockers) Mix tip: The standers versus the sitters get serious at Bluesfest. Pick a camp and prepare to do battle.

Mix tip: Don’t stay to the end of the headliner. If you leave with the crowd, the long wait for the metro off the island will kill your post-concert buzz.

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Calgary, AB June 19-22 If you think Calgary is synonymous with cowboys and country music, a trip down 17th Ave SW will change your mind.You may be surprised to find yourself surrounded by music-savvy hipsters, a western brand all their own. Calgary’s music scene is steadily growing thanks to the Sled Island music festival, a SXSW-style event with venues all over the city. It came to life in summer 2007 and every year brings in a completely different lineup covering tons of genres. Eats and sleeps: If couchsurfing at a friend’s downtown pad is an option, hop on it. If it’s not, Wicked Hostels is cheap and centrally-located. For the best eats on the street, hit up 17th Ave SW. Try Clive Burger for custom burgers and delicious custard shakes. What to wear: Calgary’s weather might surprise you even more than the eclectic lineup. Pack for warm days, cool evenings, and rain. The big ones: Explosions in the Sky, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joel Plaskett Emergency Mix picks: Mac DeMarco (breezy guitar licks from this Montreal-based artist), Deep Dark Woods (It’s hard to beat folk-rock music and beer in the summer). Plus, Ryan Hemsworth’s smooth beats won’t disappoint (he’s a Mixtape co-founder, but we’ve lost him to fame and touring) Mix tip: Calgary’s public transportation system stops at 1 a.m., a time when most secret shows and headliners are just hitting the stage. Plan accordingly.

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Squamish, BC August 8-10 Forests, mountains and good music: these elements, along with a lineup that keeps getting bigger and better, make Squamish one of Canada’s elite festivals. Halfway between Whistler and Vancouver, Squamish festival has the perfect blend of B.C. bands and international superstars. It’s one of the few places you can take in a view of the Rockies while enjoying local food, beer and music. Eats and sleeps: Make friends by camping. If you can’t handle the thought of having Dan Mangan set his eyes on the un-showered version of you, there’s also the option of glamorous camping — or “glamping” — with showers, parking and other perks.You can bring food to the festival, but there are lots of affordable options from local restaurants and onsite vendors. What to wear: It can get fairly hot, but remember it’s near Vancouver so prepare for rain as well. Shorts, a tank top and a flannel shirt wrapped around your waist is fashionable and practical. The big ones: Queens of the Stone Age,Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, Childish Gambino Mix picks: Divine Fits (supergroup with members from Spoon, Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks), Yukon Blonde (vintage sounding indie-rockers), Diamond Rings (electro-pop project from John O’Regan of Matters, formerly known as The D’Ubervilles) Mix tip: You can bring food in, but no liquids. Bring an empty water bottle instead: hydration is key.


Super Connected Ten years of Arts & Crafts’ growing social scene . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . . .by . . . Jonathan . . . . . . . . . . .Briggins . . . .................................... Toronto is a world-class city with major tours and top-notch artists playing on the daily. But if you’re a fan of Canadian music, the biggest show this summer is Field Trip Music & Arts Festival: the 10th birthday bash of celebrated label, Arts & Crafts. This day-long mini-festival will bring together the best of the label, including a reunited Broken Social Scene and a new generation of great Canadian artists. The Toronto label was started in 2003 by roommates Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Jeffrey Remedios, a former Virgin Music Canada executive. The label’s first album, Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People, was followed by a slew of releases from bands with members who also spent time in Broken Social Scene including Stars,Valley of the Giants, Jason Collett, Apostle of

Hustle and Feist. Fast forward ten years and the record label has expanded its roster to include artists not associated with Broken Social Scene including Bloc Party, Dan Mangan, Cold Specks and The Darcys. “I was talking eight or nine months ago about how it was too bad we never got to play with Broken Social Scene,” says The Darcys’ drummer, Wes Marskell. He says Field Trip is special for The Darcys even if they aren’t the direct openers. Broken Social Scene announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus in the fall of 2011, around the same time The Darcys signed with the label. After The Darcys joined Arts & Crafts, they released a self-titled album in October 2011 followed by the January 2012 release of a reinterpreted

version of Steely Dan’s album Aja. Marskell says the band came together organically with the label. They connected with the label’s publicist Aaron Miller who asked if they wanted some help. Drew and Remedios listened to the two records and the demos for the stillunreleased third LP and liked it. “It’s all about those connections,” Marskell says. Being on a label with a big reach has helped the band branch out from Canada, landing them a European tour opening for England’s Bombay Bicycle Club and connecting them with Arts & Crafts Mexico. The label still works hard on keeping the Arts & Crafts community connected even if the roster has ballooned significantly since the early Broken Social Scene days (“Feist isn’t around

the office a lot,” Marskell says with a laugh). For example, as part of the ten year anniversary celebration, Arts & Crafts is releasing an album simply titled X (the roman numeral, not the letter), which is made up of songs recorded by pairs of artists signed with the label. On this release, The Darcys collaborated with Ra Ra Riot to cover the song “Time Can Be Overcome” by label alumni Constantines. The Darcys have also played with label-mates Gold & Youth, Zeus and Still Life Still and will play at Field Trip. While the label has moved on from being all about Broken Social Scene and friends, the spirit of collaboration and label unity continues on with younger bands joining the fold.

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Photo: Scott Blackburn


Band Camp Jenn Grant and Daniel Ledwell on the summer circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . . .by . . .Jonathan . . . . . . . . . . .Briggins . . . .................................... From Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario to Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain, Jenn Grant is a globe-trotting festival veteran. While festivals are great for music fans, giving you a chance to see a bunch of your old favourites and new favourites at once, they provide something different for the musicians. They get a break from the bar and club routine and connect with artists they may not otherwise meet. “It’s definitely a chance to see a bunch of different bands, which is often inspiring. It helps you want to work on your live show,” says Grant from home,

flanked by her two dogs, Bird and Charlie, along with husband and fellow musician Daniel Ledwell. “Sometimes it’s hard to see bands when you’re touring all the time.” Grant played Wolfe Island Music Festival near Kingston, Ontario in 2011. There she saw Montreal band Stars play for the first time. Hearing vocalist and guitarist Amy Millan performing live made an impression on Grant and she left the festival with a new friendship. “I didn’t realize what a beautiful singer she is,” says Grant. The two artists have kept in touch ever since and can frequently be found tweeting back and forth.

Daniel Ledwell, formerly of In-Flight Safety, is a producer and musician who plays with Grant. He has fond memories of playing Hillside. Between the musicians and the camping, the festival sticks out in his mind. “I remember the first time I played Hillside I was standing side-stage with Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Sam Roberts.You’re all there and all eating together...It’s kind of like band camp really,” says Ledwell. The summer of 2013 will be a quiet one for Grant and Ledwell on the festival circuit. Their only planned

preformance is the Indian River Folk Festival in Kensington, P.E.I. Last year was a big one for Grant internationally as she played two prestigious music festivals overseas: BIGSOUND in Brisbane, Australia and Primavera Sound in Barcelona. Playing at a big festival doesn’t necessarily guarantee an artist will be playing to a lot of people — at any given time, another big ticket artist such as Wilco or the xx may be playing. Still, there is something satisfying about being selected to play a festival big or small says Ledwell.

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New Island Party

Charlottetown Pop to showcase thriving P.E.I. music scene . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Words . . . . . . .by . . . .Evelyn . . . . . . . .Hornbeck . . . . . .................................... The Prince Edward Island music scene, home base to indie-rock exports Two Hour Traffic and Paper Lions, is throwing a homecoming party. This September marks the first ever Charlottetown Pop music festival. “We’re really excited about taking a national and maybe international spotlight and focusing (it) on the city and on the island,” said John MacPhee, Charlottetown Pop co-founder and member of Paper Lions. “We’re showcasing a lot of our favourite bands that the rest of the world hasn’t had a chance to discover yet.” Earlier this year, MacPhee and Paper Lions joined P.E.I. promoter Mark Fisher, and Mike Carver from

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rock band North Lakes, to hatch a plan to bring an indie rock festival to their home province. Music will run September 12-14, with three nights of bar shows and an outdoor stage the final night. “You know, selfishly, festivals are a great experience because you get to be with a lot of your friends who are musicians in bands as well as discover a lot of new bands,” says MacPhee. “One of the things we’re particularly excited about with the festival in Charlottetown is there’s nothing like it on P.E.I. right now.” The island is already host to several festivals, but they focus on folk music. Charlottetown Pop’s organizers will take

MIXTAPE SUMMER 2013

advantage of that history and bring in elements more common to folk festivals such as a “stories and songs” stage and instrument workshops. They’re hoping a mix of island style and pop fest bravado will put P.E.I.’s indie rock scene on the map. Although the festival is organized by artists, Carver’s not worried about the business side of things. “When you’re in a band you somehow have to become a businessman by default,” he says. Carver has also worked with Music PEI and joined Paper Lions’ new label, Fountain Pop Records, last winter. They’re also reaching out to learn from established Canadian music festivals. From

minor details to the bigger picture, the group has been welcomed into the fold with plenty of advice. “It’s hard,” said Carver. “How do you make this credible?” He points to industry mentors such as Jonny Stevens of Halifax Pop Explosion as invaluable. “(They) kind of put their stamp of approval on it.” The lineup is under wraps until later this summer, but with Paper Lions organizing, other great bands can’t be far behind. For now they’re only teasing to start the buzz. “It’ll be a core of Charlottetown bands,” Carver says, “(and we’ll) bring in friends from across Canada that people will want to cross the bridge for.”


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Mixtape Magazine - Summer Festival Guide 2013 feat Jenn Grant, July Talk and The Darcys