KALLE MATTSON A careful balance of escapism and reality
IN THIS ISSUE
Canada Gets Wyrd
Wintersleep road-test new songs for next album
With a pocket full of FACTOR cash, Wyrd Distro brings you the best new and strange music
29 Q&A with Leif Vollebekk Everything from good church vibes to haunted recording vibes 33 Constant Discovery Kalle Mattson aims high with his exploration of loss on Someday The Moon Will Be Gold 39 Great Inventors Classical sounds meet pop culture in a unique orchestral project A SIDE 06
Best Online Albums
16 Trendspotting 18
Profile of a Record Label
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Dine with an Artist
Letter from the editor Jonathan Briggins, Editor-in-Chief
People celebrate any chance they can get. A new job, graduating from school or successfully surviving a Monday, just to name a few. In the Canadian music scene, this year marks special anniversaries for a handful of labels and bands including two labels with roots in New Brunswick. Ottawa based Kelp Records enters the double decade club this year. The label started in a basement in Fredericton N.B. but has since moved to nation’s capital. Notable artists on the roster over the years include The Acorn, Jim Bryson and Measha Brueggergosman. Fifteen years after Kelp started,You’ve Changed Records released its first album, Still Jimmie by Shotgun Jimmie on March 10, 2009.You can read more about the label that was partially based in Sackville, N.B. for a time on page 14.
Montreal’s Stars breakthrough album Set Yourself On Fire was released ten years ago. While I haven’t listened to the album much over the past few years, every time I hear a track from it, I’m taken back to another time. That’s something that has always drawn me to music, the way it’s able to transport you to another time and place in way nothing else can. Set Yourself On Fire seems like it came out forever ago, but at the same time, its feels like it came out last week. It’s hard to believe this is the fourth issue released by Mixtape, wrapping up our first year of publishing. We’ve stayed up way past our bedtimes going to shows, hopped around festivals in the freezing cold and shared coffee with some of the amazing musicians who make covering the Canadian music scene a treat. A full year of a publication, now that’s a reason to celebrate.
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Jonathan Briggins Managing Editor
Evelyn Hornbeck Contributing Editors
Samantha Chown Nicole Feriancek Online Editor
Jane Caufield Contributors
Tim Callanan Emma Cochrane Celina Ip Jeff Lawton Tyler LeBlanc Evan McIntyre Matias Munoz Mark Rendell Ming Wu Adria Young Photography
Scott Blackburn Creative Director
Emma Cochrane mixtapemagazine.ca email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mixtape Magazine was originally created by Jonathan Briggins, Samantha Chown, Hilary Creamer, Ryan Hemsworth, Chelcie Soroka
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ALBUM REVIEWS A closer look at new releases that kicked off 2014
Cam Smith - Cannon (Robin Steele Records) You know Cam Smith. ECMA-holder and recent re-nominee, Music Nova Scotia Award-nominee: our dude is an all-around winner. Our dude is a perfectionist. Cannon shows his development as a producer, rapper and performer via this concept party-album. Through well-designed songs and classic skits that rival 2001, Doggystyle and Life after Death (Disc II), Cam calls in his crew (Alfie, XXX CLVR, Kayo, Nicole Ariana, Jay Mayne, Laura Roy and more) to create a hilarious bell-curved event over 14
tracks, from turn up to pass out. But he is serious about production: Cannon sounds meticulous. And while skits can sometimes break flow, Smith keeps it so balanced. We get a real sense of his humour that rings through each interlude and choice songs: he’s a sassy hustler, a sensitive player, a badass MC, a loving brother, a homeboy. “Mad Crack” is the club banger and Cannon’s midnight. This project pounds. Smith has taken the concept album and exploded it #BOOM. - Adria Young
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Matt Andersen - Weightless (True North Records) Contrary to the name, Matt Andersen’s Weightless is a heavy mix of soulful lyrics and rich, layered guitar. Dripping with blues, Andersen’s newest offering brings something different to the table with a new producer, new record label and a list of co-writers that could easily be a bill for the ultimate Maritime kitchen party. Weightless sounds like the bourbon lovechild of Andersen’s raw talent and Los Lobos’s Steve Berlin’s eclectic sound. Moving away from his usual solo-heavy minimalist acoustic jams, tracks like “I Lost My Way”, co-written by Joel Plaskett, introduce some distortion to Andersen’s delicate
picking. Dialing back the guitar allows Andersen’s gospel howl to radiate throughout tracks, fluidly delivering classic tales of love and loss, steeped in rural reality.The electric ballad “Alberta Gold” speaks to the exodus of young men and women from communities all across Atlantic Canada - a harsh reality New Brunswick native Andersen says is,“a story we all know.” A local legend and a prime example of raw maritime talent, Andersen’s Weightless may be the record that finally brings PerthAndover’s pride and joy to the masses. Well worth a listen. - Tyler LeBlanc
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Hidden Cameras - Age (Evil Evil/Outside) Age – a few good ideas spread thin over eight tracks. This is why we have single-track downloads on iTunes. While Age has some gems, it’s a collection that’s more frustrating than rewarding. And it all starts with so much promise. The melancholic energy of “Skin & Leather” brings us back to the songwriting of earlier Joel Gibb tunes while introducing the darker sonic territory lying ahead. But the next four tracks play out like an endurance test, each one taking a mediocre musical idea and driving it into monotony. Similar keys, similar tempos, similar bleak arrangements. It
all builds towards the six minute fauxdub reggae disaster “Afterparty.” Just when you think it’s time to pull the plug, Gibb breaks out “Carpe Jugular” – a throbbing corpse reviver of a song that picks up on the electro direction of 2009’s Origin: Orphan. The last two tracks keep on resuscitating the album. “Ordinary Over You” brings the playful, orchestral quirk Gibb made a name on ten years ago. “Year of the Spawn” (wise, mature, full of life) features pianist Chilly Gonzales, who just won a Grammy for his work with Daft Punk on, oh hey, “Bring Life Back to Music”. - Tim Callanan
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The Balconies - Fast Motions (Coalition Records) Known for nasty licks, live antics and copious amounts of hair metal windmills, The Balconies’ first LP on Coalition Records, Fast Motions, is an attempt to boil down, mash-up and preserve their onstage energy into a more permanent form. The Mötley Crüe of Queen Street West, fronted by lead-badass Jacquie Neville, throw their indie-pop image aside for a crunchier, leather-bound sound, best illustrated on tracks like “The Slo” and “Beating Your Heart.” Piercing through rhythmic riffs, Neville’s voice fluctuates between angelic highs on tracks like “Let Me Go”, and deep rock chops backed up by her brother,
and bassist, Stephen Neville. Melodic and driving, The Balconies push through each track on Fast Motions with steady, unrelenting rhythmic backing and powerful, well-delivered lyrics. “Moving Parts”, an instrumental interlude, offers a brief lull in Neville’s vocal escapade halfway through the album before rolling straight back into the pulsing beats that dominate the remaining tracks. The product of three classically trained musicians with a taste for rock and roll, the album flies by as the tracks blend together in a flash of crashing guitar and smooth bass lines, creating an action-packed live show in your earbuds. - Tyler LeBlanc
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Coeur de Pirate - Trauma (Dare to Care Records) The third album from francophone Béatrice Martin, a.k.a. Coeur de Pirate, takes a different approach compared to her previous releases. While her previous albums are in French, this one’s in english despite being a soundtrack for a French television show of the same name - Trauma. The album features covers of many well-known songs including Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”, Bill Withers’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Nancy Sinatra’s “Summer Wine”. Martin uses her unique style to offer a fresh new take on each of these old and familiar especially with her soulful voice. She breathes new life in these songs with her own emotions beautifully ringing
through each phrase reflecting these classic bleeding-heart lyrics in her tone as you hear the feelings of love and loss coming through. The kick drum in “Heartbeats Accelerating” gives a steady beat that echoes the words themselves. It’s especially nice to hear a female singer covering hits Wayne Cochran’s “Last Kiss” (also famously revived by Pearl Jam) and The Rolling Stones’s “Dead Flowers”, giving the songs a fresh perspective. And she sure does give the songs justice because they are the perfect soundtrack to a rainy day or if you need some soft, soothing melodies before you unplug for the night.- Celina Ip
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Kevin Drew - Darlings (Arts & Crafts) Broken Social Scene always felt like a party. In their heyday, all the cool indie kids played in the band. The expansive cast has included help from Feist, members of Stars, Metric, and Do Make Say Think, to name a few. Now the party is over, the band is on hiatus, and we’re left with Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew and his intimate new album Darlings. Drew becomes your best friend; sharing intimate moments on “Good Sex”, after-hours hangouts on “Mexican Aftershow Party” and an unfiltered commentary on life. Darlings always feels like late night bedroom rock and never reaches the indie anthem levels of songs from his previous solo
record Spirit If… and Broken Social Scene. Sure, “Bullshit Ballad” comes close, but even then it feels like Drew alone howling into a microphone rather than a collective of musicians rocking out together. If expectations for big moments are removed, Darlings is a great record built around Drew’s lyrics. If you’re seeking those heartswelling anthemic moments, than this album comes off flat with too much emotion but not enough energy. Darlings is your chance to be more than just friends with Drew. If you’re not ready for that relationship, ignore this record and keep listening to your old Broken Social Scene collection. Jonathan Briggins
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Best Online Albums The top releases you’ll never get your hands on Words by Jonathan Briggins
We’re fans of music in the physical form.Vinyl, cassettes, CDs; you name it, we like it. But sometimes it can be hard to actually get your hands on your music. This issue, we show you the best limited-released EPs, 7-inch records and digital-only releases that can be streamed online. Google, download and zone out.
Lowell - I Killed Sara V. (Arts & Crafts)
Electro artist Lowell starts off her new EP with a bang, calling out the “bad bad boys” while forceful beats and assertive vocals on lead single “Cloud 69”. Once Lowell rolls into town with the windows down and music blaring, she gets comfortable. Writing about sexual abuse, abortion, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights is no easy task in a patriarchal society, but all these subjects are bravely covered on I Killed Sara V. One drawback is the beat on the first single grabs the listener’s attention while the rest of the EP tapers off into a safe and less challenging groove with slick production and catchy choruses. Still, Lowell should be commended for not using the lyrics as a gimmicky crutch. The EP serves as a tantalizing teaser for her full-length debut out later this year.
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BEST ONLINE ALBUMS
Charles Barabe - Les Confessions (Jeunesse Cosmique)
The a-side of Les Confessions features a 17-minute track where the tension is so thick you can almost feel it press against your skin as layers of ambient sounds rise and fall gently while familiar organic sounds in an unfamiliar setting visit momentarily before disappearing again. The b-side is more relaxing as the tension is released and the comforting sounds of birds, cows and other creatures visit. The cassette is part of the Empreintes et Les Confessions by Barabé, the musician who runs Victoriaville, Quebec label La Cohu.
Borealis - Desire (Self-released)
Borealis, a project of Ontario-based producer Jesse Somfay, excels at producing electronic tracks that transport listeners to a foggy planet that must be explored cautiously. On the single “Desire”, hazy bass synths cover the track, flowing in then falling back continuously while electronic drums and beats gradually reveal a more textured sound. The track is mesmerizing, taking on the feeling of a dream that stretches on forever but in reality only lasts six minutes.
Ketamines - Eleven Eleven (Leaning Tree Records)
Toronto via Alberta psychedelic band Ketamines kicked off 2014 by releasing the last two EPs of their singles series. The series features four album covers that combine to make one big image. Perhaps even cooler, each single was released on a different Canadian label. Ketamines draw on the sounds of bubblegum pop from the 60s and 70s on these singles. The six short songs, hovering around two minutes in length are full of catchy piano and guitar riffs. They remind me of the bubblegum that would come in hockey card packs. Take a piece, enjoy the sugar rush that lasts for a moment, spit it out and grab another piece.
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Trendspotting Crowdfunding creeping towards industry standard Words by Jeff Lawton
Photo by Andra Zom At this point, it is almost a stretch to call crowdfunding a trend. The popularity of companies such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo has been growing for the past five years, no small thanks to high profile projects by artists such as Amanda Palmer. In 2014, crowdfunding is no longer simply en vogue - it feels closer to industry standard. Yet, in many ways it still seems like crowdfunding is fighting an uphill battle. Most media-savvy musicians are at least aware of
crowdfunding, but there are those who are not completely sold on its merits â€” even after going through it. Ontario musician Alanna Gurr recently finished a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the costs of mastering her upcoming album Late at Night. And while she surpassed her target of $4,000, she still has an issue with crowdfunding. From her perspective, the problem is more about the demands of the entire process.
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“I definitely had reservations,” says Gurr. “I turned to (crowdfunding) out of need to complete a project, but I do find it to be somewhat out of my character. I hate to ask for things from people, but at this point I had too.” Most people become artists to create art, not to become fundraising experts. Crowdfunding is an effective alternative to taking a loan from a label but it also asks the musician to play the role of an industry professional. By soliciting fans, beefing up promotion and overseeing your own shipping, a musician essentially has to view their music as a business and an art. Though adopting this DIY approach can feel empowering to some, it can also add significantly more pressure. “I actually feel less in control,” says Gurr. “If we don’t make our goal then I don’t know how we will afford to finish the album in the near future.” But crowdfunding is not just a convenient option to raise money. Sometimes it takes on the role of a last ditch effort, which is a situation that the organizers of the SappyFest music festival recently experienced.
Though SappyFest co-founder Paul Henderson shared similar reservations as Gurr, he ultimately found the process to be much more positive than anticipated. “It most certainly got us out of a very awful situation with a process and project that is positive, creative, community building, and affirming,” he says. “I guess I’m a convert in a way.” However, not everyone will be converted. Crowdfunding appears functional and sometimes even necessary, but asking people for money is not easy. For this reason, crowdfunding might not become as ubiquitous as other music services. Going forward, artists will likely continue to embrace the business side of the industry, but crowdfunding will never be for everybody. And in that sense, maybe crowdfunding won’t ever move beyond “trend” status. But if you ask Henderson, there is nothing wrong with that. “A band that wants a career needs to think about business if they want to be in business. I’m also fine with bands being fun, creative and transient,” he says.
Last August, the Sackville, N.B. festival launched an Indiegogo project to cover $15,000 worth of debt that accrued from the previous SappyFest, as well as to fund a coffee table photo book.
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Profile of a Record Label You’ve Changed Records turns five Words by Jonathan Briggins
split record, friend and tourmate Jim “Shotgun Jimmie” Kilpatrick finished a new record. On March 10, 2009, Still Jimmie became the label’s debut release. The first record to sell a lot of units came at the end of the label’s first year when Romano, Fred Squires and Julie Doiron released an album simply titled Daniel, Fred & Julie.
You’ve Changed Records began on the road. In 2008, Steve Lambke of Baby Eagle was driving home to Montreal with Attack in Black after touring together. Attack in Black, including Daniel Romano and Ian Kehoe, wanted more artistic freedom with their releases. As they drove, the guys chatted and hatched a plan to form their own label. “(Attack In Black) were a very prolific band and were making more music than their label at the time was willing to put out,” says Steve Lambke of the Constantines, who performs under the name Baby Eagle and runs You’ve Changed. Kehoe (who now performs as Marine Dreams) thought up the name, basing it on a phrase teenagers said in high school. Attack in Black lead singer and guitarist Daniel Romano and Lambke took the idea and ran with it. The first planned release was a split 7-inch record where the two bands would cover each other’s songs. But before they could finish the
The core of You’ve Changed Records has always been a close group of friends. According to Lambke, when selecting artists for the label, it’s not just about being a talented musician; having a rapport with the label is also crucial. “The decision of who we’re going to work with is made relatively carefully, and if those things don’t align, we don’t put out a record.” One example is Apollo Ghosts, a now defunct Vancouver band fronted by Adrian Teacher. Teacher was living in Sackville, N.B. at the same time as Lambke when he was the SappyFest music festival songwriter in residence. You’ve Changed and Apollo Ghosts shared expectations and ideas leading to the release of Landmark on the label. Having a label run by a small team means sometimes only a couple records come out in a year. The label doesn’t have an elaborate blueprint or a quota with a target number of releases per year, instead focusing on a case-by-case basis. They’ve found the rockier albums have weak CD sales, but strong digital and vinyl sales. With folk and country albums, CD sales have been strong.
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PROFILE OF A RECORD LABEL
“It’s not so much that there was a big plan, it was just trying to do right by the ideas and the projects that came up. And when we decide to work with somebody new, we try to do right by that person. So (the plan) takes its own shape as much as we shape it.” Marine Dreams album Corner of the Eye was only released in digital and vinyl formats, forgoing CDs completely. The pros and cons of releasing like this were discussed with Ian Kehoe of Marine Dreams and Lambke.
The result was not as much radio play and lost airplay royalties, but the project also cost less. Romano’s album Workin’ For the Music Man came out 2010 on CD but didn’t see its first vinyl release until last year. In terms of sale, Romano’s 2011 album Sleep Beneath the Willow has been the most successful and has been re-pressed a few times. “We try and make all our decisions very thoughtfully and to the best of our knowledge.”
“The pros are obviously you’re not spending the money making CDs, the cons are that you don’t have CDs to mail out for radio and promo. You’re moving all that to digital.”
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Leaving Hibernation Wintersleep road-test new songs for next album Words by Celina Ip • Photos by Scott Blackburn
“Santa Fe”. “Metropolis”.
went straight to the recording studio without playing the new songs to audiences in advance.
Do any of these Wintersleep song titles ring a bell? No? Well, they shouldn’t. They’ve yet to be released.
“Yeah we didn’t road-test that record,” says Campbell, “There were some songs off that last record that we only played live a couple times because it was too hard to pull them off.”
These are the possible names of four of the 20 new songs the band have been working on at their Montreal studio, Mount Zoomer, a space previously used by Wolf Parade and Arcade Fire. They’ve basically hibernated in the studio from early fall until now: winter. “Like a winter sleep,” drummer Loel Campbell jokes, “but no, we’re not bears.” The band recently went on a tour of the Maritimes to try out their new material—to road-test it. “For us as a band, it’s really healthy and important to try new material that we’re still working on for an audience. So then we can kind of see what people react to more,” says Campbell. The Maritimes tour zoomed along smoothly and fans loved the new tunes. “It went really well. They responded better to the new songs than some of the old songs. So that’s a good sign right? It didn’t feel awkward to do,” says Campbell. But road-testing isn’t something they’ve always done. For their previous album, Hello Hum, they
Campbell says they learned from that tour. “It will help us better produce an album that we can perform live,” says Campbell, “We’re just trying to make an effort to have the best of both worlds: making sure the live shows are relative to the album and the album translates well in concert.” Campbell says the band’s sixth album will be more adventurous than previous albums. “There’s going to be science fiction themed songs that are going to be wild. There’s always a theme of love I guess. Love is a great thing to write songs about,” Campbell says, “But there’s definitely going to be some really fresh ideas and sounds on the next record that people will hear and be like ‘that’s Wintersleep?’ I think we’re getting away from our conventionality. We’re constantly trying to not repeat ourselves.” This time around, Campbell is dipping his pen in the lyric pool and this album could feature two songs he wrote. This collaboration is new for the band as lead singer Paul Murphy has acted as the band’s lyricist for their entire history.
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The band is now back in the studio continuing work on their new ship, as Loel calls it, vessel number six. Halifax band Alert the Medic spent last fall road-testing new material in a variety of settings, from acoustic sets to bar shows. Now that they’ve tried the new songs on different audiences in different places, they’ve got a good feeling of what their fans want and have taken the knowledge to the recording studio. “We’ve been sneaking in these new songs along the way—more and more over the last several months since it’s getting closer to recording time. We try them on stage and can really gauge how they feel and how the crowd reacts, because it’s so easy to get caught up in your own ideas when you’re in a rehearsal spot of writing and working
on parts for songs. And as a group you might think it’s really really awesome, but maybe it’s not that awesome once you try it out on the crowd,” says lead guitarist Troy Arseneault. During their fall tour, they threw in a couple new songs for every show. By the end of the tour, all their new songs had been tested. The band is getting lots of positive feedback about the new songs. “After the show, people go ‘oh, I didn’t hear that before, what’s that?’ They follow up on Facebook and Twitter with comments like ‘oh, I liked that new song, what’s the name of it?’ and sometimes we don’t even have the names for them so we’ll just say it’s called ‘New Song’ for the time being,” says Arsenault.
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I HAVE RECEIVED FROM HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR LAWRENCE, THE KING'S COMMISSION WHICH I HAVE IN MY HAND, AND BY WHOSE ORDERS YOU ARE CONVEYED TOGETHER, TO MANIFEST TO YOU HIS MAJESTY'S FINAL RESOLUTION TO THE FRENCH INHABITANTS OF THIS HIS PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA, WHO FOR ALMOST HALF A CENTURY HAVE HAD MORE INDULGENCE GRANTED THEM THAN ANY OF HIS SUBJECTS IN ANY PART OF HIS DOMINIONS. WHAT USE YOU HAVE MADE OF THEM YOU YOURSELF BEST KNOW. THE PART OF DUTY I AM NOW UPON IS WHAT THOH NECESSARY IS VERY DISAGREEABLE TO MY NATURAL MAKE AND TEMPER, AS I KNOW IT MUST BE GRIEVOUS TO YOU WHO ARE OF THE SAME SPECIEA. BUT IT IS NOT MY BUSINESS TO ANNIMADVERT, BUT TO OBEY SUCH ORDERS AS I RECEIVE, AND THEREFORE WITHOUT HESITATION SHALL DELIVER YOU HIS MAJESTY'S ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS. THAT YOUR LAND & TENNEMENTS, CATTLE OF ALL KINDS AND LIVESTOCKS OF ALL SORTS ARE FORFEITED TO THE CROWN WITH ALL OTHER YOUR EFFECTS SAVINGS YOUR MONEY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND YOU YOURSELVES TO BE REMOVED FORM THIS PROVINCE. THUS IT IS PEREMPTORILY HIS MAJESTY'S ORDERS THAT THE WHOLE FRENCH INHABITANTS OF THESE DISTRICTS BE REMOVED, AND I AM THROH HIS MAJESTY'S GOODNESS DIRECTED TO ALLOW YOU LIBERTY TO CARRY OF YOUR MONEY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS MANY AS YOU CAN WITHOUT DISCOMMODING THE VESSELS YOU GO IN. I SHALL DO EVERY THING IN MY POWER THAT ALL THOSE GOODS BE SECURED TO YOU AND THAT YOU ARE NOT MOLESTED IN CARRYING OF THEM OF, AND ALSO THAT WHOLE FAMILY SHALL GO IN THE SAME VESSEL, AND MAKE THIS REMOVE, WHICH I AM SENSABLE MUST GIVE YOU A GREAT DEAL OF TROUBLE, AS EASEY AS HIS MAJESTY’S SERVICE WILL ADMIT, AND HOPE THAT IN WHAT EVER PART OF THE WORLD YOU MAY FALL YOU MAY BE FAITHFUL SUBJECTS, A PEASABLE & HAPPY PEOPLE.I MUST ALSO INFORM YOU THAT IT IS HIS MAJESTY’S PLEASURE THAT YOU REMAIN IN SECURITY UNDER THE INSPECTION AND DIRECTION OF THE TROOPS THAT I HAVE THE HONNOR TO COMMAND.
Si tu es artiste et tu parles français, la FéCANE te veut comme membre! A
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Canada Gets Wyrd With a pocket full of FACTOR cash, Wyrd Distro brings you the best new and strange music Words by Mark Rendell • Photos by Ming Wu
On February 15, music lovers in every province (30 bands in 21 cities) across Canada gathered in record stores to listen to emerging and experimental artists and celebrate the kick-off of Wyrd Distro, “the first ever not-for-profit, online store dedicated entirely to emerging Canadian talent.” There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the distro since the music blog Weird Canada landed a $50,000 grant last April from FACTOR, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records. Their idea: establish a “one-stop-shop where both music fans and record stores can purchase limited edition physical releases and ephemera from Canada’s most exciting new artists and labels.” “It’s a landmark moment,” says Marie LeBlanc Flanagan, Weird Canada’s executive director and the mastermind behind Wyrd Distro. “With the increase of people making their own music, there hasn’t been an increase in services that address that.” Resources like Myspace and Bandcamp have helped DIY musicians reach wider audiences online. But the high cost of postage coupled with record stores’ inability to stock limited releases means that physical media — tapes, CDs, and vinyl — seldom get sold except at shows. As Wyrd Distro puts it in their FAQ online, “without a proper bridge between artists and consumers, this rising interest and desire for the new wave of independent music is met with an equal loss in opportunities.”
Artists send tapes or vinyl — between five and ten items to begin with — to the Wyrd Distro headquarters in Waterloo, where they’re stored and catalogued on the distro’s website. People or record stores then order straight from the website. “It’s different than something like Bandcamp,” says Flanagan, “because we are actually taking care of the fulfillment for people, where Bandcamp just facilitates the purchase.” Of course, artists still have to pay to ship their stuff to the distro, and customers still have to pay to ship their purchases. But the hope is that a single distribution source will make it cheaper to buy multiple items, something Flanagan says is especially helpful to indie music fans in rural communities. The distro is also designed to take pressure off the artists themselves. “If you order music form a musician sometimes, and it’s not their fault, it’s really hard for them to fulfill those promises and send the merchandise.” Maybe they’re on tour, or unable to keep up with orders. With the distro, artists set a price for their material, then Wyrd Distro adds an extra dollar or two to the sale price to cover administrative costs. The artist can track how many items they’ve sold online and request the money from the distro at any time. They can also see who’s buying their material, which might, as Flanagan puts it, “translate into
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people saying ‘yeah, I should book a tour through this town because I’ve sold a lot of records to Kitchener’ for example.” Perhaps the biggest difference between Wyrd Distro and other distribution services is the fact that it’s curated. Like Weird Canada, Wyrd Distro’s focus is on artists who don’t get covered by mainstream music media. Priority is given to experimental music and artists from marginalized communities or underrepresented regions. There’s been some concern expressed by online commentators that the curation guidelines are too stringent and artists who could benefit from the service might be excluded because they aren’t hip enough for Weird Canada’s tastes. But Flanagan responds that Wyrd Distro curation is at arms length from Weird Canada and the focus is on inclusivity. Mark Grundy, whose band, Quaker Parents, played the Halifax kickoff party, says the distro will help his band stay in touch with fans between tours. “It’ll make it a lot easier for people who have maybe heard of the band but didn’t get to see us at the show and want to check the release. That’s the
real benefit. It’s not that it’s necessarily difficult to connect, it just going to make it easier.” It’s also going to help give exposure to new bands before they tour, Grundy says. “There’s tons of sweet bands here who haven’t toured that much yet or are starting to think about going on longer trips outside the Maritimes. Being able to sell your album before you leave — I mean if someone has heard of one of the bands here and can buy their album at a record shop in Edmonton or in Ontario — it might make it a bit easier.” When Weird Canada got their grant last year Flanagan “felt the twin feelings of excitement and despair.” It’s been “an incredible amount of work. More than I would have known,” she says. But she’s not alone. Over the last year Weird Canada has gathered an army of 300 new volunteers across the country. It was with their help that the cross-Canada party came together. All the organization and office work is not romantic, says Flanagan. But “it’s feeling like the work that I’m doing is going to make a difference in the Canadian music community. Feeling like what I’m doing is helping people make art.”
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Q&A with Leif Vollebekk Everything from good church vibes to haunted recording vibes Interview by Emma Cochrane • Photos by Ming Wu
Mixtape’s Emma Cochrane sat down with Montreal singersongwriter Leif Vollebekk before the first of two shows at St. Alban’s Church in Ottawa in January. He was joined by bandmates Hans Bernhard (bass), Philippe Melanson (drums), Parker Shper (keys) and Adam Kinner (saxophone).The group were in a silly mood but enjoyed sitting down and hearing Vollebekk talk about his music. “This is great, we never get to hear what he’s thinking,” a bandmate declared at one point as Vollebekk sheepishly looked at his bandmates before answering a question. Vollebekk’s album North Americana was released in Canada last year but had its American release in January.
Is it strange having the album come out a year later in the states? LV: It’s weird, but it’s also kind of nice because you can’t tour everywhere at the same time. If you’re not super huge then you can do that, because people don’t know about you in the states. So by the time it comes out there, you can actually be available to go tour. It kind of works out. If you’re huge you can’t do it. It’s different. Do you have fans down there who have been waiting to get it? LV: Not that many, so it’s fine. Some people were really excited to have it, but most people either ordered it through the Canadian label or bought it at a show or stole it and are just going to buy it after. I feel like that’s something that happens, stealing a record and then buying it later.
So, you’ve been playing these songs from the album for over a year now… LV: Yeah, tell me about it. How do you make it exciting to play them live if you’ve been playing them for so long? LV: The band is really flexible and really interested in trying new things. Sometimes we don’t try enough new things, but they’re okay changing feels and keys. (The songs) are definitely not the same as when we started recording them. From show to show they change, but sometimes we just kind of hit a groove where we’re more into playing it that way and we change it from the record. There are a few that sound quite a bit different from the record, but they’re more exciting to play this way. We’re also doing quite a few covers, just to try new things and get new songs in. And I’m a slow writer, but it’d be nice to play some new songs soon. In terms of performing, what’s your favourite kind of venue? How is the preparation or performance different for you in a church compared to a club? LV: Well, with a club you have to hope to God that the sound is going to be ok, but there’s not much you can do. A church seems to tell everyone how to feel, and the sound is already pretty good. The vibe is nicer. Hans Bernhard: It’s because you hope to God, and He hears you when you’re in a church.
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Q&A WITH LEIF VOLLEBEKK
LV: That was the joke. You got it. But also, the acoustics are such that things project more easily, because clearly they were trying to convince you of something or educate you about something. Everything’s set up so you listen. Everybody listens more and even if it doesn’t sound as good, people think it sounds better because it looks so good. Everything works and gets a bit easier. It’s always really nice playing in churches, unless they’re huge. Then they sound terrible because it’s really washy. This room (St. Alban’s) is perfect because it’s not too reverby. It’s great. It’s interesting that you say that the aesthetics change the sound. Even if it doesn’t sound good, it still looks like it sounds good. LV: Most people aren’t that critical I think. Music people can be assholes, but if you’re someone who doesn’t go to that many shows and the venue’s nice, it can kind of help your ears. I don’t know how true that is, now that you ask. It’s not just - you’re going to a show to see the band and you’re also going to see how they interact with each other. If they’re stressed out or not, if people in the room are drunk or not - it’s kind of a package deal. Parker Shper: When you go into a bar, the message is to talk as much as you can, and when you go into a church, the message is to shut up. It’s kinda like that. LV: Yeah, but I’m not saying it, history is saying it. Architectural history. Your album was recorded at a number of different locations. Do you have a favourite place to record? LV: I really liked this place in France, but I had bad dreams there all the time. I don’t think it was haunted, but it was kind of scary. I think my
favourite place to record, just in terms of pure recording, is in Montreal at Breakglass. It sounds good and the engineer that I work with there is fantastic. There’s some little things wrong with it, but the room sounds good and there’s never a problem getting good sounds. It might just be that I’m the least stressed out there. (To band) What’s your favourite place to record? HB: Favourite place was probably La Frette, but not because of what happened there, or what we got out of it, but just the vibe of being there. LV: Great vibe. It’s a mansion in France. It’s where Feist did The Reminder. It’s a really nice place with a nice vibe. You play in the living room and they bring out the mics and stuff. It’s great, but for some reason it wasn’t that productive. HB: It was kind of. We were trying a lot of stuff, re-working stuff, which is weird. Some worked and some didn’t work. LV: And we got so sick. HB: We were delirious for days. LV: 36 hours of delirium. HB: We recorded on another friend’s record and I don’t remember playing on the tracks that I’m on. LV: I don’t remember either. I was like, “Who’s playing violin?” and they were like “You.You played for five hours.” I remember, I was sweating and sick upstairs and it was midnight and they were like, “Play again, just go crazy.” I don’t remember playing, but after they played it for me I remembered that sick, sweaty guy playing. And that guy was me. How do you decide on an album cover? LV: My favourite records that I really get into always have a picture of the person. It’s never exactly
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Q&A WITH LEIF VOLLEBEKK
what they look like, but kind of a version of what they look like at that time. And I’ve found that if I listen to Neil Young and his picture’s on the cover, somehow I can just get into it a bit faster than if it’s a title or a photograph. It’s helpful. When I was a kid I just pictured whoever was on the cover singing each song and that was kind of nice for me. I wanted to get this version of me that wasn’t really me for the cover - it was me but it also wasn’t - because that’s how I felt about the songs. I got my friend to do it on polaroid so I knew the colours wouldn’t be super glossy. I didn’t want something that looked all digital and nice because that wouldn’t really connect with music that was all analog.
Is there anyone that you’ve been listening to lately that you would recommend? LV: Yeah, this guy Aaron Embry. A-A-R-O-N. He’s in California and he’s my favourite thing right now. He plays piano. Well, he also plays guitar, but he’s this crazy, crazy piano player. Really good voice, good songs, but crazy, super inventive. He’s played with Edward Sharpe and Daniel Lanois as a session piano player but his solo stuff is amazing. He’s so good that it’s scary, and he plays a bit of harmonica so I’m like, “Aw, fuck.” Yeah, but he’s really good. And this guy named Bob Dylan. Ever heard of him? Oh yeah, that name sounds familiar.
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Constant Discovery Kalle Mattson aims high with his exploration of loss on Someday The Moon Will Be Gold Words by Matías Muñoz • Photos by Scott Blackburn
On a crisp, clear February afternoon in Ottawa’s Chinatown, Kalle Mattson settles in at Raw Sugar Cafe. He fits right in at the popular kitschy-cool cafe. Between the mismatched vintage furniture and updated beer cocktails, the place has strong roots in the past but a modern approach all its own — just like Kalle. All this is wrapped up in Mattson’s approachable, laid back person, with slightly disheveled shoulder-length blond hair and, usually, his ubiquitous jean jacket. “You got the couch, the best spot in the whole place!”, says Mattson as he sets his coffee mug down on the table. Named after The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, Mattson is a musician that has, by the age of 23, released three studio albums, played multiple sold out shows while touring Europe, and collaborated with big names in Canadian indie music scene such as Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky and Jeremy Fisher. For all his successes to date, he is a particularly modest individual that has charted his own path into a career in music with poise and purpose. In many ways Kalle Mattson is a true descendant of his archetypal folk music forefathers; his journey as a musician is one of constant discovery, seeking to continuously challenge himself in his songwriting. Beginning to write music at the age of 18 and releasing his first album Whisper Bee in early 2009, the music has transformed from simpler, more traditional
acoustic singer-songwriter material to more audacious and experimental folk-rock. His relentless foray into the world of music continued into his twenties, all while delicately balancing his personal and academic commitments. Mattson’s music began to garner critical acclaim and turn heads only a few years into his career. His music videos in particular have drawn attention, with “Thick as Thieves” going viral with over a million views on Vimeo and YouTube. The video for “Water Falls” featuring a stop-motion “slingshot” camera technique has over 200,000 views. Nowhere are his efforts to evolve and grow as a musician more pronounced than on his latest album Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold, released in February 2014 with an advance stream on the New York Times website. For Mattson, the album is a significant departure from his previous material for a number of reasons. “I see my first two records almost as demos, as stepping stones. I was lucky to get cheap recording time for both of them, something not a lot people can have,” says Mattson. “Someday hasn’t been approached intellectually – all of it has been instinctual. So I wrote this album over two years, and it’s been almost a year a half since we started recording it.” Upon the release of Someday, Mattson posted an intimate short essay on his website, giving
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insight into his approach to the album. He describes the process of writing a song or album as “a careful balance of escapism and reality”, and that in a lot of ways, it is a record about hope. However, at its core, Someday is a record about death. Mattson was 16 when his mother Anne Gilmour passed away. Confronting the loss of someone so close at that age is not something anyone can prepare for, and he did not fully deal with the grief in the years following her death. It wasn’t until he went back to his childhood home in Sault Ste. Marie after leaving for three years that he revisited the emotions associated with the loss, now older and more prepared to address them on his own. “I wrote a song on the Lives In Between EP (2012) called “Someday” about my mom in a very obvious way. I’d never written something so blatantly about my mom before and it felt right, says Mattson. “I think it connected with people more than my other songs, and it felt meaningful to sing it every night.” “After the EP came out I moved back to my childhood home, and for the first time since I’d been writing songs I was working a shitty job so I could save money to make this record. I had a lot of the music – most of the songs. And then I dealt with a lot things I didn’t deal with at 16. It felt right to write about it and it definitely helped me deal with it. Sometimes I tell stories on stage about her, and I talk about the songs. Death is a universal theme and it’s not just about my mom. With the context of my write-up, I think you can really understand
the songs better. Some might be bleak but they’re very personal to me.” Mattson also discussed the importance of Evening Hymns’ 2012 album Spectral Dusk and Wilco’s song “On and On and On” from their 2007 album Sky Blue Sky. On these recordings, Evening Hymn’s Jonas Bonetta and Wilco frontperson Jeff Tweedy breached the difficult subject of losing a parent. “I thought that Spectral Dusk was a very brave thing for Jonas to do. My record is very different from his and we approach the subject in our own ways, but that record meant a lot to me when it came out because I was going through the same thing. The Wilco record leaked two days before my mom passed away, and Wilco was my favourite band for a long time. Jeff Tweedy wrote about when his mom passed away and it felt serendipitous – a little crazy – that my favourite songwriter in the world was there for me when no one else could relate. That meant a lot.” Along with the subject matter of Someday, Mattson’s mother is part of the record in a physical way as the album artwork includes three paintings by her.The album cover for his previous album Anchors features a picture of his mother as well. Mattson brought The Wooden Sky’s lead singer, Gavin Gardiner, on board to produce and mix the new album. The two collaborated on 2012’s Lives In Between, but only briefly, as Gardiner’s sole responsibility was mastering the EP. This time around, Gardiner lent his hand and ear throughout the writing and recording of Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold and pushed Mattson to
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improve his craft and product. Gardiner and Mattson hit it off during one of Mattson’s first shows, opening for The Wooden Sky at the now closed Arcadia Coffee House in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. “I gave him my record and we stayed in touch a bit. We really became friends when Gavin was coming through Ottawa about two years ago, on his way to Montreal to finish his band’s latest record. I mentioned that I was starting to write a new record and we’d talked about working together on Anchors but it never worked out. So in May of 2012, we started working together on Someday.” Gardiner was a strong choice to produce Mattson’s new record. The Juno-nominated artist has a respected songwriting style to go along with experience as a sound engineer. Gardiner collaborated with Evening Hymns on the album Spectral Dusk, an album thematically similar to Someday. Gardiner is a Juno-nominated artist with a distinct sound and songwriting style. Add in his experience as an engineer and his collaboration on Evening Hymns’ similarly-themed Spectral Dusk, he becomes a particularly strong choice to produce Mattson’s new record. “I love The Wooden Sky. I think going into a new record with a songwriter that I really liked pushed me to write better songs and to cut songs that weren’t as good. He’s a great engineer and this record is very much a partnership between the two of us. I learned tons from him, especially vocally. I feel like all my records are all evolutions in some way and this one is very much an evolution of my voice, and that’s because of Gav.”
Kalle just finished his first ever European tour in early 2014, and embarked on his largest tour to date in support of Someday that will include a barrage of North American and European dates. The difference this time around is that he will treat his European fans to the full band experience, as his first trip consisted of himself and horn player JF Beauchamp. “We went over there with low expectations the first time around. I legitimately thought that I’d have only a few good shows, but six of our 11 headlining shows were sold out. They were all great in their own way. And people knew the songs! We’re excited to be going back three more times this year.” Kalle Mattson’s sensibilities as a songwriter are flourishing with each album and year that passes, bringing him closer to his growing audience. After listening to Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold a few times through, one gets the feeling that his journey is just beginning. There is always something new to be discovered.
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Great Inventors Classical sounds meet pop culture in a unique orchestral project Words by Evelyn Hornbeck • Photos by Evan McIntyre
Classical and popular music are worlds apart. From the precise notation and formal concert halls that characterise classical, to the smaller ensembles and freedom of form that are associated with pop styles, the gulf seems vast. But a Haligonian orchestra is bringing classical and popular music together in a unique performance. The Halifax Music Coop orchestra’s annual concert, “Inventions,” has married the scope and style of orchestral music with the repertoire of local artists. The end result is an invigorating performance that sees classical music enthusiasts sit side by side with pop music fans “It’s the thrill of a lifetime for any musician,” says singer-songwriter Gianna Lauren. She brought her brooding folk to Inventions 2013 in late October. Not only do the musicians play with an orchestra, a concept copied the world over in “pops” style concerts, but the artist’s songs are transformed into something unique. “I think that everyone likes that it spoils them,” says Lauren. “And it ruins music for them, in a way. It’s this other worldly experience playing with 60 other people.” The experience is the centrepiece of the orchestra’s season, as rare a bird as the orchestra itself. First formed at the University of King’s College in 2009, the orchestra outgrew that small community far faster than its founders, music director John Bogardus and executive director Faye Bontje, could have imagined. They had, and still have, an
expansive mandate that sounds simple: make music as accessible to as many people as possible. “We keep putting up posters that say, ‘if you think you might like music come check this out’ and people do,” says Bogardus. Now officially incorporated as a co-op, the HMC boasts two orchestras, a choir program and a number of smaller ensembles that have included Celtic and jazz groups. Inventions began in the second year of the the music co-op. Bogardus wanted to push the boundaries. They were interested in the “Pops” style concerts, but considered how far they could push the concept. Creating brand new orchestral pieces that were not direct translations but instead inspired by works of pop artists intrigued him. For Bogardus, who has been arranging and composing since he was a kid, it was an exciting challenge. For the featured musicians, it was a new opportunity. “As an artist… I suppose you could look at it as if you were a painter who has four colours to work with. So you’re in a band, and all of a sudden, someone says, ‘I’ve got 100 colours for you. What do you think?’” says Bogardus. “The initial reaction from everybody seems to be ‘whoa.’ The art of orchestration is full of possibilities.” “It was so fun to hear those songs in completely new ways,” says Lauren. “It was such a cool experience to be standing in the middle of the orchestra and hear them play your songs.”
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After the long selection process, which begins with 60 applicants and ends with the two for the performance, the featured artists are matched with arrangers from the orchestra. Under the guidance of Bogardus, the arrangers transform the featured pieces. In order to achieve the final product they are hoping for, however, they need to rethink each piece. “It wasn’t hard at all,” says Lauren, laughing. “I was very comfortable with the idea of ripping it up and putting it back together again.” Lauren spent hundreds of hours working on the pieces with arranger William Lin. “It was easier for me to be like, ‘More of that, less of that’ than for me to be actually sitting there and drawing it out myself,” she says. But it was still a challenge that helped her brush up on her skills. “It forced me to go back to my early music education. It was a good challenge to go back after being out of it for 10 years.”
Participants don’t need extensive training — not even orchestra members.
“My goal is to make instrumental music of all kinds as radically accessible and fundamentally free as I possibly can for everyone I can possibly get my hands on,” Bogardus says. This is his passion. He devotes 12 hours a week to conducting rehearsals (not including the hours needed to prepare for them), as well as 30-40 hours per week teaching in the subsidized instrumentals program. Once musicians join the co-op (on a sliding, pay-whatyou-can scale), they have access to music lessons at a very reduced rate. This is a contrast to other models of community orchestras that involve steep fees. “It’s a hard thing for someone who works a coffee shop job living hand to mouth, as we all have, and really really wants to be in an orchestra but can’t afford as high as 700 dollars a year to be part of one of those programs,” says Bogardus.
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Through Inventions, the co-op also offers access to non-classical musicians in the community. The opportunity to play with such a large ensemble is largely reserved for more successful or established musicians who can afford to bring them on tour, or who have a big enough name to anchor a pops concert.
in a traditional sense — evoking the same uneasy feelings as Hermitofthewoods’s music does, but in a new context. Reactions from the audience ranged from bemused to confused, but once the pieces got rolling young hip hop fans were vibing in the same row as white-haired concert goers.
“When you boil it all down, style and genre Hip hop and spoken word musician doesn’t really matter,” Hermitofthewoods says. “It’s Hermitofthewoods applied at the last minute, notes on a page.” not believing he had a serious shot at being Working with the orchestra has changed the way selected. “It was kind of validating, really,” says he approaches his own music. Hermitofthewoods. He enjoyed feeling accepted by the “serious musical world” “Anything I try to do now, I’m like ‘I could use a bassoon here. I think about music in much bigger “A lot of rap stuff is a sample and a beat on a terms now,” he says. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able loop, so having the option of 50 plus people tackling to go back to a sample, say ‘Ooh I like that,’ and hit my music was intriguing,” says Hermitofthewoods. repeat.” It comes down, he says, to being “aware of Taking on Hermitofthewoods as a featured all the musical possibilities.” artist was about as out there as the music co“The whole process was so far removed from op could get. The work was different, not just anything I’ve ever done before,” he says, “I just dissonant but skillfully amusical at times — at least enjoyed throwing myself into it.” 41 MIXTAPE SPRING 2014
Mix Tips How to prepare for your first big tour Words by Celina Ip
Since forming in 2011, Halifax’s bluesy rock’n’rollers Bloody Diamonds have played hundreds of shows across Canada. But their longest tour has only been a month long. In April, the band were preparing to leave for their first North American tour, a four month adventure with shows across Canada and U.S. “We were really excited at first but after we actually started booking it—it got a little scary because it’s such a big tour,” says singer Sara Elizabeth. According to the two bandmates, the key to a successful tour is all about staying healthy and staying focused because being on tour is just like being an athlete. “We sleep and drink a lot of water and good food. Relying on energy drinks or even relying on coffee is really bad on tour because it just drains you,” says Elizabeth. “Just keep yourself really healthy to maintain your energy.” The one thing they are worried about is Sara’s voice, something she says she routinely takes care of. “I don’t smoke. Which, a lot of people do. I sleep well and I exercise my voice. I don’t sing without warming up first. I think a lot of vocalists make that mistake where they don’t warm up first. They go to the show, get up on stage and start singing but that can do so much damage to
your voice. So every day, even if I’m not playing a show, I warm up my voice and do a bunch of exercises,” says Elizabeth. Besides her voice, Elizabeth works at keeping her body in check—even though she hates going to the gym. “I exercise a lot, which sucks, because I don’t like exercising. But it helps a lot. And I’ve already gotten into a routine.I keep pushing myself and work on getting my body and voice in real good shape,” says Elizabeth. The one thing they aren’t worried about are the radical changes in their sleep schedules. “You can get into the routine pretty easily.I find after the first week or so, your sleeping schedule is alright,” says guitarist Jake Seaward. But there’s more to it than just staying healthy and sleeping well. “Right now we’re working day jobs to kind of save up for the tour, so we basically work our day job, come home and book shows and try and practice every day just to get in the routine of playing a show every night,” says Elizabeth. “If you can practice every day, then you can play a show every day,” says Seaward. For Seaward and Elziabeth, Bloody Diamonds is their lives. They put a ton of time, love and energy in to their music. And while they
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Photo by Andrew Stones absolutely love going on tour, it can be a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes. “I can say we’ve all cried over the band more than once,” says Seaward. To keep their emotions in check they mentally prepare themselves by thinking positively and supporting one another. “And if it doesn’t go well we’ll still have crazy adventures and a lot of fun,” says Elizabeth. For Seaward and Elizabeth it’s more than just fun - it’s a life-long love and touring is part of it. If they could leave their day jobs and spend their whole lives on the road, they would.
Photo by Andrew Stones
“This one’s long enough that we can kind of see where it’s going and start booking while we’re on the road for the next tour. And maybe the tour will never end, it will just go on forever,” says Seaward. “This is it for me - it’s do or die.”
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Dine With An Artist Breakfast with the Beverleys Words and Photos by Samantha Chown
Plates piled with French toast, hash browns, bacon and eggs cramp the little table at Prince Albert’s Diner in London, Ont. “Should have asked for extra-crispy,” says Susan Burke, staring at the limp greasy bacon on her plate. Sisters Stephanie and Joanna Lund agree, disappointed they hadn’t thought of it when ordering. These three women make up The Beverleys, a punk grunge band based out of Toronto. Sitting around one of Prince Albert’s small booths, Burke, vocals and guitar, acts graceful and bubbly while Stephanie, who plays drums, is open and honest, offering up her opinions. Older sister
Joanna, also vocals and guitar, is constantly tossing out one-liners. All three are wearing their typical casual weekend uniform of dark skinny jeans and plaid or denim shirts but it’s the details that make the group so endearing. Stephanie’s oversized plaid is a hand-me-down from Burke’s old pajama set and, according to Stephanie, she’d wear the matching pants if they were still kicking around. The only telltale signs of their show the night before at the Black Shire Pub is their slight unkempt hair and the dark circles visible under their eyes.
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DINE WITH AN ARTIST
The band grew out of a listening club Susan started with her then-boyfriend. “Kind of like a book club,” says Joanna, where their friends would gather, listen to records and offer their critiques. “I was thinking about this last night and it just popped into my head. If (Susan) hadn’t turned to us and said, ‘Let’s start a band,’ we wouldn’t have a band,” says Steph. “I went out the next day and bought a guitar,” says Joanne. “And then we had our first awful practice,” laughs Burke. The Beverleys started as an experiment to see what kind of sounds they could make and how many beers they could drink in one jam session – the answer is a lot, Joanne confirms. “I only have 16 (beers), is that enough for a five hour practice? What time does the liquor store close?” says Burke, laughing. Susan had dabbled with piano, cello and French horn but none of them had ever played the instruments they now play in the Beverleys.
“Steph loves her old-school hip hop,” says Joanne. “That’s why she took drums,” interjects Susan. “I was scared to hit the snare the first time,” says Stephanie. “I had never even played an instrument.” They spent the first year messing around and finding their sound. Two years ago they played their first show, a short 20 minute set. Now signed with Toronto label Buzz Records, the band’s debut release, a self-titled three song EP, was released in February. Though they claim to be lazier than their friends in other bands who have released lots of music over the past three years, the Beverley’s have been busy rehearsing and playing shows while becoming part of the Toronto music scene. When the plates are cleared and the coffee is finished, the girls pack up to head for the sister’s adopted hometown of St. Catharine’s, Ont.The Beverleys are fun brunch companions and no doubt better drinking buddies.
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Published on Jun 24, 2014