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Contributors & Photography Credits Ally Sigurdson Jacqueline Elizabeth Jess Deeks Spencer Marr Dinorah Prevost Kristen Fisher Special Thanks James MacKenzie Wesley Henderson Alexander Morrison Jeff Baer Mitchell McDonald Nick Johnston Austin Ponten Sean Burgess Braeden Small Lauren Dana Dorian Letchague Patrick Blomgren Ryan Tjelle Spencer Edgers Alec Swihart Andrew Lovett Caleb Tjelle Justus Yearous Cole Vincent Milos Mitrovic Andrew Clark Eric Ross Karrie Douglas Joel Harrower Doug Haynes Kevin Ledlow Caz Matarazzo Aaron Brock Mark De Souza Carl Diggins Cameron Chambers Steve Cutri Sound, Phrase & Fury is a Canadian music magazine out to help promote musicians not usually covered in mainstream media. All music, photos and articles used are for the sole purpose of spreading the knowledge of these artists and their music. We always encourage readers to support every act through purchasing releases, merchandise and attending live shows. email@example.com @soundphrasefury facebook.com/soundphrasefury Sound-Phrase-Fury.com
nov/dec 2013 The Bastards, The Vultures The Wolves
Words from the Editor-In-Chief
So Coveted, So Curious
Tree Stump and their debut EP, Ceremonies
Industry profile on _____Saved My Life
Bigger the Better
Big bands and Buildings EP, with This is Your Captain Speaking
Power of Pop
We talk success with Winnipeg’s Latka
Toronto’s HIGHS and their debut self-titled EP
From Across the Pond
Australia’s pop-punk outfit, Monuments
In Review We take a closer look at some releases
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the bastards, the vultures, the wolves So here we are: the very last issue of our very first year. That being said, it has been one hell of a year! The past twelve months I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some of the most passionate, most driven and most inspiring individuals, and it is truly an honour. I can think back to 2012, when all of this was just an idea, one that I was too unsure and too afraid to even entertain. To see where it is now, seeing all the growth and now all the new possibilities, it’s all so surreal and so humbling. Thank you to everyone who has ever given Sound, Phrase & Fury any ounce of a chance. Whether you read it, skimmed through, clicked an online post, or simply just checked out the cover, every little bit means a lot. Thank you to the talented writers, musicians and industry professionals who have filled these pages with influential stories of hope, dreams and positivity. I am beyond excited for what we at SPF will be bringing you in the new year, and even more excited to be able to continue to help nurture and promote the awesome work of those who live and breathe the art of music. You are the very essence of what is it we are about. So keep dreaming, keep chasing, and stay lost in sound.
With our hearts in place of brick.
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Janet Adamana Editor-In-Chief
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so coveted so curious Calgaryâ€™s pop-punk trio, Tree Stump, may have only released four songs and played a handful of shows, but packed within those songs is obvious talent, quintessential pop punk vigor and an even more evident potential for success. Guitarist/Vocalist, James MacKenzie, takes us through the making of their debut EP, Ceremonies. photos by Jacqueline Elizabeth words by Janet Adamana NOV/DEC 2013 â€˘ Sound, Phrase, & Fury 7
JA: Tell me all about Tree Stump and how you guys got together. JM: Tree Stump was originally started by Wesley Henderson [drums] and I after Wes wrote a few riffs that didn’t really fit in with our other project. I really enjoyed the riffs, so we decided to start a second project focusing on keeping things a little more simple. Our other project has four members, with a heavier focus on musicianship and songwriting, making it a little more difficult for us to write quickly, so it was a treat for us to have a project where we could jam and quickly hammer out a song or two. After a couple jams, Wes and I had come up with the basic skeleton of a few songs and began to discuss who we could get to play bass. Alex Morrison immediately came to mind.
he really found his niche in balancing tasteful bass fills with simplistic driving progressions that did or didn’t alter from the progression of the guitar at all the right times, which is, in my opinion, what makes a great bassist.
After we had solidified the instrumental portions of the songs, the next question was, what do we do for lyrics? The answer came with a series of poems, entitled “Ceremonies” that Wes had been working on for quite some time. He had shared them with Alex and I a while back, and when it was suggested we use them for the songs, we all thought it was an awesome idea. Wes gave us his blessing to mangle his former creation into whatever worked for vocals. From there, I kind of picked and pulled the lines I thought fit together, with some help from Wes and Alex have been friends throughout their the other guys, trying to keep the original meanentire adolescence and I’ve known Alex for 5 or so ings intact. years now, so we’re all really good friends. Wes and I have always really admired and respected Alex as We were all having a lot of fun and were pretty exa musician, so it seemed like a brainless fit, in spite cited about what we had put together. We made a of the fact that Alex has never really played much push to get everything done pretty quickly and jump bass before. He’s been playing guitar for forever, in the studio with our good friend Alex Wilkinson, and does own a bass, so we figured we’d ask him at Signals Audio. We managed to get everything and luckily got a yes. Thus, Tree Stump was born! done in one weekend, including a hockey game, bowling, a few beers and some good stories....and the songs as well (laughs). JA: Can you talk about your debut EP, Ceremonies. JM: After the framework of the songs were com- JA: Tell me about the Calgary music scene and plete, we started jamming them with Alex and how it has influenced what you guys do? were immediately stoked on how awesome we were JM: The Calgary music scene is pretty segregated, at picking a bass player. As a three-piece, I was a bit from my experience, so I’ve only really had a lot of worried that our songs might lack depth, but that experience with the hardcore scene here. That beworry quickly vanished once I heard what Alex was ing said, it is awesome! Everyone here is super supcoming up with. It changed the whole direction of portive and looks out for each other really well. I’ve some parts, in a good way, and really rounded them met countless, awesome friends through the hardout into full-fledged songs. For a non-bass player, core scene from Calgary and other cities as well.
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It’s really awesome to see people pull together and find last minute venues for touring bands when a show gets cancelled, or offer up their basement for a show to a band passing through. It’s truly an amazing group of people.
of fun. It left us wanting to do more, so we’re currently working on writing more songs. Hopefully once we’ve got a few more songs under our belts, we’ll be able to jump on a few more shows. Due to our extremely lightweight set up of a drum kit and combo amps, we’ve talked about how easy it would be to tour, so we’ll see if anything comes of that!
JA: What do you have planned for the last portion of the year/going into the new year? Get a copy of Ceremonies at JM: We were fortunate enough to play our first Tree-Stump.bandcamp.com show on October 1st in town here, which was a ton
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The sweat and screams. The rhythm and rumble. The heightened beat in your chest. The cracking voices; pumping fists and the eloquence of those lyrics you swear you could listen to over and over again. The forgetting of time, the hanging of these moments. People, once strangers, are friends until the last song ends. This is the essence of every great live show, the essence captured in every Light & Noise produced video. We spoke with Light & Noise photographer/videographer, Bernardo Mancebo, about his love for the independent music scene, and the story behind one of the most visually stunning concert footage collections on the internet.
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S.O.S May it be music, film, dance , literature, one lyric or quote, everyone has that one thing; one thing they can say has saved their life. This universal human truth is the idea that sparked _____(Blank) Saved My Life. The collective works towards helping spread these stories of new found hope and uses different means of raising money for different causes. Founder, Jeff Baer and good friend, Mitchell McDonald, created this project for the greater good.
words by Janet Adamana
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being in bands gave us purpose and an outlet for all the negative thoughts, feelings and experiences we had. JA: What’s the story behind ____ Saved My Life? JB: A few years ago I had moved to California and I let the band, Stickup Kid, stay at my apartment after their show. I connected with them as people and a few months later made my way up to San Jose to hang out with them for the weekend. That weekend, [Stickup Kid vocalist]Tony Geravesh put up my friend and I. We stayed up all night just talking about our lives. We shared the successes and challenges that each one of us has experienced in life. We all had the commonality of experiencing difficulties within our family and we all found some peace in the same avenue: music. This lead to a long conversation about how “music saved our lives” and how being in bands gave us purpose and an outlet for all the negative thoughts, feelings and experiences we had. At the end of that conversation, we thought about how everyone had their own story and wanted to find an avenue to share those stories. So we came up with the idea of _____ (Blank) Saved My Life as a name to unify our efforts in sharing these stories. JA: How many people run and work for you? What was everyone doing before this? JB: _____ Saved My Life is not a company, it is a collective effort. There are a few core members, however, all our friends contribute ideas and put in work to make these ideas become reality. Most of us play in bands, go to college and work jobs. As far as the “core” members and what we do: I currently work as a Psychiatric Social Worker providing mental health services to children, adolescents
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and their families. Mitchell [McDonald] is attending school full time and works for a company called Olloclip, which created a 3-in-1 photo lens for the iPhone. JA: What inspired you to start ____ Saved My Life? JB: The idea of ____ Saved My Life got put on hold for a while, however, we were inspired to get it going again by a man named Tom Sexton. In 2012, my old band [Flex] was on tour and we stayed with a family in Washington. They welcomed us into their home for several days while we played some shows. This time allowed us to get to know each other better than the usual opportunities given on tour. Both parents of the Gru Cru (3 brothers that play in a few bands in Washington) are living with Parkinson’s Disease. Tom [Sexton], stepfather of the Gru Cru, was experiencing worsening symptoms and unfortunately, this, and getting him the medical care he needed, left the family in a difficult financial position. Jake, one of Tom’s stepsons, reached out to me. He wanted to do something for his step-dad but didn’t exactly know how. We came up with the idea of reaching out to bands we loved to put together Movers and Shakers: A Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Effort. We released it in September to spread awareness and collect donations for Tom to receive Deep Brain Stimulation, which would significantly decrease his symptoms. While this is not what inspired the original idea, this is what motivated us to get it going.
JA: The motto of _____ Saved My Life is that, everyone has a story to tell. Can you go into your own story of what it was that saved you? JB: I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, California. At one point, this town was full of scientists and military service members. By the time I was old enough to recognize what was going on around me, I saw something very different. I saw a town struggling with poverty, substance abuse and little hope. Maybe it’s not as horrible as I feel it is, but that is my perception. I hung out with a few people in the neighborhood and we would ride our bikes around, smoke weed and listen to music. A local skate shop opened up while I was in middle school and instead of eating lunch, I would save my money to buy music at the shop. This exposed me to bands like AFI, Propagandhi, and Fugazi. I felt really inspired by how Davey [Havok] was straight edge. Propagandhi told me to “consider someone else, stop consuming animals,” and Fugazi/Dischord Records paved the way on how to do things. I really looked up to these bands, so I became straight edge, eventually became vegetarian and tried to do things how I felt Fugazi would do it. Aside from a few family members that I really looked up to, it was independent music that saved my life. They are what motivated me to do well in school, start bands, and give back to my community. JA: What do you ultimately hope to accomplish? JB: The goal will always be to make a positive difference in this world. I don’t know what will become of it because we have no real direction or goals aside from contributing to this world in a positive way. I would like to always keep _____ Saved My Life projects tied to the arts and creativity. If we can utilize music, art, writing, photography, theatre, film, dance, etc. to make positive changes in this world, then I feel we will have accomplished our goals.
For news on ___Saved My Life projects, Like them on Facebook at Facebook.com/blanksavedmylife or visit BlankSavedMyLife.com
If we can utilize music, art, writing, photography, theatre, film & dance, to make positive changes in this world, then I feel we will have accomplished our goals.
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BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN BANDS IN NEED, AND FANS WHO WANT TO HELP.
GET INVOLVED WITH SNAG! 16 Sound, Phrase, & Fury •
• SNAGHELPS.COM • TWITTER.COM/SNAGHELPS NOV/DEC 2013 • FACEBOOK.COM/SNAGHELPS
Facebook.com/AestheticHeartPromotions NOV/DEC 2013 â€˘ Sound, Phrase, & Fury 17
bigger the better
words by Janet Adamana One might think a band of thirteen is a handful. Things like different creative opinions, and even scheduling conflicts could easily tear even a two-man group apart. But for the men and women in Seattle’s, indie-pop troupe, This Is Your Captain Speaking, size only makes a difference when it comes to the size of your drive and passion. We spoke with TIYCS guitarist/vocalist, Nick Johnston, about his big band of friends and their latest EP, Buildings.
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JA: What are everyone’s names and roles in the band. There are quite a few of you! NJ: We all sort of grew up together in a big messy musical in-bred family. A lot of us went to the same high school, went to church together, were in chemistry classes and jazz bands and lived down the street from each other. We were friends before we were a band. We were all playing and writing music together in different projects and it only made sense to come together and do something a little bigger. The lineup is ever changing. No two shows or recordings feature the same crew but the complete cast of players includes me, doing vocals, guitar, piano and words. Austin Ponten and Sean Burgess on drums. Braeden Small does vocals. Lauren Dana: the cello, vocals, and words. Dorian Letchague and Patrick Blomgren also on the cello. Ryan Tjelle on bass. Spencer Edgers and Alec Swihart on tenor sax. Andrew Lovett on the trombone and trumpet. Caleb Tjelle and Justus Yearous both
do guitar and vocals, with Justus also doing beats influences. We have jazz nuts, prog nerds, indie kids, pop-lovers, beat makers and classical music and words. majors. These influences crash together and create JA: Can you explain how This Is Your Captain something really fun and dynamic and it doesn’t always work but it’s always a blast. We’re a big group Speaking came about? NJ: My older brother is in flight school and growing hug, a semi-random assortment of kids who come up he would always set up mock flights for my sister together to create something that we can all share; and I with kitchen chairs and his flight simulator an amalgamation of our influences. We laugh tocomputer software. He would serve us beverages gether, create together, eat together and make a and peanuts and begin each flight by announcing racket together. It’s democratic and sloppy and a “this is your captain speaking, it’s a beautiful day, whole lot of fun. please enjoy the flight.” After kicking around band names for a good month or so, I brought the idea JA: Tell me about your new EP, Buildings. to the rest of the band. It just instantly made sense. NJ: Buildings is a collection of recordings that we’ve We felt like a big band deserved a big name. amassed over the past two years that we’ve never released. It’s the island of misfit toys. There were solo JA: Even duos run into creative differences, so projects that never saw the light of day, midnight what’s it really like being in such a large band? jams that got lost, recordings that we just never got NJ: Our mission statement has always been to strive around to putting out. We were all seniors in high to be a democratic outfit. We have a lot of different school and getting ready to take a little time off for
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college, and this EP is the buildings we had created flects those people and those rooms. that we wanted to share with everyone before we JA: Your previous record, The Great Fire, was went quiet for a bit. released back in 2011. What has happened in JA: Where did you record? the last two years that helped influence the NJ: [Buildings] was made all over the place. Some of songs on Buildings? it was recorded at the Kirkland Teen Union Build- NJ: Most of us were getting ready to leave for college ing, a local teen center/all ages music venue that when we were making the recordings that would was a home base of sorts for us. We met some un- become Buildings. We all had some pretty big life believable people there. They really helped get us decisions ahead of us and I think our fears and off the ground and we loved to create in such a sup- anxieties and joys crept into these songs. Musically, portive environment. We did a few tracks in down- there has always been a lot of different sides to our town Seattle. Some were recorded in bedrooms, band and we wanted there to be something for evold churches, basements and gyms. We vibe off of eryone on this EP. With all of us going our separate different rooms and environments and have had ways for a bit we wanted to create something that the pleasure of working with all kinds of different we could share with those who had supported us people in all kinds of different places. This EP re- and made these past few years such a blast.
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our fears and anxieties and joys crept into these songs. JA: That record had a bit more ska and folk elements. This new one has more modern indiepop and acoustic feel to it. What bought on that style change? NJ: As we got closer as friends, played more shows and wrote more music together, we were more comfortable creating these songs from the ground up. The sessions that produced these tracks were like big science projects. We went into the studio with a skeleton of an idea and dressed it up with textures and melodies as they came to us. For one reason or another, a lot of our indie-pop and acoustic sensibilities bubbled forth and coloured these tracks.
hide away and write songs and the caffeine keeps you alive. The people in this city know good music when they hear it and it keeps you humble and makes you want to produce something worth listening to. JA: What’s the plan for the new year? NJ: We’re currently scattered across the country at college. We’ve got pieces in Pennsylvania and California, bits in Nashville and Bellingham, friends in Sweden, Spokane and Minnesota. We’re all lucky enough to call Seattle our home. We’ll be back making music soon because that’s what we’ve always done and that’s what we’re always going to do. This project has a big chunk of my heart and I’m not ready to stop singing these songs quite yet.
JA: How has living in Seattle influenced you? NJ: Seattle is a great place to be a band. The city beats with culture, creativity and art and really exciting things are starting to happen with the local scenes. We were really lucky to have been able Buildings is available at to participate in it. The grey skies make it easy to ThisIsYourCaptainSpeaking.bandcamp.com
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D A E R U O Y N CA ? E T I R W AND & ABSOLUTELY LOVE NEW MUSIC?
THEN DO WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING, AND WRITE FOR US! HIT UP SOUND-PHRASE-FURY.COM FOR MORE INFO.
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power pop Local love
photos and words by Ally Sigurdson
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No one can deny a catchy tune. Admit it. We’re all suckers for those few songs that make you want to get up and dance, regardless of where you are. It’s always those few songs that have that affect on people, but when an entire album is extremely catchy, people take notice. For Winnipeg’s Latka, writing catchy music is just the tip of the iceberg. The band strives to stay honest, fun and original, with one
main goal: getting you out of your seat. Cole Vincent (guitar), Milos Mitrovic (lead vocals, bass), Andrew Clark (drums) and Eric Ross (violin) are four best friends who have had a very successful 2013. With sold out shows, a new music video, and more and more people getting their hands on their LP My Bright Heart each day; this quartet shows no signs of slowing down.
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AS: 2013 was a HUGE year for Latka, can you give me the highlights of this year so far for you guys? MM: Making a music video and recording an album. CV: Definitely the two headlining Park Theatre shows, the album release on July 6th and then the music video release October 4th. ER: Yeah, both of those were awesome, plus the merch we created and got was unreal. CV: We also had some success on the radio as well: top 30 in Lethbridge, and number 1 at 92.5 FM on “the X” in Kamloops. So that’s pretty cool too.
inspiration for a lot of stuff I do. MM: What inspires me to write music and to be in this band is; how I want people to feel when they hear it. When writing “The Arrival,” I was trying to picture how people would feel listening to it. You want people to enjoy the songs as much as possible, and have a fun time. So, I guess other people’s reactions and feelings are what really inspire me. AC: Inspiration always comes at spontaneous moments when I should be studying for exams, and I just pick up my guitar and out comes this song and these lyrics that are about past experiences or what my heart is feeling at the time.
The better your friendship, the better your bond, the better the music.
AS: Where does most of the inspiration for your music come from? CV: I think there are two answers for this question: one, is other musicians that we admire, hold high and want to be like. Their ability and musicianship are things that inspire us, always. Then life experience is the other big one. I’ve found that anything you experience in life inspires you to write something or to make something. If you have an outlet where you can take your inspirations, or anything that affects you deeply, and channel them into it, you’re very lucky. So I think we’re all very lucky to have music and that outlet. ER: For me, [music] started off as something I didn’t want to do. While my friends where playing outside I was stuck practising and I hated it. As I grew older, I realized how much I loved it and I took it upon myself to continue. These guys really helped me because I had only done bluegrass style of music and they took me in with Latka. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and they’re my
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AS: What’s it like playing in a band with some of your best friends? MM: Sometimes it’s terrifying because you never want to tell anybody if they’re doing something you don’t like, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings. CV: But it does happen, and we’ve gotten to a point where we just say something. Sometimes, there will be a silence, and no matter what, Eric will be the one to break it when he says “We doin’ okay guys?” (Laughs) MM: Yeah, Eric is the best. He’s the psychologist of the group and he always helps out. CV: But in all seriousness, if this question was flipped and you asked us, “what would it be like playing in a band with no one you knew” we would all tell you it would be terrible. Experience wise, when you do something that is just incredible, you want to share it with people you care about. When you do those amazing things with people you like, it takes that accomplishment and multiplies it by like fifty. For us, the better your friendship, the better your bond, the better the music.
MM: Because we’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve played together for so long, we’re able to know exactly what we want when we’re doing it. Our friendship has grown a lot too, and our music continues to reflect that. ER: The nice thing about all of us is, after band practice or whatever we’re all able to hangout and talk about something other than our band. We don’t get sick of each other. We play basketball and hang out and it’s nice to have band members and friends tied into one. CV: We really support each other in other endeavours too, and that’s super important. We combine all of our talents; we wouldn’t have a music video if it wasn’t for Milos and his film crew. We’re all creative individuals, and we really help each other out with everything, and that’s helpful. We feed off of each other’s creativity.
stood out, as it should. MM: You can make your own opinion of what “my bright heart” could mean, and for me personally, when you’re doing art of this kind, there are always so many ups and downs. Like when we were recording the album, we went through all kinds of stress, and I know Cole especially went through a lot of stress. In my opinion, you have to keep a bright heart to stay positive and work through the difficult times. ER: I see it as intelligent. It’s learned from experience. We all feel older and wiser after putting out My Bright Heart. I personally feel like it’s gained me so much positive experience.
AS: You guys sold out the Park Theatre for your LP release in July, which is something not every band is able to do. How was that night for Latka? AS: So why pick “My Bright Heart” as the LP MM: It’s the most humbling thing to know that people actually support you, and like what you are title? CV: I think the song “I’m Like a Gateway” really con- doing. It makes us want to continue, knowing we nects to all of us a lot, and the line “my bright heart” have an audience that will always support us and really popped out for us and what it could stand our music. for. It’s a positive thing in the midst of the song ER: I felt like it was me watching a show, I was playtouching on pretty negative emotions, and it just ing the show of course, but I mean that the show
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was in the crowd, and that was incredible to watch. AC: When I saw that many people at our show, knowing that it’s for us, that was one of the best moments in my life, and probably in all our lives. We’ve fallen in love with the desire to create music and show people what we’ve worked on. We want people to share it with us and experience it emotionally on their own level. It’s inspiring for us to keep making music, not only for ourselves, but for others as well. CV: To have an event like that with so many people surrounding you, takes something that, at one point, you thought was yours and it was something you created, and then you share it and it becomes so much larger than that. It’s an incredible feeling. AS: You just released a music video for “The Arrival.” Tell me about the experience of making it and finally being able to show it. MM: For me, it was exhausting. When we were looking for a cabin to shoot the video in, I was in a very nervous state of mind. Andrew and I headed out and searched for a location. AC: We set out to Gimli, Manitoba to try and find a cabin of some kind. We had zero luck there, which was discouraging and frustrating. We were both annoyed and tired. On our way home we had admitted defeat, and that’s when we found the shack. I think the experience of getting permission to use the cabin was just as stressful as finding it. The guy who owned the shack was a little odd, and when we asked him for permission, he just kind of stared at us for roughly half an hour. MM: I made Andrew talk the whole time, because I’m not very persuasive at all, maybe over the phone, but definitely not in person. Andrew was smirking the whole time, and I was praying I don’t burst out laughing while this guy stared at us. It was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. AC: This video and the process of making it was a very emotional experience for us. It was sixteen intense hours of running around and working our butts off. It was incredible.
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ER: I loved the experience, but the problem was that I didn’t properly dress for the occasion. (Laughs) When we left early in the morning, I was in jeans and a button up and it was chilly out, so the other guys are freezing and I’m super comfortable. But then, noon hits and I’m just drenched. CV: The house we used had six birds’ nests in it, and they were flying around constantly, all day. The birds were ducking and diving at us while we were trying to film, and it was super cool to watch. The whole thing was just an amazing day, and an amazing experience.
AS: What’s next for Latka? MM: We have a million new songs, so we’re looking at a second album. A new video is a great possibility as well. CV: New material is always in the works with us, and it’s just figuring out what to do with it, and when. Touring is high on the list, and we’re hoping to play some festivals and shows that aren’t just in Winnipeg. AC: As well, we have some acoustic shows coming up and other interviews. We’re pretty busy, and that’s exactly how we want it.
CV: We play November 7th at The Frame Arts Warehouse, and that should be a good time. Basically, we have a bunch of big plans for the band, and Latka is going to be staying busy and bringing more music to our fans.
My Bright Heart is available through iTunes and at Latka.bandcamp.com. Catch them live, at Words to Live By, Nov. 7 at Frame Arts Warehouse.
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DIY LABEL www.facebook.com/mayflowercollective 30 Sound, Phrase, & Fury â€˘ NOV/DEC 2013
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summer dreaming 32 Sound, Phrase, & Fury â€˘ NOV/DEC 2013
Fresh off a trip to Tanzania, Africa, HIGHS guitarist, Doug Haynes, had the itch to write. So he wrote and wrote and turned these new experiences and impressions into one of 2013’s catchiest feel good albums. He spoke with SPF about Toronto’s indie-pop scene, travelling and their new self-titled album. photos by Jess Deeks words by Janet Adamana &
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JA: Take me back to where HIGHS began? You guys haven’t been a band for very long. DH: Yeah, we haven’t been a band for very long. People are often surprised that we’ve officially been a band less than a year. That being said, I guess HIGHS had its beginning a couple years ago when three of the four members discussed the potential of being in a band. That “discussion” lasted a long time and up until about a year ago it remained predominantly, just a discussion. We once played a house party as a three-piece with a repertoire of three random, unpolished, and poorly put together songs. Needless to say it didn’t go well. It did, however, leave us with the feeling that we’d like to actually take being in a band seriously and look for members to fully actualize the sound we wanted to pursue. We were all students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario roughly around the same time. We didn’t actually know each other collectively. It was more along the lines of “he knows him, he knows her, and she knows him”, make sense? Here’s how it played out: I had composed a musical at Queen’s and Kevin Ledlow (drums) had signed up to be the drummer in the pit band, Joel Harrower (guitar) had met Karrie Douglas (keys) at church, Karrie and I had met while we were both preparing to
travel to Tanzania. It wasn’t until much later that we actually came together to form HIGHS. We always knew who we wanted in the band, we just needed to wait for the right time. It came together and here we are! JA: Tell me about your new self-titled EP. DH: The EP was written over the span of a few months during last summer and early fall. We had been playing the songs live for a while, with the exception of “Summer Dress.” We had gotten them to a point we thought was pretty solid. It turns out that they weren’t as “solid” as we had originally projected. It was our first release so, at the time, we weren’t exactly sure how to go about it or what to expect, i.e. finding a studio, how to pick the right songs, continuity, etc. We ended up recording the EP through the winter and early spring and released it in July. As for the EP from a stylistic standpoint, there’s this sense of positivity throughout the majority of the album. We didn’t necessarily set out to release such a “feel good” album, it just kind of happened. Once we came to the realization that ‘Okay, this is going to be a pretty upbeat positive record’ we really tried to have that energy come across in the recordings which ultimately resulted in this ‘soundtrack for the summer’ kind of thing.
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JA: You mentioned Tanzania. Can you talk about that as an influence. I read the EP was inspired by your trip there and you can definitely hear the African drum influence and summery coastal vibes! DH: There are a lot of things that influenced both the songwriting and musicality of the songs on this EP. Tanzania was definitely one of those things. Spending time and trying to immerse yourself in any environment that is completely new to you is bound to have an affect on an individual. If that person is a writer, of any kind, having those experiences influence the work they create, is inevitable. For me, that place was Tanzania. It caused me to look critically at the variety of relationships in my life; with others, myself and my environment. I came home and just started writing. With all that said, I’m hoping the band doesn’t need to make annual trips around the globe for inspiration... I haven’t checked recently, but I’m pretty sure we’d have insufficient funds!
perience being in a studio and as a result it took a little longer than we had originally anticipated. It ended up being around a five-month process of getting the songs to the point where we were happy with them. We actually completely re-wrote our song “Harvest” in the studio, which was an awesome experience but added a couple days to the project. We were also very lucky. Steve was really patient through the whole thing. He’s not only great at what he does but he’s also a great guy. We can’t say enough good things about him.
JA: I want to talk about the gigantic music and arts community of Toronto. How has the giant melting pot of a scene helped meld you into the musicians you are today? DH: It’s actually awesome. Toronto has such a vibrant arts community, and though it seems like it would be easy to fall into the background, it actually provides a platform for some awesome possibilities for inter connectedness. There are so many bands and talented musicians to look up to and JA: Where did you record and what was that learn from when you’re starting out and continue to develop. As much as Toronto’s scene is gigantic, whole experience like? DH: We recorded our EP in Toronto with Steve it still maintains that sense of community, which is Major at the Verge Music Lab. It was our first ex- so important.
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JA: You guys are currently in the studio working on a bunch of demos. DH: Yeah, we’re currently in the studio. The fun thing about this studio is that it’s located in my house. We don’t have to travel very far and can record in sweatpants all day if it feels right. The songs are a collection of some new songs and ones we’ve been playing live for the last few months. Though it’s a clear contradiction, they will be similar to those on the EP but different at the same time. I feel like the songs have matured since we started writing and recording our debut EP. There will still be that energy present and similarities instrumentally, but we’re going to try a few new things and see if they work. Here’s hoping!
JA: How do you guys plan to spend the last 2 months of the year? DH: We’re really excited about the way we’ll be closing out 2013. I’m currently doing this interview in Brooklyn, New York. We’re here for CMJ [Music Marathon]. It’s our first time playing outside of Canada and we’re playing with some really cool bands in some really cool venues. Aside from New York, we’ll be continuing to play a ton of dates in Ontario and starting to plan our full length and a more expansive tour. There will be lots of developments before 2014 so keep posted!
HIGHS self-titled EP is available at HighsMusic.bandcamp.com
We did not set out to release such a feel good album it just kind of happened
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from across the pond words by Janet Adamana
It’s every musician’s dream to create something that reaches someone; something that moves them, stirs them, and ultimately creates that powerful stranger-to-stranger connection. The second goal is to have these impassioned creations physically take them further than their own backyard. For Perth, Australia’s pop punk quintet, Monuments, these top musical goals have already been met. Since their start in 2011 they’ve been crossing more than just borders, but now even oceans, with their most recent trip to the United States to create their debut album, Existence. Vocalist, Caz Matarazzo, talks to us about the mind-blowing experience of creating Existence.
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JA: How did Monuments come about? CM: Before the formation of Monuments, we were all friends playing in different bands/genres (excluding guitarist Steve Cutri). There had always been talk between ourselves, primarily myself and Carl Diggins (bass), about how fun the idea of starting a pop-punk/rock band would be. After months of talk we decided to give it a go and have a little fun. At the time, I had started filling in for a band that Carl was already involved with alongside Aaron Brock (drums). This made things quite easy for us and before we knew it things started to take off. After recording a few releases, we felt the need to step things up a bit and decided that adding a second guitarist to the band would be the best way to do so. To cut a long story short, Steve is a good friend of ours who we decided would be best fit for the role which makes up the band we are today.
JA: Tell me a bit about your debut album, Existence. CM: We pretty much spent the entirety of 2012 writing the album. We spent a lot of time demoing and tracking pre-pros of each song. We really wanted the album to show a big progression as a band and in our song writing since the release of our debut EP, The Only Way We Know. We have all come a long way and experienced more as a band, and as individuals, and I feel Existence really shows that.
down to New York City to relax and let off some steam. NYC has everything… seriously. I don’t think anything I could say here would justify the experiences we had.
JA: Is there anything you hope people will take from listening to your music? CM: I just hope that people really enjoy listening to it, not because they feel obliged to in any way, but because it does something for them. It was a lot of work and we put a lot of heart and soul into it. So We are extremely proud of how the album came in saying that, I hope people can take from it what out and we are so grateful for all the positive feed- we put in. back we have received so far. JA: Can you tell me a bit about Perth and how JA: You guys went all the way to America to re- your local music scene has influenced what cord it at Getaway Recordings. Tell me about you guys do? the whole experience. I heard it was your first CM: Perth is very isolated. However, I believe our time ever experiencing snow. scene is very tight and very promising. There’s been CM: Personally, it was one of the most amazing ex- a lot of bands develop from quite humble beginperiences of my life. Firstly, the set up was great. Jay nings and if anything, it breeds a good work ethic. [Maas] was an amazing host who made things very comfortable for us. His work ethic was very profes- JA: Tell me about your upcoming November/ sional, but at the same time, he knew when it was December tour with Forever Came Calling? time to sit back and relax a little. Saying it was one CM: Like previous tours of ours, it’ll take us around of the most fulfilling production experiences I’ve most capital cities around Australia. All shows had, would be an understatement. should be a party so I suggest if you ever thought about coming down, you definitely should. Production aside, just being where we were in itself, was mind blowing. It was the first time many of us had seen snow and coming from Australia, Get Existence at you can imagine how big a deal that was! As said bandcamp.HindsightRecords.com.au earlier, Jay was great. He took us all around town, Like Monuments on Facebook at gave us a taste of what it’s like being a local. After facebook.com/monumentsmusic recording was wrapped up, we all made our way
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Auditory Fabric Heir Craft hip-hop Review by Dinorah Prevost
Mixing Christian lyrics with some wildly creative
bridge. The album hits a somber and personal spot beats, Los Angeles-based duo, Auditory Fabric, with “Visiting Hours,” whose lyrics describe the has made a brave attempt with their debut album narrator’s attempt to get a troubled young woman Heir Craft. Members Justword and Bondservant to turn to God for help. The mood doesn’t last as put together a space-themed project with most of “Bottom of the 9th” picks it up. One of the stronthe production handled by Justword. Guest appear- gest tracks, it features a trumpet fanfare sample ances include Patch Martin, Chad Jones and Alex reminiscent of those found in old Spanish films. “Apollo 66: Launch,” a short interlude, comes just Faith. before the final stretch. Title track, “Heir Craft,” The record starts off with a one minute intro fit- keeps its anthemic hook at the forefront with “Fly tingly called “Rocketship: Boarding”. “Goodyear” High” continuing the vibe to the very end. sets the upbeat mood for what’s to come, featuring a solid beat and a vocal loop as its melody. Overall, Heir Craft is a brilliant debut. All the tracks Next comes “Invite Only,” which is the first track of levelled up to each other, keeping the momentum many, to employ pitched down vocals while “For- going. Props to Justword and Bondservant for keepeign Dose” shows off a very intricate beat. “Colors ing it clean without losing their edge. of the Rainbow” has a gospel touch, accentuated by an organ melody and soulful sung vocals in the (AuditoryFabric.Bandcamp.com)
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Of Confidence’s new album, The Forest, was born
“Burnt” is one of the heaviest tracks with a mixture and bred in Portland, Oregon. And living nearby, I of vocals between D. Benjamin Cline and the lovely can say, this album clearly consumes what the grey female singer, Kamber Kigin. skies can pour down on you. “Circles” hits the emotional substance about losing The band consists of D. Benjamin Cline (Vocals/ what you have and what you gave away. It teeters Bass), Connor Magee (Vocals/Instrumentation), between a full on background of distortional apJames Woolsey (Guitar), Matthew W. Taylor (Gui- plause to a stripped down acoustic echo that gives tar/Instrumentation) and Conner Runia (Drums). you goose bumps; all the while building towards the end that erupts into a chorus of several. As the first track “Astoria” plays, the clear vision of instrumental progression keeps you listening. The last three songs combine a more natural state, “Nineteen” edges on the post-core style affiliated from decaying buildings to the surroundings that with the great late 90’s and early 2000’s and as soon we grew up with here in the Northwest; adding a as it comes out of your speakers, you know you’ve haunted ethereal effect that continues to ring out found an anthem. Of Confidence is reminiscent of even after you’ve finished listening. that time, all the while having a sophisticated appeal that gives you a reason to have faith in pop (OfConfidencePDX.bandcamp.com/) punk all over again.
Review by Kristen Fisher
Confidence The Forest pop/rock
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