SOUNDZINE ZINE: ISSUE 2

Page 1

ISU 2 / DEC. 2021

SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDS



CONTENTS TAKIS 4 SOUL PUSH 8 JUSTINE TYRELL 10 KANDLE 12 JORDAN HART 16 MATHEW V 18 KARLI JUNE 20

22 DAYSORMAY 24 RISE CARMINE 26 MINT SIMON 28 STEREOS 30 YOUNG BOMBS 32 KEYS N KRATES 34 KTHECHOSEN

ON THE COVER

SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDZ 38 Showcasing Canadian music interviews conducted in 2021. www.soundzine.ca


from THE edITOR Coming out of one of the toughest years in human history, we continue to face unprecedented times. Although the music industry got a taste of normalcy with the brief return of inperson live shows, I applaud anyone and everyone who was able to find inspiration to create and share their art during another period of uncertainty. The very least we can do to help support our local music scene is to take the time to learn from artists’ stories and listen to their projects. 2021 wasn’t a hard year solely because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but also due to the discoveries of countless unmarked graves. The grim reality of the senseless and horrifying treatment of our country’s First People sparked a national conversation that needs to carry on. A call to action is crucial for truth and reconciliation. We must ensure clean drinking water is accessible in Indigenous communities and that we put an end to land invasion and intrusive pipelines. As we enter a new year, I encourage all humans to continue to educate themselves on Indigenous history and culture and to support their people, artists, businesses and causes.

J. Andrade

indigenous resources Tiny House Warriors

True North Aid

Raven Trust

tinyhousewarriors.com

truenorthaid.ca

raventrust.com

Native Women’s Assoc. of Canada

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

nwac.ca

downiewenjack.ca

irsss.ca

Colouring It Forward

Canadian Roots Exchange

colouringitforward.com

canadianroots.ca

Oneida Language & Cultural Centre oneidalanguage.ca

Legacy of Hope Foundation

Honouring Indigenous Peoples

Unist’ot’en

legacyofhope.ca

honouringindigenouspeoples.com

unistoten.camp


PHOTOGRAPHERS Brendan Meadows

Jared Brookes

Mathieu Samson

@brendanmeadows

@momentsbyblue

@mathieusamsonofficiel

brendanmeadows.com

momentsbyblue.ca

productionsneon.com

Snotty Nose Rez Kids | Cover, Pg 38

Jordan Hart | Pg 17

Mint Simon | Pg 27

Ryan William Craven

Daniel Keen

Stephanie Montani

@ryanwilliamcraven

@danielkeenvideo

@bystephm

ryanwilliamcraven.com

Mathew V | Pg 18

stephaniemontani.com

Takis | Pg 4

Jack Perkins

Stereos | Pg 28

Cassandra Popescu @casssie_andra

Sterling Larose

@jackperkinsphotos

cassandrapopescu.com

@sterlinglarose

jackperkinsphotos.com

Karli June | Pg 20

sterlinglarose.com

Soul Push | Pg 8

Juhee Anderson @juheeanderson

Young Bombs | Pg 30

Eli Garlick @eligarlick daysormay | Pg 22

Justine Tyrell | Pg 11

Sammy Rawal @sammyrawal sammyrawal.com

Daniel Dorta

Keys N Krates | Pg 32

Tess Ananda

@dortasphotography

@tessananda.photo

dortasphotography.com

Floyd Gonzales

Kandle | Pg 12

Rise Carmine | Pg 24

@the_floyd_g floydgonzales.com KTheChosen | Pg 34

SPECIAL THANKS • Jess Seguire // Alley Cat PR / 604 Records • Kari Zalik // Bad Parade PR • Ola Mazzuca + Amanda McCauley // Indoor Recess • Mavis Harris // Nice Marmot PR • Sheila Brazel // Rise Carmine Management • Julia Pittman // Sony Music Canada • Isabelle Pitre + Jamie Crawford // Strut Entertainment • B eth Cavanagh // What’s The Story? • Andrew Valle // Valle Music Management



“YOU’RE KIND OF

THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF UNTIL YOU’RE NOT. GROWING UP WITHOUT AN EXAMPLE – WE DIDN’T HAVE A DRAKE, WE DIDN’T HAVE A WEEKND, WE DIDN’T HAVE A JUSTIN BIEBER. WE HAD ALMOST NO POP REPRESENTATION. WE HAD NO ONE THAT WAS IN CULTURE FROM OUR CITY. SO GROWING UP, IT WAS JUST KIND OF LIKE A JOKE IF YOU WERE MAKING MUSIC.”


TAKIS

W tracks.

innipeg’s (Peter) Takis’ music exists in the form of unlikely collaborations – uniting to deliver extraordinary electronic

Working with Jamie Fine and Brandyn Burnette, Takis describes his newest single “All Time” as a balance between Fine’s powerful voice and Burnette’s laidback flow. Similar to his first single – “Wait For Me,” Takis blends the stylings of two distinct artists to create an unrivaled, unfamiliar sound.

“THERE WAS A BIG CONTRAST WITH THE FEATURED ARTISTS. JAMIE FINE SPECIFICALLY HAS THIS INCREDIBLY POWERFUL VOICE AND THEN BRANDYN BURNETTE – ON VERSE TWO, COULD ALMOST CLASH OR BE A PERFECT CONTRAST. HE HAS THIS CHILL FLOW, HE’S VERY RELAXED, HE ISN’T TRYING HARD AT ALL AND THEN JAMIE COMES IN SUPER POWERFUL.” Takis’ three new singles come as a directional shift from the lyrically darker content his fans may expect from him. “This is experimental – which sounds weird to say, that writing happy songs is experimental, but it is in my case.” He credits the shift to the painful year that was 2020 and was inspired to write more uplifting records even though it was not a natural or a seemingly “on-brand” decision. In all of his work, Takis credits much of his inspiration to a love-hate relationship with his hometown. He started his creative journey DJing and making music in high school and though he claims no one really cared for his songs, he kept going – now accumulating mass streams and being signed to one of the most renowned dance labels in the world, Armada Music. Peter has found purpose in making Winnipeg proud by being the example he never had, for young artists back home:

“You’re kind of the boy who cried wolf until you’re not. Growing up without an example – we didn’t have a Drake, we didn’t have a Weeknd, we didn’t have a Justin Bieber. We had almost no pop representation. We had no one that was in culture from our city. So growing up, it was just kind of like a joke if you were making music.” With no definite answers surrounding the state of the industry, Takis is passionately committed to dropping his new album Welcome Home and focusing solely on his music, no matter the circumstances. 6

Q: Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your journey as an artist? I go by Takis – that’s my real last name. I started DJing in high school, of course no one really cared. You put a song out and then ten of your friends share it. That was enough to kind of keep me going. This journey has all been about trying to make great records and eventually you realize it’s not easy to make really good songs and put together really cool creative packages. I’ve just been on this journey since high school, chipping away at it and maybe I’m getting slightly closer but we’re not there yet. Q: What is it about electronic music specifically that interested you? So, I started in hip-hop – I was a kid on hip-hop blogs, refreshing them every other day. I was so excited about this mixtape culture growing up and it was all hip-hop. None of my friends could show me anything else. My mom would play pop music, I’d turn that off. I’d have some friends say “hey, listen to this electronic music.” No, it was just hip-hop. Eventually, a friend invited me to an electronic festival in my hometown and I was like “what is all this music about?” and I went, and I was shocked by the energy that everybody was sharing. I’ve been to a million and one hip-hop concerts, I DJed a hundred opening sets for hip-hop events, DJed at hip-hop clubs – that was my life. Once I saw the culture around electronic music and how cheerful everyone was and the energy, also in the music – I just fell in love. Ever since it’s been a relentless pursuit. I still do incorporate some hip-hop elements and I’ve worked with hip-hop artists a lot. It’s still one of my favourite genres but in terms of making music and playing it as a DJ, you can’t beat the energy. Q: How surreal is it to now be working with Armada? It’s been great! The big thing about working with a dance label is that they really understand dance culture. I’ve worked with some major labels in the past and obviously I’ve been independent in the past but working with a dance label, they really, really get what a DJ is trying to do. They understand every aspect of it. They’ve been great. They give me a ton of freedom – I always joke that I feel like I don’t really have a label. I really create, I have a great team around me and so far, they trust everything I’ve been doing. I love Armada because it feels like they’re not there. Q: How does your love-hate relationship with your hometown drive your music? I think a really complex part of growing up in a relatively small town without a music industry is that it is very hard to convince people around you that it’s real. You’re kind of the boy who cried wolf until you’re not. Growing up without an example – we didn’t have a Drake, we didn’t have a Weeknd,


we didn’t have a Justin Bieber, we had almost no pop representation. We had no one that was in culture from our city. So growing up, it was just kind of like a joke if you were making music. It was always just fringe. It was almost frowned upon. You were looked at a little off. It’s very tough to cultivate enough self belief to keep going. I don’t blame anyone but it was very hard to imagine an artist from our town would go on to play major festivals, play in Vegas and have songs that have streamed like mine have and some others. So, I think that’s where the relationship starts but thankfully because of some artists like Goody Grace and Faouzia from Manitoba – who I’ve collaborated with, and hopefully this Takis project, starts to change the perception back home. Now I’m looking a little bit brighter about kind of representing for my city but at the start of this journey, it was a lot of tension, a lot of proving people wrong but eventually it got to the point where I proved enough to myself. Now, I want to make people proud and want to make some 17-year-old from the city say “okay, well I have examples now. He didn’t have an example, but I have examples. I’m going to believe in myself because of that.” It is certainly a lovehate relationship still to this day. Q: Do you have any words of advice for other artists looking to break out of their small towns? Oh man, that’s so tough. That is a really good question. I say it’s a good question because I don’t even know if I’ve answered it for myself yet. You have to have a selfbelief – it’s almost weird how patient you have to be. There’s going to be so many “nos,” there are going to be so many doors that are slammed in your face, so many people are going to laugh at you for what you do, you’re going to have to make so many sacrifices. Almost beyond advice, you just have to be a certain type of person that is incredibly relentless and that is willing to be kind of ostracized for three to five years before you materialize anything. So, I don’t know if I could give good advice but I can certainly say, make sure you’re the type of person that is going to be prepared for a very, very painful journey at the start. Q: What can you tell us about your latest single? “All Time” is the third single off my upcoming project Welcome Home. The first song was called “Wait For Me” and it was literally about somebody that did not wait for me. The second record was called “From The Start” and it was talking about a relationship that actually was kind of doomed from day one. Those who are fans of the Takis project and those who really know me, know I am at my best as an artist and at my most honest when I talk about dark or sad subject matter. When I really lean into painful moments, that is who I’ve been as an artist for all the people who have followed this journey but – after 2020, after the year we’ve had, something in me changed in the last few months where I don’t really have to lean into

these stories, I don’t have to exaggerate a painful breakup anymore – it’s just been a painful year. For whatever reason, I just had inspiration to write brighter music and I’ve never ever wrote a hopeful song and put it out. I’ve never made a record that says “hey, everything’s going to be okay” but for whatever reason, I was inspired to try and be honest with you, that decision was not only not very natural, it didn’t feel on brand and I was kind of concerned about what some of our early fans would think. Also – tough conversation for your team, but I ended up scrapping some records that were supposed to come out late last year and early this year because they were leaning a little too far left. So sonically, this isn’t the Takis project that people are going to expect but as a creative package, I have never wrote a song – even just the idea of a lyric that says “It’s gonna be alright” and talk about a relationship lasting forever. That can only happen when you’re just fed up about everything that was going on. I had to shake myself out of it. So, this is experimental – which sounds weird to say, that writing happy songs is experimental but it is in my case. Q: How did your collaboration with Jamie Fine and Brandyn Burnette come about? For fellow Canadians and fans of pop music that listen to the radio, Jamie is like a superstar. Like four or five years ago, you’d turn on the radio and you couldn’t avoid Jamie Fine. You couldn’t avoid some of her hit records, on TV – her performances. I’ve been a fan for like ever. I remember briefly meeting her at a nightclub four years ago and – I don’t know if she remembers this but, she was at the top of my list as an artist I really wanted to work with. It’s kind of strange because I’ve been working with mostly friends on this project – I’m obviously a fan of all the artists I’ve worked with, but there are personal relationships there that take the music biz away and we’re just friends in a room. With Jamie, I’ve just been a distant fan for five years – just a weird guy listening on Spotify to all of her music and I love her voice. When we had the idea – the early demo, I was like “you know what? We’re going to have to try. We’re going to have to send it to her. We’re going to have to say, ‘just give it a listen, let’s see what you think.’” Thankfully she loved it, she added so much to it, her voice is so big and incredible. Similar to my first single “Wait For Me” with Goody Grace and Tory Lanez, there was a big contrast with the featured artists. Jamie Fine specifically has this incredibly powerful voice and then Brandyn Burnette on verse two, could almost clash or be a perfect contrast. He has this chill flow, he’s very relaxed, he isn’t trying hard at all and then Jamie comes in super powerful. For me – a big fan of Jamie Fine, I hope she [reads] this and sees how much I’m fanning out about her. My mission has always been trying to put together contrasting voices and Brandyn and Jamie – in my eyes, contrast really, really well and I hope people enjoy it. 7


SOUL PUSH


A

Q: How would you describe Soul Push’s sound and artistry? The words that come to mind are “grit pop.” At heart, we are a rock n roll band who love to thrash on our guitars, but we tend to write closer to the pop world. Vancouver’s Andrew Dixon, Dallyn Hunt, and Tim I think this allows for an interesting mix Morrison paired up with South African songwriter and sound. We do like to do a fair bit of Conan Jurek to create and explore multiple genres experimentation too. I know that these and identities. days a lot of artists are supposed to “have a sound and identity” but we believe The group was formed after they collectively decided that music is about exploring different to chase inspiration and temporarily move their lives identities, not finding one. In terms of to Europe. After writing an album in London and artistry, you can get away with anything recording it in a small town in Portugal, they returned behind a computer these days, so we’re excited to get back to playing live shows, to the North American scene with their R&B-esque so fans can see what they’ve been debut EP Body Is A Temple. missing out on. We’re a performing band at the core and that’s where I think most With their forthcoming album release, Soul Push aims to bridge the gap between the 60s idea of future people will see our artistry and chemistry on stage – vibing with each other. music and the world we live in today. Their latest

fter years of writing and performing under different names, this Canadian-born quartet, began releasing music under the moniker Soul Push early last year.

single “Good Man” – sonically-inspired by artists such as Tame Impala and Jungle, is about a ladies man on a journey to taming himself for the right woman.

The track was written in London on a small vintage synth, then re-worked in a vintage house in Portugal with plenty of 60s-era décor which is emphasized in its overall vibe:

THE PRODUCTION OF [GOOD MAN] “ IS A TRUE TESTAMENT TO THE POWER OF DIY AND GOOD MIXING. WE DIDN’T PRODUCE OR RECORD THIS SONG IN A FANCY STUDIO, IT WAS IN MY GRANDFATHER’S BEDROOM. WE WERE JUST HAVING FUN WITH IT AND IT SHOWS THAT ANYONE CAN CREATE SOMETHING GREAT IN THE STRANGEST OF PLACES... AS LONG AS YOU CAN GET A DECENT MIX. LUCKILY, WE HAD RYAN WORSLEY MIX “GOOD MAN” AND IT BECAME A BANGER!

Most recently, the band put out a simplistic yet symbolic and unique music video for their newest single. The video for “Good Man” starts off by panning in to lead singer Jurek at the head of the table – seated with his bandmates and a dinner guest. This scene repeats 36 times with the only difference being that something is removed from each shot until Jurek is the only thing left in the frame. From their artistic videos to their experimental tracks and songwriting, for Soul Push, music isn’t about finding an identity but rather exploring new ones. Releasing gloriously genre-fluid tracks while navigating through these unprecedented times, Soul Push look forward to releasing their debut full-length album in 2022.

Q: You guys had former projects, what inspired the vision and vibe behind creating Soul Push? We all played together throughout high school at different stages and continued to do so afterwards. We started playing a few live shows and things escalated faster than we expected. Before we knew it, we were headlining shows and touring and were too afraid to change our name at that point, thinking we would lose or confuse fans. In 2017, we moved to London (UK) to write and record more music, and took a bit of a hiatus – this turned out to be great because we parted with our “indie rock” roots and started trying something a little different. We felt that we had matured to a point where the old name didn’t fit us or our music anymore and decided to change it to Soul Push. We like Soul Push because it felt very 90s to us, and that was appealing because we were all born in ‘93. As I mentioned above, we like experimenting... and Soul Push feels like a name that can take on many shapes of genres. Q: What drove the band to pick up and temporarily move to Europe? We were feeling stuck in our hometown and wanted to try something different. We always romanticized about a life in the UK and eventually decided to stop daydreaming about it and make the move. All of our favourite bands came from the UK and we wanted to live somewhere that had a huge music scene. In Vancouver, we would have to drive twelve hours to play in the next major city, in the UK we could play a festival five cities over and still sleep in our beds at night. We set out with a goal to write and record new music, and we did that...

but I think there was a lot more drinking and hanging out involved. I wonder how many albums we would have by now if we had given up the beers... Q: How was your experience recording in the UK and in a small town in Portugal? How did your surroundings influence the record? Writing in London was the best thing we could’ve done. Not only did it expand our musical horizons, but it also made us super tight as a crew. We had a studio that was right next to a pizza pub (I know right?). After London (UK) we moved to Portugal and set up a studio in my grandfather’s childhood home. He built the home with his father in the 60s, and that showed in the décor. It was on a vineyard in a town with less than 100 people, and no one spoke a word of English. We secluded ourselves away from the world and became one with the house and all of its strange noises and ghostly moans (that’s a story for another time). We made a conscious decision to try and emulate the feeling of the house and add an old school vibe to the tracks we were recording there, one of them being “Good Man.” There’s a salty picture online somewhere of us in the Portugal house, and believe me, it’s a mood. Q: Tell us about your latest single “Good Man”: Lyrically, the song is about a man who sleeps around town and eventually quits his ways for the woman of his dreams, which is super ironic because at the time of writing it I was super lonely and the song was almost a way for me to live out an alternate reality... one where I had a sex drive or even someone to settle down with. I’m a songwriter who writes super dancey music when I feel low to counter my mood... so if you are shaking your hips then it came from a dark place. The production of this song is a true testament to the power of DIY and good mixing. We didn’t produce or record this song in a fancy studio, it was in my grandfather’s bedroom. We were just having fun with it and it shows that anyone can create something great in the strangest of places... as long you can get a decent mix. Luckily, we had Ryan Worsley mix “Good Man” and it became a banger! Q: “Good Man” is described as a “gritty dance party.” What are some of Soul Push’s favourite dance records? Tim: Roosevelt - Roosevelt Dallyn: Daft Punk - Alive 2007 Andrew: Kaytranada - 99.9% Conan: Daft Punk - Human After All

9


J

Justine Tyrell

ustine Tyrell hones a sound of her own by beautifully merging her sultry vocals and modern flare with the iconic R&B stylings of the early 2000s. Growing up in an eclectic household around everything from hip-hop, to blues and country, music was Tyrell’s first love and the way that she was able to process the world which led to her writing her first song at the age of seven. When asked about her biggest influences, the Calgarybased singer notes:

“[They are] somewhere between discovering my first Aaliyah CD, crying to the first Amy Winehouse song I ever heard, scribbling down song ideas in the back of my journals – and the feeling I got when the hair stood up on end, at my first concert.” Tyrell was instantly drawn to music and began singing, writing and performing as a natural reaction to the way it all made her feel and is hopeful that her music will bring the same solace to those who listen. Justine is set to release her debut EP and has already dropped three tracks from the record. “My Name” is the latest single, preceded by “Worthy” and “Radar.” “My Name” showcases a new side of both Tyrell’s vocal and production talents, acting as her own vocal producer on the track. Focused on keeping the music slow and simplistic, Tyrell wanted to dedicate ample space for her vocals to take the forefront.

“‘My Name’ is the song that says, let’s shut out the world – and forget there’s anyone else, but me and you. I wanted the song to feel smooth and intimate in nature – yet hypnotic and full of layers to discover. From the way we produced the vocal, to the way we filtered the start of the song – the soundscape and mood is meant to tease more and more elements as you listen through.” Ahead of her debut EP release, Tyrell has already earned nominations for Singer of the Year, Solo Artist of the Year, Media Personality of the Year (Obsidian Awards), and has been named one of Branded Magazine’s “Game Changers” in her hometown. Her vibey tracks have earned notable playlist slots and radio play. On top of her musical success, Tyrell is committed to speaking out on the injustices of the world as a trusted voice for the Black Lives Matter movement. Tyrell speaks from personal experiences when advocating for “education, mindfulness and consistency” in striving for social change:

“Self-education is so important – don’t

wait for others to teach you. Looking out for diversity gaps in the workplace, being mindful of microaggressions and stereotypes that we may notice, supporting black business, entrepreneurs, and black voices regularly – especially as we move out of black history month and have the opportunity to uphold an inclusive standard 24/7, 365 days a year.

From her melodic tracks to her social activism, Tyrell has many stories to tell and is looking forward to sharing her next chapter. Her forthcoming EP – reflective of the bitter and sweet tastes of love and relationships, combines her diary-like lyricism with a sound that is refreshing yet familiar.

10

Q: How would you describe your artistry? My artistry is a place where I get to shape a mood, where I can infuse the sides of me, my thoughts and imagination, and the things I see going on around me – into a soundscape. I’m a singer and a writer, but I also love the production stage, working with my collaborators to craft the small details, to give listeners something that can move through the different moods of their own lives with them. Q: Your sound is refreshing and reminiscent of the early 2000s mixed with modern flair. Who are the artists from both eras inspiring your music? Thank you! Aaliyah will forever be the queen! Her music, grace, style, and impact, inspired me so much, and was a major inspiration in wanting to be a singer. Mya, Alicia Keys, Ashanti – were all also my favourites. Now I’m really inspired by artists like Drake, Masago, Summer Walker, and Snoh Aalegra.

Q: What drives your passion to create during these unprecedented times? I’m a big ball of chaos if I’m not creating. It’s my happy place, and the most natural outlet for me. I’ve found these times to be an opportunity to shut out the everyday hustle and bustle – because we really have no choice. We’ve all been pulled to a stop – which gave me even more space to honour what my creative brain is thinking and focus my energy onto bringing that to fruition. Q: How’s Calgary’s music scene, how has it influenced you? It’s intimate, it’s incredibly high caliber – and its evolving. We are shifting from being known for a few leading genres to pumping out great pop acts, R&B soul artists, extremely talented producers and great writers. I want to see more support for our scene, because it really is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s the place I found my voice, grew my confidence on my first intimate stages, learned how much I love connecting with a live audience, and building that connection with a listener. Q: Tell us about your new single “My Name”: It’s all about that magnetic, hypnotic type of chemistry with another. The attitude is sultry, yet unabashed and confident. The reverse sound within the track ended up being a staple in inspiring this idea of this love that’s stuck on repeat – in reverse that one would want to keep coming back to. We were really intentional with the vocal production in this song, building out lots of layers and harmonies to give the soundscape more depth and feeling. Q: What can we expect from your forthcoming EP? Expect trap soul influences, throwback elements reminiscent of old school R&B – all with a smooth contemporary finish. It captures love and its unraveling, to something that is smoky, 808 driven, and completely selfindulgent. We’ve also reimagined a couple elements of existing tracks, to tie in a few surprises that made me fall in love with some of my favorite records when I was younger. Q: You’re a trusted voice for the Black Lives Matter movement. What’s your advice on practicing effective advocacy on social change? Education, mindfulness and consistency. I can only ever speak from my personal experiences, which were largely experiencing racism in the education system, in microaggressions throughout my life, and seeing racial bias and prejudice both quietly and loudly at work, towards family members, myself and others in my community – who experience it far worse than I have. Self-education is so important – don’t wait for others to teach you. Looking out for diversity gaps in the workplace, being mindful of microaggressions and stereotypes that we may notice, supporting black business, entrepreneurs, and black voices regularly – especially as we move out of Black History month and have the opportunity to uphold an inclusive standard 24/7, 365 days a year.





kandle

O

n the heels of her independent debut, Kandle Osborne is back with another taste of what’s to come.

The Vancouver born-and-based cabaret-inspired rock artist drops her newest single “Honey Trap” – a sweet-but-fierce song about breaking free from a sticky power struggle joined by guest vocalists Louise Burns, Debra-Jean Creelman (Mother Mother) and Kendel Carsen (Alan Doyle, Great Big Sea). With four women around one microphone, the female-powered track oozes with liberation and echoes the underlying symbolism behind it:

“IT IS EASY TO OVERLOOK THE SUBTLETIES INVOLVED IN MANIPULATION. FOR WOMEN WITH DRIVE AND MOTIVATION, ONE MAY ALREADY BE CONDITIONED TO BELIEVE THAT YOUR BODY OR SEXUALITY ARE THE ONLY REAL ASSETS THAT SOCIETY VALUES OF YOURS. UNDER THIS CONDITIONING, IT ISN’T HARD TO IMAGINE ALL THE WAYS THESE ASSETS CAN BE TURNED AGAINST YOU BY AN ABUSER, AND THE IDEA OF USING YOUR BODY AS A TOOL TO MOVE FORWARD WHEN ALL OTHER AVENUES ARE CLOSED DOESN’T SEEM SO EXTREME. WHAT OTHER PATH IS THERE? YOU START TO BELIEVE IT’S YOUR CHOICE, ALBEIT A SELF-SACRIFICIAL ONE. ONLY WHEN YOU START TO BREAK FREE, IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT YOU WERE NEVER GIVEN THE CHOICE IN THE FIRST PLACE. WE PLAY THEIR GAME UNTIL WE MAKE OUR OWN.” The accompanying music video – directed by Brandon Fletcher, featuring actor Keenan Tracey (Bates Motel, The 100), is a masterpiece of its own. The cinematically-stunning imagery draws symbolic parallels from historic arts in scenes where Kandle is suspended. The use of Shibari – also known as 14

Kinbaku, is a form of Japanese rope bondage that focuses on friction and wraps instead of knots, derived from Hojojutsu, a martial art from the Edo period. The way the ropes were tied often conveyed the class or crime of the person tied up in it and served as a signature for the Samurai who tied it. The video’s symbolic visuals further amplify the song’s themes as director Brandon Fletcher reflects:

“We wanted to create a nod to our favourite noir films of the 40s – and its more modern incarnation of dystopic neo/neonnoir thrillers – entire worlds riddled with deceit, seduction, and crime, all while exploring themes of consent, entitlement, and responsibility. All these women ‘play the game’ without being fully aware of the deeper danger they’re in. Throughout the video, a shadowy man exploits them all, coalescing in an unwanted touch – something I think anyone who’s been manipulated can relate to – before he walks away with their livelihood.” “Honey Trap” follows Kandle’s premiere single – “Lock and Load” from her forthcoming album Set The Fire – set for release this spring. After leaving her label and releasing her first ever independent EP, Stick Around and Find Out, Kandle closed out 2020 with the stunning James Bond-inspired single. With strong influences from powerful female greats – Nancy Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Shirley Bassey, Kandle delivers heartfelt words and music drawn from some of life’s heaviest moments. Following her independent breakout, Kandle is at her most empowered and authentic state, sharing her own stories of healing to help others do the same. Breaking free from her label, Kandle takes full control of her music and artistry and stays true to her mission to creating a dialogue and advocating for women and mental health. Her advocacy through art also comes alive in the form of a collection of dark comedic illustrations highlighting sexism in the music industry:

“Instead of getting all dark about it, I think making a comic about sexism disarms it and offers a different way to talk about it (and then hopefully change it).” Kandle looks forward to releasing her debut independent fulllength album and finding ways to share it with the world in a time where live shows are on pause:

“The connections that come from releasing new music and making new fan friends is what keeps me going.”


Q: Your style is said to be a juxtaposition between cabaret and rock – who or what are the main inspirations behind your artistry and sound? I think the cabaret influence comes from my love of jazzy, theatrical goddesses like Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan among others. The rock side comes from being obsessed with Zeppelin and Jack White growing up, and I think two sides morphed into one in my creative (bizarre) mind. Dramatic crooner with a distorted guitar. Q: What can you tell us about your new song “Honey Trap”? The song “Honey Trap” was inspired by manipulation in a relationship power struggle, and I think the way I decided to produce it feeds off of that theme. My vision of having strong female harmonies at the forefront mirrors how I tackle hard issues with my entourage of powerful women. When I’m singing about (or dealing with) a heavy subject, sometimes it feels almost impossible to summon the strength needed to get through it with a lone voice. Having that female support makes me feel stronger and more powerful. I loved the process of recording this album without a label or manager hanging over my shoulder and I think this track showcases that freedom. Start to finish I had a clear vision and I was able to execute it exactly how I wanted to. Everyone in the room was supportive of my weird inspiration, tempo changes and all, and it was the first time I didn’t feel any resistance. I like to break the rules. I don’t make music for pop radio, and I’m not even close to mainstream, but I like to follow my instincts and what I hear in my head and bring it to life. Q: You worked with notable Canadian vocalists Louise Burns, Debra-Jean Creelman and Kendel Carson on the track – how did this collaboration manifest and what was it that drove you to work with these talented artists specifically? Mostly lucky timing for this record! Over the years, I’ve played and collaborated with each woman separately but when I was starting this album I told Louise I wanted three gals around one mic. She suggested Debra-Jean and then Kendel happened to text me out of the blue that she was in Vancouver and I wrangled them all in the studio the next day just before the world started shutting down from COVID-19. I think the seed had been planted early 2020 though, when I played Commodore in Vancouver with Louise and Kendel as my band. Debbie stopped by to just hang out in the green room with us and the magic and camaraderie between the four of us was already apparent! Q: Your music video for “Honey Trap” is stunningly cinematic, what is the story/symbolism behind the visuals? Thank you, we’re really proud of how the video turned out. Brandon William Fletcher (the director) is a force of nature and managed to put together an incredible team even within all the regulations of COVID. I knew I wanted the live band feeling to play a big role because I know I’m not the only one missing shows! But the story/ symbolism is meant to show the confusion of manipulations and power dynamics. I find humans often enter relationships feeling in control and as though nothing is going to hurt them, that feeling of “I know what I’m doing...”, but it’s so easy to end up completely on your ass. These subtle shifts in power can happen in the blink of an eye. To take the symbol of manipulation and control a step further, Brandon enlisted a BDSM educator (amongst other skills) who goes by Squid Kink to tie me up before I was suspended mid-air. Rene (Squid Kink) introduced us to Shibari (Kinbaku) which is a form of Japanese rope bondage that focuses on friction and wraps instead of knots, derived from Hojojutsu (a martial art from the Edo period). The way the ropes were tied often conveyed the class or crime of the person tied up in it and served as a signature for the Samurai who tied it. We loved the parallels of that history with the story we were telling.

Q: What can we look forward to from your forthcoming album Set The Fire? I think you’ll feel me embracing my newfound creative freedom channeled through 60s golden era type songs fused with alt rock! I’m making the music that I would listen to, the music I want to make. I’m trying to leave behind the victim feeling I’ve been carrying for so long. I looked back at my older albums and forgot how truly dark they are thematically. I feel I had to get those songs out of my system and they were necessary for me to write, but I’m trying to move on from that and show the other sides of my personality. Working with Michael Rendall (producer) felt like such a vital piece of the puzzle for this album. We met at the perfect time when I was in London and without a home base, feeling really stuck, honestly. We completely aligned musically and we were both so excited to make music together without money or success being the driving force. Just creativity at it’s best. I know that doesn’t happen often and I’m still basking in the magic of it arriving when I needed it most. Q: Growing up with a first-hand look into the music industry – as the daughter of Neil Osborne from 54-40, how have you seen the acceptance and inclusion of women and other minorities shift and/or grow? In what ways does the industry need to evolve to be even more inclusive? I feel like I can see a change in the younger generation of artists, I think they’re less and less under the thumb of the old guard, but honestly I think there’s still a ways to go. I’m glad people are more vocal about it these days and hopefully it will keep things moving in the right direction of inclusion and parity of all genders and races. Louise Burns and I are starting engineering lessons with an amazing lady here in Vancouver (Elisa Pangsaeng) to feel more confident and comfortable producing. I’ve never felt seen as an equal in the (still) very male heavy environment and I want to take my own steps to change that. I look forward to when it’s not a rarity to have a female engineer or producer in the studio. Q: You have started a collection of dark comedic illustrations highlighting sexism in the music industry. Can you talk about the topic’s importance to you and how the project came about? It just came from the desire to laugh. It’s absurd how common those experiences have been for me and for my female-identifying peers and it feels so f*cked that you just gotta laugh. I think it makes a challenging subject more palatable too. Instead of getting all dark about it, I think making a comic about sexism disarms it and offers a different way to talk about it (and then hopefully change it). On that note, there’s a new one coming soon from my latest experience trying to buy a new piece of gear... Q: You’re an advocate for mental health and helping other women overcome their trauma. What advice would you give to those who are on a healing journey? I’m such an advocate for it because I’m so familiar with it. It’s not an easy fix and I have not figured it out, but what I do know is how crucial it is to have a good support system around you to be able to work through these issues surrounded by people you love and trust. It’s definitely a cruel game of three steps forward, two steps back and I don’t know if I’m ever going to be unaffected by the trauma I’ve experienced but I’m optimistic that healing is possible. I don’t think anyone should have to suffer through this alone and that’s why I’m so open about the subject. I know how it feels to try and swallow it and bury it and I think knowing someone else is also dealing with these traumas offers solace and hope. I’m lucky I have songwriting to express myself, I think creative outlets are an extremely healthy way of processing hard things. I know some people listen to music to feel understood and I hope my songs can help someone else know that they’re not alone.

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A

lberta native Jordan Hart’s debut EP embodies the desire we all share to feel connected.

Back in 2019, Hart embarked on a 100-day busking challenge to benefit L’Arche Canada – an organization that helps support people with intellectual disabilities. Through thunder and snow, Hart played every Sunday and donated 100 percent of the money he raised to the organization. His daily busking led to a sold-out show at the Great Hall and - from that point, his streams increased by over a quarter of a million. Today, Hart reflects on the highs and lows of finding connection with his debut self-produced EP Only Pieces of the Truth. Through each track, Hart navigates through the ups and downs and explores the human thirst to feel connected to ourselves and to one another. Hart worked with countless producers and arrangers over the years but none of the pieces seemed to fit. He continued to mould his musical identity and finally began to connect the dots when he met the AllPoints team. Through multiple conversations with his new creative crew, he was advised to give producing a try. After just six months, Hart sewed together his sound and birthed his fittingly-named debut EP. The title track is a gentle, mid-paced song with gloriously sweeping arrangements. Hart reflects on the story beneath the music:

“THE CENTRAL CHARACTER REALIZES THAT ALL HE WANTS TO DO IS BE VULNERABLE AND THAT HE IS (“HOLDING ALL THE CARDS, WISHING YOU COULD SEE INSIDE HIS WALLS”), BUT EVEN STILL, AND ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THE STAKES ARE SO HIGH, HE CAN’T BRING HIMSELF TO TAKE THE FIRST STEPS FORWARD TOWARD REPAIRING THE RELATIONSHIP (“STARING AT YOUR DOOR, I’LL NEVER KNOCK”).” In all of his work, the talented singer-songwriter values the power of an honest story told through a simple song. Though he now resides in Toronto, the influence of the folk music community that Hart grew up in, is still very present in his songs. Q: How would you describe your artistry and your musical influences? I would describe myself as a producer/singer/songwriter who creates an eclectic variety of music from acoustic soul to experimental roots. Some of the most influential albums in my life so far have been: Every Kingdom – Ben Howard, 22, A Million and the self-titled Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Channel Orange – Frank Ocean, Continuum – John Mayer and more recently, Leif Vollebekk’s entire catalogue. Somewhere in that mix you’ll find my sound. Q: What inspired the title track “Only Pieces of the Truth”? “Only Pieces of the Truth” was lyrically inspired by a couple in my life who really love each other but are fighting through a distance that came with a build-up of little unresolved tensions over a significant period of time. While I can say what it is about with confidence now, this inspiration happened subconsciously, as almost all of the melodies and lyrics in this song came from an improvisation. I find that my favourite lyrics and melodies that I write come when I am able to get my thoughts out of the way and flow in an improvisation. It took a bit more of a process to find the sonic landscape, as I produced about ten distinctly different versions of this song before finally deciding on the final version. I originally started with purely synthetic instruments but as I played the song more often live, I was inspired to put more and more organic elements into the recording. This resulted in the final version being primarily driven by organic elements while featuring traces of the original synthetic soundscape.

16

Q: Tell us about the creative process behind your EP: Each song on this EP came with a different approach. For example, “Docks” (the opening track), came together as a collage of improvised ideas. Nothing was pre-envisioned; it was all just done by playing with interesting delays and sounds, massaging them together and then improvising over the result. In contrast, “I Don’t Want to Let You Go” and “Freedom” (both of which I had been performing for quite a while before I brought them into the studio), were put together very intentionally with a clear vision in mind before laying down the first tracks. Q: Your EP is expertly self-produced. What ultimately drove you to give producing your own music another try? Thank you! I’ve always loved producing and have spent years creating my own demos of songs and co-producing tracks for other artists. However, the moment I really decided to take on producing my own debut EP was when a respected member of an incredible record label, AllPoints, said that he loved my production. He encouraged me to start with a body of work that was completely my own. It’s really cool to be starting with such an accurate snapshot of where I am musically, with all of its successes and imperfections. Q: What advice would you give to other artists looking to self-produce? I would encourage anyone in the process to worry less about perfection and more about feeling. There is so much technical information that’s involved with the production process that it can be easy to get bogged down in it all, but in the end, I’ve found that what resonates most with the creators resonates most with the listeners, no matter how technically perfect or imperfect. Q: This record is beautifully emotive and vulnerable. Were there any particular life experiences that helped shape this body of work? Thank you! All of the songs were drawn from specific life experiences. The songs on this EP were written over the past six years of my life as a performing artist. They explore a desire to deepen my relationships with the people in my life and with myself. Sonically, I was influenced by all of the music that has inspired me most throughout my life as a musician. I think listeners will be able to hear everything from my love of roots, electronic, orchestral and experimental music. I think all of those influences thrown into a mixing pot with who I am as a live performer, then tossed around within the boundaries of my simple home studio set-up created the unique and eclectic sound of this EP. Q: What inspired your decision in embarking on a the 100-day straight busking challenge in support of L’Arche Canada for intellectual disabilities? Why was this so important to you? The 100 Day Busking Challenge came together on a whim. I was talking one day with some friends who I met while busking about the positive energy that busking on the street cultivated and we wanted to see what would happen if we spun that energy over 100 days in a row. There were many highs and lows, but it was an incredible experience, to say the least. Every Sunday, I donated the money that I made busking to L’Arche, which is an international organization that provides loving communities for people with intellectual disabilities. My family has been a part of the organization since I was very young, and the cause is something that is very close to my heart. I’ve noticed that people are commonly quite uncomfortable around people with intellectual disabilities and that there are many misconceptions about some of them. In this beautiful time when there are so many important conversations happening around social equality and supporting individuality, I wanted to lend my voice to help spark a conversation around this group that would likely not have the means to start it for themselves. The biggest thing that I am hoping to help spread is the deep love that surrounds this community. In my experience, the core members of L’Arche have more to offer me than I could return, especially in the way of teaching me to love and be loved. Sitting around a table in these communities, I have always felt valued for who I am beyond titles, money, and material. If there’s only one thing that I could have people take away from the message that I am trying to help shed light on, it would be to ask that they give people with intellectual disabilities as much of a chance as they would give anyone else to become valuable members of their lives.


Jordan Hart


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V

Mathew V

ancouver’s Mathew V announces a new EP with the release of his latest single “Around Here”:

“I wrote [Around Here] when I was mentally and emotionally diving into the past. It's about the town where I grew up. I wanted to finally look back with some perspective on my formative high school years and how they shaped me for better and for worse. I think everyone has times in their life that they associate to certain places. For me that place exists actively in my mind and this song helped me process that. I worked on this song with the very talented gentlemen from World's First Cinema in Los Angeles. It has live strings, big harmonies and feels emotionally on the bullseye of how that time of my life makes me feel.”

After ten years of classical operatic vocal training, Mathew moved from Vancouver to London, England at the age of 17. It was in London that he found his signature sound before returning home to pen a record deal with 604 Records, reach Canadian radio top 40 status, drop two charting albums and earn much acclaim from esteemed press. Following the release of his 2020 sophomore album Two Faced – which surpassed 25 million streams, Mathew is pushing his boundaries and setting his sights on new highs with his upcoming EP. Mathew claims to have gone back to his roots with Outer Circle – set for release this summer.

“I’m also going back to my roots which is singing. I’m really leaning into the vocals unapologetically on this project, and I’m loving it.” Mathew also claims that he is being “more honest with himself than ever” on his new body of work which further echoes the pride and integrity he exudes as a queer artist and advocate. A champion for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Mathew says that he has never considered not being an openly queer artist:

“It is who I am, and my lyrics, stories and music call on those experiences all the time.”

Q: How would you describe your artistry and who are your biggest musical influences? My music is always vocally-centred. I express myself with my voice. I picked up this emotive style of singing through some of my early musical influences like Celine Dion, Shania Twain and into adulthood, artists like Amy Winehouse and Chris Stapleton. Q: Tell us about the creative process behind “Around Here”: “Around Here” was one of the first songs I worked on remotely in quarantine. It was made entirely over text and voice notes from different cities and countries. It’s been a big learning curve but has proven to be very useful since COVID started. I worked on this song with the very talented gentlemen from World’s First Cinema, and I’m really proud of us for making it happen under the circumstances. Q: What inspired “Around Here” thematically? This song is about hometowns. I found great perspective looking back on places from my formative years. These places hold such strong memories and emotions and I wanted to touch on some of that retrospectively in this song. Q: What can we expect from your upcoming EP Outer Circle? This EP touches a lot on places and memories from the past. Spaces in time or physical places that had a huge part in shaping me into the person I am today. It’s an outward inventory of these memories and processing them for better or worse. Q: How does your new project differ from your previous releases? This project feels much more grown up for me personally. I think I’m being more honest with myself than I’ve ever been before. I’m also going back to my roots which is singing. I’m really leaning into the vocals unapologetically on this project, and I’m loving it. Q: You’re a champion for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. How important is it for you to be an openly queer artist? I don’t think I’ve ever even pondered not being an openly queer artist. It is who I am, and my lyrics, stories and music call on those experiences all the time. Q: In what ways can the music industry be more accommodating for queer artists? I think acceptance without tokenization is important. Queer artists need to have our stories told, just as every marginalized group does. We need our stories elevated, not only to our own communities, but to the mainstream as a whole. It’s wonderful to have our music put on queer playlists and campaigns during Pride month… but queer is not a genre. We should be able to sit next to straight, cis people in our respective genres. Queer people have always been able to connect to cis/straight experiences and music, regardless of the pronouns. I think that cis/ straight people are more than capable of connecting in the same way with music from queer artists. Certain emotions are universal. Q: You have a dedicated and loving fan base. What drives your commitment to connect with your listeners on social media? I’m just so appreciative of anyone taking time out of their busy and complex lives to support what I want to do with my life. If someone chooses to share my music, that’s huge. They didn’t need to do that… they don’t owe me anything. These things help in a big way. It is never expected and it’s something that I certainly don’t take for granted. Q: What’s getting you through these times of the pandemic? Bread haha. In all seriousness, I’ve been focusing on my music which has helped a lot. When the COVID times get hard I try to practice gratitude and do only what I can every day.

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Karli June

K

arli June fell in love with music as a child – performing in her church’s choir, at local fairs and singing competitions in her hometown of Listowel, Ontario. Her passion continued throughout her teens – writing songs, studying piano, teaching herself guitar, and never passing up an opportunity to perform live during school concerts, in musical theatre productions, and at the local pub.

June’s newest single “Home Team” paints the perfect small-town picture, written about the supporters in our lives that are always on our side and in our hearts. The track – co-written by June, Karen Kosowski (Meghan Patrick, The Washboard Union, Tim Hicks) and Tori Tullier (Megan McKenna, Alyssa Micaela, Stephanie Quayle), is a hometown anthem fueled by small town pride:

“There’s a lot that growing up in a small town teaches you – it really shapes who you are and I tried to bring these stories into the upcoming album as much as I could!” In 2020, June released “Say Too Much” – a collaboration with Scott Chesak (All American Rejects) which has garnered over 120,000 streams on Spotify. Prior to that she's played Boots & Hearts and shared the stage with the likes of Dierks Bentley, Brett Kissel, Terri Clark, and Corb Lund. Her latest release follows "Heart Drunk" which is currently being played on CBC SIRIUS XM Country and earned her a finalist spot on the Jim Beam Virtual National Talent Search.

Q: Tell us about the creative process behind “Home Team”: Well coming from a small town I witnessed first-hand how we support our sports teams no matter what! This goes for anyone who has a favourite sports team, anywhere! I had the title “Home Team” in my mind for a while and I brought it into the writing with Karen and Tori. We tried to capture the feeling of being in a sports stadium, but as an anthem to all of those people in our lives who stick with us through all of the ups and downs. They are our home team! Q: What was it like growing up in Listowel, Ontario and how has it influenced you as an artist? I grew up on a dairy farm, where my Dad often played lots of music around the barn and the house! I loved how music could make the work pass by a little bit quicker.. (haha). Coming from a small town I also had opportunities to sing in many different places – they have supported me a lot! There’s a lot that growing up in a small town teaches you – it really shapes who you are and I tried to bring these stories into the upcoming album as much as I could! Q: You’ve been dedicated to building your skills and artistry over the years. How important is it to take the time to truly cultivate your art? I’ve really discovered just how important this is over the making of this album! I spent a lot of time writing on my own before I ever got to be in the room with other writers. I think even more than this, it’s important to spend time getting to know yourself and developing who you are. The more you are secure in your identity, the more you can bring this to your music too! Q: What advice would you give to a small town artist who aspires a career in music? Play everywhere you can and appreciate every person who comes to one of your shows! Even if it’s only a few people, truly appreciating them can go a long way. Q: What can we expect from your forthcoming album? I worked hard to bring in parts of me into every song. So you can expect more songs about coming from a small town, songs about growing up and chasing your dreams, songs about faith, and of course…songs about falling in love. Q: You’re a prominent name in Canadian country. Who in our Canadian music scene inspires you? I am a huge fan of Tenille Townes. Her music is real and honest – and she has worked so hard. It’s amazing to see her hard work, and genuine love for people paying off. That inspires me. 21


DaysOrMay


F

ollowing the success of their previous single “The Trend,” Vancouver-based trio daysormay drop a new track with an accompanying music video. “Ego” was born from vocalist Aidan Andrews’ attempt to write in different voices and his exploration into an array of musical styles:

“‘Ego’ started as a songwriting exercise. I was trying to see if I could write in different voices, as different characters. My goal was to be as un-Aidan as possible. Just to see what I would get. In the summer of 2018, I was working a job where I was able to listen to music all day. So I was absorbing a lot of new styles, and I was listening to a lot of podcasts about songwriting. Carson had sent me a couple beats he had been working on. We toured and tested it a lot before getting in the studio with Steve Bays to do the final version in August of 2019. I felt super lucky with this one because we were able to go right from touring into recording. So, all of the habits and tricks we had picked up from playing the song every night were still fresh in our minds. I feel like it brought another level of energy to it that might not have been there otherwise.” The video for “Ego” sees Andrews and bandmates Nolan and Carson Bassett, nodding along to the beat of the track, sporting matching plastic suits – with a swinging baseball bat. Like the track itself, the music video explores the many aspects of self through the creative process and paints an eccentric atmosphere synonymous with the sound waves. The visuals were created in collaboration with Christian Lai, Titouan Fournier, Ryan Schroeder from Transposition Films and Slatie Chu. The concept was drawn from the idea of filming in a rage room, as the whole video was initially built around the band smashing items within unique vignettes rather than a narrative-driven piece. With all original content – from the screen (visuals, TikTok spots and Twitch streams) to pen and paper (lyrics and music) – the trio are known for their fresh DIY approach. daysormay continue to follow the beat of their own drum on their forthcoming album Just Existing:

[JUST EXISTING] HAS BEEN A“LONG TIME COMING. SOME OF THESE SONGS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR 2+ YEARS, WHILE THE OTHERS ARE BRAND NEW. IT’S BEEN A CRAZY PROCESS OF STITCHING IT ALL TOGETHER, WE'VE NEVER APPROACHED AN ALBUM LIKE THIS BEFORE, IT FEELS NEW. I HOPE IT CAN REACH NEW LISTENERS WHILE ALSO SHOWING OUR CURRENT LISTENERS A WIDER PICTURE OF WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. WE THINK OF IT AS OUR DEBUT. IT FEELS LIKE A BEGINNING.” Working with Canadian legend and Hot Hot Heat frontman Steve Bays (Steve Aoki, Diplo, The Killers) has instilled an even more individualistic creative force for their upcoming album.

Q: How would you describe daysormay’s artistry? We’ve always tried to stay true to ourselves and what we want first and foremost, regardless of what any outside influences or trends have to say at the time. I think that would be number one. We get bored really easily, so we’re always looking for something new to experiment with and mix into our sound. The idea is to always move forward, to never plateau, and to only look to the past if we’re learning from mistakes. Q: Tell us about the creative process behind the single “Ego”: Carson sent me the beat in the summer of 2018, it had like a Latin style instrumental over it. I took everything off so it was just the drums, and I would add one or two elements every day. Some days I would add a sound, listen to it on loop for like two hours, and then take the sound back out and go to bed. I was very calm and focused, probably the most I’ve ever been. I had been listening to a lot of podcasts that were talking about songwriting and creativity, and I was trying to apply as many different approaches as I could to this one beat, and see which one worked the best. There was no pressure, no rush, no nothing. It was great. Once I finished the vocals I brought it back to Carson and Nolan, and we built the instrumental out from there. We toured it live for about a year before recording the final version, actually going from touring right into the studio. I think playing it live for that long before finalizing it made a huge difference in the energy. It’s basically tailored to live shows. Q: What inspired you to step away from your typical voice and how did you channel the most “un-Aidan” version of yourself for this track? What podcasts and songs had an influence on the outcome? I was messing with writing from different POVs, as if I was someone else. I really enjoyed the freedom I got from feeling like I could say anything I wanted and that I could say it in any way I wanted, cause it “technically” wasn’t coming from me. It was more unhinged I guess, that was what made it feel so “un-Aidan,” it let me let go of a lot of my usual inhibitions. At the time I was listening to a podcast called Song Exploder, where artists pick apart their songs and talk about how they made them. There’s always such great insight about creativity in every episode, I was super inspired every day. The episode that really sparked Ego’s concept was Kimbra talking about how she made “Top Of The World,”which actually plays with the different character POVs as well. I was also listening to a podcast called Watching the Throne, which is basically breaking down and analyzing Kanye albums. At the time I was listening to the one about Yeezus. Q: How did the visual concept for the music video come about? We really just wanted to smash stuff. It was pretty improvised to be honest. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do, but most of it came together on set, just bouncing ideas off of Christian and Titouan (who shot and codirected the video with us). We wanted it to be very in your face, looking right down the lens. As blunt as possible, to get the words across. Q: What can we expect from your forthcoming album Just Existing? I like to think of it as an introduction to daysormay. Kind of like bringing you up to speed on where we’re at stylistically. Cause some of these ideas are like two years old, and some are brand new. So, I think there’s an audible evolution over the course of the album where you can hear us shifting our sound and getting more and more up to where we’re at now. In my opinion, it’s a really cool mix of what kind of songwriters we were before, with songs like “Role Model,” and what we are now. I’m stoked to see what the reaction is. Q: You’re known for your DIY approach. What advice would you give to other artists who are aspiring to be fully hands-on with their own projects? Over the past year I’ve had two pieces of advice stuck in my head that I keep coming back to. Number one is: always trust your gut. Listen to your instinctual reaction to something. Cause it’s easy to let certain things slide once you get used to them, but if something sticks out to you right away, listen to that. Number two is from Kamasi Washington. He said: “be stubborn in your goals, but flexible in how you get there.” That’s helped a lot in decision making, for me.

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RISE CARMINE U

nder a new name and new direction, Toronto’s Rise Carmine releases their first taste of modernized classic rock:

“Rise Carmine is a marriage of 70s hard rock and contemporary synth/ psych-rock. Bands like Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, earlyAerosmith, Queens of the Stone Age, Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra”

Prior to the release of his latest single, multi-instrumentalist Liam Colbert performed under the moniker Patiohawk. Colbert says the renaming and rebranding represents a new chapter in his musical journey:

“Patiohawk to me represented a certain time and place in my life. The pandemic really turned the world upside down, especially for musicians. I wanted to take that time to create something new. Rise Carmine represents a new direction.” Colbert recently released his first taste of what’s to come from Rise Carmine with the debut single release and music video of “Down.” The single was recorded with Grammy award-winning producer Dave Schiffman (Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, Charli XCX) and mastered by Harry Hess (Muse, Simple Plan, Billy Talent, Three Days Grace). Relevant to the pandemic, the sentiment behind the song reflects a heightened struggle for genuine communication and human connection. The tape-emulated synth sounds achieve a swirling, wavy whirlpool effect, which are enhanced by Chicago-based glitch-artist Dave Koblesky’s accompanying music video. Both the audio and visuals help to create a balanced feeling of urgency and wonder, safety and danger. With the seal of approval from the legendary producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd’s The Wall), Rise Carmine’s latest and upcoming tracks are bound to make waves. Q: How would you describe Rise Carmine’s sound and who are your musical influences? Rise Carmine is a marriage of 70s hard rock and contemporary synth/ psych-rock. Bands like Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, early-Aerosmith, Queens of the Stone Age, Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. But, I’m a pretty eclectic songwriter. As long as it grooves and the bass is fat and upfront, I’m sold. So hints of R&B and hip-hop make their way into my writing sometimes.

Q: What was the reasoning behind the transformation from Patiohawk into Rise Carmine? Patiohawk to me represented a certain time and place in my life. The pandemic really turned the world upside down, especially for musicians. I wanted to take that time to create something new. Rise Carmine represents a new direction. I’m big on word association and what comes to my mind when I think of a song title or an album title or a band name, so the names of things are super important to me. I just really like those two words together. It makes me think of a cool 70s glam-rock band and leather pants.

Q: What can you tell us about your single “Down”? “Down” is a song about getting to know someone on a deep level. It’s an exploration of the vulnerability that is necessary for a relationship to flourish. Often the only way to truly get to know someone is to plunge deep below their surface to see what really makes them tick. It’s very much an act of trusting one another, trusting that the only way out is to go through, to go deeper and deeper until that person starts to make a little more sense to you. “Down” is a psychedelic trip into someone else’s mind. We put all the synths through a tape-emulator to give them a warbly, wavy feeling that I think perfectly matches that theme. Q: How was it working with Grammy award-winning producer Dave Schiffman? It was really great! He’s worked with PUP on all of their stuff and I’m a big fan, so I was excited to meet and work with him. Dave told me right off the bat that he wanted to elevate my work, rather than change the songs just for the sake of putting his stamp on them. He had some great production ideas that I hadn’t thought of. We were wearing masks the whole time, so it definitely wasn’t your average studio session. Luckily we have a similar sense of humour. Q: The new track is endorsed by legendary producer Bob Ezrin, how did this come about? Bob Ezrin produced The Wall, so he’s basically music royalty. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to get my music into his hands a couple years ago and he gave me some great feedback on it. He knew that Dave and I were heading into the studio to record “Down” and some other singles, and said he was eager to hear the results. Lucky for me he liked it! Q: Your music video for “Down” is a stunning animation by Chicago-based glitch-artist Dave Koblesky. What feelings were you trying to convey with the visuals? I found Dave on instagram. He makes these short glitch videos that really drew me in. I loved the monumental size of the objects he used and the slow, glacial pacing. I thought that kind of imagery worked perfectly with the feelings I was trying to elicit with the song. Together we tried to create an abstract video that conveyed that feeling of falling through space, deeper and deeper down. We wanted the images to slowly reveal the unknown and sometimes strange world that was being revealed. I think Dave did an amazing job interpreting the mood and the inherent substance of the song.

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Mint SIMON M

int Simon is a Montreal-born theatre kid, turned band lead, turned popstar. Driven by their own journey through the gender spectrum, the Caveboy frontperson released their newest single and video called “Some of Everything” via their debut solo project:

“I feel like as time goes on, we’re seeing more and more fluidity in gender and sexual expression, especially in the younger generation. This song is a celebration of that, not only for my queer fluid ass self, but for all the queers and the gays who want to celebrate with me." Inspired by gender and the nostalgia of the 90s, Mint’s fantastically fluid music video embodies a feel-good throwback campy vibe with nods to Romeo and Juliet, Celine Dion, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls. The visuals are fun, frolicsome and light, but the inspiration behind “Some of Everything” came from Mint diving deeper into their truths:

“I’ve realized over the years that my sexual orientation and my gender are both extremely fluid and for a while it was a real challenge to understand it. Writing this song was a push to remind myself that this is something to be celebrated, and that I want to celebrate it with all my other non-boxfitting queers and that I don’t need any one label to make my identity real. Liking some of everything, being some of everything – it only brings me joy at this point.” “Some of Everything” follows their scintillating debut single “Used For Love.” Mint’s solo project is a new venture for them, described as a “sonic and lyrical exploration on love, missed opportunities, desire and sexual liberation.” Though Mint has collaborated with – and been a part of many different groups – including Caveboy, their solo project is a vessel for them to fully explore their own unapologetically queer musical journey while outlining the era of 80s and 90s pop. 26

Q: Who is Mint Simon? How would you describe your sound? Mint Simon is definitely the heightened confident and fearless version of myself. I would describe my sound as playful, pop, and celebratory. Q: What fueled you to branch out from Caveboy? What does Mint Simon hope to achieve with the newly-founded solo project? I think taking some time to find your own voice, if it isn’t something you’ve done much in your life, is quite important. I really took the downtime to figure out what I wanted to say with my music, and what I’ve come to is that I want to celebrate myself and my community, bringing people together through my songs and creating a fanbase full of kind and wonderful people. Q: Tell us about the creative process behind “Some of Everything”: I can’t deny that collaborating with my friend, bandmate and producer Isabelle Banos is one of my favourite feelings. We had been writing together for months on some of my solo stuff and she sent me this track that was easily one of my favourite things she had worked on. Writing my story and feelings out, also with co-writer Breagh Isabel, was so fun, liberating and exciting. I wanted it to be cheeky, but direct. I’ve always really cared what other people think. I’ve held back on living my own truth out of fear - but this song was a way for me to ‘come out’ again, so to speak, and explain that for me, gender and sexuality are fluid and that I don’t feel like just one thing. The support I’ve had on this song gives me more and more comfort in existing as who I am. Q: “Some of Everything” is said to be “sonically as fluid as gender itself.” Can you explain the inspiration behind your latest track? There’s Latin piano, mixed with a tight pop drum beat… the song takes you on a bit of a journey, haha. I have also, personally, been on a long journey of self-discovery but for the first time I feel like I’ve really come into my own and songs like “Some of Everything” are helping me flush out my own path. Q: The accompanying music video has many pop-culture nods. What are the distinct inspirations behind the visuals and story? Why these specific pieces of pop-culture? I’m a full 90s kid and I’m a very, very nostalgic person. So, with the 90s vibe of the song sonically, I wanted to create a video that felt of that time. For me, Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls were groups I grew up with, and since I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be, then, I wanted to live out my 90s pop fantasy now. Q: How important is representation in pop culture? Did you/do you have any queer role models? Representation is essential. Growing up I can’t say I really saw many things that I could relate to in the mainstream. Now, I find myself looking to the younger generation for inspiration and authenticity in a way we just didn’t have, especially with social media. People like Tegan and Sara, k.d. lang and Alan Cumming always stood out to me when I was going through my own self discovery as a teenager, for sure.



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A

STEREOS

Q: Being on a hiatus for quite some time, what ignited and initiated your reunion? Back in 2019, we decided to jump on the opportunity to do a ten year reunion show in Toronto. At the time, we felt like it could be a nice way to finally say goodbye properly to all the fans because our breakup was kind of out of nowhere. When that show sold out, we decided to do one more in Edmonton and that show also With their first album in over ten years, the freshly-reformed group present a new sold out. From there, we’d caught the bug again and decided we sound, looking not only to evoke a sense of nostalgia in fans but also provide a needed to give this whole thing another shot. platform for their individual music talents. Featuring original members Patrick Kordyback, Miles Holmwood and Robb Chalifoux with Aaron Verdonk, Cheap Thrills Q: Tell us about your latest track “Glory Days”: finds the band expanding on their signature sound. “Glory Days” is a song about celebrating all the great memories people create with the people closest to them. For me, it was The first track Kordyback wrote following the band’s 2019 sold-out reunion shows in a song about our band, because we’ve seen each other grow Toronto and Edmonton, “Sunset Gold” – a song about the band getting back together so much over the years and have so many amazing shared in the package of a love song, was released in 2020 to give fans a glimpse of what was experiences. But I do think it’s a theme everyone can relate to to come from the re-banding. within their own circles for sure. fter more than a decade, Stereos is back. The Edmonton pop-punk band was founded in 2006 and first gained notoriety from their 2008 appearance on MuchMusic’s disBAND. Their self-titled debut – featuring not one but three platinum singles, garnered instant success and a massive fan following. Stereos continued on a rapid incline, releasing their second album Uncontrollable and touring relentlessly in 2010.

““Glory Days” is a kind of a tongue-in-cheek nod to the fact that some people will look at the band reforming and say, ‘You’re just trying to relive the old days. You miss being the centre of attention.’ But to me, it’s like… You know how American Thanksgiving is notorious for everybody going back to their hometown, drinking at the same bars they used to, and hanging out? That’s the vibe we wanted. That’s how it was with Stereos every time we toured; seeing old friends and musicians we knew from the road, being in town for one night, and telling the same stories we told a million times.”

Q: The new song is reminiscent of old times, what’s a standout band memory? It’s very hard to narrow it down, but one of my favorites will always be the first time we came home to Edmonton after seeing some success and selling out the Starlite Room while also being presented with our first gold plaques. It had some added meaning because that venue used to be called the Rev, and it was the exact place where I saw the band AFI in 2000 and decided on the spot to stop playing sports, stop skateboarding, and put everything into music.

Though Kordyback pens Stereos’ tracks, the new album holds significance for the entire band. For Kordyback, it was dealing with the end of his marriage. For Chalifoux, it represents the light at the end of a difficult tunnel – navigating addiction recovery over the past ten years. For Verdonk, an unexpected life shift highlighted his need to go all in, betting on himself and the band and personally financing some of the album’s early writing trips. For Holmwood, a never-fading sense of unfinished business that couldn’t move forward without his bandmates on board.

Q: You guys previously released “Look Good.” What was the creative process behind that single? “Look Good” was 100% our desire to put out a feel good song about self-love and positivity in tough times. This last year has been so challenging for everyone and I’m definitely no exception there, so an up-tempo dance track with an undeniably positive vibe felt like the move.

It was those sold out reunion shows back in 2019 that truly ignited the band’s desire to return to their music:

Q: What can listeners expect from Stereos’ forthcoming album Cheap Thrills? I think this album is going to be crazy. It’s definitely hook-driven pop music, which is exactly where we love to be, but I think we decided to draw outside the lines quite a bit with lyrical themes and even different genres. I can’t wait to put it out!

Like “Sunset Gold”, Cheap Thrills’ tracks “Look Good” and “Glory Days” also have personal dual meanings:

“It’s not lost on us that you don’t get to do what

we’re doing right now – you don’t get to leave the music industry and then come back and give it another go – but for some reason, we’ve been given that opportunity from people who we meant something to. Those shows were a game-changer – they led me to write new music for Stereos, and to the band and myself falling back in love with music again.”

Q: Being launched into the Canadian music scene back in 2008 via MuchMusic, how have you seen the industry evolve over the last decade? It’s honestly a completely different reality altogether with the way people seek out and consume music. At the end of the day, I believe the best songs will always give you a great shot, but Their reignited passion resulted in a record that’s new and compelling from start to there are just so many different outlets to explore when trying finish, channeling the band’s signature sound and influences while never letting go of to get yourself out there. But I also think that’s very positive, the their well-known (and loved) pop sensibilities. Cheap Thrills – like its predecessors, more platforms people have to express themselves, the better. defies a straightforward genre categorization: Q: Since your debut on disBAND, Stereos very quickly amassed “We’ve always mixed and mashed up sounds and genres you don’t necessarily hear a huge fan following – what can you say about the fans who together. But on this record, we really wanted to capture the sound of the band live, have been there since the beginning? and I felt like it had the freedom to put all my influences and experiences into a final I feel like I cannot overstate how much the fans mean to us. product that I hope will speak to literally anybody who hears it.” And I know every band feels that way or says that, but for us to disappear for eight years and have all these amazing people so Cheap Thrills is an album reminiscent of old times while cognisant of the present excited to hear what we’re doing next is a blessing that’s hard to and hopeful for the future. A pleasant surprise for fans, eight years following their put into words. They’re everything to us. permanent disbanding – or so they thought.

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YOUNG BOMBS


T

ristan Norton and Martin Kottmeier – collectively known as Young Martin and I have loved forever. One of the first groups we really loved Bombs, close out the summer with a brand new anthemic electronic when we first got into this was MGMT, so maybe doing something with them – that would be like a bucket list thing. We love so much different banger. music as well, so it’s really hard. The Vancouver duo’s first major single release – “Summer in Brooklyn,” follows four years worth of remixes. The new track – which recently became M: Anything from the singer of Kings of Leon to Kanye. the #1 most added song to Canadian radio, features Los Angeles singersongwriter JORDY – a collaboration that came together very quickly via T: Bjork. FKA Twigs. That’d be cool. TikTok. Q: How did your collaboration with JORDY come about? Can you tell us about your single ‘Summer In Brooklyn’? “Sometimes it’s a longer process – we’ll look for features and then we’ll go meet them in the studio and then we’ll record them but this just kind of M: It was pretty wild how that actually came together. We’d been sitting on this instrumental that we were really excited about and we just hadn’t happened pretty much overnight. The power of the internet is crazy.” got the right vocals for it or the right singer. We just kind of decided to do Prior to creating original tracks in 2019, Young Bombs became well-known a very COVID/2021 thing and put it on TikTok and let people duet to it. We (and sought after) for remixes of popular songs from the likes of Lady Gaga actually had some really good responses – so many talented people out and Selena Gomez to Billie Eilish and Post Malone. To-date, they have there. One that just knocked our socks off was JORDY – he just crushed it. amassed over 100 million streams and hope to continue to build up an T: Martin’s socks actually fell off. They went flying across the room. already impressive fan base.

“WE’D BEEN WORKING ON OUR PROJECT ALL ALONG, BUT WE FINALLY GOT THE SOUND TO THE POINT WHERE WE FELT LIKE WE COULD MAKE A STATEMENT. WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT SPOKE TO US LYRICALLY, MELODICALLY, AND EMOTIONALLY.” Currently on tour in support of their new music, Young Bombs have already delivered electrifying and one-of-a-kind live performances around the world including Lollapalooza, Ultra, Firefly, Billboard Hot 100 Festival and opened for The Chainsmokers, Galantis, Diplo and Alesso while attracting attention from Tiësto, Oliver Heldens, and Don Diablo. Q: For someone unfamiliar, who is Young Bombs? M: Electronic duo from Canada – born and raised in Vancouver. We make anything from house music to trap to future bass. Tristan, you want to add? T: We are big fans of The X Files from the 90s and the TV show Beverly Hills 90210. What’s another show we like? M: Baywatch.

M: They were ankle socks, they just – T: The elastic broke and they just shot through the sky. M: He blew us away and he’s pretty spot on with his takes. He’s super talented. We asked him to go cut it in the studio and we basically got the stems that same night or the next day and we already had the instrumental made, so we just put it together. It being summer in Brooklyn, we’re like “shit, this has to come out ASAP.” It is a reminiscent song, you’re reminiscing over the summer. So at the end of August, we thought that it would be perfect to put the song out. I don’t think we’ve ever had a song come together that quickly. Sometimes it’s a longer process – but this just kind of happened pretty much overnight. The power of the internet is crazy. Q: What can fans expect from a live Young Bombs show? M: Lots of energy. T: A lot of socks flying through the sky. Everybody’s socks are gonna get knocked off. M: Some people use confetti and CO2 and stuff but we use sock cannons.

T: I would say Baywatch is top ten but not top five but it’s definitely in that legendary area for me. And we like our coffee a lot.

T: The great thing is – if you’re a fan, you get to leave with a bunch of pairs of socks, so you don’t even need to go to Walmart anymore or wherever you buy your socks. We provide them for the fans.

M: Yeah, we like our dogs and our coffee.

M: But for real – lots of energy, we love to have a good time.

T: Three cups minimum a day.

T: A lot of energy and we like to mess up our songs a bit. So, we’ll take another vocal from a song and throw it over one of our instrumentals or vice versa and we’ll take a vocal from one of our songs and put it over someone else’s beat. It can be super unpredictable and that’s the cool thing about live shows, you get something that’s not out there on Spotify or SoundCloud, which makes it unique to the show. It makes it enticing to come see us live.

Q: What made you decide to shift from making remixes to making original music? T: I think we always wanted to make our own music but we wanted to grow our fanbase and thought the best way of doing that would be making remixes of popular songs that already a lot of people knew. Once we started gaining traction on SoundCloud and HypeMachine and people started noticing us, we thought that would be the best time to give them the originals. So, we had an audience ready to go who wanted to actually listen and care about what we were putting out.

Q: What has been your best festival experience to-date? Are there any festivals you’d like to play? M: A lowkey one that we didn’t expect – I mean, we’ve played Lolla, Firefly, Shaky Beats; a bunch of these big American festivals but we played Festival D’ete in Quebec and it was the craziest crowd, the biggest crowd Q: You’ve remixed a lot of big names, are there any artists you dream we’ve ever played for. It was wild – would love to do that again. That was of featuring on your songs? a surprising one. I think one that we both would love to do and has always M: Oh, there’s definitely a bunch. Oh my god, where do you even been on our bucket list is Tomorrowland. I think being electronic artists, it’s begin? kind of like the holy grail of music festivals for dance acts. T: I feel like every week there’s a new artist we discover that we’re obsessed with. I started getting into that UK garage stuff recently or even like the grime stuff like Stormsy – and that would be so rad to collaborate with a guy like him, so talented. But then there’s acts

T: I agree. When we started, we would watch Aviccii and Swedish House Mafia and all those guys play Tomorrowland and we were just like “one day we will be there” and we’re still saying “one day.” Hopefully that day comes soon.

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KEYS N KRATES


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en years ago, Keys N Krates first debuted their signature, one-of-a-kind sound. The Toronto collective – drummer Adam Tune, keyboardist David Matisse and turntablist Jr. Flo, continue to create music of a unique genre exclusive to KNK – a bass-centric, sample-driven sound, existing in the realms of electronic, hip-hop and beyond. Their early sound succeeded in combining catchy, pitched up, chopped vocal samples with 808s which were reinterpreted into energetic live versions that earned the trio a reputation as one of the leading live electronic acts. In 2018, their debut album Cura marked a musical shift for the band – with added elements of R&B/soul music, more dense instrumentation and catchy vocal-driven pop songs to their existing use of 808s, organic sounds, and vocal samples. Following their 2019 release A Beat Tape For Your Friends, KNK is back with a brand new album. Original Classic delivers a diverse collaboration of sounds familiar to its predecessors with notable featured artists including Lido Pimienta, Haviah Mighty and Juicy J. Like each of the group’s tracks, their upcoming album’s latest single “Pull Up” was inspired by a range of musical influence:

“ WE WErE CHANNELING EVERYTHING FROM BAILE FUNK AND MIAMI BASS, TO MISSY ELLIOT WITH THIS ONE. WE WERE ALREADY IN TOUCH WITH HAVIAH AT THE TIME BEFORE MAKING THIS. WHEN WE CAME UP WITH THE INITIAL ‘PULL UP’ DEMO, WE KNEW SHE WOULD BE PERFECT ON IT, AND WE KNEW IT WOULD BE PERFECT TO SHOW HOW SPECIAL SHE IS AS AN ARTIST. ” While their music itself is a solid listen, it’s Keys N Krates live show that truly sets them apart from other acts. From intimate venues to stadiums and festivals stages, their live performance and uniquely layered production style make them truly one-of-a-kind with a fusion of turntablism and live instrumentation presented with unmatched energy. Q: Your music is a blend of electronic and instrumental components – how did your one-of-a-kind collective come to be? Tune and Matisse are real musicians. Matisse is a classically trained pianist and Tune has been playing drums in bands since he was a teenager. Greg comes from being a DJ/turntablist. Naturally, we’ve always been a band with a fondness for nice chords and song structure and nice groove, but also samples and experimentation. We are all fans of sounds that blend the organic and synthesized. We never like anything to sound too clean, so it’s very natural to reach for violas, and harp and other orchestral things when writing our music. Q: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the new album Original Classic? This project has really been about us finding our place in dance music, which we know probably sounds weird coming from a dance act; but we think a lot of our past music has been either jump up and down music, or bob your head music. So, with this album we wanted to create something more groovy, that maybe belongs more in a dark club rather than a big festival stage. We’ve all been listening to a ton of world music, whether it be more modern club stuff like Baile funk, or disco, or soundtrack kinda stuff from the 70s, so there’s a lot of inspiration from that. We wanted the whole thing to have a bit of a tribal feeling to it, and a lot of that desire came from how we were seeing people dance to the earlier demos of the album that had that feel. When we saw

people sort of entranced when dancing, we were all like, “ya this is the kind of world we want to create and play in.” Q: Your new album features a lot of guests – including Haviah Mighty and Juicy J. How did these collaborations come about? When it came to working with vocalists, we just wanted to work with characters that had their own massive personalities but would oddly fit very well into this world we were trying to create. Haviah Mighty, we already knew and were talking with before we made the “Pull Up” demo. Once we made that demo and sat with it, we knew that it would be an amazing platform for her to be her in many of the ways she can be, and we knew those vibes would work so well with the mood we already had going with the tune. Juicy J, we reached out to through our label. We already had the beat and the hook written for “OG Classic” and knew that bringing Juicy J on it would be sick because he kind of raps in chants already, which can sound very cool and anthemic on uptempo stuff. We also knew that despite how at home he would feel on the record, that nobody would expect that from him. We love trying to make the unexpected record with someone. Something you would never expect to hear from them. That seems to kind of be our pocket. Q: It’s been a decade since your first EP release, how has your music evolved since then? Yes, a lot. We started as a hip-hop cover band, and then transitioned into becoming this instrumental trap band, which seemed like an easy and obvious transition to us because we just really wanted to be a dance band but playing more hip-hop inspired music. We were already starting to mess with that sound before that whole scene really even popped off in the U.S. We had already turned Tune’s live kit into all triggers and pads that had 808s. So, we made music in that genre for years which was really fun, but eventually we all were tired of being situated to just doing that, so we started messing with making more pop songs using our trap sensibilities but also our sample chopping and orchestral sensibilities that we had been kinda hiding. That was really what the Cura album was about. The beat tape that we released a year or so after that was kind of a passion project that wasn’t supposed to be an album. It was kind of like, “hey let’s chop up some samples and make a low pressure beat tape that pays homage to the techniques we are kind of employing to make this soulful poppy kinda dancey music.” We were just gonna put it on Bandcamp but then our management was like, “hey, let’s put this on Spotify” and we ended up being so proud of it, so we said, “yes let’s do that.” As much as we all loved the Cura album and the beat tape as departure records; we still consider ourselves a dance act and felt like we needed to find our place within dance music that really resonated with us personally. That’s really what this album was about. Q: With a live show that sets you apart from other dance acts, what can fans expect from a KNK performance? When doing our live show, we just always tried to give fans a fun dance party but headed by a band. Ironically, we aren’t doing our live show for the next little while. It will be all DJ sets which is actually new and exciting for us because we get to be more spontaneous, and really test new things as we make them. We are also really proud of our approach to the DJ set, because we really try not play music we hear other people playing for the most part. We’ve really gone out of our way to try and create our own vibe through mostly playing our own stuff and edits we’ve done of random obscure stuff we find that fits into our vibe. The set feels like our album. It’s fun and dramatic at the same time. We like to classify as emotional dance music sometimes.

33



“THE ALBUM FOCUSES ON IDEAS OF GRIEF AND MENTAL WELLBEING AS I HAD TIME TO THINK ABOUT THESE TWO TOPICS OVER THE PANDEMIC. I FOUND A LOT OF THE CONVERSATIONS I WAS HAVING WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WERE ABOUT LOST ONES AND THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE WORLD WE’RE CURRENTLY LIVING IN. I FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT HOW WE CAN ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH AND HOW TO COPE WITH GRIEF.” GRIEF.”


KTHECHOSEN 36

M

ore than just a hip-hop artist, KTheChosen also lends his voice to spoken word poetry, gender equity advocacy and public speaking. The Calgary-based Zimbabwe-born multi-faceted musician just dropped his latest album +Vice. As a musician and activist, KTheChosen believes in the power of storytelling and uses his voice to share the experiences of those around him. Inspired by artists such as King Los and Kendrick Lamar, KTheChosen writes music that is both entertaining and enlightening. For the album’s debut single “LONO” – a song acknowledging Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the ever-conscious KTheChosen worked with Indigenous artists Dwight (Blackfoot) and Chantal (Cree, Ojibwe, Métis) to create a powerful track with a purpose. Proceeds from the single’s sales on Bandcamp were (and will continue to be) donated to Colouring It Forward – an organization that brings awareness to Indigenous issues through discussion with elders and arts and crafts such as journals and calendars. From +Vice’s first single release to its most recent, the album is centered around themes of feminism, grief, loss, colonialism, relationships and allyship. KTheChosen continues to create conscious and catchy content with his latest single and video release for “Her Anthem” – an exploration into the experiences of women in the music industry:

“I WANTED TO FLIP THE COMMON

TREND OF HIP-HOP VIDEOS BEING FOCUSED ON WOMEN AND CARS BY HAVING THE SAME ELEMENTS INVOLVED BUT IN A NARRATIVE THAT FOCUSED ON FEMALE EMPOWERMENT. OUR HEIST STORY DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM POPULAR MOVIES SUCH AS KILL BILL AND CHARLIE'S ANGELS AS OUR THREE MAIN PERFORMERS USE THEIR CUNNING AND FIGHTING SKILLS TO OBTAIN TWO MYSTERIOUS BOXES AND A SET OF KEYS. THE CONTENTS OF THESE BOXES ARE NEVER REVEALED AND WILL BE EXPLAINED IN A FUTURE MUSIC VIDEO. THIS VIDEO WAS ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY BY FILMING IN LOCAL BUSINESSES AND PROMOTING THEIR LOCATIONS AT THE END OF THE VIDEO.”

The single and video features Calgary artists Bvitae, Dorsa Lena, ZHE The FREE. It was directed and filmed in downtown Calgary in some of the city’s best local spots including 10th Street Boxing Kensington, The Urban Shave and Kaffeeklatsch with local artist Tyler Lemermeyer’s pieces displayed inside. Along with his valiant efforts within the music industry, KTheChosen shares his wisdom through his roles as an Ambassador for Science Genius – a program co-founded by GZA of the WuTang Clan, teaching youth how to rap and create songs using content learned in their science classes – as well as being a teacher of a three-part workshop for Antyx Arts, mentoring teenagers on freestyle rap and the importance of storytelling in music and marketing. With a brand-new album out and more accompanying visuals on the horizon, KTheChosen looks forward to releasing new music and immersing himself in more social activism opportunities in the coming year. Q: Your brand-new album +Vice just dropped, can you talk about some of the prominent themes and inspirations behind its content? The album focuses on ideas of grief and mental well-being as I had time to think about these two topics over the pandemic. I found a lot of the conversations I was having with friends and family were about lost ones and the uncertainty of the world we’re currently living in. I felt it was important to look at how we can address the root causes of poor mental health and how to cope with grief. Q: Your latest music video for “Her Anthem” flips the script on a typically male-dominant culture. What is the story behind the visuals? The album revolves around a female character and so I thought it was important to have one song that was purely from the perspective of female-identifying artists. When it came to putting the music video together, we knew it had to be empowering but also fun and entertaining. My director, Rome, and I figured that it would be really cool to have pop culture references in the video and decided to follow inspiration from movies like Kill Bill and Charlie’s Angels. With the album also revolving around the community and checking in on those around us, it was important that we reached out to local businesses to be included in the video. Rome and I spent a day going to


businesses and pitching the idea of this video. In the end, we ended up having a box gym, a barber shop and coffee shop which gave us a lot to work with story-wise. Fadi, the owner of The Urban Shave Kensington, was also kind enough to lend us his classic Monte Carlo which was a beautiful touch to the aesthetic of the video. Q: Lyrically +Vice dives into topics including feminism, grief, loss, colonialism, relationships, allyship and more. As an advocate, how important is it for you to create conversation surrounding these issues? I feel a lot of these topics are interconnected as quite often when we look at things like mental health, they are tied to how we navigate our dayto-day lives. One might be experiencing sadness or stress from the fact that their social life may not be well-balanced or they may be having a hard time financially due to systematic barriers. I felt discussing these root causes would inspire conversations for change within my different audiences and help those most affected feel heard. Q: How did your collaboration with Bvitae, Dorsa Lena and ZHE The FREE come about? I’ve known all three for a fairly long time, as we’re often at the same shows or events together. I pitched the idea to ZHE The FREE first as I’m closest to her. I got her input on the best way to approach the song and then reached out to Dorsa and Bvitae. I appreciated that they each brought a different style and perspective to the song, which makes it such a powerful collaboration. We discussed different ideas over Zoom then met in person to record once lockdown restrictions allowed us to. Q: Thinking back to +Vice’s first single “LONO.” Can you tell us about the track’s Indigenous themes and accompanying fundraising efforts? I feel Canada still has a lot to correct in terms of its relationship with the original owners of this land and the land itself. However, for many, the curiosity may not exist until they experience it in a more accessible form such as music, visual art, or any other creative format. I made “LONO” to nudge people to do their own work to learn about and support Indigenous folk. The metaphor of the children’s playground simplifies the story of colonialism but also illustrates how the process affected generations of people because of the greed of “the big kids.” Dwight and I often rap together at cypher club (a weekly freestyle community event hosted by ZHE the FREE) but we

had never worked on a song together. I pitched him the idea and he gave me great feedback on how to approach the topic respectfully and wrote an amazing verse on the financial impact of the treaties. Chantal then came to the studio and improvised some drumming and singing for use on the bridge and to end the song on a powerful note. Having both artists was important to me because I admire their talents and their impact in the community. They also bring a range of perspectives with Dwight being male and Blackfoot and Chantal being female, Cree, Ojibwe and Métis. We created a Bandcamp campaign in support of Colouring It Forward, an Indigenous organization that brings awareness to Indigenous issues through discussion with elders and arts and crafts such as journals and calendars. Every purchase of the song on Bandcamp was (and will be) donated to Colouring It Forward. Q: You use your music to advocate and teach – can you talk about your involvement with the Science Genius and Anytx Arts programs? Teaching has been one of the most rewarding parts of this year as it is interesting to learn about your own craft when trying to educate others about it. With Science Genius, I got to teach kids how to write songs about the topics that they were learning in class (grades 7 and 9) which was a fun experience. You immediately realize that some kids are just as academically smart as they are creative and how important it is to provide opportunities for them to explore all their talents. With Antyx Arts, I held three weekly workshops on branding and marketing in between freestyle sessions on Zoom. These online workshops were with an older age group (youth aged 15-18), so it was interesting to hear the vulnerable lyrics that came out in our freestyles but also the interest in how to build themselves as artists. With both experiences, I felt honoured to impart my knowledge on future artists. Q: Sticking with the name of your latest album, what is the best piece of +Vice you’ve been given – personally and/or professionally? “You can’t please everybody.” This can be a hard lesson to learn as an artist because you want your music to be for everyone when it’s more important to focus on the core message of the music and the group that you’re trying to reach with said message. Trying to appeal to everyone dilutes the art and the intention gets lost. 37



"WE JUST MAKE MUSIC FOR OUR PEOPLE SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN LISTEN TO AND MAKE THEM FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES, WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY COME FROM AND HOPE THAT IT TEACHES OTHER PEOPLE THAT AREN'T FROM OUR COMMUNITY A LITTLE BIT ABOUT US."


S

notty Nose Rez Kids explore Life After a global pandemic with their aptly-titled forthcoming album.

Originally from Kitimaat Village, British Columbia, the Vancouverbased duo’s fourth full-length release was born from personal experience – navigating the highs and lows of the past few years. From the release of their 2019 album TRAPLINE to playing 100 shows in that same year; nods and wins for various awards (WCMA’s, JUNOS, Indie’s, Polaris); and landing their first 23 city headline US tour, Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” were elated with the expectation of a breakout year ahead in 2020. Instead, the pandemic derailed their tour plans, stunted the release of their EP Born Deadly and amplified a feeling of isolation within their Indigenous communities. What came from 16 months of solitude – as Yung Trybez recalls, was an opportunity to reflect, recharge and turn a dark time into an enlightening hip-hop record:

“I guess this album is kind of just letting people know that there is more life after traumatic experiences and it took this pandemic for us just to kick those emotions into gear.”

SNRK record without anthemic beats to keep people’s spirits up. From start to finish, Life After continues to deliver music that moves you and simultaneously makes you want to move.

“We just make music for our people - something that they can listen to and make them feel good about themselves, who they are and where they come from and hope that it teaches other people that aren’t from our community a little bit about us.” (Yung Trybez) Q: After the past two years, Life After comes as a vastly relatable collection – what in your own lives inspired the tracks? Young D: I mean, it was just going through the pandemic. Before that, we were living a pretty fast-paced life – we were travelling damn near every week and we had a hell of a year lined up in 2020 and all of that changed – just shut right down when the pandemic hit. It was basically us having to deal with everything that we’ve been avoiding – whether it’s spiritually, mentally, emotionally, because when you’re on tour it’s just go, go, go, go all the time, right? But this one had us actually sit down and dig deep with the stuff we’ve been ignoring and that’s how this album came about.

“WE WEREN’T ASKING FOR A HOLIDAY; WE WERE ASKING FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION. BEFORE WE EVEN TALK ABOUT RECONCILING, WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH.”

With a title meant to be an unfinished phrase with multiple possible meanings, Life After is centred around the concept of what comes next – Life After a pandemic, depression and loss, opening a conversation on themes of addiction, mental health, family struggles and racism. While the meaning behind the album is deeply personal to SNRK, they hope listeners can personalize the meaning for themselves and their own experiences as well.

The album’s most pertinent lyrics involve the duo’s relationship to Canada and religion – both of extreme significance, given the recent uncovering of unmarked graves across the country. With Canada recognizing the first National Day For Truth and Reconciliation, SNRK recognize the small steps we are taking as a nation but Young D reiterates that there is so much more that needs to be done.

“We weren’t asking for a holiday; we were asking for truth and reconciliation. Before we even talk about reconciling, we need to acknowledge the truth.” Echoing the need for real change, Yung Trybez wants to see supporting action behind spoken promises:

“I think it comes from a higher up. I think the communities that don’t have drinking water need clean drinking water. It’s a human right to have that and it’s kind of embarrassing that we don’t.” Though deeply personal and consistently conscious, it wouldn’t be a 40

Yung Trybez: We look at the pandemic as a pretty traumatic experience, especially when it comes to artists like us where music is our life and we need people to be involved – coming to shows and stuff like that. So, for us it was pretty bad news to have this pandemic come through. As far as the career side of it goes, it put us to a really fast stop. It felt like it was going to end our career for a second there. I guess this album is kind of just letting people know that there is more life after traumatic experiences and it took this pandemic for us just to kick those emotions into gear. Also, for this whole album – like Darren said, we got to sit down with our emotions and our feelings and ourselves and really deal with shit that we never dealt with in a long time – stuff from our past and growing up. We got to deal with that through this pandemic. There were some pretty dark times and we were forced to reflect on those experiences that we’ve had. Whereas – if it wasn’t for the pandemic, we might not have had to face that because life was so fast-paced, you could just ignore all that. Q: With content born from difficult topics and personal lows, to what can you credit your resilience and ability to turn negative experiences into solid and insightful hip-hop music? Young D: Family and community. Even throughout the pandemic, we were able to still do music even though it kind of knocked us on our ass the first little while. Once we got a better understanding of the pandemic, we really just relied on each other, we relied on our family and our community.


Yung Trybez: You said it perfectly there, we fell back on small circles and worked with a lot of close friends on music, my friend Nimkish made an album and we hung out a lot. We have our partners out here that we got to spend a lot of time with, whereas we never would’ve gotten that opportunity if we were touring. So, we did take it with a grain of salt and tried to make the best of it because who knows when the next time we’ll get to spend this much time at home is. That kind of got us through it too. Q: Your latest single is called “No Jesus Piece,” can you talk about the meaning behind the track? Young D: That song came about last year and we just started thinking about where we’re from and with everything going on this year with the unmarked graves getting discovered. As we grow older, we continue to evolve and grow into ourselves that much more and we just wanted to rep where we’re from, you know? Where we’re from – yeah it’s cool, we rock chains too but sometimes I just prefer my copper shield. It’s just repping where we’re from and we know that there’s people that aren’t going to like us for whatever reason – even if it’s just us being us or whatever the case may be, but we’re still going to be ourselves. Yung Trybez: It’s just us being true to who we are.

REZ KIDS

SNOTTY NOSE the truth – the truth comes before that. What came with that was, some people did take the time on that day to say “I’m going to sit down, I’m going to read, I’m going to educate myself” and there’s other people that were like “hey, long weekend.” It’s a step in the right direction but it’s the babiest of steps.

Yung Trybez: I think it comes from a higher up. I think the communities that don’t have drinking water need clean drinking water. It’s a human right to have that and it’s kind of embarrassing that we don’t. For the communities that don’t, they need that and I think we just need to start seeing action when things are being said. So, everybody that’s fighting on the front lines of Wet’suwet’en territory out here and fighting on the pipelines and stuff like that, I think we should be looking at supporting them more and having more allies out there with them. Q: Are there any stand-out Canadianbased resources or non-profits surrounding indigenous rights and causes that you can suggest checking out? Young D: Tiny House Warriors. The troops out in Wet’suwet’en.

Q: Your indigenous roots are consistently at the forefront of your music and your message, how important is it for you to use your art as a means of representation and education? Young D: It’s everything. We do what we can – we’re still learning, we’re still growing when it comes to our culture and our traditions and our language, it’s who we are. We just want Yung Trybez: Wet’suwet’en Strong. There’s stuff going on on the to be able to let the youngins know – and every generation island too with the loggers and cutting down trees on the land. coming after us, to be proud – be loud and just be who you are. There’s many from coast to coast. Love the skin that you’re in. Q: With live music finally coming back and a SNRK tour Yung Trybez: We never really had a lot of artists like us growing happening, what can fans expect from a live performance that up – at least not that we knew of. We just make music for our can’t be achieved digitally? people – something that they can listen to and make them feel Young D: It’s just getting to have that interaction with a live good about themselves, who they are and where they come audience. Throughout this pandemic, a lot of artists like from and hope that it teaches other people that aren’t from our ourselves have done live streams or pre-recorded live stream community a little bit about us. When we make our music, we shows – which is cool but not the same as having the crowd. paint our own picture and tell the story the way it was meant Feeding off the energy the crowd gives you or vice versa – they to be told and if people can tune into our music and enjoy it, feed off the energy that we give them. I can’t speak for anybody that’s even better for us. First and foremost, our music is for our else but I know personally, I kind of took that for granted at the people and anyone else who is onboard with us, we’re open end of 2019 but coming out of this pandemic, we aren’t taking arms. shit for granted anymore. Q: This year, Canada recognized the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, how do you suggest we can demonstrate genuine and purposeful allyship to help create real change? Young D: That day was a step in the right direction, but it was the tiniest of baby steps in the right direction. We weren’t asking for a holiday; we were asking for truth and reconciliation. Before we even talk about reconciling, we need to acknowledge

Yung Trybez: I find a lot of SNRK shows – for people that have never been, are a lot of energy. We put a lot of pride into our sets. I feel like a lot of our music has been curated towards coming out for live shows and bringing that energy. When we put together setlists – like we’ve been putting together this last week, it really is something special. It’s us showing you a piece of who we are.

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