Greg Clarke and the Madvarks ride the wave Friday April 26 @ Augusta House ow.ly/ksDay
— Angela R. Campbell (@OhJustEatIt) April 26, 2013
By AARON PETERS
There are no grassroots trailblazers in Toronto when it comes to the music industry.
When I was growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a young singer songwriter I did the regular same old stuff that every musician does. I tried to start a band, I wrote songs, and I recorded demos. This is all pre-internet, pre-ProTools. I was renting analogue equipment from Long and McQuade to record my demos on cassette tape, because that’s how the technology was back then. But I did it, and I would always think to myself, “If I had a chance to do this, or this, or this, or this…’ I would dream. That’s what musician’s are, they’re dreamers. That’s what creative people are, they are dreamers. So I would dream. I would dream big. I would dream stuff like I wish I could make a music video for every song that I’ve ever written. And I’d dream up story lines to each song; each song’s video. Stuff like that. I’d dream a lot of things; I’d dream up movies about me. Y’know because of course I was gonna be the biggest thing since sliced bread, so they had to make a movie about me. And I dreamed about what that movie would be like. So there was a lot of dreaming going on when I first started writing songs in Winnipeg. And starting bands and getting fired from bands and kicking guys out of my bands, and getting ripped off by various bars and getting backstabbed by supposedly my friends. So a lot of stuff happens when you’re in a band, a lot of things happen in life. But when you’re in a band, it’s more of a drama magnet than anything else. Continue reading
Sarah Cripps from little ol’ Brighton, ON, is coming out with a new CD. Actually, she came out with a new CD back in February 2013 called “Change”. I think the CD release party she has planned at the Drake Underground on March 27 is for that same album. I could ask her, but I’m busy. I think it’s easier (and more fun) if we just go and support her on the 27th and find out. Sarah has been described as “gritty country”. I don’t find her very gritty. In fact, she sounds all new and fresh. I hope she gets a bit grittier with age. I think maybe the person who said that was referring to her potential. Does that sound like I’m being nasty? I’m not. I think Sarah is great and I think she’ll grow and get better, that’s all. Have a listen here and tell me what you think: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/change/id602912091. Sarah won Best Country Artist at the recent Toronto Independent Music Awards. These local indie musicians make me so proud!
Stacey Y is coming out with a new album ‘Set the Water Straight‘. You may remember (I hope you read it), the article that Aaron wrote on Stacey after we went to see her. Aaron’s pretty fussy and can always find fault with musicians, but he actually found he was quite impressed with Stacey. I’m impressed with her because she works so damn hard. As well as Stacey’s original work with The Stacey Y Band, she also has other bands she works with – Stereoflavour, DoVira, Kidd Rasta & The Peacemakers, Morta and more. It’s a good thing she’s so busy working because she has fully financed the release of her new album herself. Way to go Indie Girl! Woo Hoo! I love when artists do that – no answering to industry execs who don’t like your Facebook profile picture or tell you who you can or can not play with or hang out with. Stacey is taking pre-orders for the CD, so show your support peeps, buy here, she could use the cash! I’ll let you all know when the release party is as soon as it’s announced.
The Alter Kakers (“The AKs” – sounds like a cat choking up a fur ball doesn’t it?) just had a release party March 9th. Their 3rd new album, called…wait for it….”The Alter Kakers”, is available now for download for only 6 bucks. This band was recently featured in the indie film “The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto”. I won’t see the movie until it’s out on March 23 at the Canadian Film Fest, but my guess is the gist of it all will be that after 3 albums and being featured in a movie, you still don’t know who this band is. This town is tough.
From Toronto’s non-indie set (it’s okay, they might come back to the indie world one day)
As most people know now, Sarah Blackwood is sporting a baby bump. This week she was featured in Sweat Equity Magazine, a little publication coming out of Oakville for the Yoga and fitness enthusiasts. Sarah’s got the little bump unwrapped and front and centre on the cover. I hope they’ll be giving copies of this issue with Sarah on the cover at the upcoming Yoga Conference (March 21-24). I would love for all those peeps trying to extend their spines and balance their chi to check out Sarah’s music. I love this video below of Sarah in Walk Off The Earth (her band with baby-daddy Gianni) doing a cover of their own song Red Hands. Too cute. Walk Off The Earth are releasing their new album, R.E.V.O. (Realize Every Victory Outright) on March 19th .
Toronto is so proud of Drake (even if Chris Brown isn’t). He got out into that big bad rap world and made something of himself. Apparently, he’s proud of Toronto too. He just released a single that we can all stream for free called “5am in Toronto”. I was pretty pumped to hear about that, until I listened to it. Now I’m not sure. He sounds like he’s bitching about Toronto. Is he? If not, what’s he bitching about? Maybe that’s just rap. They always sound like they are complaining about something in that music. Oh well, there’s plenty to complain about in this town. Go ahead Drake, bitch away, and while you’re at it, put the City of Toronto on the Rap Map. (hey, yo, I just made a rhyme!)
Check out more as it happens. Follow us on Twitter @ohjusteatit
By Josh Jensen and Andrew Smyth
The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto is a documentary film project that chronicles the lives of independent musicians as they build their careers in the Canadian music industry.
We decided to pursue this subject for a number of reasons. We love music, we have friends in bands, and we’re captivated by the plight of artists creating incredible music, but receiving little or no recognition, and even less financial return on their investment.
It’s a struggle we know well.
We self-financed The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto,
used our own equipment if we had it, rented or borrowed if we didn’t, filmed after work and on weekends, and relied very heavily on the sweat equity of some truly wonderful individuals (most notably David Killing, Adam Brandon, and David Koiter – our on-call camera crew) and the generosity of others, such as Sahar Shoja, who rallied support from friends and family to upgrade our camera gear, filmmaker Jay Ferguson, who let us borrow tripods, lights, and microphones, and some talented local musicians who donated their music for the film’s score, including MPSO, Tunturia, Ian Koiter, and Alex Pulec.
Now we’re in the marketing phase, submitting to film festivals, contacting media outlets, and negotiating with local theatre chains, in order to get the film in front of as many people as we can. By the time one factors in submission fees, poster printing, website design, and web hosting, even a no-budget film starts to get expensive.
Over the course of the production, we realized just how closely filmmaking can parallel the pursuit of a musical career. Both require artistic, technical, and financial investment, but offer few outlets for significant exposure, and even fewer opportunities for monetary gain. This made us even more sympathetic to the cause of indie bands in Toronto, and strengthened our resolve to get the film made.
We’re hoping the film will provide some exposure to the three bands we featured – The Ruby Spirit, The Alter Kakers, and Committed to Rhyme – and even more exposure to the issues raised in the film by music legends, chart-toppers, band managers, talent agents, radio personalities, industry experts, and a Toronto city councillor.
There’s no shortage of music venues in Toronto, so please, go see some live music, and toss some change in the pay-what-you-can jar when it comes your way.
An artist will thank you.
The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto will be screening on Saturday, March 2nd, at Downtown DocFest in Belleville, and at the Royal Cinema in Toronto on Saturday, March 23rd, during the Canadian Film Fest.
By: Aaron Peters Photo: Angela R Campbell
On Saturday January 26, I was witness to an acoustic set by Stacey Y and her cohorts. It was an impressive set consisting of new music from her upcoming CD as well as gems from her debut EP. “Hey Sir” sounded refreshing in a live acoustic setting. The track is available for streaming on her website Staceyy.com. Having done some research on Stacey Y, I heard the track numerous times and I was not really that excited about it when I first heard it. But after seeing her perform it live I have since realized the error of my ways. The song has legs. Stacey Y sat behind her keyboard and was the perfect hostess, her between song banter was relaxed and it felt like a kitchen party as she introduced each song. She was backed up by a bass player, guitar player and some young guy who was truly a maestro of the egg shaker during certain songs. It was a fun time and I have to tell you, she had us all singing along to her song “Music”. Singing and clapping our hands. Further inspection of her website informs us that she has many projects on the go. She teaches piano, she sings in a corporate cover band called StereoFlavour. But the biggest surprise is her other band, DoVira. They perform jazz infused renditions of traditional Ukrainian folk songs. Judging by the view counts on Youtube, it’s this group of songs that is getting the most attention. When I asked her where her heart belongs given these statistics (the Ukrainian songs have twice as many views as her originals and StereoFlavour put together) she told me that her heart is with her own songs, her originals. You know what? I can see that when she performs. She comes alive. She is alive when she performs them. They are her heart and soul. It’s been a few days now and i still sing her song “Music” in my head, and when I’m alone…I clap along to it in my head also.
Stacey Y, check her out.. you’ll thank me later.
Stacey’s next gig: Feb 24th at C’est What
Also, check out DoVira
and Stacey’s cover band Stereoflavour
WALK OFF THE EARTH’S Sarah Blackwood and Gianni Luminati are expecting a baby!
I made this video with ERIC ST. LAURENT last year. I found him listed as a performer at the Toronto Jazz Festival. I scrolled through the list trying to find more names i recognized. Unfortunately, the Jazz Fest site doesn’t show where the performers are from, so i picked out a few that i recognize from Toronto, and here they are below. Support local music and go see them during the Jazz Fest. Many shows are free!
6/23 SEAN PINCHIN,1:00pm, Dominion On Queen
6/23 SHUGGA,10:00pm, Joe Mama’s
6/26 MARGOT ROI JAZZ BAND, 5:00pm, Gate 403
6/30 ERIC ST. LAURENT TRIO, 6:00pm, Distillery District – Pure Spirits Patio
7/1 RONNIE HAYWARD’s Birthday Jam, 1:00am, Dominion On Queen
7/1 LEMON BUCKET ORKESTRA, 3:00pm, Shops at Don Mills
Heading out now to see Lyric Dubee at Harbourfront for 3pm. So excited! https://www.facebook.com/events/366390506758476/380477875349739/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity