After listening to Toronto band catl’s newest album Soon This Will All be Gone, I expected the frontman to be some wild man who would talk so fast I’d have a hard time keeping up. So I entered our phone interview with a bit of trepidation.
What I was met with surprised me.
Jamie is just a really laid-back guy, happy to answer questions about his band, and quick to chuckle during a conversation.
But that chill attitude is likely to change once he gets on stage at Phog Lounge on Friday night.
“It’s kind of a party atmosphere,” he says, “that’s kind of our thing. You know, the music is simple enough that people wanna dance to it, and that’s what we want.”
Jamie is one of three members that comprise catl. His job is mainly vocals and guitar, and he is backed up by Andrew Moszynski on drums and Sarah K handling vocals and any other thing the band decides to toss in.
Catl’s unique sound is largely defined by Jamie’s style of guitar playing, the product of an unfortunate accident.
“I actually picked up that finger-pickin’-country-blues-hill style back years back,” he says, “I hurt my hand really badly in an accident and I kinda had to change the way I had to play. It actually freed up the one damaged hand and made me play more with my right picking hand, so it’s kind of a forced entry into that situation.”
Jamie also credits his love of music from the 1920s and 30s for much of catl’s sound.
As much as a country band from Toronto might seem a bit odd, the frontman believes that where he calls home doesn’t matter, as long as he’s honest with his writing.
“I think everybody can relate to it. The morals, good and bad, or good and evil, it’s a light and dark kind of thing,” Jamie explains, “You can tell where we’re from, if you look a little further into the lyrics. Like, I do have those urban references in there for sure.”
The band’s most recent album was released in April, and half of it was actually recorded right across the river at Jim Diamond’s studio in Detroit.
“It’s great going down there, and he just has a sound, and we go in there and do our thing, and he does his thing, and that’s the way it comes out,” Jamie says of Diamond’s recording technique, “You know, his studio kind of sounds like it sounds, you know, we don’t have much input into that, we just write the songs and play the instruments, and I kind of like that relationship, and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
For this weekend’s show, catl will be joined by Detroit music veteran Danny Kroha of The Gories, who will be opening the show with his traditional blues style. Kroha contributed some harmonica to catl’s latest record, and the band is hoping he’ll join them for a bit on stage, as well.
For catl’s first visit to Windsor in two years, the band is really hoping to see a good turnout, and promise to deliver a drunkenly good time to all who attend.
Catl and Danny Kroha will be playing Phog Lounge on Friday, November 9, 2012. Doors are at 10 pm, 19+ are welcome, and admission is $5 at the door.
Recorded with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studios in Kingsville, drummer Justin Tessier and guitarist/vocalist Tarek Jafar are trying to send a message to radio stations. After the release of their first self-titled EP they mailed copies to every college radio station in the country, and did not exactly love the responses.
“We don’t really try to focus on genre specifics when we’re making music,” says Tessier, “we submitted [the first] CD to a lot of college stations, and we got a lot of response back saying that they didn’t necessarily want to have such poppy music.”
This was not a problem, apparently, for submission shows like NXNE and CMW, as these guys earned themselves slots in both festivals. Doing so may not have been everything they dreamed, though.
“If you are gonna play CMW or NXNE because you wanna start exploding in Toronto or on the Canadian music scene, I don’t think that’s the proper way to go about it,” said Tessier, “It’s a good, what Tarek and I like to call a resume show. It’s good to be able to tell people in the industry, like booking agents or record labels, if you’re into that sort of thing, that you’ve played these shows. And that means a lot to them because it’s a submission show. It’s like, we were good enough to get in.”
Tessier and Jafar will admit that there are merits to doing these sorts of shows, but they will put a caveat on that. To other bands hoping to play festivals like this, look at it as a networking opportunity, rather than the chance to make your career.
But even with the success of being chosen for submission shows, The Blue Stones were still looking to improve. The replies to their music from college stations had stuck with them.
“We understand that we’re not in any way an out-there radical band,” Tessier continued, “But we didn’t like the pop responses. Some stations that are playing some of our favourite bands weren’t playing us, and that was kind of bugging us.”
So back into the studio they went, this time to Sound Foundry out in Kingsville.
“It was an awesome process. Oh my god, it was so much fun going out there,” gushes Tessier, “It’s just so cool that he’s got this studio out in the county where you can just relax, you know. You do a couple takes and then you get a little worn out, you go outside, and it’s just beautiful. Summer in the county, and there’s birds everywhere, and just, you know, green as far as you can see.”
This was a huge difference from the back of an off-hours metal shop in Toronto, where the first album was recorded. The tracking environment can be considered a big influence on this new disc, one that could possibly help Jafar and Tessier get the response they are after.
“So this next album, it’s called How’s That Sound,” explains Tessier, “It’s almost a response to these stations that said ‘you guys are too poppy’. So we went and we made an edgier sound. We used a lot of analogue stuff, we didn’t do any digital processing with the guitars or anything, which we did on the first album, and now it’s going to be a response. We’re gonna send it back and say how’s that sound?”
Check out The Blue Stones when they release How’s That Sound along with Menos Mal and The Tyres on Saturday, Novemeber 3rd at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W, main level). The show begins at 10 pm, 19+ are welcome, and admission is $5 at the door.
As someone who enjoys participating in the local scene, I’m amazed that I’ve only been able to see Awake to a Dream live once, and I was not disappointed. The sound is a seamless fusion of hardcore and progressive rock/metal that you can’t find with any other local band. This New Year’s Eve, I plan to revisit the band at The Coach and Horses to celebrate the arrival of 2012, but also to celebrate the release of Awake to a Dream’s new EP, Living the Immoral Life. Here is my interview with Awake to a Dream’s vocalist/guitarist, Chris Wilbur.
Rees: Name the members of Awake To A Dream and what instruments they play that contribute to your sound. What do each of you bring to the band that makes you unique?
Chris: Members are Marcel Belanger on drums (who seems to be able to work with any strange time arrangement I throw at him and fills in with certain hooks that add energy to the songs), Pierre Labbe on bass (who was not accustomed to our style of music at first since he likes his Ska/Rockabilly/Psychobilly). Bringing someone into the band not used to a style can guarantee something interesting coming out because they can see the music in a completely different way than the person writing the song. He also plays ukulele and when given the chance, standup bass (which were both used on the album). However, we have yet to use that live.
Dean was a great lead guitarist to bring into the mix because he has just as much what I call ‘musical A.D.D.’ as I do. This means we can be listening to (or writing) progressive metal or power metal one minute, and the next minute listening to (or writing) Electronica, or Jazz fusion (though have yet to write a proper Jazz fusion-esque song) and in between. As you guessed by the paragraph up to this point, I have done most of the songwriting thus far, however the songs are much more raw and underdeveloped before the guys add to them. The other guys have written material that hasn’t made it to the stage or recordings yet. Live I sing and play guitar, on the album I contribute keyboard and mandolin as well, though I have yet to use them live.
Rees: What are some bands that you’ve played alongside in the local scene that you particularly enjoy playing with?
Chris: There are so many we have played with or wanted to do a show with. One that we haven’t yet but would like to is Gypsy Chief Goliath. I’ve always respected Al’s work and in my opinion, this is his best project yet. A band we have played a show with is Pitch Union actually, and our sounds are very similar so they’re another band thats nice to do a show with. Perpetuate has been good to us, and it’s even enjoyable playing with bands like Betrayer and Final Stage because those crowds are loaded with energy. Once in a while we’ll play with completely different bands like Repetitions, and Devils by Definition. It’s like treating audiences on both ends of the spectrum to something new. There are so many national acts I’d love to do a show with too, but its more of a case of taking them as they come.
Rees: It’s pretty bold to have your CD release party on New Year’s Eve. Do you expect a good attendance?
Chris: That was basically Jamie’s (from Perpetuate) idea to have a big show on New Years Eve which I haven’t done in years, plus we were looking to have our CD release on a show tagged to one that had some sort of meaning than just some regular show. He made sure it was a good one too, his band is quite awing to watch. Dreams Destruction is having it as their comeback show, and 2 out of town bands who have an audience here (All Against I – London area, Slyde – from Ottawa).
Rees: What kind of material can we expect on the CD? Is it going to be mostly stuff you’ve played live, or will there be new tracks no one’s heard at your shows yet?
Chris: This EP was actually recorded some time ago so every song has made it to the live set in that time. None of our covers will be on it though. Those we only play live to mix up our set so to speak. Also, there will even be post-CD songs performed that night.
Rees: Tell us about some of the band’s musical influences. Do you try to sound like music you admire, or do you try to “re-invent the wheel”?
Chris: The music is a combination of different influences. Some of my favorites range from Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Tool, to Matthew Good, 90s indie/alternative, 70s progressive rock, even some pop from all eras (not a very large percentage of it though). Some influences are more apparent than others in our songwriting, but we don’t try to reinvent the wheel at all. To me, it is pointless to do that unless it’s an extension to the sound in someway. I can usually tell listening to music if a band really cares about what they’re doing or just trying to get something out of it (fame, money, etc). The other guys have completely different tastes in music some of which I have gotten into by overhearing, or being told about the music by them.
Rees: I have to say, the members of Awake To A Dream can often be seen attending other local bands’ shows and supporting the scene, even when you guys aren’t playing that night. Do you arrive at a show with “supporting bands” on your mind, or do you just go out because you enjoy the music?
Chris: It’s a mix of going out to see bands I enjoy, and wanting to check a new band I haven’t heard before but either been recommended to or came across their music page or what not. It’s pretty much the same with the other guys, we come out whenever we get a chance.
Rees: Of all the venues you’ve played at, which is your favorite and why?
Chris: The Coach and FM lounge have always been good to us but there are even venues that don’t exist anymore that I enjoyed playing at like Avalon Front. there are several venues in the States that in a past band I really enjoyed playing at. More venues I enjoy playing at than not.
Rees: What will happen for Awake to a Dream in 2012? Any plans yet, or will the band just “wing it”?
Chris: Our main goal is actually to get playing outside of windsor because I miss it, and it’s time we expand out with Awake to a Dream. We’re also in the process of doing a second EP which we’re not pushing to finish right away (as the first still has yet to be ‘released’) but since much of our writing is done while recording (the benefit of self-producing), there will be more and more original songs making their way into our live shows. We have more incomplete than complete songs right now which is exciting, but we’re lacking the time to finish them as quickly as we’d like (I blame myself for taking forever to write lyrics).
Rees: I have a scenario for you: You just played a show and find out that all the other bands got paid and you didn’t. What do you do?
Chris: First reaction would be “Why?” And if there’s a legit reason I have no problem, however if it’s due to carelessness from the person in charge of the show I would approach them about it because if they do it to us, they do it to many others. Bands really have to work hard to make anything these days. Asking for gas money to get home for an out-of-town band is too much to ask quite often unless they’re a known national act (which doesn’t always guarantee a profit either).
Rees: As someone who loves progressive rock and metal, I can really relate to Awake To A Dream. What specific qualities do you put in your music that might give it that progressive sound?
Chris: That’s a compliment that you understand the band, because at least around here bands like us are considered not light enough, not metal enough, or we don’t stick to one sound, etc. The way we approach a song (at least from my point of view) we try to do something we haven’t done before, particularly with arrangement. Not very often will I have a straight forward verse, chorus verse, chorus, bridge etc with 4/4 timing, but sometimes simple and straight forward is what the song calls for. I write the songs more like a story instead of just going through the motions or having a default way of doing it. Something else used quite often in our music is dynamic change, sometimes very abrupt, as it helps keep the audience guessing where the music will go next, rests the ears a bit between heavier parts, and makes each sound seem more extreme.
Rees: Where does the band jam, and what goes on? Is it just an hour or two of solid music, or is there a good amount of “hanging out” that happens at jam time?
Chris: We actually jam at my house and make sure it’s productive, we occasionally get too busy to jam as much as we’d like, so when we do we make the most of it. We’ll occasionally record practices too so we can hear where improvements need to be made. This doesn’t mean we don’t have fun. Every band practice has been filled with terrible jokes, and occasionally me throwing parody lines in my own lyrics.
Rees: I’ve seen a lot of bands fall apart because although the musical talent is there, the bond of friendship is not. Will Awake To A Dream ever run that risk?
Chris: You never know when something will happen in a band. We’ve disagreed before, but we have respect for each other and make sure while being productive we don’t go overboard to where we’re not having fun. We’ve been in enough bands in the past to know what not to do.
Rees: What’s the story behind the name, “Awake To A Dream”? How would you describe the music and the band to first-time listeners?
Chris: I actually came up with that name years ago when I was posting my demos of some of the songs we use now before the band came together. There was a friend of mine named Chad (whom I was in a previous band with) that I would jam those songs with as well as cover songs, and songs he had written. The first few songs written for the project came from what goes through my head while I’m either daydreaming or perhaps working on my own at work thinking. At the time of the formation we felt it still described the music quite well.
Rees: Tell us about the biggest crowd you’ve ever had at a live show. What steps do you take in your performance to engage the listeners and get them moving and enjoying the music?
Chris: With Awake to a Dream our biggest crowd was at a show we had this past year with Battlesoul and many other local bands. The Coach was to a capacity of over 100 people. For me, with a previous band we played the Hiyatt in Dearborn, Michigan to between 1500 and 2000 people on New Year’s Eve, 2008. The bigger the crowd for me, the more I feel like I have to put on a good show for them, haha.
As far as what we do during a set, we try to mix the songs up a bit so we don’t sound too boring, and have as little time as possible between songs. If we do have some time in between we’ll throw some of our ‘humour’ in to keep them entertained while we tune or what-not. People that constantly say “We recorded this in 2007 with so-and-so and it illustrates yada-yada” have puzzled me because generally even if they know you, nobody really cares at a show to hear everything about every song. Generally if they want to know a band’s biography they’ll do their research while bored on the computer at home. It’s also important for us to not just stand and play. Musicians are performers, whose job is to entertain the crowd. The more visuals, the more a crowd can get out of you.
Rees: Any final thoughts? Give us a date, time, and place for your CD release party.
Chris: I think I’ve talked quite enough. I’m not too good at summarizing. Our CD (EP) release is New Year’s Eve at the Coach and Horses with Perpetuate, Dreams Destruction, All Against I, and Slyde. Tickets (from band members including myself) are $4, $5 at the door. This show is 19 +. And our CDs, we’re selling for $5.
This summer, I had the privilege of being introduced to Villains Beastro, a very different sort of venue. Established about six months ago on Pelissier Ave. in downtown Windsor, Villains has since become a favorite place for local “scenesters” to eat, relax with a pint of beer, and listen to some awesome live music. Here is my interview with owner, Geoff Zanetti, all about Villains Beastro.
Rees: Villains Beastro is probably the most “unique” bar/restaurant I have ever seen in Windsor. What made you think of “villains” as a theme, and how has the response been from first-time customers?
Geoff: I love jokes so I wanted to create a concept that was playful, silly and strange. Something that we can all laugh at. The response has been fantastically phenomenal. People enjoy the atmosphere. It’s funny to watch first-timers come in and laugh at all the obscure villains on the wall.
Rees: So far, there’s been a live music show just about every weekend since Villains Beastro opened its doors. What steps were taken to make Villains band-friendly, and what makes this bar so enjoyable for bands to play in?
Geoff: I’m an entertainer myself and I enjoy being entertained. I like having a stage for any act out there whether it be for a rock show, art show, burlesque show, magic show or even a sex show. The stage is equipped with lights, sound and a beautiful 1966 wallpaper backdrop. Recipe for delight.
Rees: Windsor has a small handful of bars that accommodate alternative music (rock, metal, hardcore/punk). Have you found that there’s been a lot of competition between Villains and the other bars? What sets you apart?
Geoff: Of course there’s competition but people like playing everywhere. Each place is unique in their own way. Villains stands apart with our local charm and our sorcery.
Rees: The menu at Villains has grown and changed since the summer. Tell us about some of the great foods and beverages served there, and the inspiration behind the very creative “names” of the various dishes.
Geoff: The Snack-O-Torium pumps out all fresh foods all day long. Home-made mayo and clever names are something we pride ourselves in. The inspiration for the names comes from great super villains and that’s why we’re home to the world famous Chicken Cobra. The menu will continue to expand until we become downtown Windsor’s largest indoor, heated warehouse sandwich depot. We have 33 different types of beer and we’re the only bar downtown that carries Stiegl on tap.
Rees: Of all the live shows that have taken place at Villains thus far, which were the most memorable? Explain.
Geoff: That’s a tough question to answer because there have been many great shows. I’d say Surdaster for breaking in the stage with the first headlining show. Also the surprise show that The Brains put on due to deportation was a lot of fun. Kenneth MacLeod was memorable for playing the first downtown Oktoberfest, and also being a part of FAMfest this year was awesome. Of course, The Jet Trio (Geoff’s band) was purely delightful…
Rees: Tell us about any “favorite” genres or bands, that make you think “Yes! So-and-so is playing tonight! I can’t wait!”
Geoff: I like having bands with a different sound. I’m looking forward to The Motown Xmas Affair on December 10th and the Elliott Brood show on December 17th.
Rees: Have patrons been respectful of the venue, or do people see it as just another place to trash?
Geoff: For the most part people have been respectful. I’ve been told this is the only place downtown where women feel comfortable flushing the toilet with their hand and not their feet.
Rees: Those of us who love Villains Beastro never want to see it close down! How much has Villains expanded from opening day until today? Are you surprised about how well business is going?
Geoff: The first six months have been pretty well received. We’ve expanded our menu, beer list and weekly events. The aim is to have a themed dress-up party at least once a month. Yes, I’m surprised that it’s going so well, I’m still surprised that I even got the place opened but I do love hearing all the positive feedback from people. I’ve always thought that Windsor needed a place like this and it turns out I’m not the only one.
Rees: As a new venue owner, what are your goals for Villains in 2012? Any changes or additions planned that we can look forward to?
Geoff: A lot of people still don’t even know that Villains exists, in the upcoming year I hope to reach out to more people with the food, music, drink and creative events. Each day more and more people are coming in and digging it.
Rees: Do you find that the tempo is slowing down with colder weather? How do you plan to keep the momentum going over the holidays and winter months?
Geoff: Even the rebels endured the harsh climate of the planet Hoth. Windsor is full of rebels.
Rees: In what ways have you marketed Villains to potential new customers? Have you found that certain forms of advertising are more effective than others?
Geoff: Word of mouth has been pretty effective thus far. A lot of people love the flyers but hopefully in the future we can come up with more creative ways to promote our fine establishment.
Rees: What made you say “We need Stiegl on tap.”? Was it a love of the beer itself, or a hunch that it would sell?
Geoff: I first had Stiegl three years ago in Toronto and fell in love with it at first taste. When I decided to open up a bar, I knew that Stiegl wasn’t around and that had to change. Bringing a new beer to the city center was key in making this place unique because not enough people knew that it even existed.
Rees: Of all the villains’ portraits on the wall my own personal favorite is Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. Which one is your personal favorite, and can you share a little about the amazing artist who created these villainous portraits?
Geoff: What can I say? Anything my friend David Houle does is my favourite. From the band flyers and the event flyers to the logo, he nails it every time, he gets it. The detail and thought that goes into each piece is incredible. He has as much passion in creating his art as Darth Vader has for ruling the Empire. The force is very strong with this one. Most impressive.
Rees: I think one of the best features of Villains Beastro is its location. Has being situated in the heart of the downtown night scene been an asset to your success?
Geoff: Being located in the arts district is the only spot for us. I don’t think Villains would really fit in anywhere else.
Rees: Explain P.U.K.E. and V.O.M.I.T. Do you come up with all of these fun weekly events by yourself, or have you had help from any of your friends, family, staff or customers?
Geoff: P.U.K.E. = People Using Karaoke Equipment on Wednesdays. V.O.M.I.T. = Villains Open Mic Instrumental Talent on Tuesdays. Those are ongoing weekly events. For the most part, the ideas for the events are a collaborative effort but the names are where I get to have my fun.
Rees: Finally, tell Windsor Zene readers about some of the upcoming December shows that we can look forward to.
Geoff: Upcoming shows include The Night of a Billion Laughs Comedy Show on December 8th, Christmas in Hawaii on December 9th (wearing Hawaiian shirts or grass skirts wins you a prize!), and the Motown Christmas Affair on December 10th. The Rock & Roll Barber returns with her special deal, a pint and a haircut for $20 on December 15th. We also have Elliott Brood on December 17th and Pop Your Cherry-oke on December 31st!
If you haven’t checked out Villains Beastro, it is located on 256 Pelissier Ave. downtown, and promises to be a fantastic experience every time you enter the doors. I highly recommend this venue, whether you want to be entertained with live music, or whether you want to sit down with delicious food and a pint. Bring a friend! We’ll see you there.
I first met Bruce Munro, one of two fabulous guitarists in the local metal band Devilz By Definition, not at a live show, but when he gave me my very first tattoo in January of this year. Since then, in just under a year’s span, I’ve probably seen DBD perform live over twenty times and am proud to call these guys friends of mine. It sure was nice, having just moved to Windsor, to discover a group of talented musicians who had formed a new band, bringing a unique sound within the heavy metal genre, and an energy that is off the charts at each and every live show. Here is my one-on-one with Bruce.
Rees: Devilz By Definition! That is a name that sort of floats around the local scene a lot. Who came up with the name Devilz By Definition, and how have you “branded” that name as you have gained popularity?
Bruce: Noob, our singer, and myself came up with the name to describe who we are in this society. We’ve made homemade stickers, t-shirts, hats, and wrist bands. We also have a nine-song demo we distribute to our fans.
Rees: Tell us how and when DBD was formed and some of the musical tastes coming from each member that make the music what it is.
Bruce: Devilz formed officially last August as a full-force band and started writing material and playing shows immediately. As far as musical tastes, I’m big into metal of all genres from Black Sabbath to Lamb of God and back, as well as old rock n’ roll. Noob is definitely more into punk/hardcore like Anthrax, NOFX, Choking Victim, Leftover Crack, and Slayer. Good shit. Markuz (our bassist) is into a wide variety of music from Red Hot Chili Peppers all the way to Dying Fetus and Belphegor. “The Alien” (our guitarist, Mat) is an 80’s hair metal kind of guy and definitely death/speed metal as you can clearly tell in his style. And Mailbox (DBD’s drummer) is odd-ball. He has a hip hop/ jazz background and has been integrating metal into his style just since we formed.
Rees: How often does the band jam? Do you think having your very own jam space contributed to your success in the first year?
Bruce: We jam twice a week every week no exceptions. Having our own jam space definitely helped not only our success but keeping band camaraderie up, which keeps that energy pounding through our sound.
Rees: At the Venue Rock Parlor Battle of the Bands this year Devilz made it to the final round. Was it business as usual, or did you put on a special game face for this show? Tell us some of the judges’ comments that really stuck with you.
Bruce: We for sure brought it a little harder at the BotB than usual. Not that we’re ever tame, but we were all amped to a new level. Things we heard from the judges that really stuck include being told by Mark McKenzie (a.k.a. The Baconator) that we were like the spawn of Pantera and Cannibal Corpse, as well as being told that if we aim our aggression towards Europe, we could make it. That’s always awesome to hear.
Rees: If you took a random member out of the band, would Devilz By Definition be the same? Explain.
Bruce: I truly believe that if we replaced or removed any of our members we wouldn’t be the same Devilz that you hear now. We’re not just a band. We’re a brotherhood that lives for our music. Irreplaceable.
Rees: Your first year together must have been a huge blur of live shows, both in Windsor and out of town. Which show was the most fun for you personally, and what are you looking forward to doing as a band in 2012?
Bruce: I’d have to say the Battle of the Bands, and playing for Emancipation Fest at the new Amphitheatre by the river were the most fun thus far. Granted, we love the Coach and Horses like our home, but those shows were epic to me. So much fun. I’m looking forward to recording a full length CD this coming year and getting out there on a tour and meeting more awesome friends, fans, and of course, other kick-ass bands.
Rees: In your interactions with other bands in Windsor, have you found that bands here support each other and come out to shows even when they aren’t playing? What are your biggest “likes” and “dislikes” about local musicians’ attitudes?
Bruce: You know as far as the “scene” goes it has seemingly gone downhill from when we first started. Bands don’t even stick around for their owns shows half the time, let alone come out to shows they’re not playing. There’s a few that do but out of all the bands in the city and county it’s rare to receive support from most. We receive the most support from our building fan base. I think the problem with most of the bands here is that everyone thinks they’re the best. Too many Chiefs, not enough Injuns, you know? On the other hand they are great bands and regardless of attitude it’s still always good shows and good times. We just need to rebuild the scene the way it should be.
Rees: On a personal note, how did you become a tattoo artist? Has any of your own art been used to “brand the band?”
Bruce: I became a tattooist about four years ago when I decided it was something I wanted to accomplish. I’ve always had a love for art of all kinds and especially for tattoos so it only seemed natural. And yes, I’ve definitely branded it into Devilz By Definition. Noobie’s left upper sleeve is all my work and The Alien is wearing a couple of my favourite pieces.
Rees: When your vocalist Noobie broke his foot this summer, how did this affect the live shows you had booked already?
Bruce: When Noob broke his foot we kept our momentum for the summer shows we had booked but unfortunately we had to take September and October off. We used it to create some new dynamics and wrote some killer new material, though.
Rees: As for the music itself, how does one of your songs get created? Do the songs come together easily or is the process of perfecting it long and complicated?
Bruce: Well it’s safe to say that we have a unique style to writing our songs. I can’t really explain it but for the most part they come together almost unnaturally. We have a powerful chemistry that kind of just pulls our music together.
Rees: We want an album! Tell us what songs you picked for the new recording and when we can expect a copy in our hands.
Bruce: I can’t drop an entire track list but I will say that our new tracks that some of you may have heard at our Devilz Nite show will be hitting the album as well as a couple that we’ve been honing over the last year. It’ll be worth the wait, rest assured. As far as a release date, that’s still unknown to us, but we’re hoping by spring at the latest.
Rees: What are your goals for the future? Is this something you can see the band making money with one day? Would you ever go on tour as an opener to a big band, or are you hoping to be the big band one day?
Bruce: Our goals are simple: to make distinct sounding, hard hitting music and bring it to as many fans, both new and old, as possible. Money … That’s not an issue. Sure, making money to do what we love would be awesome, but it’s not necessarily a goal, not a driving force. We just love what we do. Touring with big bands would be fuckin’ ultimate and the thought of being that big band is intense altogether. Were just a home-town band doing our thing, and that stuff seems out of our world right now, if you know what I mean.
Rees: Tell us about the support DBD gets from family and friends. Do you find that many of your fans have become your friends throughout this process?
Bruce: Our support systems runs deep from both friends, family, and fans. I mean, we’ve had help funding our demo and merchandise from my family, as well as a tattoo fundraiser. Every show we play there are lots of heads banging and that’s why we do it. For sure a lot of fans we’ve met have become friends, and in some cases family. We all love and appreciate everyone involved with Devilz in any way.
Rees: What has been the biggest obstacle Devilz has faced this year? Do you see obstacles themselves as a thing to be overcome and conquered, or do they tend to go unresolved and cause bigger issues later, as they do with many other bands?
Bruce: Since forming as a band I’d say our biggest obstacle has been figuring out how to communicate musical ideas and song structure based on five very different mindsets and backgrounds. But once that was overcome the rest is history. We’ve only gained more speed. Obstacles are definitely something to be overcome. Dominated. It’s human nature. We try to solve all issues no matter how small immediately. Sometimes we’re successful, but sometimes not so much. The point is it always gets taken care of so that it doesn’t become a band-ending problem. It’s like any other relationship, but amplified by five.
Rees: What words would you have for a band just starting out that wants instant fame and glory?
Bruce: For a band with stars in their eyes, I would say that nothing in music comes instantly, regardless of talent. It takes hard work, dedication, and climbing a long ladder over time to gain respect and recognition before record labels will even look at you. If every kick- ass band could make it based solely on talent, Windsor alone would be full of famous people.
Rees: Finally, throw us a plug for your next show! When and where can Windsor Zene readers who have never heard of DBD come check out the band?
Bruce: Our next out of town show is the 26th of this month in London at the Richmond Tavern. But locally, we’re booked at the Coach and Horses with other awesome local talent such as Slaughterhouse on the Prairie (of which Bruce is also a member), NeanderTHRALL, and Repetitions on December 23rd. Please come out and enjoy some of the heaviest metal in Ontario. See you there!
My first live show in Windsor featuring an out-of-town band was KEN mode (wsg Cellos) at the Coach & Horses, and boy, was I blown away. Almost literally. It was my first time hearing their music and it left me slightly deaf, and wanting more. On Sunday, July 31st, they make their triumphant return to Windsor and the Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), with confirmed special guests Repetitions. Here is my interview with Jesse Matthewson, guitarist, vocalist, and more for KEN mode: the heaviest sound out of Winnipeg.
Rees: Tell us about the name KEN mode. I heard that KEN stands for “Kill Everyone Now,” but is there a story behind it?
Jesse: The name KEN mode comes from a quote by Henry Rollins in his book ‘Get In The Van: On the road with Black Flag’: “After many practices, we were ready and a tour was booked. 1984 was a great year. We played all over and all the time. We had the fiercest attitude on earth. We had been in the practice place for months. Our first record in a couple years, the My War album was out and we wanted to kill everyone. The shows were great. Kill Everyone Now was the agenda. KEN mode all the time. It was good to be out on the road again with an album out and an excuse to live.”
Rees: What kind of equipment do you use to give you such a heavy quality to your sound as a three-piece band?
Jesse: I have used two amplifiers, sometimes three, for the past seven years, which helps fill out our sound as a three piece. My current rig is a Mesa dual rectifier and Orange rockerverb 100 bi-amp with three 4×12” speaker cabinets, while our bass players use a Marshall VBA400 through an 8×10. It makes for a pretty massive sound that we’re quite happy with. Guitar wise, I use a Gibson Les Paul Custom, plus an American made Fender Telecaster with the original single coil pickups, while our bassist uses a Fender Aerodyne. Since we’ve been changing bassists so much, sometimes we’ve had people use Fender Precision basses and Gibson shortscale SG basses.
Rees: Looking at your tour schedule for the month of July and August, KEN mode has really been getting around! What would be your advice for bands from Windsor who may be thinking of touring?
Jesse: We’ve been on tour for about half of the year so far in support of our new album ‘Venerable’, so yes, we’ve been around! In terms of what kind of advice I can offer, try touring regionally to start: get in touch with bands in the cities near you, make friends, do weekend trips and expand from there. Windsor is in a much better position being so close to cities like Toronto, Chicago, Columbus, even New York City and Boston, which are ALL rather far away from a city like Winnipeg. It’s easy to hit markets like these without having to make a BIG production out of it.
Rees: How has starting out in Winnipeg affected the music you play? What is the local hardcore scene like up there?
Jesse: When we first formed this band back when I was 17, with Shane 15, we were on a mission to make genuinely heavy and noisy music because we felt the noise rock scene in our hometown had died over the past few years. Winnipeg is about seven hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota which is undoubtedly noise rock city USA thanks to labels like Amphetamine Reptile Records, so I believe it must have had an influence on what was going on up here. We grew up listening to bands like Kittens, Meatrack, and Stagmummer, and we started up right around the time that all of these bands died out…we needed to fill a void. Unfortunately for everyone else, unlike our predecessors, we never threw in the towel. We’ve never particularly felt any kinship with the hardcore scene in Winnipeg because we’ve always been way too left of center for their sensibilities. We came from the same age group as bands like Figure Four and Comeback Kid, which is really the last semblance of a hardcore scene I even knew in Winnipeg. The only band I really am even familiar with anymore from Winnipeg hardcore is Withdrawal.
Rees: If all three of you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring one thing each with you, what would you all bring, and why?
Jesse: A helicopter. So we have something to fly off the island with.
Shane: A helicopter pilot. So we have someone to fly the helicopter off the island.
Andrew: Beer. To celebrate getting off the island.
Rees: Having seen KEN mode live just once, I would describe it as aggressive, loud, and edgy. Would people use different words after seeing you for the second time?
Jesse: Maybe angry, sticky and mucousy. I guess it depends on the songs we’re playing and whether or not they like them!
Rees: In what way has touring changed each of you? Have you formed a lot of great memories on the road?
Jesse: I feel like I’m less tolerant of unprofessionalism, and a little worried that I’m never going to be happy doing anything. Music is one of those things that sort of makes you happy sometimes, yet you just can’t stop…because stopping is even worse. Obviously we make a lot of memories on the road, it would be impossible not to. We get to see and experience things that a lot of people simply won’t get the opportunity to. I’ve slept on floors all over the world and been paid (sometimes) to be there!
Rees: Everyone has a “bad habit”. What are yours?
Jesse: Cynicism and sugar. I like jelly beans too much, and probably hate people more than the average person should. Jelly beans > people.
Rees: KEN mode has gone through a lot of bassists. Are bassists harder to come by, or do they just have a tendency to wander?
Jesse: We end up going through phases where we utilize the help of friends to get us through patches where we have no bassist; and the more obligations we make, the more friends we have to reach out to to accomplish them. We’ve really only had two bassists for any substantial amount of time, but in the past few years, due to our touring schedules we’ve been seen with four different people. 2011 alone will see us playing with at least four different bassists. It’s not easy to deal with, but we get by.
Rees: “Extending Common Courtesy Throughout the Evening” has its own music video. Was that KEN mode’s first music video? Does it take longer to make a video than professionally record audio?
Jesse: Yes, “Extending…” is our first and only video so far. We were supposed to have at least one more by now, but some balls have been dropped, and we’ve been on tour the majority of the time since our latest album, “Venerable”, came out. Videos production schedules are entirely up to the person doing them. They don’t need to take as long as recording a full length, but sometimes they do.
Rees: Looking at all of KEN mode’s accomplishments, all of the great bands you’ve had a chance to play alongside, the traveling, etc., which of these accomplishments stand out the most?
Jesse: Playing Hellfest 2011 in Clisson, France was a pretty unique experience for us, being flown out for one festival and playing alongside bands like Converge, the Melvins, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, and even Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest and Iggy & The Stooges. We were in the middle of a US tour, came up to Windsor in the middle of it, flew to France, then came back and rejoined the US tour. An intense four days that I will undoubtedly never forget.
Rees: What do you do for fun when you are between shows and don’t have to travel, or when you are waiting in an unfamiliar city before playing a show?
Jesse: This year, since we are doing music full time, I’ll sometimes practice Muay Thai kickboxing, or head to the Whiteshell Provincial Park and just chill out in nature. We’ve been on tour so much this year that the bulk of our time is spent in a van rushing to get to a city, then sitting and waiting around for shows to start. We like to find internet cafés as much as we can while on tour so we can attend to our various internet responsibilities like me dealing with booking the next tour, or writing interviews…or reading up on mixed martial arts news!
Rees: What’s the next stop on the KEN mode tour after Windsor?
Jesse: After Windsor we are up to London, ON, then Kitchener, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, then onward to Quebec and the Maritimes!
Rees: Please share with us your website(s), and how people can check out KEN mode’s music.
Rees: Are you excited to return to Windsor?
Jesse: Of course! We have family in Windsor, so we always love visiting!
When I first heard about the existence of Windsor’s very own “School of Rock” (officially named Jam Space Academy), I was very excited to do this interview. Not only is there an extensive, vibrant local music scene, but the talent exists in some of our youngest citizens and is being brought to the surface and unleashed by local drummer and drums teacher, David Allan and his team at Jam Space. He candidly shares his experiences teaching the fundamentals of band-building to local teens. Wherever Dave is, there’s bound to be a “whole lotta jam!”
Rees: Before we get started, tell me a little bit about yourself and some of the musical projects you are a part of in the local scene.
David Allan: Every Saturday, students are learning cover songs, writing and recording original material, preparing for upcoming shows, and learning about what goes into being in a
For anyone who wants to be a part of the Jam Academy, they can call Jam Space at 519 – 972 – 0008 or drop by for a visit!
For more info, search for the Jam Space fan page on FACEBOOK.
I recently had the privilege of attending Ontario’s oldest punk festival in Campbellford, Ontario. Known as Spiderfest, it is named after a great man that everyone knew as “Spider,” an animal-rescuing lover of all things music who sported chains on his pants and a green mohawk until the day he died, in his 80s. Over 25 bands filled the roster for the weekend, including a local crust/hardcore band from Windsor known as Repetitions. Some of their upcoming shows in Windsor include opening for Jucifer, KENmode, and the highly anticipated Napalm Death. This is my interview with their guitarist, Stef Paulton, who many people know as “Bootlace.”
Rees: Tell us a bit about the name Bootlace. Where did it originate?
Bootlace: Well, it all started when I decided to change my facebook name. I was sort of weary that anyone who searched for my name could add me to Facebook, so I changed it. My Doc Marten boots gave me the idea, because my laces were always coming undone and people were always telling me to do them up, so I called myself Bootlace. I know it’s kind of lame to come up with your own nickname, but I wasn’t intending that to be the case. Most people still call me Stef, but I do occasionally get called Boot or Bootlace.
Rees: Repetitions could be described to some as crusty, hardcore punk. But if you had to describe it using three other words, which would you choose and why?
Bootlace: Hmmm. I would have to say fast, short and angry. We like really fast & short songs, and Jay adds the aggression with the vocals. It’s a perfect marriage.
Rees: On a scale of 1-10, how easily did Repetitions come together?
Bootlace: I would say it would be about a three or four. We had some issues in the beginning finding a full band. In fact, we had to cancel our first two or three shows because we couldn’t find a bass player, or a singer. We had a few people try out, but alas it wasn’t to be. However, the first time Ash heard us playing in the basement at my Christmas party, he knew he wanted to join us. He went out and got himself a bass and showed up to practice one day, having only played some twelve years before. I was kind of hesitant, I’m not going to lie, but after the first song we played together, the sparks were flying. We were almost complete. After a while of Sean saying over and over, “I want my friend Jay to sing with us!” I said, “Get him to come to practice” and then he came. Jay has so much energy and spirit, that I think it takes our sound to a whole new level of awesomeness! Jay was our biggest fan from the beginning. Playing with him at Spiderfest really was powerful. I think our family is complete now.
Rees: Every band has their mishaps when they first start out. Describe some of the mishaps that the band has gone through during live shows.
Bootlace: Well, for starters, I keep breaking shit. Usually my guitar, or a string that I don’t have a replacement for. We have had a few minor other mishaps, like Ash’s patch chord not wanting to stay in the jack, or losing drumsticks, but mostly it’s all good. Except for the Holden House show. It turns out drinking Menoshewitz on stage is not a good idea.
Rees: Out of the 5 live shows you’ve played, which was the most fun? Which would you say the band played the tightest? Which would you say was the biggest disaster?
Bootlace: Well, for me the most fun show was the London show. It was my first out of town show, and we got to play with Go Die Scum! and Gatgas. I really liked the crowd, I was happy with how we played, and the other bands were really good too! It was just a great vibe, and we all got super drunk after, which always makes for a great time as well. The tightest show we played would probably be the London show as well. I know everyone else in the band is a veteran, but this is my first band, and I know that we are still in our infancy. We’ve been improving more and more with every show though, and so I can’t wait to see what the next show will be like!
The worst show we played was definitely the Holden House show. I have nothing against the place, in fact, I rather enjoy going there to see other bands and to party with my friends. However, the looseness of it was kind of unreal. We got way too drunk too fast, especially considering we were expecting to be one of the first bands playing, and they decided to put us second last instead. Oops. I could barely stand, let alone play, and Sean was so drunk he was trying to play with the snare on his lap because he could not comprehend how to set up the snare stand. I think everyone left and went upstairs right around the middle of the first song. Ah well. Lesson learned. I think it will be a while before we play there again.
Rees: In one sentence describe the other band members. What do you think drives them forward with Repetitions?
Bootlace: One sentence huh? Well, they are the best brothers and friends I have ever had. I believe that your band is the family you get to choose, and I would go out on a limb for any one of them at any time. I think the thing that drives us all forward in our band has everything to do with the fact that we love the noise we are making. I think that’s important. I mean, if you don’t like what you are putting out, how can you expect other people to enjoy it? All our energy gets put out to the crowd, and they give us just as much back. This band is not a job. If it is, it’s the best job I ever had. Also the least paying job I’ve ever had. hahaha.
Rees: Most bands have that “one summer show” they are really looking forward to. Can you tell me about yours?
Bootlace: Spiderfest. Hands down. I went to my first one last summer, and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me! The fact that I got to play it this year still blows my freaking mind! Basically it is a huge punkfest in Eastern Ontario. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, you need to go at least once. It will change you forever! There’s camping, bands, booze, and whatever else stimulates you. The people there are super friendly, the atmosphere is awesome, and best of all, no noise complaints! Pretty much the greatest thing on earth as far as I’m concerned.
Rees: What defines your own sense of style/fashion? Do you like to change it up, or keep it consistent?
Bootlace: Fashion? Style? I dunno. I try to wear clean clothes to shows, and whatever is comfortable, like my overalls. It just so happens that most of my shirts are band shirts, or Superman shirts, and I usually wear the same three or four pairs of pants or shorts all the time. I guess you could call that consistent.
Rees: I’ve heard that you are the only female punk guitarist playing live shows in Windsor right now. Does that put any amount of pressure on you?
Bootlace: I try not to look at it that way. I mean, really, there’s no one doing anything even close to what we are doing, so it’s not like I have to compete with anyone. Not that that’s what playing in a band is about anyways. To me it’s all about empowerment. Really, would it be more satisfying to me if I was playing a drumkit, or a bass guitar; or singing rather than playing a guitar? It doesn’t matter. Kind of like writing. Whether it’s in ball point, or typed on a computer, the words are just as powerful. It’s about being there, not what you’re doing.
Rees: Will Repetitions be releasing any professionally recorded music in the near future? What can the masses expect?
Bootlace: We hope to start recording soon. We haven’t decided what we’re going to be putting out yet, perhaps a seven inch.
Rees: What do you think about girls/women in punk who gain popularity by being more of a sex-object than someone with actual talent?
Bootlace: To be quite honest, I don’t really think about it. When I’m on stage, or getting ready to go on stage, the last thing I’m thinking about is what people think I look like, or how many people want to fuck me. Really, playing on stage is so empowering, it’s an experience that nothing else can compare to. I think that may be attractive to people, but who cares? I mean, if someone wants to be a sex symbol, and dress all sexy and dance all seductively, I have no issue with it. I can’t tell anyone how to do their thing. It’s not how I roll.
Rees: Tell me about the band’s “jam space.” Does it fit the “crust” persona you guys are going for?
Bootlace: My basement? Ha! I guess it’s pretty crusty. And kind of leaky, and smelly, so yeah. I guess it’s pretty crusty. I don’t know if we were ever trying to make it that way, but it sure fits the bill.
Rees: You recently invested in a sweet Crate half-stack. How long did it take you to figure it out and do you like the new “Stef-sound”?
Bootlace: How long? I’m still working on figuring it out. I’ve never been that technologically savvy. Give me some time. That’s what Ash is for anyways! (Love ya buddy) As for the new “Stef-sound,” I love it. It’s more grinding, much louder, and I’m definitely the loudest thing at practice now. Except for Sean. And Jay, boy’s got some pipes! Actually, Ash is pretty comparable. I guess it’s just loud enough.
Rees: What is your favorite Repetitions tune to jam, play live, or show off to your friends? Which one is your least favorite and why?
Bootlace: I love playing “No Escape”. I may be slightly biased, as I wrote it, but man does it roar. My least favorite song to play? I don’t know. I’m really into all of them actually. That’s what makes playing shows fun!
Rees: Do you find that you have a different personality on stage, or are you always the same ol’ Stef?
Bootlace: Sometimes I think when I’m on stage, I’m almost on my best behavior. Kind of weird for a punk, I know, but the face I put out to the world on stage says, “Yo.” The face I put out the rest of the time usually says, “AHHHHH!”
Rees: Where do you see yourself next summer with Repetitions?
Bootlace: Europe. I’m hoping to get to see some of the rest of the world. Traveling is cool.
Rees: Stefstock (your outdoor birthday bash) was quite the success. Tell us how that idea was started and how you feel about it now that it’s over? Is this something you’d like to do every year?
Bootlace: Actually, I got the idea from Spiderfest. It was originally started as Spider’s birthday, and he just kept getting more and more kickass bands every year, and more and more people started coming. When Sean told me the story, a light bulb kind of went off in my head, and I knew how I wanted to celebrate my next birthday. Turns out I can throw a pretty damn good party! Not to brag or anything. I’m already starting plans for next years Stefstock. My dad has been gracious enough to offer me his property again next year for the bash. Hope to see some of you out there!
Due to popular demand, whenever I interview someone from a band I will include a link to a place where interested readers can check out their music. You can partake of some Repetitions by clicking this link.
One of the first people in the local music scene I have had the privilege of being introduced to since moving to Windsor was none other than Alex Petrovich (a.k.a Al the Yeti Bones). Known around town as the vocalist for Gypsy Chief Goliath and a talented “mixer/masterer” for many other recording bands, he is also the brains behind The Yeti Agency. What follows is my very own “Interview With a Yeti.”
Rees: First let’s talk about Gypsy Chief Goliath. Tell me a bit about the music. What can first-time listeners expect?
The Yeti: GCG came about after all our previous bands came crashing down. The way things fizzle out sometimes leaves with an “unfinished business” type mentality. A band can take years to fully “hit their stride” and I feel that I haven’t hit mine yet. I write songs every day, of all genres. Some get tossed into the “band mix” and some never make it off my Pro Tools. Gypsy Chief Goliath came about as a concept where I wanted to hand pick the members of other bands that happened to have fizzled out the same way Georgian Skull did. So I asked Dave Ljubanovich from Blood Runs Cold, and Adam Saitti from Georgian Skull to join, alongside John Kendrick from Keef, and a schoolmate of mine who played the harmonica named Brodie Stevenson also got brought in. We’re from all parts of the province and being so far apart I think keeps us united and focused on the main goal. Music is an evil quality in my life, it tends to take over when I’m in that mode, so to have everyone live down the street from each other, would probably (and has at times) ruin my life. It’s like having to be Batman all the time. Although it would be cool, a real life has to be lived as well. So when the “Bat Signal” is in the air, that is when we all unite and do Gypsy Chief Goliath. It’s a band, but more importantly it’s turning into a monster. When we hit the road this summer for the Band of Gypsies Tour 2011, we’ll show you exactly what I mean.
Rees: What unique perspectives are brought to the band by each of the other members?
The Yeti: I think we will be jamming a lot more, and the clean and “separation of the parts” that we write after recording the album, all became a lot tighter. The elements each guy brings to the table is unique from the other. We all have an understanding for what to play in a song to help that song be the best it can be. No one shines over the other, cause we’re playing to the song and not for the parts we play to shine. We’d like to think that the song is shining on its own.
Rees: As vocalist, what do you find is the hardest part of a live show?
The Yeti: Personally, I have a real love/hate relationship with music, but do agree that performance is a different beast entirely. If you successfully integrate the two into one show, it is quite amazing. Alice Cooper does it to the extreme, and guys like Neil Fallon do it more to a raw, stripped-back, barely-speak-between-songs approach. Whereas Cooper’s performance is almost a broadway musical. I’d like to think that I give it 1000% all the time on stage, but I know there is always something more I can do. It comes with being comfortable, and you have to possess a certain type of arrogance (which I don’t believe I have) to try and not come off pretentious when you are up there acting like something bigger than you really are. That is my problem sometimes with performing. I often feel like I’m out of my head and think “How do I appear to others?” It’s a lack of connection that I feel on some nights. And on other nights, its a total connection. I think the honest approach is best. I’ve had my best performances on nights where I was really sober and able to hear and separate all the parts going on when played, and understand a more technical view of things. It makes you connect more. You are inside the moment, and feel that moment almost fuses with what’s happening outside the body. With what’s actually coming out of the amps. With what’s honestly being heard. I’ve had nights where I was too hammered to be up there, or on something else, and I’m not listening. At all. I’m up there spewing out the lyrics but I’m slightly off time, I’m screaming more then I usually do, and not watching how the band is playing with each other. I lose my voice and I lost the connection with the audience. Because I simply wasn’t there… the hardest part of a live show is delivering the goods every fuckin night and still being able to connect.
Rees: How much time does the band spend writing original material? How much original material has never been played live?
The Yeti: We spend a lot of time writing original material. Dave and I are always sending each other demos back and forth through email, and adding to them, then sending them back to each other. Once we get something viable and ready to be brought into the mix, we’ll bring it up with the band, then the parts start getting arranged, and hooks start coming into their own. I think the next album is going to be half written in the cottage studio next time. We’ll have tapes upon tapes and cell phone recordings, and Pro Tool demos, MP3s and CD-Rs filled with riffs, vocals, drum beats, and tons of melodies that we’ll already have halfway put together, but come time to record, we’ll be approaching those ideas with fresh intentions, and new found arrangements. There is a lot of songs we haven’t played live yet, that we’re currently working on in rehearsals for the tour. About a week or two before the tour begins, I’ll be in Toronto with the guys rehearsing every single day for tour, then meeting up with Pigeon Park in Windsor on August 4th which is a Thursday night that will kick off the tour this summer. It’ll be down at the Coach.
Rees: Where did the name Gypsy Chief Goliath come from? Does it have a specific meaning to the band?
The Yeti: Long story short, I wanted this name to be something bigger than the last. Georgian Skull was a great name because of the meaning behind it. It had a historic meaning that was very fitting and no one had taken it yet. Which was really quite shocking under the circumstances of the meaning. So I wanted this one to be more mythological sounding and more of everything that we wanted to do musically. Each word can speak for itself and each word could be a band on its own. But we felt that one name could not pin point us as well as three could. Gypsy Chief Goliath. Its perfect for who we are.
Rees: Describe your vocal “style”… do you have anyone else you like to compare yourself to, or do you prefer to be classified as incomparable?
The Yeti: My vocal style comes from a few places that I had worked on for years. It comes from the blues, specifically, and guys like Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, and Jim Morrison of course, but the heavier aspect of me comes from guys like Neil from Clutch, Alice Cooper and Phil Anselmo. But I definitely try to NOT do what they do, and have tried to find my own way through. I haven’t listened to my influences in a very very long time, I refuse to nowadays simply because my own style is what I’m developing, and I develop each day by listening to other things now. I’ve honed my skills to the point where I feel comfortable to not play guitar and sing at the same time, and just focus on being a vocalist. As of late, people I’m in awe with are guys like: Mike Patton, Miles Kennedy, and even the guy from the band Graveyard. I’m definitely in a stage where I am listening to different things. All the time. Instrumental music as well. But I don’t compare myself to anyone else, I compare me, to me. The Yeti. That’s the only person I compare myself to, everyday.
Rees: Now let’s discuss The Yeti Agency. Describe the kinds of services you provide and what a band can expect when they deal with The Yeti.
The Yeti: Well we are a full-on management agency for bands across Canada. The more communication you have with us, the more we can do with you. If you don’t keep the lines open for communication it becomes very difficult to help build you. We all have to start somewhere, and our job is to take you from that place and bring you to somewhere else. Hopefully higher. Benefits from dealing with us are that you have a site that attracts a lot of viewers from sponsorships, and movie and television companies coming to our site on a daily basis, as we also license out music for television, commercial, and film. Now while I can’t say we’ve placed anything in the past, we are currently in the process of placing some music as we speak. Very exciting things are happening in our first year of business. We’ve lost a few bands along the way; it is only normal at this stage. To make sure our priorities continue in the right direction, some ties have to be cut. Like I said, its only natural these things are definitely expected. We book tours, we book out of town shows, we push your music to labels and A&R reps, we are also working on sponsorships and endorsements for tour packages ie.. strings, sticks, picks, and chicks. Haha… Like I said, we’re also placing music into film, and T.V. The next step in the agency will be to form a Publishing Company/Record Label. Everything is pointing to that direction. The Yeti Agency is also advised through the experience of Mia Tyler (Steven Tyler’s daughter, ONR Management Co-Founder) and Morgan Lander from the band Kittie. We are focused on developing a community of bands that are all trying to climb this ladder together.
Rees: Tell us about your education background and how it affects the music you record for others, and the music you make with Gypsy Chief.
The Yeti: Well, I have a diploma in Music Industry & Arts. It’s an audio engineering program that also specializes in Music Business. The president of Sony was a grad, Survivorman was a grad, and the producer who did the Ozzy and Rob Zombie records as of late was also a grad. And plenty of other ties to the music industry through this program. It’s pretty badass, when it comes to our professors too, cause they were all guys out in the industry kickin’ ass for years before they got jobs with the college. Plus, a lot of them are still working in the industry. Our production teacher just won another Juno this last year. I came from a heavy touring background and played in bands on a national level before I got into school so that helped me progress along quickly, because I had already had my name on 4-5 records and ended up recording my own album for Georgian Skull deep into my 1st year of school, and it was being sent out to Scarlet Records/SPV label. So there were things I had been busy with all throughout school. I didn’t have much time to spend worrying about projects for school, as a lot of things were on my plate in those years. But I finished, and when I did, it took about a year or two to really let the pieces fall where they did. I had a job in New York at a studio there, and a publishing job as well in New Jersey. The internship at Indie Pool, that pretty much saved my life, solidifying a great friendship with Mia Tyler, and even made it through several hundred writing auditions for an interview with the show “Out There: w/ Melissa DiMarco.” All these things played a HUGE roll in the business that I eventually went on to start. My goal is to keep as busy as possible, I’d say I’ve managed to do that quite well. In Sept. after the summer tour, I fly to British Columbia with our harmonica player Brodie to produce the next Pigeon Park album, which is going to be so heavy. Compared to the last one which ultimately came out like a Black Crows or Chilli Peppers sounding record, this next one is going to be much more Graveyard, Witchcraft, meets Big Business.
Rees: You recently moved back to Windsor. What do you hope to do for the local scene? What do you hope to see change?
The Yeti: Well I just want to get re-familiarized within the scene and go out to as many shows as possible. Get talking to everyone and push some business, but also spread some advice too. Windsor always had the best scene in Canada, and it goes unnoticed a lot of the time, because other town are just so much bigger. I’d like to see Windsor change in the regard that big promoters and big festival people should have more faith in their locals and give the opportunities that are deserved by our locals to play these big shows that come to town. There are a lot more acts in Windsor that are doing things on a national, and global level that are basically being shoved under the radar, and dismissed. I think Windsor could use a festival where all the big bands and bars take part in it, and everyone comes out to play including the majors of Windsor. But the locals will be what steal the show.
Rees: What is your overall opinion of “friendly competition” amongst bands?
The Yeti: I’m into it. I like it. You hear legendary stuff about the L.A Strip because the bands all hated each other, but still did shows together. The fans not knowing what would happen was what made it exciting. I think here, we tend to try and be too nice to one another, I like the mutual respect factor and I like everyone getting along to a point, but I also like knowing there are bands here that are united and are against other bands here. Shit-talking helps sell things. If we had a bigger scene, where you didn’t have to see everyone each night if you chose to go out, I’d say it would be even worse. I remember years ago I started a lot of shit with bands, and to a point I still don’t regret it, but on certain aspects I can see now, that I was just being young and stupid. But if to be young and stupid isn’t rock and roll, then I don’t know what is.
Rees: Would you say that you are proud of what Windsor has accomplished with music?
The Yeti: Yes. Very proud. I just wish that it wasn’t always the same people you keep hearing about, as they are not the only ones making waves. I feel sometimes I live and breath in the underground and no one else knows about anything I’m doing.
Rees: Say a new band wants some advice from you on how to be “successful.” Define success and tell me what you would say to them.
The Yeti: I’d say if you can make money playing music, you are successful. Have dreams that are realistic, and go for them. Be an opportunist, and never let one slip you by. Also understand that music costs money and making music costs money, so don’t spend all your money on drugs and alcohol. And save a little bit more each week to buy a van.
Rees: What can we expect musically from Gypsy Chief Goliath over the next while? Do you guys plan on changing it up a bit, or sticking to that same style everyone’s come to love?
The Yeti: New album: “It’s A Walk In The Mist” on Black Vulture Records Sweden, coming out this year. Summer tour from Aug. 4th-28th from Windsor to Prince Edward Island and back. You can expect the next record to be much more soulful, integrated with more jazz and more blues. But its going to definitely be heavier. Heavier on the soul, that is. Musically it will delve into many different styles, but the one thing will remain… Our input will still be channeled through what it is we do. And that’s just rock and roll. We’re just going to get better. That’s our goal.
Rees: If you could pick any other city in the world to live in with the purpose of enjoying the local music, what city would it be?
The Yeti: Stockholm, Sweden. I think that Sweden has been consistently the greatest music scene. All genres of music have been coming out of there, forever, and they go on to be some of the coolest bands on the planet. From Death Metal to Rock n’ Roll, they’ve been proving that a lot of different kinds of genres can survive in one scene, it doesn’t all just have to be from one style.
Rees: Any final thoughts?
The Yeti: We’re playing Coach N’ Horses with Pigeon Park and a few more bands for our tour kickoff party Thurs. Aug. 4th 2011. Please come on out, we will have merchandise FINALLY!
We need your money to help us go on tour!
It’s been ten years since the release of Ottawa’s Fuck The Facts debut album, Discoing The Dead, was self-released and to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, one of Canada’s premiere grindcore outfits is doing a special club tour of select Canadian cities that have been vital during Fuck The Facts’ musical evolution. Windsor is lucky enough to be one of the cities and they’re returning to the one of the only Windsor stages they’ve ever known in their decade of decimation, the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), on Friday March 25.
The release of 2008′s Disgorge Mexico, their second release since signing with respected metal label Relapse Records (Mastodon, Unsane, Death), propelled them to a more mainstream audience, garnering them the cover story in the August 2008 issue of Exclaim! Magazine, Canada’s largest read independent music magazine. Relentless touring have earned Fuck The Facts an entire music media’s respect and attention, to compliment a constantly growing underground legion of metal fans.
Discontent to sit on their laurels, Fuck The Facts released a follow-up untitled EP (since nicknamed the Unnamed EP) last year as well as a live DVD to act as a visual companion for Disgorge Mexico. With their follow-up, entitled Die Miserable, almost upon is, Fuck The Facts is doing a quick tour to pay their own musical homage to their first 10 years as a band and retouch on some sound clips of history that they may never play on stage again.
Fuck The Fact’s founder Topon Das talked to The Windsor Zene’s Jamie Greer about the progress of Die Miserable, what it means to be hitting Windsor on this tour, and a whole lot more, in anticipation of Fuck The Facts return to the Coach & Horses.
Jamie Greer: I suppose first questions first – how’s the progress on Die Miserable and how close are we to having it out?
Topon Das: Definitely won’t be available in Windsor. We’re still in the mixing process now and I’m realistically thinking it’ll be out in the summer. Once the mix is done, we still need to get it mastered and then there’s just a long wait from when it’s completed to when it gets released, so that it can fit into the labels release schedule and they can promote it properly.
Disgorge Mexico really seemed to have vaulted you guys (and gal) to a new level of public awareness. What do you think you can attribute to your loyal (and growing) following?
Maybe because it was our 2nd album out on Relapse or something, but the press, especially in Canada, really gave us a good push when the album was coming out and the response that we got from it also seemed very positive for the most part. We work pretty hard on everything we do in the band and everything from booking to any sort of management is done within the band, so it’s nice to see that people are paying attention. But that being said, we’ve been around for 10 years and when we can get 50 people out to a show, that’s still considered a good night. We probably look more successful in the media than we actually are.
You’ve come a long way from your early “noise” records like Vagina Dancer and Discoing the Dead. Was this musical journey a planned route or did it just kind of dictate itself?
It was planned in the way that I wanted it to dictate itself. The main idea of Fuck The Facts was that it would keep evolving and changing over time. With new musicians adding new ideas and as we all change over the years. I never want us to feel like we have to limit ourselves. We just write music that we like and that we’re stoked on. Obviously, it’s not a receipt for success, but it’s the only way I could keep playing music without getting bored.
Now that a heavier underground band like Fucked Up as won a major award like the Polaris, do you think this gives heavier music more mainstream credit? Does it really matter?
It’s nice when people say they like your music and it’s probably nice when you get an award for something, but I wouldn’t know. I’m not really concerned with mainstream credit, so I don’t really pay attention to those things.
Speaking of Fucked Up, only a few bands, such as you two and Holy Fuck, have gotten considerable mainstream press despite having one of the “Seven Words” in your name. Was the expletive intended to create controversy or was it something else entirely?
I wasn’t trying to create controversy or anything like that, I just saw it on a Naked City album and I liked it. Back when we started, it seemed like a lot bigger deal to have ‘fuck’ in your name, but like you said, recently there’s been a few ‘fuck’ bands that have come up and been successful despite that obstacle.
How did the writing for Die Miserable differ from Disgorge Mexico?
Most of Disgorge Mexico was written with just our drummer Vil and I jamming out ideas and putting songs together that way. I wrote most of the music on that album, and he would put the drums to it and help arrange it all. This time around our new bassist really got involved in the writing and Vil (who actually first joined the band as a guitarist) also stepped up his writing. So the writing on Die Miserable is really split evenly between the three of us this time around. As usual, Mel handles almost all the lyrics with a little bit of help from me.
You recently released your first full on DVD for Disgorge Mexico. Why the decision to put out a DVD now?
I had the idea for the DVD when we were recording the album, it just took a really long time to get it all together. Two years after the album release to be exact. There’s a movie part created by David Hall of Handshake inc., which is basically just a visual for the entire album and there’s a live part where we played the whole album from start to finish at our hometown CD release show, which was shot and edited by Nictophobia films. Both guys did an amazing job, so I think it was worth the wait.
If someone reading this right now hasn’t heard Fuck the Facts yet, what album would you suggest be the perfect kick off point?
They should probably check out the first side of our Unnamed EP, our split with Leng Tch’e or our album Disgorge Mexico.
You guys have played far bigger venues in other cities. what keeps bringing you back to Windsor?
Windsor has always been good to us. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to play there for our 10-year anniversary shows. We’ve been coming playing Windsor since the early days of the band and the people have always been awesome and made us feel at home. I can’t remember the last time we played anywhere besides the Coach. It must be at least five years or something, but honestly, we’ll take a small venue like the Coach over playing a huge stage like the Opera House any day. It’s just how we’re more comfortable and how we can put on the best show.
I know you’re good friends with Scott Funnel from the Coach. What where your feelings when you found out about the injuries he sustained last year?
We were shocked. It’s really horrible that it happened, but I’m glad to hear that he’s been getting better. From what I read, it could have been much worse. I was actually just writing him to book this upcoming show, when I heard about it. It’s gonna be weird playing the Coach and it not being Scott that booked it.
How has the new material played live so far?
Pretty good I think. We’ve been doing 2 new songs, one that’s on the new album, and one that’ll be on the bonus EP that will come with the vinyl version of the new album. The bonus EP song is a bit more straightforward so I can see that it’s easier for people to grab onto without ever hearing it before. The album song has a bit more going on in the dynamics, but it’s been really fun to play live and obviously it’s a better example of what to expect from the new album.
What’s the rest of the plans for 2011?
Mainly, finish this fucking Die Miserable album and get it out. We’re gonna do a tour with KEN Mode in April/May that’ll take us through the Northern US and Western Canada. I’m sure there will be more shows, and maybe another tour or 2 before the end of the year. We’re starting to work on a bunch of new material as well and might do some more recording sessions in our home studio, but nothing solidly planned yet.
So what can Windsor expect this friday?
This show is going to be a part of our 10-year anniversary run of shows. We’re doing a bit of everything from the past 10 years and all in chronological order, from oldest to newest. A lot of these songs we haven’t played in years and won’t be playing again after this weekend.
Fuck The Facts with special guests Mortify, Assassinate The Following, Shinje and Goliath, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), 9pm, 19+, $5 at the door.