Thunder Issue 14

(*Note: This is an issue featuring a S.C.E.N.E artist.)

One of the bands that contacted me earliest to be interviewed for S.C.E.N.E was Theatre Crisp.

Nicer still, the band was first to respond about getting a later interview when I couldn’t make it to S.C.E.N.E.

Theatre Crisp is very unique, in that they combine Hip-Hop with a live, traditional bass/drums/guitar band.

Recently, the band held their 3rd annual Petestock and raised over $1800 for charity. They’re a great band, and they do some great work.

It was nice to talk with the guys, and I hope I get to see a live show soon.

 

How did the group get it’s start?

PETER:The whole thing started in December 2008 with Kyle who at the time had already been writting hip-hop tracks for 10 years.  He worked with our original guitarist (also named Kyle) and myself and was already friends with Trevor from highschool.  He always wanted a live band to back him up on stage instead of the typical mp3. beat playing in the background while he raps.  So knowing that we all played different instruments he got us together to jam on friday nights just for fun and after a few months we decided that we could actually give it a real shot and thus Theatre Crisp was born.  A few months after that Dave (DC) showed up with a mutual friend and his tap shoes.  He liked dancing with us so much he kept coming out and eventually jsut became the 5th member of Theatre Crisp.

Kyle: Theatre Crisp got its start when our lead vocalist Kyle aka humbleHAB wanted to work on producing his hip hop music with a full band. Computer beats and production were just not cutting it anymore and instrumental song writing with a band was just the next step that had to be taken to do something different.  You can create such a better live feel when you have a band backing you up both on stage and in the studio. Every member kind of just fell into place, bringing their own influences and originality to the sound of the band.
DC: It all began with Kyle Petch, AKA Habbilus, wanting to bring a band behind some of the tunes that he had written as an MC. I was a hip hop and Habbilus fan since high school so when we met and started jamming it wasn’t long before he considered me a member of Theatre Crisp and viola, you have taps.
You guys are very unique, in that you perform hip-hop and have a standard guitar/ drums/ bass band at the same time. What made you decide to perform that way?
PETER:  Again this all goes back to Kyle not wanting to perform hip-hop in the typical way of an mp3 track playing in the background, and once we started jamming for fun and realized that we all worked together real well it really started to take off from there.
Kyle: I kind of just answered the 2nd question in my answer to the 1st.  Having a band creates so much more for this style of music.  Its not just one guy jumping around on stage with a DJ spinning his beats for him (not theres anything wrong with that, its just been done so many times). Its a rapper feeding off the vibe of everyone else in the band, creating music together rather than just for one’s self.  The live sound of real instruments being played, and the groove that everyone gets into, creates a more organic sound to this particular kind of hip hop style.
DC: Well like how the band got started, it was hip hop beats as Habbilus, and with the band we still want/have that feel, but were all about making fresh new funky sounds, still experimenting with other sounds and grooves too. To top the sound right off Habbilus’ lyrics are like crispy wafers that deliciously crunch as you digest them. Its all positive music.
Alot of your lyrics are very positive, but not in such a way that things feel sugar-coated. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process? PETER: The lyrics are all Kyle, but for the overall song Kyle will bring a simple chord progression to the band where we in turn “crispify” it by adding all out our own parts and work out the structure together.
Kyle: Kyle has been writing raps for almost 15 years, and he has always maintained a postive vibe in his writing.  Generally, most of the songs start with him putting together a chord progression acoustically, with lyrics aswell, in which the band uses as a blueprint to construct a full sound out of. With everyone coming from different musical backgrounds, it allows each band member to put there own touch on each song. We are a lyric drivin band though, and thats due to the thought provoking poetry that Kyle writes.  He just likes being real with people, he wants them to relate to what he talks about in the songs.  With lots of negativity in the world today, some postive vibes in this style of music can go along way.
DC: Thats all Petch. Like i said I was a fan back in high school when he was makin’ Habbilus mixtapes. All I can say is, I can relate to it, and I think the vast majority can too. He deals with real life in his raps, some call it storytelling music. Whatever it is and how he comes up with it, it has weight behind it and for those who really ‘listen’ to the music understand that.
How would you describe your sound, yourselves?
Peter:  We’re pretty unique so it’s hard to label us as any one specific genre so we’ve been calling it “Funk-Hop”.  We’re a pretty cross-genre band so people have comparred us to everything from Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys  and Atmosphere to name a few. I  think our diverse sound caters to so many people so depending on their own personal taste they tend to pick out whatever genre they relate to most in our music.
Kyle: We are a mixture of hip hop, funk and rock with a sprinkle of regga and blues almost.  But we lean more towards the hip hop and funk side of things I’d say.  We’ve been describing ourselves as funk-hop for the past while, so we’ll go with that.
DC:Well I think Pete’s coining “Funk-Hop” and I like it. but it’s just really be yourself, have a good time, live your life to the fullest music.
You all played S.C.E.N.E music festival recently. What was that experience like?
Peter: SCENE’s always an awesome festival to play.  Especially for Southern Ontario and Niagara it really is the only venue that features so many indie artists at one time.  Having the oppertunity to represent our hometown in a festival like this is real real honor and great oppertunity to reach out to people who otherwise wouldn’t necesarilly have the gotten the chance to hear our music.
Kyle: SCENE is a great event for all music lovers, from any genre.  Its a a full day party with 160+ bands and close to 6 or 7000 fans.  You couldn’t ask for a better time.  Its a chance to gain some exposure and gain new fans.  This was our 2nd year playing it and really, we hope to come back every year.  Playing a festival like this in your hometown is awesome! Having the merch area in Market Place Square is great for all the bands to sell clothing and CDs, and talk to fans close hand. Its a well orginized event.

DC: We all Love S.C.E.N.E it’s a crazy day that any music lover waits for! I have been going for years just different now we’re playing. Great time, great way to reach a new audience, great entertainment, great fans!

I know one event you all have coming up is Petestock. Can you tell me about that event?
Peter:  Petestock’s really my “baby” and the rest of Theatre Crisp all contributes to help make it work.

In 2010 I wanted a way for Theatre Crisp to say thanks to its fans, so with the help of my band mates we hosted the 1st Annual PETESTOCK Music Festival consisting of 6 local bands and 120 fans.  In 2011 after building the festivals reputation and gaining more connections in the music industry PETESTOCK had 9 performing artists, 200 fans and 100% of its profit donated to the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Center.  For 2012 PETESTOCK is now recognized in the Niagara Indie music scene as Niagara On The Lake’s premier music event.  We have a total of 13 of the Niagara regions biggest and best bands.  Local media outlets will be on site covering the event. There is an estimated 350+ fans coming out to this year’s festival and again 100% of its profit is being donated to charity.  This year we are proud to announce that we are working in cooperation with Niagara On The Lake’s Red Roof Retreat (http://www.redroofretreat.com/) to help raise funds for them.

 

The whole concept of this event is “Local artists giving back to the community”.  PETESTOCK is unique in the way that it is run 100% by volunteers with every band also volunteering their time to rally together to give back to Niagara.  This really is the only event around which caters to young Indie bands from all genres be it folk, funk or punk along with Niagara’s young adults to give them the opportunity to do something tangible with no strings attached, and no middle man; just the pure love of music and love for Niagara.

Thunder Issue 13.

(*NOTE: This issue is with a S.C.E.N.E band I wasn’t able to interview on the day of S.C.E.N.E.)

Coincidence has to be one of my favorite parts of life.

Take this issue. This honestly wasn’t anything I did to be funny or cute, but issue number 13 of Thunder is available here on Friday the 13th.

 

The band represented is the Waterbodies. (I use the term ‘represented’ because one member, Mike McGean, answered for the band as a whole over email.)

They are an Indie Rock band with fuzzy guitars, loud drums, and clear vocals. Tons of their music is available for free download, and I suggest searching it out and loading your MP3 player.

KW: How did the band get it’s start?

MM: Shane and I started hashin’ out songs in 2008 in our bedrooms. Then we got more invested in it. It started out as songs, then it became a project, then it became a band. We both saw potential in what we were doing so we kept at it. In 2008 we recorded Sleep Like Submarines and played some shows. In late 2009 Dylan (our guitarist/backup vocals) joined as we were recording Floresta. We released Floresta in 2010 and made a music video for Crickets. We played some shows to support that EP as well. And most recently this year we added Roxy (bass) late in the recording process of our newest album, and our first full length, The Evil We Know. We’ll be releasing the album this fall and touring to support it.

KW: Before the band formed, how long had each of you been interested in becoming a musician?

MM: For me, I wasn’t really planning on doing it, I just did it as a hobby, playing shows with friends here and there. This is my first real band. Whereas Shane has been in bands before and playing in bands since high school. We all kind of grew up playing our instruments and doing it for fun, but now we decided to finally take it seriously.

KW: What made you guys decide to play the style of music you do?

MM: I think we just naturally wrote it this way. It was what we were both interested and it kind of just came out that way. At first we just started writing, and at the time there was a big “screamo” phase going on and we didn’t want so sound like that, we wanted to do something different. And now this new stuff is a genuine mix of all our styles while keeping the old shoegaze elements, mixed with a more progressive sound.

KW: I know The Waterbodies give away alot of their music as free downloads. What made you decide to go about things in that way?

MM: We just wanted to be heard. A lot more bands are doing it now a days, and we just thought we’d rather have people enjoy our music then make money off of it. But it’s awesome to hear feedback and get a reaction from people when they listen to your music, so why not let as many people as possible hear it?

KW: I’m aware that the band recently played S.C.E.N.E music festival. What was that like for you all?

MM: It’s our fourth year playing and we love it. It’s our hometown festival so it’s nice to see all our friends come out. It’s like a big party all over downtown St. Catharines and you see friends everywhere you go. There’s also a lot of great bands that play so it’s fun checking them all out too.

KW: What does summer look like for you guys? Are you planning to tour?

MM: Yes we are! We scheduling some dates for late summer. We’ve got 2 Toronto shows in August and are planning an Ontario tour for the rest of August and early September. We are then going to be releasing our first full length album this fall, it’s called The Evil We Know. Once that is out we’ll be touring some more. As of now you can download 2 free tracks from the album on our website www.waterbodies.ca

KW: Who are you guys listening to right now?

MM:

Mike: Flaming Lips, Liars, Pumpkins, Pixies, Billy Holiday
Roxy: Yeasayer, The Dirty Nil, Arctic Monkeys, Joel Plaskett, Nicolas Jaar
Dylan: Bruce Peninsula, Yukon Blonde, Said The Whale, Kimbra, Elos Arma
Shane: Mos Def, Refused, Tom Waits

 

Thunder Issue 12.

(*Note: This issue, and the next few following it, will be with the bands and artists that I did not get a chance to interview at S.C.E.N.E because of my ill health that day. I will indicate when the issue is with a S.C.E.N.E artist, and I want to thank all who agreed to a later interview.)

Paul Federici, from what I can deduce, is a quiet man in many ways.

His guitar work is subtle and acoustic.

His voice is mellow and goes perfectly with the guitar.

And, before music became full-time for him, he completed a Masters in clinical social work.

But sometimes, being an acoustic musician is more powerful than the loudest full band.

Take the song ‘She Is Lost’ from his release Relative Importance. It’s devastating. (In a powerful way. Not a rude, negative way.)

Paul was one of the artists I was supposed to interview at S.C.E.N.E, and I’m very happy he agreed to one over email.

KW: How did you get your start as a musician?

PF: It’s funny, around the time of my cd release show back in January, I had an article written about me and the opening line of the story was: “Paul Federici has a sort of complicated relationship with music.” I laughed when I read it at the time, and though it was quite fitting. My transition to being a musician was far from smooth or typical I guess, and I was, as with most things in my life, a late bloomer. I always loved acoustic music and became fascinated with the guitar. My Dad was a Bob Dylan fan and always seemed to have an old cheap 6 string kicking around the house and I just picked it up one day and was basically hooked. It wasn’t until the end of high school and the beginning of my university years that I actually got into it though, but it quickly became an obsession and I spent countless hours teaching myself chords, progressions, scales, tunings and basic theory. I pretty much spent my entire 3rd year of university strumming the guitar alone in my room trying to piece together cover songs. Music was always a solitary pursuit for me because I had a lot of anxiety around performing in front of others and I felt very insecure, especially with songs that I wrote – I always felt they were terrible and I was way too self-conscious to play them for others. After university I gathered up the nerve to play an open mic night in St. Catharines and after that performance I was offered a weekly gig there, which shocked me. I went on to play cover gigs there fairly regularly, but after a year or so I continued to battle the nerves and self-doubt which led me to stop playing for over 7 years. I ended up completing a Master’s degree in clinical social work, only to find myself burnt out emotionally on the job – and it was only when I bottomed out and realized how unhappy I was that I found music again and decided that I had wasted enough time pretending I was something else.

KW: What made you decide to play the style of music you do?

PF: I’m not sure it’s a choice really – I only know how to write songs from a personal perspective but I definitely want to keep the music as honest as possible. I really hate the notion of a team of songwriters working together to craft a “hit” it just seems so disingenuous and I don’t see the point.  I never try to force my song writing in a particular direction and I try to keep the process as spontaneous as possible. I don’t sit down with a theme or style in mind; I just let the mood dictate where the song goes. But I was always drawn to mellower music and love great melodies and harmonies which I think comes out in my songs.

KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?

PF: I would describe myself as honest, straight forward, and down to earth – I think I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. I try to be as sincere and genuine as possible and I think these traits come across in my sound as well. I’m not trying to write epic radio singles, I’m not trying to be trendy or sound like someone else – all I’m trying to do is write simple songs that are honest and mean something to me. In addition to that I would say that my songs take on a folk-pop feel, are heavily based on vocal melodies and they often have a  layered feel to them as I try to shape my music using harmonies. I also strive to have diversity in my song writing -I’d hate to be an artist where people say “oh, if you’ve heard one Paul Federici song you’ve heard them all” and I’ll often use a variety of alternate tunings to elicit different sounds and atmospheres.

KW: You are touring alot this summer. Where are you hoping to make some stops?

PF: Yes, I’m trying to make the most of the summer months and I’ve already played shows in a number of cities across Ontario. I quit my job about a year ago to focus solely on music, and I strive to stay as busy as possible so I’m continually looking for new venues to play. Right now  I’m really excited about my upcoming shows in Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal as those are 3 fantastic Canadian cities, but in all honesty I enjoy most places I visit since I like to travel especially when the weather is great. I’d also love to organize and East/West tour!

KW: Your album ‘Relative Importance’ was released back in January. Can you tell me a bit about it?

PF: Well it’s an 8 song project that was recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, a beautiful church turned studio that’s worked with artists like City and Colour, Whitehorse, and Feist. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Michael Chambers who has done a lot of work with Whitehorse, and he’s just such a talented guy I feel very fortunate to have met him. I decided to record in Hamilton because that’s where my father was raised and “Relative Importance” is the name of poem my Dad wrote in the 80s that was published in an anthology I found in the St. Catharines Public Library. It’s definitely an introspective, mellow album that explores the themes in my mind when I was quite depressed, and several songs really helped me through a rough time – I think the song “There’s a Reason” really captures that essence of how I was feeling at the time. All of the songs were written in the 6 months leading up to the time we started recording in August of 2011, accept for “Conveniently Yours” which was a song I wrote in 2008. It was actually the first song I had written after a 5 or 6 year break from song writing and I always believed in it, I consider it a turning point for me where I started to have more faith in my writing. If I didn’t write “Conveniently Yours” I’m not sure I’d ever have recorded an album. Since the release of the record I’ve garnered positive media attention, received regular play from a number of college and university stations and on February 21, 2012 “Relative Importance” reached #1 status on the 103.7FM Brock University Radio charts.

KW: What are some of your plans for the near future?

PF: I’m really looking forward to July 24th which is the ceremony for the Niagara Music Awards and I’m grateful to be nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the year – so I’m excited to be part of celebrating music in my home town. I’ll also continue to tour throughout the summer and fall, and when that slows down I plan on teaming up again with Michael Chambers at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton to record a second album. I’ll be holding a fundraiser in Niagara on Saturday October 13th to help raise some money for the project and more information will be coming soon on www.paulfederici.ca

KW: Who are you listening to right now?

PF:

As far as more popular artists go:  City and Colour, Ryan Adams, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, and John Mayer. But I also find myself playing music from a number of independent artists that I’ve played with this year touring like Mike Vial (Michigan), Corey Glover (Michigan),  Aaron Berger (Niagara), Chad Price (London), and James Struthers (Winnipeg).

This issue we would like to thank:

Paul Federici

The City Of St. Catharines

The City Of Hamilton

Everyone who participates in live music, in any way.

Modern Technology.

 

Here, There, Everywhere, and Nowhere. All The Music I’ll Be Taking In The Next Few Weeks.

Tonight continues my massive intake of music. (3 out of 4 days at Burlington Sound Of Music was awesome.)

I’m seeing Crystaline at the Casbah. They’re a new band, and it will be interesting to take in their sound.

Then tomorrow, I head to St. Catharines for the S.C.E.N.E music festival.

In a lot of ways, I’m excited. I’ve never been to S.C.E.N.E, or St. Catharines for that matter.

I’ll be interviewing 10 bands tomorrow for the paper zine Thunder and this blog; it’s virtual copy. And of course I’ll be taking photos.

The bands I’ll be meeting range from well-known Canadian favorites (Die Mannequin) to recent up-and-comers (The Rebel Arms.)

It’s going to be an amazing day, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Then next weekend, I have assigned myself two tasks:

1. Cover It’s Your Festival in Gage Park.

2. Cover the Destroy Music 7 hour concert that celebrates the release of the comp, and the life of Imants Krumins.

I feel grateful that I get to take in this music, and that it’s happening in Ontario.

On The Road Again. I’m Headed For S.C.E.N.E

Summer really is a key time for music.

No sooner does Burlington Sound Of Music wrap up, and S.C.E.N.E music festival arrives.

I worked as a photographer and reviewer for this years BSOM, and I’ll be working S.C.E.N.E in the same roles. (Except the interviews and photos will be for Thunder.)

While it’s exciting, it’s also got me nervous. I’m further from home, (I’ve actually never been to St. Catharines), and I haven’t got work backing me.

So here’s hoping all goes well!!

Show Listings That Herald The Beginning Of Summer.

Almost everybody and everything goes through a financial tight spot. The official version of Thunder, which is printed and distributed in Hamilton, is no exception. I recently had two birthdays and a Mother’s day to celebrate. I love to celebrate, but of course; as a student, there is a budget to consider.

So this post, which is made up of the listings that would normally go into an issue, will be published on here and on my Facebook. This is what I consider the blog/ electronic portion of Thunder, so I’m also toying with the idea of posting the latest 2 issues here. If I do, everyone will be notified because I am really excited for the upcoming ones.

Listings:

May 25th. The Nailheads, At What Cost, And Beta 58’s play the Devil’s Cellar. (Downstairs of the Celts’s pub.) $5 and All Ages because of a preceding event. The event listing says that there are more bands to be announced.

May 26th. The Nailheads, Web Society, The Rebel Arms, Beta 58’s and At What Cost play the Doors Pub. Show starts at 9:00pm, and admission is $5. 19+.

May 27th. Skatalyst, Not, Ghetto Blaster, and Small Town Get Up play This Ain’t Hollywood in Sunday skaSlamfest 11. Show starts at 3:00pm, and it’s $6 to get in.

May 29th. Rackula, The Brixton Robbers, Maladroit, Bourbon DK, and At What Cost play the Casbah Lounge. It’s $5 admission, and bands start at 8:30.

May 31st. Adelleda, Useless ID, and Fortune Cookie play the Casbah Lounge. Bands start at 8:00pm, and it’s $10.

June 1st. The Coven are playing as part of the series A Gothic and Industrial Night. The show takes place at Doors Pub, and cover is $5. Must 19 or over.

June 2nd. Ab Irato, The Pre-Nods, At What Cost, and Jenkum play City Lights. Doors open at 8:00pm. Tickets are $10, and it’s a 19+ event.

Also on June 2nd: Volk, Dimensions, Quiet Lakes, Unbowed, and Argus Panoptes play the Doors Pub. It’s $10 to get in, bands start at 8:15pm, and it’s 19+.

June 3rd. The Southern Famine Tour comes to Hamilton. This event will be held at Doors Pub, and features Swords Of Texas, Eyeswithoutaface, Lung, and The Blind Surgeons Operation. Event poster says more bands to be announced. $5 admission. Must be 19 or over.  Start time is 8:00pm.

June 9th. The ‘Real’ Royal Tour comes to Hamilton. The Royal Crowns are celebrating their CD release with this tour, and opening for them are blues two-piece Frankie and Jimmy; and The Hellbent Rockers. There is a workshop before the performances, entitled ‘Rockabilly Jive.’ All I know right now is the price, which is $10.

June 10th. Meh, The Rebel Arms, Bourbon DK, and The Blind Cats play Crash Landing Basement. $5 at the door and All Ages. Starts at 3:00pm.

June 14th-17th. Burlington Sound Of Music Festival. This year’s line-up features the Arkells, Wintersleep, Mother Mother, and more. Admission is free. I recommend going to soundofmusic.ca for details, as there are quite a few.

June 15th and 16th. Invasion Infernale Fest. A Two Day Black/ Viking Metal Festival.  Day 1 is at The Doors Pub and kicks off at 7:00pm. Bands featured are Korrupt and Pagan Ritual. Day 2 is at The Corktown. Bands playing that day include Unbowed and Volk. This day also starts at 7:00pm. Must 19 or older to attend. Now, you can pay separately both days, which totals to $25, or buy a pass for $20. Passes go on sell today at Books and Beats; and at Dr. Disc. Only 50 passes are available.

Also on June 15th. As part of NXNE, Daps Records is putting on a showcase at Sneaky Dee’s. Bands will include Hussy, Cartoons, and Odonis Odonis. There is not a ticket price listed, but start time  is listed as 7:00pm.

June 24th. Endow, Snakecharmer, Dismantle, and Laid To Rest play Sunday Slamfest 12. No further details at this time.

June 29th-July 2nd. It’s Your Festival. No word on who will be performing for 2012. But I attended last year and saw Rackula and Spoiled Rotten. It says on their website to check back for performers and schedule, so here is the site: itsyourfestival.ca

July 20th. Class Assassins play Crash Landing. More information as it becomes available.

July 28th. Grim City Punk Rock Party and Skate Jam. Features Adelleda, Web Society, Rebel Arms, and more. This event will be held at Grimsby Skate Park. No monetary admission, but there is a food drive that needs donations. Everything kicks off at 1:00pm.

July 29th. Skullians play Crash Landing. More information as it becomes available.

It’s summer to me when it’s warm and there are lots of shows. So be sure to head out while it’s nice and support the music in this province.