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.

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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!!

Thunder Issue 10. Part 1.

In the years I’ve been attending shows, I have been able to see some bands that are pretty well-known. Sloan, D.O.A, and others. (I don’t care how ‘big’ a band is. I love every band with the original passion that I love music with. It’s just to help the story flow better.)

But I was the most eager, in my own peculiar way, to see the DayGlo Abortions. Not only was I chomping at the bit to see the live version of the Hard-Core legends, but I was also curious to see if a promise could be fulfilled.

You see, the DayGlo Abortions were playing the basement of Crash Landing. And store owners Suzanne and Crash had said there MIGHT  be the possibility of an interview with the band.

I was at once excited and terrified. If they could help me get an interview, awesome! The DayGlos are renowned in Canada. If they could, scary! This is the band, after all, who had an album cover with an aborted baby being served to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

If they couldn’t, Thunder would be ‘that zine.’ The one that ‘almost’ interviewed the DayGlos, but that chicken Kristine couldn’t get on her own.

I decided to go to the show, and come what may! The DayGlo Abortions might be tough brutes, but damn, I was getting that interview!

When Crash came to get me and let me know that the interview was a go, I took a swig of my water bottle like it was gin. I ventured up the stairs, and remembered that if I hid my MP3 player/ voice recorder when the chaos started, history would eventually have this article for ages.

I know everyone wants a story where there was craziness, and my ghost is writing this because of the aftermath. But fact is, my panic overestimated things. As usual. I was introduced to two  perfectly warm people. Murray Acton and Blind Mark. (Bassist Willy Jak was not available for the interview.) Both  answered my questions as they had a beer, and I left thinking how myths become reality when given enough time.

(* Note: I was introduced to lead singer Murray Acton first. I had nearly completed my interview when drummer Blind Mark came in and I revved up the questions again.)

KW: For readers who may not be familiar, how long have the DayGlo Abortions been playing?

MA: Since 1980.

KW: What made you want to form the band?

MA: Well, the band formed suddenly in the demise of another band I had called the ‘Sick Fucks’ in the 70’s.

And we broke up, just fell apart.  The original bass player we had in the DayGlos, still had a couple gigs to do with the Sick Fucks. And I said ‘Damn it Bonehead! We’re starting a new band.’ We had been jamming a bit in my basement, and I had this case of DayGlo brand spray paint that had been given as payment for playing a gig. ‘Free publicity for a year!’ They said. And the guy goes ‘Here’s your free publicity kids.’ Just all these cases of DayGlo brand spray paint.

And it being DayGlo, I said, ‘We’ll be the DayGlo, and whatever the most frequently used word on the front page of the paper is.  And Henry Morgentaler’s clinic was in the news and all over the front page of the newspaper. Abortion, abortion, abortion! We thought ‘Haha, what a ridiculous name. DayGlo Abortions.’

KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?

MA: Kind of wash-overs from the 70’s or something like that. I was 20 when the DayGlos started, so I was already through my teens. I grew up with Black Sabbath, all that 70’s Metal. Then Punk started happening, and I guess I incorporated the two.  I don’t think were really very pure Punk band at all. Sort of Metal influenced and junk like that.                                                                                                                                                          I was worried at first. I remember thinking ‘Nobody is going to like this, it’s way too Metal.’ Or something like that.

KW: Some people think that the band is ‘fairly controversial.’ If we moved pass all that, what are you guys trying to convey in your words, in your music?

MA: There’s a mixture of things. One thing I sort of try to keep underlined is that we’re entertainers. Essentially, when it gets down to it. So we have to entertain people and be funny.

When I was a kid, I liked Frank Zappa a lot. And he was very sarcastic, but he also had social commentary.

And I have found that you can, under the guise of comedy, you can slide a little bit of politics in there that people might not otherwise accept.

If people are all defensive and everything like that; thinking that you are attacking their belief system or something, they shut it all out. But you get them softened up with some good jokes, they’ll suck it right up.

I do have kind of a direction. Really, if anything, I think it’s important for people that are artists or musicians of any kind, to try and spread the knowledge of how to make it. So I think it’s important to get out there and encourage kids how to play music. Because it’s a big deal. It’s the pinnacle of human existence, almost.  And it’s important to society, and everything. You can see how it affects the direction of the world. You have the ear of the youth too, which is a big thing. It’s either us or the advertisers.

KW: In my opinion, there’s not a lot of Canadian stuff. Like, not as much as you see American stuff.

MA: We’re very inundated by American media. Which just makes it more of a responsibility. I don’t really have solutions to things, but I do point out issues in society. And make fun of them.

(Both laugh.)

KW: What bands are you listening to right now?

MA: Right now? I listen to all kinds of weird stuff. A couple of D-beat bands like Tragedy, I like them quite a bit. We’ve done 12 or 13 shows with End Program from Oshawa-

KW: I listen to them too!

MA: They are one of the best bands in the country. They are so good.

KW: They’re amazing!

MA: They rock! And they’re really nice guys. Another band from around here, Go Die Scum. They’re pretty rockin’ as well. The coast has Life Against Death, a really good Grind band. With a female singer.

KW: With a female singer?! That’s awesome.

MA: It’s ass-kickin’. They’re actually on their second female singer, but she’s really good too. But it’s a bunch of different bands, and I like different kinds of music too. Pretty well anything that’s played from the heart. God, I can listen to disco if it’s being played well and played from the heart.

KW: As long as they’re honest about it.

MA: Exactly. And you can spot it a mile away.

KW: The name ‘The DayGlo Abortions’ is pretty revered in the Canadian Punk scene. When you started the band, did you think it was going to become what it is today?

MA: I thought we might get publicly stoned or something. Because our first stuff was really more a parody of Punk than Punk Rock itself. My thoughts were ‘Look at all these guys spitting on each other, sticking safety pins through their noses. It’s absurd!’

KW: It can be.

MA: It’s a f**kin’ fashion show when it gets down to stuff like that. And yeah, I didn’t expect to be super popular or anything like that. But I used to crack jokes at how what’s ‘unacceptable today’ will be common place. And it’s kinda funny how it turned out to be true. Everybody used to hate when we were starting out, but now, it doesn’t seem like anyone has a bad thing to say about the DayGlos anywhere. Now you have to something quite rash to get people going. I don’t know what you could do now, hehe.

KW: I know that the band is from British Columbia. What do you guys think of the Hamilton Punk scene?

MA: We haven’t been here in a couple of years, but we have friends in town. We have friends who have been members of the Forgotten Rebels, The Hammerboiz, and all those bands from around Hamilton.

KW: What keeps you into Punk Rock for all these years?

MA: I’m doing what I think I was meant to do. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I was going to play music. It’s also fun. And it’s rewarding, there is a phenomenal feeling to make music and hear it sung back to you. The levels of accomplishment that you can make too. Every time you finish something or write a song, you can feel really damn good about it. It’s horrifyling addictive, hahaha. The Punk community in itself is really wicked too. We’re heading over to Germany tomorrow afternoon, and it will be the same there. Very welcoming, we’ll see the town from the local’s point of view. It’s a wonderful thing. One of the fans will take us home, the mom will make us dinner. So it’s a mix, but that’s why.

KW: You are all about to play a very intimate show here at Crash Landing. But you have also played bigger venues. Is there a type of show you prefer to play?

MA: The big ones are weird, usually. Especially when you have security and you can’t see the crowd. It’s very impersonal.  Those are hard to do a good show at. The intimate shows, the basement shows, you’re in there. There isn’t any escaping it, hahaha. It’s terrifying sometimes, but the intimate shows are the most fun.  I have to say though, it’s nice to have a mixture.

KW: In your opinion, has Punk Rock changed for better or for worse since you started playing?

MA: Punk Rock has been consumed by the big machine. I don’t really look at it like original Punk Rock anymore. ‘Punk Rock Now’ sells cars, running shoes, and all that kinda crap.

But in many way it’s still there, pissed off and angry as ever, still doing the same kind of thing. I think it can shoot off into different genres. I think it’s as valid as it ever was, it’s just in very small, fringe bands.

Alot of people think Punk is dead, but it’s not.