Thunder Issue 16

*NOTE: Due to a mis-count, Simon Marshall’s issue wold have been Thunder Issue 15, not 13 as it is written. Sorry about that!

This interview, when it happened, could not have had me any more nervous.

Chris Walter, who is known as a writer of Punk Rock fiction and nonfiction, is someone I really respect.

As always in my mind though, I jumped to worst case scenario. (I call it my case of the ‘What Ifs?’)

What if I stumbled over my words so bad, I couldn’t get a sentence out; let alone an interview?

What if I had a really bad panic attack and had to leave? (It’s happened before.)

Or; an extreme What If:  What If Chris Walter was really snooty?

As usual, my worry blows thing way out of proportion. Chris was fantastic to interview, and it was great to meet a fellow writer.

*Note: I did this interview in two part. Asking some questions during the Q&A, and later on one on one.

During Q&A:

KW: I was wondering; I was told that you started out by writing a zine. What was your zine like? What was it about?

CW: In 1982, I was trying to hack it together on a borrowed typewriter and you know, my friend asked me ‘What are yo doing?’ And I told him, ‘I’m going to write a fan zine.’ And he said ‘What are you going to call it?’ and I said I’m going to call it ‘Pages Of Rage.’ So he said, ‘Oh, o.k.’ I thought for sure he was going to tell I was an idiot and that it was never going to work, because that’s what he generally used to tell me. But he didn’t discourage me for it, so we actually got it together. You know, we misspelled, mistyped, and we took it down to the library and collated the thing. I was surprised when we actually sold it all for a dollar a copy. You couldn’t do that nowadays, because alot of stuff is paid for by the advertising. The first few issues were really crappy photocopy jobs, but an overachiever friend of mine, he had it printed in a place in town that used offset printing, and we started doing runs of a thousand, distributing them all over North America. And I was surprised at the success we were getting. But then we realized it was alot like real work. And that was kind of a problem. So we stopped doing it. (Laughs in room.)

 

KW: How do you pick the bands you write about?

CW: I thought I’d pick bands maybe I knew personally. And bands I listen to. And SNFU, Personality Crisis, and DayGlo Abortions certainly fit those catrgories. I also wanted to cover Canadian bands first, but I’m not going to limit mysef to them. Personally, I’m running out of bands that fit the criteria, so my next book might be about a British or American band. But I wanted to cover the Canadian stuff that was important to me first.

 

During One On One:

KW: How do you get started when you start a story or subject? Do you start on paper, on a computer?….

CW: On a computer. I used to write stuff by hand before I had a computer, but that’s the hard way to do it. You know, I revise and edit so much, it’s carpal tunnel material.

KW: How do you pick a subject for a book that you’re working on?

CW: I try to go with what’s currently happening in the scene, and who’s active and put out a new album. I just listen around and see who’s doing what. You do stories around them, not some band that broke up 10 years ago. You know what I mean right? Isn’t that what you do?

KW: What made you want to write about SNFU?

CW: They’ve been around for 30 years, influenced people all over the world, hell I’ve known two of the members for 30 years so it made perfect sense to do it.

 

KW: What makes you want to write about Punk in Canada?

CW: I’ll write about Punk anywhere, but Canada is where I live. My next book might not be about a Canadian Punk band, but I wrote aboutte bands that were important to me first.

KW: I know you just completed a project, but I have to ask. Do you anything for a next book in mind?

CW: I have a few ideas. A few bands I’m considering. But I won’t say who they are until it’s finalized.

KW: You write fiction and nonfiction. Is there one genre you perfer?

CW: They’re both so different. Like fiction is great because you can explore your creativity. But I also like writing nonficition. It’s rewarding to do music biographies because you learn so much about the bands you like. It’s a learning process.

KW:Did you think that when you started writing it would ever come to this point?

CW: No. I had no idea. I was writing because I had nothing better to do. But I knew I had to do something because I felt like I was wasting my life.

(After that we exchanged good-byes, as Chris had to go.)

You can get Chris’s books here in Hamilton,Ontario, Canada at Crash Landing Punk and Music store or at Hammer City Records.

Or to get an idea of his books, hit up punkbooks.com

SOME BANDS TO WATCH:

Frankie and Jimmy.

Even though they are a duo, this pair kicks some major musical a*s. (They make as much noise as a band.)

They’re unique, as they aim to blend Punk and Classic Blues with guitar, a harmonica, and a voice that won’t be forgotten soon.

They have a free download. Their rendition of ‘Maggie Campbell Blues’ available on Bandcamp.com.

frankieandjimmy.bandcamp.com.

Dismantle.

A band I have yet to see, (and I look forward to when I do), Dismantle sounds like Hamilton. I know you probably ask how, but just go with me on this.  They’re Punk, they’re gritty, they’re great. And their 2 free downloads are available at:

dismantle.bandcamp.com

Spanner.

They’re from the U.K, but Spanner have been making waves in my scene. Quite a few people talk up this Ska-Punk band, and for good reason. Their music covers everything border patrols to the government and other important issues, all set to awesome music. They have a 13 track album up free at: rebeltimerecords.bandcamp.com

SOME UPCOMING SHOWS/ EVENTS:

As it’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, the Lyric Theatre will be hosting it’s monthly Youth Poetry Slam and Open Mic. Not to mention it’s workshop with the featured poet. (This month it’s Lisa Slater.) Things kick off at 6pm for the workshop, 7pm for the poetry. Admission is $2 for 18 and under, $5 for 19 and over.

Janice Lee and The Free Rads play the Artword Artbar on January 18th with Lorimer Longhaul, Jon The Bassit and more. The event is Pay What You Can, and gets started at 8pm. I don’t know if it’s All-Ages or not.

Panzerfaust, Unbowed, Erimha, and Necrodios play the Doors Pub January 18th. It’s $12 at the door, $8 for advance tickets. (Advance tickets can be purchased at Dr. Disc or at Hammer City Records.) This event is 19+, and starts at 8pm.

In response to recent crimes that have taken place in the city, this months Slamfest (we’re at number 19. Awesome!) will have an anti-violence theme. I’m always a big advocate for Slamfest, but I especially encourage attending this one. Slamfest starts at 3pm, admission is $6, and this show is All-Ages.

This issue I would like to thank:

Chris Walter, for agreeing to be interviewed
Suzanne Kirkwood and Chris Crash for helping to get me this interview
My Mom and Dad
My Friends
Anyone who reads this zine
The City Of Hamilton

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Thunder Issue 15

Since I saw them a week before my birthday in September 2011, Adelleda has been one of my favorite Hamilton Punk bands.

They have great songs, superb musicianship, and what they stand for is simple but inspiring. Hamilton and audience inclusion in the show. (The audience is encouraged to join in on songs, whether on the floor or on stage.

That’s why I thought it would be fantastic when Simon Marshall, Adelleda’s drummer, volunteered to give an interview over email for Thunder’s one year anniversary.

And the interview is pretty awesome. After that, I’ll doing something a little different here and in other issues. Instead of making interested people search out the band, I’ll be putting a link to the band’s page online page. (Where I can. Some bands I’ve even had trouble locating.)

I’ll also have some new band recommendations, and links to them.

Best part? Most stuff I listen to is legal AND free!

Here’s the interview. Enjoy:

KW: How did you become interested in Punk Rock?

SM: It all started after hearing Green Day’s Dookie  at the ripe age of 12.  Later that year Rancid’s ..And Out Come The Wolves found its way into my tape deck and I was locked in for life.  Now I’m 28 and still get the same feeling when I hear those albums.

KW: At what age did you start playing drums?

SM: Believe it or not, I had always been a guitar player.  After earning my first pay check ever at a part-time grocery store job, I put a deposit down on a vintage Ludwig kit and that’s how it started.  I was 17 and starting to play drums in punk bands.

KW: Simon, you are, (and have been), in quite a few Punk bands. What is something you have learned from each one?

SM: Whether its punk rock, hardcore, skate punk, old school, new school, whatever, I’ve learned to mesh with a variety of backgrounds.  I love to take something away with me and incorporate it into the next band.  Recently I’ve heard some hilarious stories while playing with Glen and Crash in Hamilton Defence Army.  At a rehearsal Crash was telling me about being a young punk out for a drink with his old man when a group of drunken hillbillies started heckling him from across the bar.  He got so fed up with their antics that he went right over to their table, outnumbered of course and called them out.  It went something like this:

Crash – “Yeah I hear you talking about me.  So here I am.  What’s up?”

Hillbillies – (Looks surprised then long pause) “Your style.  What are you?”

Crash – “Canadian”.

They were so taken back that they ended up buying him and his old man pitchers of beer!  I want to write a song about that some day.  When you play in bands with older dudes I think it’s important to absorb much of what they have to say and learn from them.

KW: How do you think Punk Rock has changed since you became interested in it?

SM: The internet has made it so dispensable now.  You used to find out about bands by going to shows and signing up for mailing lists.  Now it’s all at your fingertips.  You don’t have to dig as deep anymore and because of that I think fewer people actually go to shows just cause there’s a show in town.

KW: My next few questions will focus on Adelleda specifically. Now, Adelleda touts themselves as Hamilton proud. What is your opinion of the city, and the music it produces?

SM: Hamilton will always be my home and the guys in Adelleda really respect this city.  In my opinion there is a level of culture and history here that can’t be compared to in surrounding cities.  That’s what the song “Champion” is about on the new Adelleda E.P “Let’s talk about Adelleda”.  It’s our anthem for Hamilton.  We all know the city is a hub for touring bands which is great for not having to travel to Toronto.  We have a lot of great local talent here to open up the shows.  Some Hamilton punk bands that I’ve been listening to lately include: Wiggler and the Tiny Humans, Born Wrong, The Pre Nods, Web Society, NOT and The Steeltown Spoilers.

KW: Adelleda are a band, (I think), that works to include their fans in their shows, music, etc. How would you describe the band, in your own words?

SM: When I go see bands, I don’t want to just see music being played, I want a show!  During an Adelleda set we want to give you a show.  Our goal is to have everyone into it as much as we are.  When everyone’s feet are on the ground at the same time, we know we must be off the stage.  During our sets we invite our friends up to sing along (See our Bro Hymn cover by Pennywise).  Often times the guys play from the crowd.  One of these days I’m going to set my kit up from the crowd.

KW: Who are you listening to right now?

SM: I’ve been listening to a lot of Banner Pilot lately.  I just saw them at the Fest and they dazzled me so much that I just had to have their whole discography.  I guess it’s a custom at their shows for you to shake up your tall cans and spray each other in the crowd while they play.

You can check out Adelleda at:   adelledapunk.bandcamp.com.

There, you can download their debut Herkimer Street and ‘5 Months In England’ from the E.P ‘Let’s Talk About Adelleda’ for free.

SOME BANDS TO WATCH:

The Drunken Knights.

I got a band pin from member Jsn ‘Disease’ Batista at this year’s Rebel Fest, (which falls in the spring), and was wondering what had become of the band. Well, I got my answer a few days ago in the form of this E.P.  5 tracks of crunchy guitars, thudding drums, a thundering bass, and enough topics to hook almost every kind of Punk listener. The E.P, entitled One Drunken Knight e.p, is available for free at: oithedrunkenknights.bandcamp.com

Rising Crust.

Playing with words, Rising Crust is a band that combines Hardcore and Metal; (awesome), and pizza is their theme. (Awesome too.) I got an e.p off their Bandc*mp page a while ago, but now there is only one song. Still, one song is better than none, as this track in particular seems to bring together elements of Punk, Metal, and even ambient music.

You can get a free track at:  risingcrust.bandcamp.com

Debt’d.

While a lot of Punk bands seem happy to play it loud, (and they sound great that way), Debt’d take it in the opposite direction. Sure, their sound is full and could be loud if turned up, but this is lo-fi at it’s best. Lyric-wise, this band covers A TON of content, from personal lives to not exactly loving authority.

Debt’d have 2 free releases, and they are available at: debtd.bandcamp.com.

SOME UPCOMING SHOWS:

Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans; and The F*ckholes, open for none other than Punk/ New Wave legends The Rezillos at This Ain’t Hollywood on November 23rd. I have a start time of 9pm and an admission price of around $20.

Dismantle, Debt’d, Born Wrong, and At What Cost play the 17th edition of Sunday Slamfest. Always reliable, admission is $6, bands start at 3pm, and the location is This Ain’t Hollywood. That’s Novermber 25th.

For more shows, I definitely recommend checking your local listings or asking friends. (The last one is especially interesting. Half the shows I go to aren’t even in listings and I wouldn’t know about if not for friends.)

This issue, I would like to thank:

Simon Marshall

Adelleda

The City Of Hamilton

The Province of Ontario

All my family

All my friends

Everyone who reads this zine, no matter what format they read.

This has been a Made Of Steeltown Publication.

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.

 

Thunder Issue 11. Part 2.

And now we come to the second part of the issue.

Here, I interviewed guitarist Alex Crosty electronically because he had just recovered from an injury.

KW: How did Gatling form?

AC: It really just formed from me and Alex Sallas screwing around and writing songs when we were a lot younger. Eventually we gave a name to our brainchild and added new members as time went on.

KW: How would you describe the sound of the band, yourself?

AC: Hm, I’d say the music is presented as straight up progressive metal, but the band has a wide variety of influences that you can sometimes hear in the music such as post-hardcore and even a sprinkle of jazz.

KW: I know you are one of the guitar players in the band. When did you learn to play?

AC: I started out as a drummer, after about 5 years of drumming my dad forced a guitar on me when I was 12 or 13.  I’m really glad he introduced me to the instrument though!

KW: That’s kind of weird. Why did he force it on you?

AC: Well he wanted me to play guitar instead of having to lug around drums all the time, and to get a knowledge of scales and how music works.  Maybe forced is the wrong word, but he pushed me in the right direction.

KW: Oh I see. So, you can play drums and guitar. Can you play any other instruments?.

AC: I can play bass to a certain degree, I sing, and I have pretty basic piano skills. (Nothing special).

KW: WOW!

Music is obviously a big part of your life.  Who are you listening to right now?

AC: Honestly everything I listen to is so varied.I realized that getting a nice selection of all sorts of music across every genre is important if you want to create something really special yourself. Influences always effect your music.

I listen to a lot of metal obviously, and even things like rap, jazz, pop, post-hardcore anyone that I feel has the talent and can grab my attention, regardless of genre.

KW: Is there anyone you look up to, as either a drummer or a guitarist?

AC: Oh totally. While technical skill impresses me, I usually end up being influenced by the musicians who wrote some of my favourite songs of all time. I guess off the top of my head some of those would be Misha Mansoor of Periphery and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria in terms of guitar. And Jonny Craig as a vocalist, love that guy.

KW: You guys recently played a show at the Mod Club, but you guys have also played more intimate shows at smaller venues. Is there a type of show you prefer to play?

AC: Hm, it’s really hard to decide for me. I mean I wouldn’t call MOD club small but, it’s intimate in a way a venue like 24/7 isn’t. It really depends where the stage is and how the room is set up. And if it gives you the most leeway to interact with people, because interaction with the crowd is almost as important as the performance itself.

KW: You guys just released Beforemath, but you went about it in such a way that it was unique. (Going through Rockband, etc.) What do you think the response has been to the album?

AC: Well, the Rockband players have enjoyed Absolute and they’ve all noted the changes and improvements we’ve made from our debut to Beforemath. Overall, while I’m looking for more opinions of the album it has been pretty awesome. People seem to like it for the unique touch we put on it.

KW: How long did the recording of Beforemath take?

AC: We recorded the album in about 2 weeks. But the writing process and preparing took us almost two years due to multiple hurdles we faced as a band over time.

KW: Why are you a musician?

AC: Oh damn. Well most people would come up with some sort of complex and articulate answer to that question. But I guess I’m a fan of all art forms, I’ve dabbled in most of them, but music just seems to be my calling and it’s the medium I am the most talented at.

KW: It’s an honest answer. At least you didn’t say ‘Kristine, I was chosen to save rock ‘n’ roll.’.

AC: Hahahaha. I’d deserve a kick in the face if that was my answer.

 

This issue we would like to thank:

Alex Sallas

Alex Crosty

Absinthe

The city of Hamilton

 

 

 

 

 

Thunder Issue 11. Part 1.

Lately, Thunder is becoming something of a real publication.

Me and my partner are adding more graphics, adding more options for covers, making sure there are photos, and the like.

But the part I am most proud of is how we’re branching out interview wise. We’re taking more opportunities as they come to us, and we are interviewing bands outside of the Punk genre.

Take this issue. The interview is with two members of Gatling. Gatling is a four piece, Progressive Metal band from Ontario who released their album Beforemath in April. The two members I spoke with are Alex Sallas, the drummer and Alex Crosty, one of the guitarists. I spoke with Alex Sallas after his solo show at Absinthe, and Alex Crosty shortly after an injury to his hand.

Here are the interviews, finally in there finished form.

(*Note: The opinions are those of the people providing them, and are protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Section 2 B.)

Interview with Alex Sallas:

KW: How did Gatling form?

AS: Me and the guitar player who cut his hand were talking on MSN. We both played in cover bands, and we didn’t really like it. So we started talking and ended up forming a band. And I went to his house, and he has a recording studio in his basement. We ended up recording 19 songs in one night, because we were so ‘musically inclined.’ This would have been 2007, because we were 13. And basically, it went from there. We kept playing as a two piece for two years, played a couple shows, realized we needed to get more members. Added a bass player, played more shows, added a singer. When we added Elliot, the singer, it kind of changed us. We became more progressive. Whereas before we were just throwing a bunch of stuff together. Because we would play anything. Techno, opera, as you heard tonight, Metal, anything. Basically, we played anything. But when we added him, we became unified. The current status is I’m playing a solo show and they’re all at home. (Laughs.)

KW: How would you describe the sound of the band, yourself?

AS: Four monkeys. One of whom is beating on pans really hard. One of whom is kind of yammering chords out on a ukulele, but it’s a guitar that sounds like a ukulele. One who cuts his finger so he only plays with three fingers. And a bass player who texts during our shows. Because he is so bored, he’s playing and he’s texting. (Laughs.)

KW: When did you learn to play drums?

AS: I started when I was about 10. Just on a kids kit you get from Lo*g and McQua*e. I started playing on that, and I really liked it, so I kept playing. I never actually took a drum lesson, I sort taught myself how to play and moved up to a bigger kit. And I practice for about an hour a day.

KW: When did you start playing guitar?

AS: Around the same time, actually. I took guitar lessons for like 7 years, and I kind of did both at the same time. That’s when I started playing guitar, and I still play it today.

KW: I know that you play Metal, but what kind of music are you listening to right now?

AS: Oh my God, I listen to everything. It’s really kind of weird, I listen to albums by year and I’ll keep track of a list of albums I’ve heard. So last year, I listened to about 85 albums. And my favorite ones were ‘The Collective’ by Scale  The Summit, which is a really awesome instrumental band. There’s a band called Septic Flesh, who are from Greece and they play Death Metal with an orchestra behind them. And right now I’m listening to Faith No More, they’re always on my list. I listen to all new music, and I give it all a chance. So I have a lot of favorite ones.

KW: Is there anybody that you look up to as a drummer?

AS: Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree is one of favorite drummers. Also Martin Lopez from Opeth. He has a lot of Latin rhythms in his playing, which I like.

KW: I know you guys have recently played a show at the Mod Club, and now you’re doing some smaller-scale shows here in Hamilton. Is there a type of show that you prefer to play?

AS: Hum… The ones with the most people are the best to play because you’ll get the biggest reaction. So, generally, bigger venues are more fun to play because they can fit more people. But when you’re as unknown as we are, it really makes no difference. So the more people there are, the more I love playing the show.

KW: I know recently you guys released Beforemath. But you guys went about it in such a way that it was unique. (Releasing the songs through Xbox’s Rockband, etc.) What do you think the reaction has been?

AS: I’ve found a couple of reviews and they’ve been pretty positive. And from perusing random YouTube comments, people seem to like it a lot. So it’s been positive in regards to it. But even if they weren’t, I’m still happy anyway.

KW: Why are you a musician?

AS: Because I love music. It’s definitely not for anything but the passion! Haha. I certainly make no profit at it, financially that is.

(Some changes have had to be made for clarifcation. You can listen to the entire audio interview here: http://youtu.be/P2DVbkZT_QA)