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Katuwapitiya’s Canadian Music Week 2015 Preview

CMW 2015 Preview

It’s that time of year again: the sun is shining, the patios are open, and Canadian Music Week is about to take over Toronto. This year’s festival features over 1000 bands spread out across 60 venues throughout the city. The bars close at 4 AM, but the music is endless. For the first time, CMW has expanded their domination of the city to 10 days from May 1st to 10th, attracting massive international artists including Noel Gallagher, Of Monsters and Men, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. As well, the festival has a ton of great established Canadian artists such as Billy Talent, Monster Truck, Lights, k-os, The Trews, and hundreds more. Here’s just a taste of some of the lesser-known bands on their way to Toronto:

Betty and Oswald

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Betty and Oswald will be representing at the CMW 2015 Australian Showcase – a premier focus of this year’s festival. With constant lyrical imagery, the band portrays feelings of sunsoaked solitude. The playful chemistry between Claudia Aphrodite (Betty) and Pete Sot (Oswald) provides a contrast for the dramatic disparity within the songs themselves. There is an overwhelming sense of calmness and angst, regret and harmony, love and despair. Each of these is blended to create the unique sound that is Betty and Oswald. The band utilizes an immense array of instruments and audio techniques in their songs (including an accordion, kazoo, and megaphone), and it is refreshing to see such a collection of sounds presented in a modest fashion. Both lyrically and musically, Betty and Oswald create an ambiance that could be the soundtrack to the best or the worst day of your life.

Bloody Diamonds

Halifax natives and Toronto locals Bloody Diamonds bring a collection of loud, intense, riff-based songs and wailing vocals that invigorate everything that blues, punk, and metal music have in common:  pain, anger, distress, and a voice that will not be silenced. Brought together by vocalist Sarah Elizabeth and guitarist Jake Seaward, the band combines distorted, in-your-face blues with haunting vocals that range from powerful to delicate. Seaward’s guitar prowess is reminiscent of riff-based rock from the early 1970’s. With a heavy touring schedule since their formation in 2011, the band has spent the last few years thrashing their way across North America, leaving a collection of head-banging fans in their wake.

Busty and the Bass

A collection of nine like-minded musicians, Busty and the Bass met while attending McGill University in Montreal. The band combines elements of funk and soul music to create a sound perfect for an upbeat dance party. The addition of electronic vocals and rap verses blends Busty and the Bass into a supergroup unbound by the restrictions of genre or style. With a great deal of local success, including being named the winner of CBC’s “Rock your Campus” competition, the band has gained a following with their unique sound and energetic attitude.

The Party on High Street

West Coast Canadians The Party on High Street combine acoustic funk and ska rhythms with catchy rap-rock verses and hilarious stories to make every show a party. Perfect for a sweaty basement venue or a bonfire in the middle of nowhere, The Party on High Street will get everyone in attendance on their feet and moving.  If that’s not enough, their quirky stories are sure to win over even the most cynical concert-goer, especially gems such as “when will the cops understand, if we were smuggling drugs, we wouldn’t dress like a band.”

The Muscadettes

Montreal rockers The Muscadettes show us what happens when hard-hitting rock music hits the beach. Fronted by twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge, the band has a lo-fi sound that melds perfectly with the garage/grunge vibe. Most of the intense, guitar-heavy songs ring in at less than three minutes, which nails the take-it-or-leave-it attitude the band personifies. Ambridge’s vocals conquer the fast-paced drums and electric guitar with a sense of nonchalance, creating a sound of a band that is set to explode, both literally and figuratively.

CMW Wristbands are just $75 until April 30th – you can buy wristbands and check out the full lineup and schedule here.

-Micheal Vipond
Katuwapitiya.com Contributor

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Some of the best bands you might not yet know at Canadian Music Week 2014

2014 Canadian Music Week

 

Canadian Music Week takes over Toronto May 6th-May 10th this year, hopefully leading to significantly nicer patio weather than when it was held in March in previous years. With hundreds of bands across dozens of venues downtown, CMW is one of Canada’s largest and oldest annual music festivals. If you’ve got a wristband and a pocket full of TTC tokens, here are a few of the best acts you can find off the beaten trail:

Paula Gomez – Singer/Songwriter

Hailing from across the pond, Irish singer-songwriter Paula Gomez combines her skillful percussive guitar work with dark and soulful vocals that fill one with longing. This captivating sound is hypnotizing and intimate in a way that feels like she could be playing in your living room or on the small stage at your favourite bar. Versatile and unrestricted by the boundaries of genre, Gomez’s music ranges from blues to country to folk, creating a sound that can be enjoyed by any fan of acoustic music. Gomez is kicking off CMW as the opening act of one of the strongest folk showcases of CMW. Check her out at 7 PM at the Cameron House on Tuesday May 6th.

 

The Rathburns – Rock/Blues

Toronto natives The Rathburns embrace the whiskey-soaked, smoke-filled lifestyle of dark, grungy blues. Passionate and raw, the band forces their high-energy set on anyone in the room, making it almost impossible not to groove along with them. Built on a simple foundation of classic blues rhythms, the band throws impressive guitar licks and shrieking vocals on top, which help them stand out from pack, thrusting their musical skills into the forefront. The result is an aggressive but addictive sound of musical ferocity. If you’re looking for an intense, sweaty show, check out The Rathburns as they tear apart the Bovine Sex Club, May 6th at 1 AM.

 

The Beer Patrice – Hardcore Funky Punk

St. John’s band The Beer Patrice combine hardcore punk rhythms with funk music and doo-wop vocals, resulting in an intense sound that somehow manages to get you snapping your fingers and tapping your feet. With more than half their songs coming in at under two minutes, the band often adds high levels of distortion and wailing vocals to cram five minutes of energy into a two minute blast.  However, they also have a lighter side where they embrace the vocal aspects of traditional doo-wop music, putting their punk-rock spin on the lyrics to create a sound of chaotic tranquility. From the lighthearted “Zombie II” to the destructive “Changin’ the World, Doin’ Stuff,” the band’s contrasting sounds from song to song keep the show interesting and dynamic. For one of the most versatile bands at CMW, check out The Beer Patrice at Rancho Relaxo, Thursday May 8that 11 PM.

 Maylee Todd – Pop/Soul

Local artist Maylee Todd takes the stage Thursday May 8th at 9 PM at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Todd draws from soul and blues, as well as electronic and pop, to create a sound that I can only describe as modern and full of nostalgia. Her lyrics are full of honesty and creativity and her vocal talent is simply mesmerizing. With her quirky and fun attitude, Todd’s live show reflects a feeling of sincerity. It’s been several years since the debut of Todd’s first album Choose Your Own Adventure, and she has since received international recognition from a variety of sources. With the talent to make every show and every song feel like its own intimate experience, the chance to see her live at a venue such as the Horseshoe is almost too good to pass up.

GRUVE – Funk/Rock

GRUVE has been a familiar name on the Canadian music scene for several years. Their funk/rock style and raspy distortion live up to their name, resulting in a sound that is infectious. Think of the best band you’ve ever seen in a dirty basement bar after midnight and you’ll have an understanding of GRUVE and their style. Combining heavy guitar riffs with rumbling vocals, they take the essence of hard rock FM radio and pour it into everything they do. Their live show has been polished over years of touring, leading to what will likely be an epic experience at the Underground Garage on Friday May 9th, at 2 AM.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Psychedelic/Punk

Coming to Toronto from down under, Australian rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a massive seven-piece band with influences ranging from the early punk revolution and psychedelic rock to modern garage and surf music. Full of reverb and distortion, the band’s set feels like one never-ending explosion of psychedelic passion.  Despite having seven contributing members, the band’s sound is graceful in its complexity, showcasing the true skill these guys have as musicians. With a repertoire filled with sing-a-long tunes and crowd-surfing gems, King Gizzard shows are one big party. Playing a whopping three times at CMW, King Gizzard can be seen Friday May 9th at the Hideout at 10 PM. If you dig their sound, you can check them out twice on Saturday May 10th, first at 4 PM at the Horseshoe for the Aussie BBQ Showcase as well as at Wrongbar at 11 PM.

-Micheal Vipond
Katuwapitiya.com Contributor

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The Tontons – Magic Hour

Fresh off the release of their second full-length album Make Out King and Other Stories of Love, Houston rockers The Tontons are gaining quite a following South of the border. The upbeat electro-rock sound from guitarist Adam Martinez is addicting when combined with the soulful vocals from Asli Omar and the tight rhythm section made up of Tom Nguyen on bass and Justin Martinez on drums. After tearing up SXSW earlier this month, The Tontons are proving why they deserve an international audience. “Magic Hour”, the debut track on their newest album, opens with flare and snags the listener with a fast-paced rhythm and piercing lead guitar riff. Omar’s sensual vocals are showcased throughout the song, providing a feeling of emotional longing that mixes well with the driving guitar sound. We’re certainly looking forward to hearing more.

-Micheal Vipond
Katuwapitiya.com Contributor

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An Interview With FDJT

London's FDJT

London-raised DJ/Producer Jesse Figueiredo has seen himself steadily climbing the ranks of playing local house parties and bars to opening for such headlining acts as Felix Cartal and Vicetone, to achieving billing on this weekend’s first annual Aries Music Festival in London, ON. We recently chatted with Jesse to gain insight on his influences, production methods, and the music industry, itself. Just don’t ask him to choose between Favre or Rodgers…

Who are you?
My artist name is FDJT, which is pronounced as “Fidget”. But to friends and family, I’m just Jesse Figueiredo.

How would you best describe your sound, or production methods? To whom might you be compared (or perhaps contrasted)?
I am frequently compared to Deadmau5, which is both a blessing and a curse. I think this stems from my production methods mostly, as I like to make very melodical, progressive music. A lot of my synth work sounds very analog, as well, which is a signature of his since most of his stuff is actually analog. So, I love the comparison in that sense.

Mind explaining where the ‘FDJT’ alias came from? And how important is the artist handle to the process of establishing your musical ‘identity’?
It’s really not as amusing a story as most people would think. When I was first starting out at house parties, a lot of my friends would call me “Figgit”. One night, someone misheard one of friends and started calling me “Fidget” all night, and it just kind of stuck since I’m a fairly energetic person. From that I tried to think of a catchy way to separate it, and something that would be alone when you Google searched it. Thus, “FDJT” was born.

What sort of music did you enjoy throughout your youth?
Pretty much anything and everything. I listened to some terrible, terrible music at times, but I enjoyed it, so I didn’t let opinions stop me from listening to it. I would listen to anything from Big L, to Blink 182, to Armin Van Buuren. If it made me happy, it was on my iPod (or CD player, haha).

What drew you to the world of electronic music? What artists were seminal in capturing and holding your interest?
I’ve always had a passion for electronic music. I never would have said it was my genre of choice during my teens, but something always caught my ear when I’d hear it. On the production side of things, my heart has always been in piano, which is a crucial tool in producing electronic music. Once I got my hands on my first DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), there was no turning back. Everything felt very easy to me, and I knew I had found something I could run with.

As for what really captured me about electronic music: it was the scene at the time. It had a very underground family vibe to it in 2008-2010. You could tell it was about to explode. People you had just met would treat you like family, and everyone had one common goal: to just have a good time.

Asides from electronic music, what other interests or influences do you have?
I take influences from anything and everything. I find video game soundtracks are very underappreciated in their beauty and composition; I’ll often be playing a game and think of a piece to build around it. I find the best way to find inspiration is to often let it come to you, as taking a step back has often led to my biggest breakthroughs.

How difficult has it been to find ‘success’ in this field, having to largely produce and promote your own work before being signed to CDN Entertainment? How much of a role has social media played in helping to find, and hold, your audience?
Social media is absolutely everything nowadays. This industry is cutthroat and I had to play a LOT of shows for simple drink money before anyone even knew I was a DJ, let alone a producer. I often tell people right now that, the way the industry is, it’s less what you know and more who you know. People are booked simply based on Facebook ‘Likes’ or Instagram followers with no regard for talent. A huge problem right now is people buying fake fans and Likes for social media outlets. CDN Entertainment has been a crucial part to my success and I don’t go a day without thanking them for everything they’ve done. They’re like family to me. It’s a dark reality, but talent will only get you so far these days, and it’s the sad truth.

Speaking of ‘success’, what, to you, would be deemed ‘successful’? What propels you to create and perform this music?
Success to me is being able to do what I love and pay bills. People constantly ask me if I think I’m going to be famous, and I tell them that I really couldn’t care. As long as people are enjoying my music, and I can afford a decent lifestyle, then I am more than happy. I have no interest in making what is “popular” in order to make a few extra bucks.

Do you feel the relative ease of accessibility to technology used in electronic music production (i.e., laptops, computer software) is making it easier for blooming artists to get noticed, or more difficult (due to how many are now appearing)?
It could go either way, honestly. A lot of people catch flack for the type of equipment they use unless it’s vinyl. Advancements in technology have made DJing a lot easier, so people who actually have a ton of talent are sometimes lost in a crowd of DJs playing a bunch of bootlegs and hitting the ‘Sync’ button. If you use the technology to be more creative, that’s awesome, but a ton of people are just lazy. It’s really not hard to beat match.

How do you feel about being on the billing for the first annual Aries Music Festival in London? What emotions or feelings come to you at this moment?
Excitement. The last 6-8 months have been an absolute blur, and this is kind of an accumulation of all that hard work. When doing opening sets and other things at various venues, you often have to cater to a certain style. At Aries, I can be myself. I’m not opening, and it’s not some club that likes specific types of music, I get to be an artist and play what I’d like.

Do you prefer producing music at home or performing for a live audience?
They both have their pluses. When you are producing at home and you know you’ve perfected something, it’s an absolute thrilling experience. Producers have a rule of thumb that basically says, “Goosebumps don’t lie”. At the same time, performing in front of audiences of 1000+ people is absolutely jaw dropping at some moments. Cutting out vocals and allowing everyone to sing them to you is an experience you can’t quite describe. The same goes for building the audience up over a period of time just to see the exact moment it hits, and the reaction they give. It’s awesome.

What’s the most memorable live moment you can think of?
Most recently I opened up for Vicetone and a few points of my set were definitely moments I won’t forget anytime soon. I got the chance to play my remix of Kaskade’s ‘Atmosphere’, and the crowd went absolutely nuts, singing an entire verse. That was absolutely nuts. Then, because I’ve always wanted to be able to play ‘Strobe’ by Deadmau5—as it’s been a huge influence on my career and is what I’d consider one of the best progressive songs ever made—I did play at the end of my set. The mood was just right, I went for it, and have no regrets. It was beautiful.

What’s in store for the future? Any new material to look out for?
I don’t like to look too far ahead as that can sometimes lead to disappointment, but I always have new songs in the works. In the past I was bad for putting up too many previews which caused the launch of songs to not have as much punch as I would have liked, so on I’m holding back on my next EP until the entirety of it is done. Expect a few commercial remixes to be released as long as I don’t run into copyright issues… As for shows, I’ll be branching out to surrounding cities this summer, so hopefully I can expand my fanbase a bit.

You can live inside one video game world. Which one, and why?
Damn, that’s a tough one, but I’d have to go with Hyrule. I have an insane love for anything Zelda-related, but at the same time, somewhere like Kanto would be awesome too because, I mean… C’mon, Pokémon.

You can musically collaborate with up to three different living producers or artists. Who?
Elton John, Sam Roberts, and Kaskade. Although if I could bring back Jimi Hendrix or Freddie Mercury…

Who is your spirit animal?
According to a test I just took, a bear. But I honestly have no idea, haha.

Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers?
You don’t wanna go there, haha. It’s hard to not pick Favre since he is a legend and did a ton for the franchise, but I see Aaron Rodgers having a better career. So right now, Brett Favre; in the long run, Aaron Rodgers. Can I do that?

If you had to become famous/successful in any other field but music, what would it be?
I’d love to be a comedian, or an actor. Some kind of performing art. Honestly, as long as I make money doing something I love, I won’t complain too much.

FDJT will be playing at the London Music Hall on Saturday, April 5th, as part of the two-day, first annual Aries Music Festival in London, ON. Tickets are $55. 19+ event.

-Tim Nicodemo
Katuwapitiya.com Contributor

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Zoo Legacy – CRWD

Some fresh new material from Ottawa’s Zoo Legacy. Live instrumentation hip hop is getting harder and harder to find but there’s something about real drums and guitar that you just can’t get from sampling. The band will be recording its third EP this April with Juno award-winning producer Gus Van Go (The Stills, Said the Whale, The Trews, Hollerado, etc.) and Ottawa’s Steve Foley (Big Boi, Tyga).  To help fund this, ZL has launched a kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for which they’re already aiming for a stretch target. You can also see them at Canadian Music Week (dates to be announced).

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