How would you describe your music?
Mood-wise, it’s sugary snark. Lyrically, the content is sad but hopeful. Genre-wise it has elements of punk rock, ska and 50’s styled 3 part harmony & doo-wop.
Tell us about the history of the band?
I currently don’t have an official band line-up. This is one of my 3 studio projects and I mainly hire, and work with, session musicians. I’ve been recording music on and off since I was a teenager but I took a break from it in 2009 after I moved from New Brunswick to Alberta. While living in Edmonton, I became active as a visual artist and as of 2016 I started to seriously get back into music.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
For this project, the main influence still stems from the variety of artists I’d listen to when I was young, on a radio program called Finkleman’s 45s.
What inspires you?
Anything that has evoked a powerful emotion or is an interesting life experience. Stories that people share with me can sometimes become songs, such as ‘Penny for your Thoughts’, which is based on a woman I worked with named Penny. ‘Simple Social Tragedy’ is actually about one of my own experiences. I had this one guy that harassed me in a bar to the point where I thought it had to have been a dare. He was relentless. Machine gun level intensity. I really wish I could remember his name, I’d have named the song after him.
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
My writing happens randomly. I can say that I rarely set out to write a song. Probably a very unprofessional statement I realize, as most artists write numerous songs and select only the best ones to record, but for me it’s mostly a spontaneous thing. I also record my material regardless of whether it’s technically a great song or not because every story is worth telling even if it hasn’t any “hit” potential. Besides, you never know what people may like.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Whichever is the newest written song, simply because it’s new. Although, I am planning on choreographing a live swing performance for Land Mine. Then that one will be my favorite to perform.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I don’t have a dream tour I’d want to join per se, but I would like to create a tour that conceptually had a traveling circus vibe and which, aside from musical performances, would have a fine art and film component. Perhaps doing music tours hosted in galleries equipped with event stages, on dates corresponding with gallery openings would be more practical, but if it could be part of a traveling festival with the aesthetic look of a circus it would probably amuse me more.
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
If you’re asking about my thoughts on the current sexual harassment issues being addressed within the music industry, I’d say I’m glad that it’s being outed. I think the more people collectively and publicly revolt on something, which has for years been accepted as par for the course, the more likely things are going to actually change.
If you want to know my thoughts on the music industry overall, I’ll share 4 experiences I’ve had with it and let you imagine what my thoughts are.
1. I was once invited by an A&R rep from EMI to fly down and meet with some songwriters to kind of see where things would go. There was a gap in the market for a particular type of music artist and if things worked out, then I might be a good fit to be styled and allocated to one of the labels’ divisions, as they needed someone to compete with another labels artist. There was basically just a need for a warm body to play a part and who would inevitably be willing to sign over a large percentage of royalties and surrender creative control for the chance to be famous.
2. I once was performing at one of those televised “discover the next big band” type shows, where they have judges that will award a music development package to the winner and the public gets to see them get discovered and watch the newly discovered band rise to fame.
One of the music industry judges was a doll and let me have an honest peek behind the curtain. He showed me his judge sheet, how they basically just draw circles on it while myself and the other bands performed because one band, who was already predetermined to win, was pretty much the whole reason for the event. It was essentially a faux organic way to “discover” a band and introduce them to the public, since the publicity and ability to gauge audience response alleviates some of the financial risk for the label who had already planned to sign them.
3. Recently I had to call Sony Music because I received notice that one of their subsidiaries was claiming 100% streaming royalties on one of my songs. I explained to the guy on the phone that I had nothing signed with The Orchard, Sony, or any label or company for that matter. After asking me several times if I had a label or legal representation, and when he was probably finally satisfied that I was an independent nobody, he said it was essentially my fault for releasing my music without a lawyer or a copyright because once music is out there it’s basically anybodies. Then he quickly transferred me to a number that went straight to voice mail.
4. An engineer once told me that a girl his studio had recorded, who could barely sing, was offered a label deal. The label had the studio get her a vocal coach just to try and help her sing better. When that failed the label paid for specialized equipment to tune her voice when she sang live.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
I’d have to say the weirdest tour experience was when this very charismatic guy we met at one of my stops decided to show me how much smoke, mirrors and bullshit is involved with creating the illusion of fame. He brought us to some fancy club with a long line-up at the door, he bypassed it all, talked to the doorman and made me out to be some big singer. We got let in, ahead of everyone, not only to the club, but to the VIP section. Later, he asked ” Do you and your band want to go see a movie?” He went to the theater personnel, had us take a picture with the manager, alluding again that we were some big fancy act, and we all got in to see the movie for free. I even got free popcorn. Bizarre, sad, and a very eye opening and memorable experience.
What are your future plans?
I plan to keep recording music and creating art until I no longer have the money to do so- because it’s what I love and it’s all I can do.