If you live in Guelph and love music, you’ve probably heard of GAIN Music – a promotion and production company currently run by a very small group of passionate people. GAIN Music has been responsible for bringing us many of the great live music events in the city over the past few years. We sat down with Nik Wever to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.
Music Lives: How and when did you first become involved with GAIN Music? Can you give us a brief history on the company?
Nik Wever: I officially became involved with GAIN Music when we launched the company with our annual festival on March 10, 2011 but I’d say that the history of the company goes further back than that. I guess you could say that I first became involved with the idea for the company in mid-2010. I’d started up a small time bookings company under the name of Destruction Productions named after my band, Time the Destroyer, who were calling it quits and had our last show in July 2010.
I’d been dealing with the bookings for the band and had been doing some small metal shows out of Van Gogh’s Ear since early July 2010 because no one locally was doing that at the time. Most of the metal, punk and rock shows were bigger names and handled by (insert J Cloth name drop here). Beyond him, Rick Hall of KronikNoise was doing some shows out of the Shadow, but locally there wasn’t a whole lot of action, but a ton of talent.
The roots were there as this town has always had a strong foundation for musicians and bands of all genres and there have always been venues and bookers around willing to take risks, get gear, find rooms to put bands in and put on a show. I’ve always loved going to shows and the atmosphere around them and for me it was a natural progression to be involved on the ground floor.
ML: What are your hopes for the future of GAIN Music?
NW: My hopes for the future of GAIN Music are that we can get some more hands on deck and that we can continue to be a part of the Guelph and area Music scene in an important, meaningful and impactful way. We have a lot in the works and are working with local and area promoters, bookers, agents, band managers, bands and venues across this city and others to contribute and create networks for everyone to utilize.
ML: Recently GAIN Music announced that it has taken on a small roster of bands that you’re going to be working with. Can you tell us a bit more about this next stage of the business?
NW: Our goal here was to give support to a small group of bands so that we could help them focus on writing music and we could take on other responsibilities for them such as helping with promo, doing bookings both locally and outside of town and other management duties.
This is still an area that needs some work and extra hands but as with everything we’ve done so far we’re starting from the ground up on this.
ML: What is the best part of your job?
NW: The best part of the job is definitely the community that is created through music. I’ve met such an amazing group of friends over the years who also happen to be incredibly talented musicians and I get to be a part of their world.
I feel you can get to know a person more intimately through the music they write and the person they become on a stage than any other way. There’s something very powerful about music in that sense. The emotions it can evoke are varied and unique across each and every person in the room experiencing it.
ML: What is the most challenging part of your job?
NW: To be honest, there are a good many challenging parts of the job. I’d say the most challenging would have to be dealing with the political side of the game that gets played. It’s something that’s inevitable in any industry and we do what we can to not step on any toes. We are a community working together after all.
Another challenging part is that my job is a 24/7 type deal. I’m always on the clock. This is both good and bad because I love being busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is something I’ve started and I want to see it through, but at times that also means sacrificing aspects of my social life that most people enjoy and don’t even know they have.
ML: What do you wish bands knew or did more/less of when you’re working with them?
NW: Depends on what type of band I’m dealing with and at what level they’re at, but especially for newer or younger bands I can’t emphasize timing enough. Keeping your set tight and on time, loading on and off the stage quickly are huge in my books. That’s sort of a general rule across the board. Whether I book a band again or not is heavily dependant on that alone.
Other than that it’s always nice when bands are understanding and courteous, especially if they’ve never played the town before.
ML: What other music-related projects are you involved in?
NW: I’m currently involved with a band called Islands & Empires where I scream and do a little singing here and there. We’re currently working on our first 5 song EP and looking to play shows anywhere.
I also have some of my own acoustic songs but it’s not a project I plan on doing anything serious with beyond playing the guitar at home.
ML: GAIN Music Fest was a great success last year – what are the plans for this event in the future?
NW: Chase, Liam and myself have already had a few meetings under our belts and have a good head start on plans for the 2014 festival. We’re currently looking for sponsors who want on board this year and are launching a Battle of the Bands contest that will start in late November. Local and area bands can sign up for through the signup sheet on our website and facebook page. We’re really excited for everything we have on the go for the 2014 Festival!