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    Attempting to Crack Teleportoise’s Shell

    After seeing Teleportoise for the first time this past summer, I was once again blown away by the diversity of talent within the Guelph metal scene. Teleportoise was both atmospheric and ferocious at once – offering something visceral and exciting to metal-loving ears. The band was a bit of a mystery to me, so I dove in with bassist Adam Ujhelyi and drummer Calum Ferrall to get to know more about them and their new EP Terra.

    Teleportoise will be playing a CD release show Thursday, November 20 at District, alongside friends Earthbreather, Quiet Lakes, and Wakeless.

    Chuck: Can you give us a little Teleportoise history lesson?

    Adam: I went to Vanin with a song I had written while in Serbia/Hungary mostly just to hear what my bass parts would sound like with guitar over them. I knew I wanted to form a band in the vein of Mastodon and Neurosis but I was still playing around with exactly what instruments I wanted in the line-up. However during that first jam Vanin came up with riffs that were the perfect compliment to what I was playing on bass and added so much more to the song than I had originally hoped for that I knew we had to work together again (as we’d been in a couple of bands together already at this point). While we were looking for a drummer, Calum’s thrash band Acid broke up and for whatever reason he decided to come downstairs and jam on the drums for us. This was strange because Calum had been exclusively a bassist until that point. That being said though he learned the drums very quickly and surprises us almost every practice with some awesome new accent or fill he’s added to a song. Since then we’ve been writing songs and playing shows and so on.

    Chuck: What’s the story behind the band name? And would you like to set the record straight on how it’s pronounced?

    Adam: Teleportoise is literally the combination of the words ‘teleport’ and ‘tortoise’, so the pronunciation should be done with those two words in mind. To try to spell it out phonetically it’s “Teleportus’. That being said though, we’ve always been fond of the somewhat french pronunciation of “Teleport-trois” as well. The name came about when Vanin and myself decided that tortoises are really metal, and that combining a word with tortoise is the way to go. Vanin will tell you that he came up with it originally, I’ll tell you that I came up with it originally, but deep down inside I think we both know it was me.

    Chuck: For anyone who has never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

    Adam: This sort of comes up a lot when talking to people and it’s been a bit tricky. We came up with the term Proto-post-progcore. It’s mostly a joke, but it’s also the term we’ve stuck with. Vanin has recently said that a great deal of our sound as far as riff choices and overall tone are fairly reminiscent of early Baroness from albums like ‘First’ and ‘Second’. I think we also sound a bit like Fall of Efrafa, specifically from their second album ‘Elil’. I’ve also recently been thinking of describing us as what would happen if a dumb version of Primus were to play Isis songs.

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    Chuck: What are some of your musical influences?

    Calum: In a global sense, our influences encompass something from all genres. Each one of us end up bringing our own ideas to the table while writing which is usually shaped by whatever we have been recently listening to at the time. Because of the eclectic range in our individual tastes it is difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint singular bands. What can be said however, is that whatever we decided to extract inspiration from, we attempt to put a ‘Teleportoise twist’ on it. Locally, our influences are scattered throughout the whole Guelph and Hamilton scene. Without a doubt the most notable band would be Quiet Lakes. When we first went and saw them play in Hamilton, it was like finding a long lost sibling. We took lots of inspiration from their detection to music they want to play and their overall loudness, which, for a live setting we are always looking create. The two bands that we look up to for their sound are definitely Wakeless and The Great Sabatini. Their doom elements with raw and powerful music is exactly the kind of thing we are all about. The last band I would like to mention is Seducing Medusa. Their pure crazy energy and stage presence is nothing less than inspirational. Now, this is not an exhaustive list of influential bands from the local scene, especially because of its massive influx of talent that we have seen over the past few years. These are just a few of the bands that challenge our sound, performance, and creativity which propels us to attempt and improve the entity that is Teleportoise.

    Chuck: Are any of you involved in other creative projects?

    Adam: I do a lot of illustration and am currently in the animation program at Seneca, Calum is in the Philosophy program at the University which is probably a creative project on a whole other level, and Vanin is really good at squats and Dark Souls. Musically though this is the only band we’re in.

    Chuck: Tell us a bit about your writing process.

    Adam: Musically we usually start with some sort of very clear image of what we want to happen in the song and we build a soundtrack around it. This can get fairly specific at times and it really helps us get the exact sounds we want. So far it has been Vanin and I that have come up with the foundations for the various songs and we’ll have an idea of what we want the sections to sound like, but we all personalize those parts as the song progresses. It’s really cool when a song ferments as we play it a bunch of times at practice and it ends up sounding nothing like what we originally wrote.
    The lyrics usually relate to the images we establish in the song but sometimes they don’t. The music has always come first though at this point and I find the areas where I want to have lyrics afterwards.

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    Chuck: How did the EP come together?

    Calum: The EP was rumoured to happen for about a year and a half. However, because we work at the pace of a tortoise it took us forever to actually get into gear and into a studio. We finally got together and decided on what songs should go on our EP, which, was basically just what was not going to be on our full length (first being rumoured here). We talked around for places to record until we came by Brent Munger (Drummer of Wakeless). He really wanted to record us; we really wanted to record. It was love at first sight. Romanticisms aside, it was actually the smoothest recording sessions any of us have ever had. We had a setup in Guelph’s own Jam hall where Brent was able to record us as we wanted to; raw off the floor. To keep the integrity of our sound we wanted it to sound as natural flowing as we possibly could. It took about 15 hours for all of the tracking to be done for all the songs. Brent then did all the mixing, which understandably, was much more than 15 hours. His work on it though made a product that we are all happy about. The songs on the EP have each have the theme of land, sea, and sky (not necessarily in that order) with the intro song revolving around the sun. When combined you get the three things that make up the Earth, hence Terra.

    Chuck: What does the “ideal future” look like for Teleportoise?

    Calum: Our ideal future involves our full length album coming out before 2020. Also hopefully one day doing a tour or even a mini tour. Although we are always trying to push ourselves forward, even if it at a tortoise pace, we do not have clear expectations of the future. As long as we keep doing what we love to do, the ideal future is people also liking what we like.

    Chuck: If you had to form a band with animals, which animals would be in the band and who would play each instrument?

    Calum: I have been preparing my whole life to answer this question. I would get together a gaggle of geese. The band would consist of a vocalist, guitarist, drummer, bassist, and two bass clarinets (because bass clarinets sound like sick ducks as it is, I think it is a fitting and unique sound to such a band). It would be a post-hardcore band called “Alarms of Rome” where every single beak-down would be a capella and drums. Every song would consist of minimum one break-down. To imagine a crowd throwing down to the polyrhythmic honking of geese is the most delightfully ridiculous image I can think of.

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    Unbowed Set to Release First Full Length Album

    A couple years ago when I was new to Guelph and its bursting live music scene, I stumbled upon Unbowed – a young metal band that immediately caught my attention for having a different sound than many of their local peers. Back then, the group had recently released an EP and I sat down with Alex Snape and Nick Lennox to learn more about the young musicians behind the project. Fast forward to today; the noticeably matured band has been hard at work for many months, and is about to release their first full length album titled Collapse the World. I was lucky to hear a preview of it, and let me tell you – it is big, and it is impressive! I reached out to Alex and Nick once again to find out what the band has been up to since our last chat.

    Unbowed will be playing an album release show on Saturday, October 25 alongside Becomes Astral, Take the Throne, and Vow of Thorns . You might want to grab advance tickets to this one! And if you just can’t wait to hear the new material, be sure to hit up Rec-Room (Magic) Monday on October 13 for a listening party!

     

    Q&A with Alex Snape and Nick Lennox of Unbowed

    C: Your first full length album is coming out about a year later than previously expected. Can you give us some insight as to what the band went through and why the delay?

    AS/NL: There are a few reasons, the first and foremost being that we recorded the entirety of this album independently and that our original time frame simply did not account for what an immense workload that turned out to be. Secondly, being a younger band, there were also so many aspects of each of our lives that required attention and forward thinking (be it education, work, or whathaveyou). Ultimately, we had to sort out our own lives first in order to be the best that we could be for Unbowed.

    C: What’s been the most challenging thing about putting together this album?

    AS/NL: Music is incredible in that when you work hard to create something, it begins to create you. Writing, recording, and playing this piece of work required us to develop and mature to great lengths, both as individual musicians and as a single musical entity. New techniques were learned on short timeframes, songs were written and rewritten countless times, and take after take was thrown away until we reached exactly what we wanted. When all is said and done however, we are all the better for it.

    C: What part of the process of creating this album did you enjoy the most?

    AS/NL: Easily the most rewarding part of creating this album was having the songs develop into so much more than what we had originally intended. All the little eureka moments of working on songs together and coming up with something more brilliant than anything we could have ever done alone are what has made this journey worthwhile.

    C: Has the music and lyrical writing style changed since the last EP?

    AS/NL: Unbowed is constantly evolving into a more collaborative project. With the EP material, it was mainly Alex’s original layouts for each song. Those tunes didn’t go through nearly the same growing process as the ones on Collapse the World did. Now, not only are we learning to work together more easily and productively as musicians, but we are learning so much about ourselves as writers; the lyrics are more personal, the stories are bigger, and the music feels so much more involving than ever before. Definitely still Unbowed, but more complex, more driven, and more diverse.

    C: When you first set out to make this album, how did you want it to sound, and do you think you accomplished what you set out to?

    AS/NL: We wanted this album to sound massive; one doesn’t decide to name an album “Collapse the World” if it’s going to be a tightly confined piece of work. We wanted these songs to be all over the map, in a good way, they ignore the barriers placed by metal genres/sub-genres and still make a strong statement. There’s enough variation in the material that it will allow us to grow in all of the directions which we feel to be natural in the future. It is that balance which we constantly pursue, and we feel we’ve begun that journey with a strong statement.

    C: Since the last EP, you’ve dropped your keyboardist. Can you tell us a bit more about that decision? There are still many symphonic elements on the new album; how will that translate into your future live shows?

    AS/NL: The decision to part ways with our keyboard player was amicable and mutual. It became clear to both him and the band that our musical interests did not match and decided it was the best choice for both parties. Despite this, those symphonic elements are a huge part of our sound, and in order to keep this as part of our live performance, we have been playing with backing tracks which we have created ourselves. While of course there were many upsides to playing with a live keyboardist, doing things this way allows us the freedom to orchestrate the music itself in a much different manner. Parts are scored as if for an actual orchestra as opposed to a keyboardist, and things that were previously unable to translate into a live setting are now entirely workable given enough practice.

    C: To date, the band has taken a very DIY attitude. Do you hope to continue in this fashion, or are you seeking other music professionals/record companies to work with in the future?

    AS/NL: The DIY element is something very important to the core of the band. We take pride in getting things done ourselves; this approach teaches you rather quickly how to handle a lot of the issues that will come into play in one’s career as a musician. Right now we print all of our own merch and CDs, and distribute them ourselves locally and worldwide. We also acknowledge that being independent can only take you so far, so we will be looking towards label representation as well as booking representation in the future.

    C: Tell us about the epic visual aspects of the new album.

    AS/NL: Alex found our artist, Zach Smithson, through Deviantart. Zach helped us to illustrate and characterize the lyrical content of the title track – namely mankind’s desire to conquer nature with machinery, and the ultimate submission to the Earth which man must face, despite his will to do otherwise. Not only does the album cover allude slightly to our self titled EP’s artwork, but it continues to build and shape the character on the front as he is torn between steel and soil, creation and destruction, growth and rebirth. The aim was epic, the result was so much more.

    C: What’s next for Unbowed?

    AS/NL: The plan right now is to promote the album as much as possible online, and gig as much as possible after its release. We’re aiming to start playing in markets we haven’t yet. It’s currently up in the air in terms of specifics, but we’d like to head east, as well as west within a year. That’s all we can really say.

    C: Fast forward to X-number of years to when Unbowed is world famous. What’s on your rider?

    Alex : Chocolate almonds and Guinness.
    Nick: A nutritious meal and some chai tea. Also enough rum to kill a man twice his size.
    Trevor: Brown M&Ms.
    Ioan: Books to read, a sketchbook, Monster Munch (imported directly from England), and a Nintendo 3DS equipped with several Legend of Zelda games.
    Zack: Teacher’s Highland Cream scotch, Black Creek porter, St-Ambroise oatmeal stout, pizza of any variety.

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    Photos by Kim Baarda.

    Teleportoise Brings Something Unique to Local Metal Scene

    We have a city full of very talented musicians, but it takes that “extra something” for a band to really stand out and make you take notice. That’s exactly what Teleportoise did on Saturday, June 21 when they played A.N.A.F. Club along with Quiet Lakes, Saprophyte, and IRN.

    Nothing prepared me for seeing Teleportoise live for the first time. Playing barefoot and growling into the mic, the intensity with which bassist Adam Ujhelyi played with was almost … unsettling. You could not help but feel challenged to take a trip with them – even though you weren’t quite sure where the next note or song would lead you. Self-described as proto-post-progcore, their sound is crushingly heavy. Song structures shift from atmospheric, to slow and sludgy, to something a little more sped up and frantic. The songs are arranged in a way to be supremely satisfying. This is music that takes you out of your comfort zone, but gives you everything you need at the same time.

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    To the other side of Ujhelyi, was guitarist Vanin Ferrall. Using two amps (fittingly labelled “Mars” instead of “Marshall”), Ferrall helped make the walls of A.N.A.F. Club shake. Did I mention this band is LOUD? Shredding guitar with a sometimes slightly crazed look in his eye, Ferrall masterfully lent the songs their melody while playing a wildman on stage – never staying put in the same place for longer than a few seconds.

    Backing the stringed duo up front was the unassuming-looking drummer, Calum Ferrall, who, to my surprise, transformed into a ferocious beast during the entire set. Using his drumsticks as well as his bare hands, C. Ferrall was a driving force to be reckoned with. He even bled that night – and didn’t miss a beat.

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    It struck me that Teleportoise didn’t have just the one (sometimes two) players who usually stand out during a performance while other band members take a bit of a backseat. On the contrary, all three members of Teleportoise were musically solid and delivered an equally engaging performance – making them REALLY fun to watch live. What’s more, the effort was authentic – nothing about Teleportoise seemed “put on.” These artists left nothing behind after their set. They threw it all out on that stage with maximum effort, and I’m sure the rest of the audience appreciated that as much as I did.

    This three-piece brings something entirely different to our local metal scene, and if you like it heavy I strongly suggest you catch them next time they play. The band is currently working on recording an EP which is due out later this year. I can’t wait for the next trip with Teleportoise

    Click here to check out a short video of the show!

    Pureblank: Then & Now

    In the early 2000s Pureblank appeared on the Guelph music scene with an impressively intense and heavy sound. After releasing an EP with Year of the Sun Records, playing loads of local shows and touring Canada, the band eventually went their separate ways and onto new musical projects. Now, approximately ten years later, they’ve decided to reunite for two highly anticipated shows in Guelph and Hamilton. We caught up with Byron Gillespie and Ben Alexis to talk about Pureblank then and now. Don’t miss their reunion show in Guelph on Friday, April 4 at Van Gogh’s.

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    How did the reunion come about? Why now?

    BG: A while back, we decided to get together to hang out, drink booze, and eat chips again like old times. It was only a matter of time before we realized that we used to be in a band together. So we ran through the back catalogue and had a lot of fun with it. We’ve been jamming together off and on for a couple years now without any intentions but with 2014 marking 10 years since we split up, we thought maybe it’d be cool to play these songs in public as 30 year olds. We sorta want to recreate the last scene of the “Rocket” video by Smashing Pumpkins.

    BA: After too many drunken conversations about getting the five of us in the same room to play some old tunes, you have to eventually pull the trigger to avoid sounding like a complete asshole. Why now? 10 years just feels right, I’ll probably attempt reliving my 20s in my 40s too.

    What’s it like being back together? Has the group dynamic changed at all?

    BG: The dynamic really hasn’t changed much. We still spend the majority of the time being dumb and making each other laugh. I guess the biggest difference is that nowadays, we have sore bones after playing all of these super fast songs again. I also find myself coughing a lot more.

    BA: It’s kinda like getting with a girl you used to roll with and skipping that whole pretending you are awesome thing to get in their pants, you’re already there, but with 10 years of new experiences under your belt, literally.

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    What’s been the best and worst thing about getting back together?

    BG: I think the best thing about getting back together is realizing that we are still as good of friends as we’ve ever been. Put the five of us together in the same room and it is as if nothing has changed. Given all the time that has passed, I think that’s pretty special. The worst thing? Having to use that washroom again at the jam hall. Now that’s what I’d call a challenge. C’mon, Robert.

    BA: The best part is laughing myself into tears with my best friends every weekend playing these songs we all wrote together over a decade ago. It’s nostalgic and fun as hell, I encourage everyone to do something or somebody from 10 years ago asap.

    Pureblank has been credited with helping spark Guelph’s metal scene back in the early 2000s. What are your thoughts on that?

    BG: To think of even one person putting us on that level is very flattering and humbling. But truthfully, it was just good timing. And we had a lot of help. Specifically, J Cloth of Sellout Productions gave us some amazing opportunities and put us on some terrific bills that really stepped our game up and increased our exposure. And Rosesdead were instrumental in helping us to expand outside of the 519 and into the 905 which was big at the time. Beyond that, there were a bunch of great bands making a lot of noise locally around then – Farewell to Freeway, Childproof, Race Well Run, to name a few. We were lucky to be a part of that. To be accepted and appreciated was just a bonus.

    BA: If that’s the case, I want somebody to replace the kid in the fountain downtown with a statue of me in solid gold.

    What do you think is the biggest difference in the Guelph metal scene then vs. now?

    BG: I think back when we were around, metal was a little more popping than it is now. Bands were still selling records and Hatebreed were being added to soundtracks for movies starring Vin Diesel. So at that time, Guelph was blessed to have established heavy acts coming through on the regular. I know there are still a lot of dope metal bands in town and it’s great to see guys like Mandroid Echostar getting some shine. But from my perspective, the scene is a lot more fractured these days and Guelph is no longer as “metal-centric”. But I appreciate the diversity and see this as a good thing.

    BA: It was a different time in music and Guelph was fortunate to have somebody like J Cloth bringing bands like Hatebreed, Dillinger Escape Plan, Unearth, Between the Burried and Me and Everytime I Die to our city. So not only did you get to see all your favorite bands down the street, but a lot of us were given the opportunity to share the stage with them, pretty fuckin alright if you ask me.

    What bands (local or otherwise) are inspiring you these days?

    BG: Locally, I think Bowjia is the best thing to emerge from the city in quite some time and I’d love to see them blow up. I truly believe they have wide-reaching potential. Also, no bias, but I am a huge fan of what Wakeless are doing and I consider them to be the most interesting heavy act from the area. Beyond that, I listen to a lot of rap music. Oh, and I recently saw the music video for “Broken” by Jake Bugg and I got a little emotional. I was born a sensitive man.

    BA: Rick Springfield and the Top Gun soundtrack, why? Because I’m old.

    Many of you are still quite active in other musical projects. What else are you working on right now?

    BG: Ben is in a rock band about girls with Ken Susi from Unearth called USA! USA! USA! Greg, Brent, and Derek are all currently playing together in the aforementioned Wakeless, although it should be noted that Derek plays with at least half of the active bands in Guelph. He is a beast. As for me, I sample and produce beats on a Native Instruments Maschine that I am too afraid to show to anyone. I also play a lot of fantasy sports.

    You’ve got two upcoming reunion shows. What’s in store for Pureblank in the future? Any plans to record new music together?

    BG: We went from jamming for fun to booking these two shows pretty quickly so there are no real plans beyond that. It is amazing to see even a slight degree of interest in these shows so I think it would be a little arrogant of us to assume we’d be capable of parlaying the nostalgia into something long term. Having said that, we have been having such a good time lately that I think we plan to continue jamming once we’ve completed these dates. So who knows? Maybe you’ll see us opening for the Rolling Stones one day on their Steel Wheelchair tour. Extra points if you picked up on the Simpsons reference.

    BA: No idea, depends how many girls are into it!

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    Interview with KronikNoise Promotions

    Anyone involved in Guelph’s heavy music scene will no doubt already know or has heard of “Unkle Rick.” That familiar face we see running shows and banging his head in the pit along with the other fans is Rick Hall, owner of KronikNoise Promotions. Rick’s intense passion for metal and enthusiasm for live music is channelled into bringing us many of the great metal events we’ve come to enjoy in Guelph. Rick never seems to have a shortage of energy and is always more than happy to chat about Southern Ontario’s music scene, so we sat down with our “Unkle Rick” to get to know him a little better.

    Don’t miss the upcoming “Kronik Kristmas” event in Guelph on Saturday, December 14 at Red Papaya – featuring Skynet, American Hell, Islands & Empires, and Great Lakes.

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    Music Lives: How did the nickname “Unkle Rick” come to be?

    Rick Hall: Unkle Rick was affectionately given to me by members of Guelph’s The Karma Cure (early inception of Mandroid Echostar). I guess it’s because I am like the “cooler, older uncle” who is down to support and doesn’t judge.

    ML: Can you tell us a bit about KronikNoise Promotions‘ history?

    RH: I started over six years ago. Having teens myself, I saw the need for something constructive but cool for kids to do, and live music shows for under-agers was born – eventually I spread out to include all ages and 19+.

    ML: What was your favourite band 20 years ago? What is your favourite band now?

    RH: My tastes have ebbed & flowed over the years of course as I have seen many genre changes, but if the music is passionate and evokes emotion, I’m always a fan. I started loving Rush, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, then 20 years ago Metallica and Slayer. And today, I love Mandroid Echostar, The Contortionist, and Intervals to names but a few.

    ML: What would be the most surprising artist we’d find playing on your stereo/iPod?

    RH: I definitely love more than just metal, so you might find anything from Portishead, Sneaker Pimps (low-fi), to Deep Forest (new age), to DMX and Wu Tang (rap) – depends on my mood.

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    ML: What excites you about the metal scene in Southern Ontario right now?

    RH: Probably that because “the bar has been risen” in the talent department, bands know they must go hard and try to be a bit more unique if they wish to stand out.

    ML: What’s the most challenging part of putting a show together?

    RH: Parlaying the value of each band I book to the average show-goer is the hardest. I can post song and video links to people, and hype a band until I’m blue in the face, but if people don’t know the band, it’s tough. All else is easy enough, once you’ve done it hundreds of times, LOL.

    ML: How do you judge a show’s success? What is a “good show” to you?

    RH: When I look out across a packed venue of partying people, and see a pit in a frenzy, and the band feeding off the energy of the crowd, I always get a huge smile on my face, and that’s the best!

    ML: What do you wish bands you work with would do more (or less) of?

    RH: If anything, I wish all members of each band worked on promoting the band equally – their up-coming shows, their videos and songs, and reaching out to friends and potential fans – but it’s usually just one or two members doing promotions/hype.

    ML: KronikNoise hosts a lot of Guelph shows alongside GAIN Music. What’s the biggest advantage of working together?

    RH: That’s easy – two heads are better than one. We can coordinate our dates and bands easier, and it’s nicer to work in a friendly environment, as opposed to working against each other.

    ML: What’s in store for the future of KronikNoise?

    RH: Bigger shows, bigger name bands, and continuing to bring the best of both to the Guelph music scene.

    ML: If money/time/commitments were not an issue, what would be Unkle Rick’s dream job?

    RH: I had always thought radio DJ, but honestly, I would love to own a record label – to scout new talent, and set up wicked tours, while recording and supporting rising stars … yep that would rule!

     

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    Q&A with Maximum RNR

    Self-described as “ham fisted rock ‘n’ roll skirting the boundaries of punk, metal and hardcore” Toronto-based Maximum RNR has been around the block. With roughly 400 shows under their belt, this punk rock juggernaut shows no signs of slowing. Armed with a DIY attitude, Maximum RNR does everything on their own terms, and their live show is proof they have a hell of a lot of fun doing it! The band recently released Rough Side of the Dial, a 12-minute ear assault that stays true to their roots, while blending in a few new sounds. We caught up with lead guitarist Keith Carman (now a resident of Wellington County!) to bring you this Q&A.

    Be sure to catch Maximum RNR Friday, November 15 at Vinyl with Kill Sid, The Nasties, and Cunter! See event page for details.

    Maximum RNR is: Diamond Brent Panther – Vocals, Curtis Fox – Bass, Mike Child – Drums, Keith Carman – Lead Guitar, and KK Mauronik – Rhythm Guitar.

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    ML: How long has the band been together? Can you give us a brief history?

    KC: The band actually started as Maximum RNB circa 1999 (yikes!) when K.K. Mauronik and I met at a Bob Log III show in Toronto. We were on that path until 2002 when we grew weary of people not understanding that our name was a Who reference and kept booking us with actual R&B acts. That, and we switched to a new singer. It was the perfect time to trade in the Who homage to one for the Punk Rock Bible via Maximum RNR. Since then, we’ve been pushing our version of punk rock ‘n’ roll as much as possible.

    ML: You recently did a short tour in Europe. Can you give us a taste of what that was like? How do the crowds in North America and Europe differ?

    KC: This European stint was our fourth overall and it just keeps getting better. People there are uninhibited. They’re outspoken if they like you. They’re outspoken if they don’t like you. Either way though, they’re not afraid to have a great time at a show. From the interesting sights to genuine music fans and amazing beer, it really is another world. That said, it is always great to be on home turf where people have been supporting you for…too long.

    ML: Maximum RNR, like so many bands, has been plagued with member changes over the years. What do you feel Brent and Curtis (your newest members) bring to the band today?

    KC: A rotating lineup is understandable as people’s lives change. Still, we’ve never regretted anyone that’s helped us along the way. They add their personal stamp to our sound/style. Moreover, if they need to go, it’s for the best. It doesn’t drag the band as a whole down. That said, Brent and Curt are actually getting pretty long-in-the-tooth with us! Their energy, spirit and vitality has been nothing less than a boost – or kick in the ass – to us geezers. Musically though, they have this awesome combination of fun and aggressiveness that’s a real riot.

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    ML: With so many shows under your belt, is it possible to pick a favourite gig?

    KC: Yeah, I think we’re hovering around 400 as MRNR but there are still the highlights. They range from silly stuff like seeing Mauronik have to boot a guy in the chest in Winnipeg so the cat didn’t throw a monitor on him (dude was a little too excited) to performing at Rebellion, the largest European punk rock festival. Seeing a chunk of some 20,000 dyed-in-the-wool punks lose it for five stinky Canucks is incomparable. You’re thinking, “Who’s the idiot that thought bringing us losers here was a good idea?”

    ML: How did the tracks for the new album Rough Side of the Dial come together? What’s Maximum RNR‘s writing process like?

    KC: The process actually varies. Mauronik is a completest, bringing in complete songs with every nuance addressed. It “decomposes” from that point to myself bringing in riffs and going, “Uh…I was thinking of something like this,” and waiting for input to drummer Mike Childs humming out a pattern while I ham-fist through it until playing what he hears in his head. That’s essentially how the Rough Side tracks came together: organized chaos.

    ML: Are there any musical influences that all members of the band share?

    KC: Too many! We’re all great fans of classic punk and metal bands as well as some of the overshadowed acts around the globe. Still, we’re all always in the mood for stuff like Hellacopters, Zeke, Supersuckers and Hookers while also championing the homegrown talent that inspired us to make our own noise: DOA, NoMeansNo, SNFU, Razor, Sacrifice…I’ll stop there so it’s not a tirade.

    ML: Anyone who’s seen a Maximum RNR show knows that there’s a ton of energy up on that stage. Is your stage show something you’ve consciously cultivated?

    KC: There’s not really a lot going through our heads when we play live, to be honest. It might be loud, sweaty and we’re all running around freaking out but it’s a pretty Zen situation. We’re in that moment and going with the flow. The only real mandate is to be true to that 13 year-old version of ourselves that picked up an instrument and said, “If I ever get to play a concert, I’ll give everything I’ve got!” How would the teenage you react? They’d go ape shit…and be pretty upset at the adult you if you were staring at your feet or whining about how many people are/aren’t there. Treat every show like it’s your last!

    ML: Do any of you have any pre-show rituals?

    KC: Bickering. Or trying not to, ha! It has morphed over the years as the lineup changes. Now, we just ensure one another is taken care of or has their space as need be, seeing as each person has their own independent ritual from stashing beers to panicking.

    ML: What’s the strangest thing in your rehearsal space?

    KC: Five sweaty guys playing punk rock ‘n’ roll? I wish we had something freaky to share like a six-foot baby bottle full of KY Jelly or a football helmet full of cottage cheese that we all ceremoniously eat from but really it’s just beer cans, posters and beat-up equipment.

    ML: What’s up for the future for Maximum RNR?

    KC: Bickering. Or trying not to, ha! We’re back in to our groove of the Ontario/Quebec circuit for a spell and looking to get back out across Canada post-winter. That is, unless the Euros let us back, hint hint.

    MRNR3

    Photos courtesy of: www.jezkeefephotography.com

    An Interview with GAIN Music

    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.

    Bowjia
    Bowjia

    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.

    The Medicine Hat
    The Medicine Hat

    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.

    Wakeless
    Wakeless

    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.

    Nik Wever, fronting the band Islands & Empires
    Nik Wever, fronting the band Islands & Empires

    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!

    One Year in the Guelph Metal Scene

    This summer marked one year ago that my partner and I picked up and left Toronto after 15 years and relocated to Guelph. I often get asked why we made the move out here, and my initial response is always “because Guelph is awesome.” That answer is usually followed by a perplexed look that requires me to explain how we researched the many smaller cities and suburbs surrounding Toronto before we simply decided Guelph was the place we wanted to be. It was not at all a difficult decision. From its green spaces to its downtown area and culture, Guelph had so much more to offer than any of the other cities vying for our attention.

    But, being big music fans, one of the things I knew I was going to miss about Toronto were the many nights we spent hanging out in the Queen & Bathurst area at the city’s top rock bars, and going to loads of concerts. With Guelph being a much smaller city, I knew we would have to actively seek out its metal scene, so I spent a lot of time Googling “Guelph metal” and things of that nature without much luck. I did, however, come across a few hits for Guelph’s beloved 80s metal band Razor! Despite the fact that I couldn’t easily find what I was looking for online, I knew there was a big artistic community here and we just needed to do a bit more digging to find the metal heads. Cue the creation of the Guelph Metal Heads Local 666 Union on Facebook. We moved here not knowing a soul, so I started the group with the simple goal to meet people with similar interests. Boy, did it work!

    The first heavy show in town we caught wind of was a gig at Regal Road Studios showcasing Canadian Juno award winners Ken Mode, Kitchener’s Sierra, and Guelph punk favourites The Nasties. I got to chatting with Jim HareThe Nasties bassist and a well-known face in the local punk scene. It was an amazing night – a moment of confirmation that there was indeed a heavy music scene here, and the people were pretty darn nice to boot!

    A couple months later, we checked out GAIN Music Festival and that’s when things really started to blossom. We spent the night on the top floor taking in a selection of hometown metal bands. I started introducing myself to people and telling them about the Guelph Metal Heads group. I ended up meeting Steve and Kyle from Arkham Awaits, Nick and Alex from Unbowed, and Unkle Rick from KronikNoise Promotions that night – not a bad start! Oddly enough, both Arkham Awaits and Unbowed went on to become two of my favourite local bands. When you’re new in town, putting yourself out there and meeting new people isn’t always easy, but the result has been budding friendships with some really fantastic and talented people. That night I witnessed a group of very passionate and energetic people come together to create something very special, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it and do more to help. Guelph seems to have a way of doing that to people – it’s such a great city that you feel compelled to get involved, to try and make it even better.

    After contacting Nik at GAIN Music about volunteer opportunities, he turned me on to Music Lives. As a volunteer for both GAIN Music and Music Lives, I began going to as many metal and punk shows as my schedule allowed, working the doors and blogging whenever possible. In doing so, in one short year we have met so many wonderful people that we can now go downtown and bump into a number of friends on any given night. The music community here has been exceptionally welcoming, and I’m so very happy to be a small part of it.

    After a year here, it’s hard to deny that there’s something special going on in the heavy music scene in Guelph. Our existing talent keeps chugging along and a few bands are really starting to make a name for themselves outside of the city. New bands and new live venues are springing up. And promoters like GAIN Music and Kroniknoise Promotions keep hosting amazing shows, propelling the scene forward. It’s going to be an exciting few years ahead!

    Moving to Guelph has been one of the best things I’ve ever done – this city has won my heart. We should all be very proud to call this place home. Do I miss Toronto? Not one little bit.

    These days, the Guelph Metal Heads Facebook group serves as a place to learn about upcoming metal, punk, and rock shows, as well as a free promotional space for local heavy bands when they have new music, videos, merch for sale, etc. It simply exists to serve the artistic community and connect local metal fans to the music. I’m proud to say that now when you Google “Guelph Metal” everyone will know there’s a scene here.

    Come hang out and see two of my favourite bands, Arkham Awaits and Unbowed, tear it up on Halloween night – October 31 at Red Papaya, with Skynet and Breadfan! More details on event page.

     

     

    Q&A with Wakeless

    Guelph’s own Wakeless has been around for a couple of years, and I just recently picked up their debut album Desolation Diaries. Offering up some diversity to the local heavy music scene, Wakeless is sometimes slow, southern and sludgy, and other times quite heavy and intense. Influenced by several musical genres, Wakeless does each one justice and packages it in a harmoniously satisfying way. We connected with singer/guitarist Derek Prince-Cox to bring you this Q&A.

    ___________________________________________________

    ML: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard Wakeless?

    DPC: We often get lumped into the “stoner rock/stoner metal” category. I’d like to think we’re a heavy, sometimes atmospheric rock band.

    ML: Your debut album Desolation Diaries was released last year. What has the band been doing since then, and are you currently working on any new material?

    DPC: Our main focus has been exactly that. We’ve been working on new material. We have a few songs finished and a ton of ideas that we like. We’re tracking an alternate version of Difibrillator right now for an online single release. It’s really different for us! We’re excited for you all to hear it!

    ML: How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

    DPC: Absolutely! We’ve been writing with a bit more of a rock vibe lately. It took me a while to adjust as a vocalist in Wakeless. I feel like I’m starting to come into my own. Feeling more confident. As a result, I’ve been writing more melodic songs. Greg’s been writing some stuff with a serious 90s alt vibe. It’s really cool to naturally evolve and begin to notice the slight changes you go through as a band.

    ML: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?

    DPC: Keeping members! We’ve been through a lot of them. Maybe Greg and I smell!

    ML: Where are you guys drawing inspiration from these days? Are there any bands (new or old) that you’ve recently discovered or have been listening to a lot lately?

    DPC: I’ve been on a huge Failure kick lately. Fantastic Planet is a staple in my music rotation but lately I’ve been listening to their earlier records. Greg seems to be pretty into the new Phil Anselmo stuff and the new Queens Of The Stone Age disc. Brent is digging the new Queens Of The Stone Ag and Truckfighters.

    Wakeless

    ML: You recently performed a Pink Floyd set under the band name “Fearless.” Can you tell us what that experience was like? Have you done that before in the past, and are there any plans to do it again?

    DPC: The last show was a little rushed as we had a week to throw it together to support InAeona for the Guelph date of their Canadian tour. Let’s just say I don’t think we schooled it. We did the Fearless set once before opening for Bat Sabbath (Cancer Bats Sabbath tribute). It’s always fun to pull that set out once in awhile. No plans to do it again but you never know…we said that before the last set we did.

    ML: Are any of you currently in other local bands?

    DPC: Greg plays in a band called Cops On Bikes with Paul Vergeer (ex Shad, Time the Destroyer) and James Rooke (Low Level Flight, eleven:eleven). Brent has a solo project he’s working on. I play with Ambre McLean, Jeremy & the Pink Band and The Stallion (a Ween tribute band).

    ML: What are your thoughts on the music scene in Guelph right now, in particular the heavier music that’s being put out there?

    DPC: The Guelph music scene in general is very cool right now! Very eclectic. The people here seem to praise originality and creativity! The metal scene is an important part of our scene as a whole. There’s a lot of passion for music in this city and we’re glad to be a part of it.

    ML: If you had to pick two LOCAL bands to tour the world with, which two would you choose?

    DPC: Definitely (u) the band! Those guys are mind blowing! Really great guys too! I’d love to play shows with Paul MacLeod also. I’m a big fan of his…crap it’s gonna be weird at the Jimmy Jazz next Monday if he reads this…

    ML: What’s the ultimate goal for the band – do you have aspirations for Wakeless to become a full-time gig?

    DPC: No, we’re happy doing this with the simple goal of writing music we enjoy and releasing it for the people that enjoy listening to it. We’d like to play out a little more but this band is first and foremost about the music.

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    Catch Wakeless Thursday, September 12 at Red Papaya Guelph – see event page for details!

     

    Montreal Knows How to Metal

    We arrived in Montreal late in the evening on Friday, August 9th. As we enter the hotel to check-in, I’m immediately greeted by a random guest who enthusiastically asks “Here for Heavy MTL?!” “Yeah,” I say “how did you know?” he shrugs and replies “You just know.

    Yes, we’re in Montreal for Canada’s biggest and best annual heavy metal music festival – Heavy MTL. This two-day festival plays host to roughly 40,000 fans, over 40 bands on three stages, and takes place in Parc Jean-Drapeau on the beautiful Ile Ste-Hélène – an island just off Montreal’s downtown area. The lineup is a mix of old and new metal, and covers multiple sub-genres – there really is something for every metal-lover at Heavy MTL.

    Getting to the festival is a breeze – a few subway stops from downtown and you’re there. On day one of the festival, we ride the train with dozens of other metal heads; the excitement is thick. As we exit the subway and come out into the daylight, we hear Lamb of God‘s “Ruin” blasting over loud speakers. We make our way under a giant archway decorated with skeletons, devils, and guitars, and a large sign that reads “Welcome to Heavy MTL.” We have arrived!

    Entering the festival grounds, I get the overwhelming feeling that this festival is something very special. The sun is shining, the island is gorgeous, the metal is cranked to 11, and before we even get all the way inside, there’s a guy selling us lemonade with rum or tequila.

    Parc_Jean-Drapeau
    Heavy MTL festival site.

    We spend our fist half-hour wandering around, orienting ourselves to the festival grounds. The main area consists of two massive stages (side-by-side), multiple food vendors and bars, VIP stadium seating, picnic tables, shade trees, and a large grassy hill that’s perfect for hanging back and taking it all in from afar. Mobile beer boys meander through the crowds and even into the mosh pit, offering libations to thirsty people. And there’s no shortage of pretty girls waiting to throw shots of Jägermeister and energy drinks down your throat. You don’t need drink tickets here – cash at the bar will suffice, and you can take your beverages anywhere – there are no restrictive beer tents. It’s clear the festival organizers want to ensure you have a good time, and that you don’t waste that precious time – because you never have to wait in a line at Heavy MTL. The main stages are set up high, with three jumbo screens, so the viewpoint from anywhere is near prefect.

    Off the main area, over a bridge and through the woods, is a third, smaller stage. This area is a little more intimate – there’s a WiFi “chill zone” with Muskoka chairs situated next to a pond, a professional wrestling ring side show, and there’s food and beer over here too, of course. With all the trees, water, pathways, and stages, I can’t help but be reminded of home and I remark that this feels like a “Heavy Hillside“. And that warm communal feeling Hillside is so famous for – I’m immediately getting the same vibe off of Heavy MTL.

    crowd

    The acts on the two main stages flip-flop time slots, so as soon as one band finishes, the next one begins. And while that’s happening, the third stage keeps running too. With so much going on, there are schedules posted throughout the festival grounds, ensuring you don’t miss a thing. The programming is flawless – seemingly like magic, everything runs on time. Heavy MTL also produces a very impressive mobile app each year that contains loads of info.

    Over the course of the next two days, these are the bands we were lucky enough to catch: Amon Amarth, At The Gates, Augury, August Burns Red, Baroness, Blackguard, Black Label Society, Children of Bodom, Danzig (with Doyle), Death Lullaby, Device, Finntroll, Godsmack, GWAR, Halestorm, Hellyeah, Huntress, Machine Head, Mastodon, Obey The Brave, Pallbearer, Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Rob Zombie, Steel Panther, and The Acacia Strain – it’s not even close to the complete lineup.

    gwar

    The weekend was full of incredible moments too numerous to write about in-depth here, so here’s a list of just a few of the things we experienced, and some lessons learned:

    • Metal heads are really, really nice folks – we met people from as far away as Edmonton and Ohio.
    • I saw a troll play keyboards.
    • I saw a unicorn in the Pallbearer pit – no really, I swear I saw it!
    • GWAR‘s fake blood does not wash off easily.
    • Pantera legends Phil Anselmo and Vinnie Paul are currently in damn good bands that everyone needs to check out.
    • Amon Amarth was very happy to play for us – I could tell because their lead singer couldn’t stop smiling.
    • There’s no such thing as a bad poutine in Montreal.
    • Think twice before you inhale something passed to you by an elderly gentleman who looks suspiciously like a cross between George Carlin and Tommy Chong.
    • If you jump in the Danzig pit while they’re playing Misfits classics “Skulls” and “Last Caress,” keep an eye out for wayward elbows!
    • Potheads are completely incapable of keeping a beach ball going at a concert.
    • Give some bands you haven’t heard of a chance – because you may be surprised to find out they put on an amazing live show!

    mastodon

    Metal is extreme music for outsiders, and I don’t know if it will ever get the full credit it deserves, but Heavy MTL continues to grow each year as more and more metal heads flock to la belle province. A lot of energy gets burned off at metal shows, and in the whole time we were there, we did not witness a single negative event – no serious injuries, no fights, nobody being jerks – everyone we encountered had a great time, the festival was impeccably run, and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

    Master of horror rock, the legendary Rob Zombie was the closing headliner of the festival, and there was no shortage of giant mechanical monsters and robots in his set. This act is really a spectacle. I’ve been to a lot of metal shows, and I will tell you that Rob Zombie shows are some of the funnest – the mosh pit is really more like a raucous dance party.

    zombie

    On the subway ride back to the hotel late Sunday night, the crowd is electrified and erupts in sporadic cheers of “Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!” Rob’s nowhere in sight of course, but I like to think he can feel the love anyway. With each stop, the subway cars empty a few metal heads at a time. As the smiles slowly fade, we replay in our minds all that we had just experienced in the last 48 hours. It was a wild ride! Merci Montreal, we will definitely see you again next year!

    Photos from Heavy MTL 2013 Galerie.

    Q&A with Slyde

    This Friday, August 2nd GAIN Music and KronikNoise will host “Rock Extravaganza” at the A.N.A.F Club in Guelph. One of the bands on the bill is Toronto/Ottawa-based progressive metal band Slyde. But trying to pin one musical genre on Slyde is impossible. The band has a very unique sound that is entirely their own. They’re a combination high-energy, hair-swinging metal act blended with pop-y electronic keyboard sounds and some serious lyrical inspiration – and even then, that’s too simplifying. We reached out to Nathan Da Silva (vocalist/guitarist) and Sarah Westbrook (keyboardist) to bring you this Q&A to learn a bit more about the band and their unique sound. You’ll definitely want to check out their show on August 2nd and see what these guys have to offer, as trying to describe Slyde is best left for the band to show you themselves!

     

    ML: Can you give us a brief history of the band and how it was formed?

    ND: The band was formed in 2009, but our current lineup was formed in early 2011. Before 2011, we released two self-titled demos in 2009 and 2010, where we were still trying to find our sound and experiment with styles and sounds within the progressive, metal, and popular idioms of music. Our latest two records, Feed The Machine (2011) and New World Sympathy (2012), really helped us grow and evolve into the sound that we currently have. We’ve been 100 per cent independent since day one, self-booking and self-promoting our own shows and tours, with almost 150 gigs under our belts. We’ve shared the stage with many genres and played some awesome shows! Slyde is: Nathan Da Silva (guitar/vocals), Sarah Westbrook (keyboards), Nicholas Favretto (bass guitar) and Brendan Soares (drums, vocals).

    ML: Your latest EP New World Sympathy was released about a year ago. How would you say it compares to your previous records?

    ND: I think New World Sympathy is definitely a lot darker and heavier than our previous records before it, and much more in your face lyrically. Feed The Machine as an album was a little more metaphorical, but when you listen to the song “Lies” off of New World Sympathy, you know exactly what we’re singing about. We also wanted to focus more on making the instrumentation a little more technical on New World Symphony,more solos, more intricacies in the playing, and more badassery all around.

    ML: What are the band’s plans for future recordings – is there a new EP or album in the works?

    ND: We are working on new material for our new album, although when, where and how we record that next album in still to be determined. We’ve always released an EP every year since 2009, but since we’re skipping out on a 2013 release, we’ll be doing something extra to make up for it in 2014. Stylistically it’s in a similar vein as New World Sympathy, naturally, but we’re finding ways to make our next project one-up our previous efforts.

    ML: The combination of the sometimes bubbly sounds of the keyboard and the heavier progressive riffs in your music is pretty unique. When putting the band together, did you aim to create this kind of sound, or was it something that sort of developed over time?

    SW: The Slyde soundscape included keyboards from the beginning. The keyboard is able to take on different roles: solos with the guitar, comping with not just piano sounds but with altered strings sounds while simultaneously carrying the lead riffage on another keyboard. It also adds another dimension to bass riffs, and of course, arpeggiators and samples create even more uniqueness to the sound we are looking to create.

    http://youtu.be/3PrVc36Fc7o

    ML: Your lyrics often deal with political/environmental/social issues. Can you speak about why/how this came to be?

    SW: We are not experts in politics; we are musicians and we live our lives that way. Some people say Art reflects Life, and yes, to some degree, what we see in life is reflected in our music. Oscar Wilde’s idea that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” is, we feel, more appropriate in Slyde’s case. Music is the medium we use to express our love for life, our anger about why and who has power over our lives, our fears about what will happen in the near future, and everything else we feel strongly about. We hope that the mainstream listeners that have never heard lyrics like ours will hear something eventually, and also agree with our sentiments. We do not imitate to create and probably this may be why we are not exactly a radio-friendly band. Many people say that because of our style, we are trying to create a market where there isn’t one. When Brendan joined Slyde, he was studying International Development in school and traveling to see how other parts of the world lived. He saw how Canadian mining companies were affecting indigenous communities, and experienced this first hand when traveling to Sibuyan Island – a remote island in The Philippines – and witnessed the severity and pain that these people were dealing with. I also studied with ecologist Dr. Ian Prattis and was very affected by his course. Feed the Machine was based on his writings. Generally, on a daily basis, we see apathy amongst our generation and younger ones. Apathy and mindless consumerism feeds the larger system at work, one that is controlled by financial greed and lust for money. This will not end well for any of us, so why not give a shit? We try to get people to think (and get enraged) about the careless treatment of the earth in order to make ridiculous amounts of money for the select few on the planet. When you become aware that right now is a very important time in human “progress”, how can you not write about it?

    ML: Are any of you involved in other musical projects?

    ND: As musicians, you’re always finding ways to stay busy and active, and collaborating with other artists is common. I am currently working with an Ottawa-based band called Ilvekyo, and I work as a cover musician in solo, duo, and full band settings. I also occasionally perform with Franco-Ontarian artist Paul Demers. Nicholas (Slyde bassist) plays with Montreal-based band Règlement 17. Brendan (Slyde drummer) performs with Toronto artist Justin Dubé – both of them used to be in the established independent pop rock band Everlea. Sarah collaborates with numerous classical singers, instrumentalists and choirs. The last choir she performed with was the Iranian National Choir for 2013 Tirgan Festival.

    ML: You’ve done quite a bit of touring in Southern Ontario – where do you hope to branch out to next?

    SW: We’ve been all over Ontario, Quebec, and visited the Maritimes a couple summers ago. We are currently looking for some support from the industry to help us reach out to new markets, particularly the European and Asian markets.

    ML: For anyone who has never seen you live, what would you say to expect at a Slyde show?

    SW: Expect nothing and keep an open mind. But be prepared to rock out – hard. We are a very high-energy band.

    ML: You guys were recently involved in the Wacken Metal Battle Canada – a competition for a chance to play at the Wacken Open Air festival, which is a massive annual metal event attended by roughly 80,000 people. Can you tell us a bit about what that experience was like?

    SW: It was a fantastic crowd of people to play to. Although we were very different from the other metal bands, we were happy to be chosen to perform to this audience and they seemed to love having us play for them.

    ML: You’ve said that your music is partly inspired by video games from the 80s and 90s. Are any of you gamers, and if so, what are your favourite titles?

    ND: I grew up playing NES and SNES games so it was difficult to not be inspired by the amazing music that accompanied these games. Some notable titles with influential music for me were the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, the Mega Man series, and the Castlevania series.

    ML: If you had the power to change just one problem in the world, what would it be?

    SW: The human mind.

    slyde
    Photo credit: JAYLYN Photography

     

    Misery Signals Heats Up Club Vinyl

    Every once in a while, a show comes to town where the excitement leading up to it is palpable. This was the case with the recent GAIN Music & KronikNoise event – Misery Signals, The Color Morale, Intervals, The Kindred, and Arkham Awaits at Club Vinyl on Saturday, July 13.

    The night was abuzz early on, and by 5:30 pm a lineup was already forming down Macdonell St. outside of the club. About an hour later, a sizable crowd made their way in to catch hometown boys Arkham Awaits. Saturday was a gorgeous, hot day in Guelph, and when Arkham Awaits dug into their set, it was already hard to ignore the rising temperature inside. The guys played a set of crowd favourites and ended with “A Siege Upon Us” which, in my opinion, has one of the most beautiful intros I’ve heard in a long time – but then ramps up, stirring the crowd into a frenzy. Every time I see Arkham Awaits, I find myself wondering how screamer Kyle Bushert manages those intense, ripping vocals, while maintaining such a great tone throughout the set. Kyle’s screams are perfectly complemented by singer/guitarist Levin Maaskant, and backed up by an extremely talented and technical band. Arkham Awaits‘ music is both interesting and catchy; their song structures have a lot changes – keeping the listener fully engaged, while their melodies keep the listener grounded and craving more. I’ve said it before – not many bands get this formula right, but Arkham Awaits does.

    ArkhamAwaits

    Ottawa-based progressive metal band The Kindred (formerly known as Today I Caught the Plague) took to the stage next, offering up a bit of a different sound. They reminded me just a little bit of The Mars Volta with a touch of European metal flare. They didn’t necessarily look like your “typical metal band.” In fact, lead singer David Journeaux was downright dapper in his button down shirt and chinos. But don’t get me wrong, this was not about fashion – he delivered some impressive vocals and a very engaging performance. Many of the songs began with moody, atmospheric intros, giving way to heavy riffs. By the third song, the audience was all theirs. The Kindred is a band I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on – they have a new album due out this fall that promises to be interesting.

    Kindred

    Next up in the night was Toronto’s progressive instrumental band Intervals. Without a vocalist, Intervals demonstrated their technical prowess on their hardware alone. The absence of a vocalist gave a rare and refreshing opportunity to really focus on the music as a whole – and Intervals is a mix of metal and electronic soundscapes that will really take you on a trip, if you let it. When they finished their set, the crowd was chanting for an encore, but with such a full lineup there was unfortunately just no time.
    Intervals

    The Color Morale from Illinois was slotted to play just before Misery Signals, and if their job was to pump up the crowd for what was to come, they were extremely successful. With their guitarists and bassist being just as active on stage as their frontman, few bands look like they’re having such fun on stage as The Color Morale does. This was the point in the night when the crowd really got fired up. A shout-out to photographer Brandon Marsh who battled the pit to get us these great shots. To an outsider, the pit at a metal show may look like a very violent place – but it’s violence without malice. There are few finer ways to blow off steam than in a metal pit, and you’d be surprised at how people take care of each other in there.

    ColorMorale

    Sometime around 10 pm Misery Signals from Wisconsin hit the stage. This is the band everyone had been looking forward to all night, and they certainly did not disappoint. Well over 200 people filled Club Vinyl to take in the act. By this time, I’m sure the temperature in the pit must have been pushing 30°C, but Misery Signals didn’t let it show – the band dished out a ton of energy, and the crowd fed it right back to them. The audience was dense enough to support some stage diving and crowd surfing. After seeing Misery Signals, it’s hard to resist the urge to get in on the fun – their infectious riffs make you wanna just jump right in. And I overheard more than one person in the audience say the band was so tight, that the concert sounded as good as a recording.

    MiserySignals

    Hard to believe, but after all that, the night still wasn’t over. The fun continued next door at Jimmy Jazz with a free after-party where Southern Ontario’s Eaten by Sharks and Deterrence proceeded to melt everyone’s faces off. By 2 am, there was nothing left to do but grab some cheap Chinese food and drag our hot, sticky selves home.

    MiserySignals3

    Q&A with Arkham Awaits

    There is so much happening in the Guelph music scene lately – it’s fantastic! One of the bands I’m really excited about is Arkham Awaits – a post-hardcore metal group, drawing their influences from bands like ThriceAlexisonfire, Hopesfall, Tool and Deftones – just to name a few! I got a hold of their “Meridian” EP earlier this year and was blown away. It’s a perfect blend of heaviness and melody, which is not an easy task – a lot of bands get it wrong – but Arkham Awaits gets it soooo right. The guys took some time to do this Q&A for us, where they touch on their past, tell us about their future plans, and we also have a little fun with some of the questions!

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    1. Can you give us a brief history of how the band came to be?
    Arkham Awaits was actually the bastard child of Levin and Paul’s acoustic project. After having a great time writing acoustically, they decided they wanted to expand it into a full-band project, inviting Steve to play drums and Kyle to join as our screamer. After a few months of practicing and writing, Nic was brought in to play bass and was a great fit. Every one of us had so much to offer musically that it developed really quickly!

    2. What’s the story behind the band’s name?
    Naming the band was actually pretty difficult, since we all had very different perspectives on how we wanted to be represented. After a long brainstorming process we came up with Arkham Awaits. We are all comic book/superhero nerds, so it didn’t take long for the name to stick!

    3. Do any members play in other bands?
    A few of us actually play in other bands at the moment. Levin, Paul and Nic have quietly been working on an acoustic side-project called “LP & the Grizz” and Nic actually plays at Doogie’s in downtown Guelph with his friend Mark. Most of us were involved in other bands in the past, but it is worth mentioning that Steve once went on a European-tour playing drums for a Polka band!

    4. I’ve heard a rumour that the “Meridian” EP (released earlier this year) was originally supposed to be a full-length album. True? Can you tell us what happened?
    Ya, we actually had plans to record our first full-length with a studio in Barrie earlier this year. After recording the first few songs last fall, the studio-guy abruptly decided to close down his studio for financial reasons. Needless to say, we were pretty disappointed not to be able to complete the project, but we decided to release the few songs he finished as our “Meridian” EP.

    5. Do you have plans for a full-length album, and can you give us any details on that yet?
    We absolutely have plans to record a full-length at the some point in the future, though we have decided it would be better to focus on touring and writing for the moment. We all feel that expanding our fan-base will definitely serve us better in the future than jumping right back into the studio.

    6. Can you give us a feel for your writing process? How do the songs generally come together?
    Our writing process usually stems from Paul coming up with riffs and then bringing them to the band to develop the song-structure. In the beginning Paul and Levin already had a bunch of songs written, which was really cool, since we got to watch them develop and evolve once everyone had an opportunity to give their input.

    7. Arkham Awaits is undeniably heavy and technical, but you also combine a lot of melodic vocals and riffs. When the band was first created, was this always the sound you were aiming for, or was it something that developed over time? Is balancing the different sounds ever a challenge?
    We never really gave too much thought to create a specific style of music, but mostly just wanted to make music that we would want to listen to. We often write parts and songs with each other’s musical styles in mind, so I think we made it easy for ourselves to balance vastly different sounds in our music.

    8. How often does the band practice?
    We try to jam 2-3 times a week at our jam space. It’s actually a really incredible place – so many great bands and musicians practice there! Mandroid Echostar jam downstairs next to Islands & Empires and Brave the Apex, and our room is next to Wakeless, who share their room with Jeremy & the Pink Band. It’s really awesome hearing all those incredible musicians practicing so close by, and we’ve become really close friends with all those guys in the process!

    9. What’s the strangest thing we would find in your rehearsal space?
    Ha ha ha! We should probably have a garage sale with all the junk we’ve collected! The funniest things we have in there right now are probably these giant cardboard cutouts of Darth Vader and R2-D2 that Paul brought in. We also had a fake Christmas tree in there for a while that eventually got set up in the common area. We think it was the Wakeless guys who did that!

    10. It was recently announced that Arkham Awaits is now officially working with GAIN Music, can you tell us a bit more about what that means and what the band’s plans are for the future?
    We’ve actually been working with GAIN Music for a few years now, and they’ve been great to us! Mostly this new development means that GAIN will be taking over a larger part of our management duties, especially in terms of booking shows. They’ve always booked our hometown shows, but now they’ll be looking to use their contacts outside of Guelph to help us set up shows and start touring. We are incredibly excited to see what’s in store for us, and even have news on the way about a potential short-tour run in August! We’ve got a lot of high hopes for the future, but mostly we just want to get out there and play to new audiences. We have so much fun on stage, we just want to tour and get new people into our music. In the near future, we definitely want to focus on touring out to the East coast and then maybe start looking West and maybe even into the States!

    11. Tell us about the best show you’ve played to date.
    A few shows come to mind when it comes to the best shows we’ve played. Being asked to play Mandroid Echostar‘s “Unveiling” at E-Bar was pretty incredible. Playing to a sold-out crowd alongside Wakeless, Farewell to Freeway, and, of course, Mandroid Echostar, was unbelievable. The feeling of brotherhood that stemmed from that show really revived Guelph’s music scene! Our last Guelph show, our “Meridian” EP release show was also pretty amazing! We played with The Coyote Way, Sleepless and Sleep When You’re Dead, and the hometown crowd support was unreal! The high-point was definitely watching Kyle being crowd-surfed during our final song by some of the Mandroid guys!!!

    12. Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses? You can choose one weapon.
    We’re glad you asked this question. We would choose to engage in an epic bloodbath with the five of us facing 100 duck-sized horses, and we would ride into battle atop a battle-hardened horse-sized duck … named Winston. We would soar over the battlefield on our mallard Winston, reigning death upon the poor stupid tiny horses, stomping them with our enormous webbed feet and using furious wing flaps to create a sandstorm so that we could use our air-superiority to deadly effect.

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    Be sure to catch Arkham Awaits this Saturday, July 13 at Club Vinyl with Misery Signals, The Color Morale, Intervals and The Kindred! Event details and tickets available here. 

    arkham1

     

    Guelph Music Club – Chuck’s Latest Picks (Best of 1963 – 1973)

    Mounting projects at work and a super busy personal life (I got engaged!) have kept me from the blogosphere for a few weeks. So please accept my apologies for the tardiness!

    Dear Guelph Music Club, I have neglected you, BUT you have never been far from my thoughts! I was so diligent in weeks one and two, please allow me to catch-up now with my fav picks for weeks three to five…

    #3: Simon & Garfunkel – all the albums!

    What I love about it:
    Ok I know I’m cheating a bit here by not actually picking one album, but I must confess to only ever actually owning the “best of” Simon & Garfunkel, which I acquired sometime in my pre-teens. Liking folk music has never been hard for me – probably has something to do with being from rural Nova Scotia and growing up around a lot of acoustic guitars. Simon & Garfunkel were easy listening, but they also seemed to have a dark side. Some of their songs had a very creepy under-vibe. I really dug that back then, and still do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fp91cqBhAE

     

    #2: T-Rex – Electric Warrior

    What I love about it:
    I was in my twenties when I discovered T-Rex (late to the party!). Before then, the only version of “Bang a Gong” I had ever heard was Rober Palmer’s version in the 80s (Eww, right?!). Anyway, this is a SOLID album start to finish for anyone with a mild inclination toward the glam era of rock (it wasn’t all bad, honest!). If I said T-Rex was better than Bowie I’d probably be shot, but I will go so far as to say that I think Marc Bolan had that same “special something,” that same talent that Bowie had, and I think (had his girlfriend not wrapped their car around a pole and killed him) that T-Rex would have been a great and continuing success. That voice… “Girl I’m just a vampire for your love.

     

    #1: Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

    What I love about it:
    Everything, OF COURSE. For me (a huge metal fan), I don’t even feel worthy of writing about this album because Black Sabbath freaking CREATED heavy metal. They are to heavy metal what Elvis is to modern rock n’ roll. And for that, I, and a million other metal heads are eternally grateful. Right from the first notes of the opening track, people stood up and paid attention to this album – and the hair stood up on the back of your neck! So there it is folks, if I had to count it down (which I haven’t been, but if I did!) Black Sabbath gets my top slot for THE BEST album 1963 – 1973.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vi1mHigGZE

    Looking forward to the next Guelph Music Club adventure!

    Yours in tardiness,
    Chuck xo

    Things Got a Little Crazy – Skynet and Friends at Red Papaya

    Friday May 31 saw the continuation of the Out Loud Series at Red Papaya with GAIN Music and KronikNoise hosting Skynet, Partycat, Seducing Medusa, and In the Act of Violence.

    Once again, loads of metal heads came out to support some awesome Ontario metal.

    Oshawa’s In the Act of Violence filled in at the last minute when Kennedy fell off the bill. I love listening to these guys live. They’re heavy as f*ck, but there’s something almost comforting in their riffs and changes – the music often goes where you want it to, making it quickly likable for new fans and a great way to start off the night. In the Act of Violence effortlessly worked up the crowd early on and brought a selection of Guelph’s finest hardcore dancers to the floor. At this point, nobody got hurt … yet.

    In The Act of Violence

    Hometown boys Seducing Medusa played a raucous set and made excellent use of the unique space at Red Papaya, coming right out over the railings and playing into the pit. The crowd loved it, and I love bands that know how to put on a show! One of my favourite moments in the set was when singer Cody Mcdermid yelled “F*ck same coloured socks!” Seducing Medusa played with wild abandon – when I said “crazy” earlier, I meant it – I’m coining a new genre just for Seducing Medusa: Stoner Insane Asylum Metal.

    Seducing Medusa

    Partycat was up next and this is never a band to miss. These guys always know how to have fun and put on a good show, and that night at Red Papaya was no exception. This is when things got even more crazy … during the set, frontman Joshua Cottreau landed on an unsuspecting audience member. Let’s sum it up to say that there was a lot of blood. Metal shows can be intense, but playing safe is always a priority for everyone involved – Unkle Rick jumped in to handle the situation and everyone was ok. So a big shout out to MMBris who got a few stitches and can now start stories with “Hey, remember that time a singer fell on my face?

    Partycat

    Honestly, at this point in the night I remember thinking “Holy sh*t, there’s still more to come?!” and then Skynet took to the stage with their progressive groove metal and brought the house down. Like their music, this was an intense performance and drew a big crowd to the pit. I don’t know how Red Papaya felt about it, but Skynet kept swinging the lights around during their set and it looked so rad! Skynet left the crowd calling for an encore and wanting more, but unfortunately it didn’t come. The night was over and some pretty crazy memories were made.

    Skynet

    Be sure to check out the next Out Loud Series show from GAIN Music and KronikNoise – local favourites Mandroid Echostar will be supporting Courage My Love June 15 at Van Gogh’s Ear.

    American Hell, Anu Beginning, Unbowed, and Jetpacks to Jupiter at Red Papaya

    The long weekend kicked off with a bang, with GAIN Music and KronikNoise hosting American Hell, Anu Beginning, Unbowed, and Jetpacks to Jupiter at Red Papaya on Friday, May 17.

    Red Papaya is a large Thai restaurant – and bless their hearts, they also host metal shows! It was my first time there, and I must say, it’s a pretty cool venue with ample space for bands and fans. The restaurant has a few tiered levels of seating, and that makes for some unique vantage points for seeing a show.

    Between working the doors, catching up and making connections with other local metal heads, I was able to take in enough of the show to let you know that if you weren’t there … you missed a good time! This was a high energy show and a good size crowd came out to see some excellent Ontario metal.

    Stoney Creek’s Jetpacks to Jupiter kicked off the night with their rock/pop/alternative sound. Surprisingly, this was only the band’s second show, and I can’t think of a better way to say this – man, do these guys really have their sh*t together! They sounded great – very polished (in a good way) – and have obviously spent some time crafting their image, with a slick logo and a set of backdrops for their live show.

    Hometown melodic metal band Unbowed took to the stage next and delivered a powerful set consisting mostly of songs from their upcoming album, and WOW does the new stuff sound good! Last time I talked to the guys they said the new album was being recorded this summer, so keep an eye – er, ear – out for that. Unbowed drew the largest crowd of the night to the front of the stage, and were even successful in getting a little circle pit going. That’s right Guelph, there was a circle pit at Red Papaya. I think we need to give some credit to the boyz in Noiz A Noiz for that too.

    4/6th of Mandroid Echostar look on as Anu Beginning get the Red Papaya jacked up!
    4/6th of Mandroid Echostar look on as Anu Beginning get the Red Papaya jacked up!

    London’s Anu Beginning kept the energy rolling and prepped the stage for the main act.

    Niagara-area metal heads American Hell finished off the night and delivered some seriously satisfying headbangs. The current lineup has been together since 2010 and American Hell has been working the festival circuit and sharing the stage with some big names. Their experience shows – riffs were tight and frontman Craig Laro really knows how to get the crowd worked up. A full-length album is expected from American Hell sometime this year.

    If you like it loud, don’t miss the next GAIN Music & KronikNoise event on Friday, May 31 with Skynet, Partycat, Seducing Medusa and Kennedy.

    Band Spotlight: Unbowed

    I recently got a chance to sit down with Alex Snape (guitarist) and Nick Lennox (drummer) from local metal band Unbowed, to talk about their recent EP and future plans. Though I would’ve preferred a Viking ship as the location to conduct our interview, they’re a little hard to come by, so me and the guys settled into the Red Brick Café for our chat.

    Unbowed was birthed in 2011 when Alex and lead singer Ioan Tetlow started working on the project in their basement. A lot of lineup changes ensued over the next few years as the band went through some growing pains. But as of January 2013, they finally have the lineup they feel will be successful in moving them forward.

    Unbowed

    Self-described as “epic melodic metal,” Unbowed touches on a few other sub-genres, including viking, folk, black, and death metal. Where many of the local heavier bands tend to fall into the core and progressive sub-genres of metal, Unbowed definitely stand apart. But the guys don’t seem to mind, as the music community here is tight knit. “We’re aware that we’re pretty different. We know there’s no other band like us in Guelph … but all the [core] shows are so fun, and people receive us well.” says Alex. The guys credit local bands such as Mandroid Echostar, Arkham Awaits, and Wakeless with re-awakening the metal scene in Guelph within the last couple of years.

    A few months ago Unbowed released their first self-titled EP to much success, and the recording was well-received by metal heads across the country. The EP is a powerful, heavy, and beautiful set of cohesive songs. Most of the work was done by Alex, Nick, and Ioan, and was started when they were all in their early teens – which is an incredible accomplishment, because the EP sounds amazing. Upon first listen, the riffs are immediately catchy. After a few listens, you’re a solid new Unbowed fan. The music is big, and full, and exciting. Get ready to don your armor, because you’ll want to suit up for battle after you hear this.

    One of the elements that often sets melodic metal apart from other sub-genres is the inclusion of keyboards, and Unbowed say they always intended to include the instrument in their mix. “It opens up what you can do, you can have guitars playing the usual heavy stuff and then bring in a whole other atmosphere and bring in other layers of music” says Alex. Nick chimes in “Adding keyboards in gives it that grandiose kind of feeling.” And I completely agree – listen to the EP and you’ll see how well the keyboards compliment and don’t distract from the composition.

    Another great element of Unbowed‘s first EP that can’t be ignored is the artwork. The band came up with the concept, and then reached out to Polish artist Marta Sokolowska to put their vision to work. The idea behind the image of the man with the burning city in the background was about moving on – personally and professionally – having been through an exhausting couple of years with the lineup changes and getting the project off the ground. “Burn it and move on” was the general idea according to Alex.

    UnbowedEPArtwork

    And the band is doing just that – they’re booking shows and working on recording a new album later this summer. According to the guys, it’s shaping up to be 13 tracks of all new music. When asked what the new album will sound like, Nick says “You can tell it’s Unbowed, but it’s a different vibe. The EP was a lot of Alex, but now that we’ve got six people in on this writing process, it’s just a different blend of sounds.” Impressively, the guys plan to record the new album themselves. I was curious why they would take the tougher DIY route, when today, many bands find success in crowd-funding projects through sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo. Their response was not that it was a money issue, but that they wanted control over the music and recording process. They prefer the recording process to be more casual, rather than having to be pressured by studio time constraints. And because sometimes creativity strikes at 3 a.m.

    After chatting with Alex and Nick for a while, their commitment to the band is clear. From booking, to promotion, to recording – Unbowed is doing a lot of the heavy lifting themselves. And after a few years of struggling, the guys are happy to have all band members on the same page and be able to take the projects to new heights. “We all want to do other things in our life, but we have the drive to keep at this, and we’re not going to put other things in front of the band. We all want to be a touring, professional band; record and play live – for a long time.” says Alex.

    Unbowed is a talented and hardworking young metal band. They’re important to the local metal scene because they offer something different – and they’re very good at it. I expect to see great things from these guys in the future as they play more shows, release their first full-length album, and continue to expand their fan base. And just in case you needed another reason to support them, they’re really nice guys too.

    Be sure to catch their next show this Friday, May 17 at Red Papaya in Guelph.

    May-17-11x17

     

     

    The Ward Skatepark Punk Show

    On Friday, April 26th, The Ward Skatepark hosted an all ages punk show with the lineup of local and nearby talent Noiz A Noiz, Kill Sid, and Maximum RNR. As we all know, Guelph is a hotbed of live music, and with other metal/punk events in the city that night (big name metal act Opeth was in town, and The Nasties were at Jimmy Jazz) it didn’t really come as a surprise that the skatepark show wasn’t that well attended. But, that certainly did not stop everyone who was there from having a great time.

    This was my first time at The Ward Skatepark, and let me say that this is a very cool place – the bands were set up right in the park amongst the half-pipes and whatnot. I couldn’t think of a better atmosphere for a punk show.

    Noiz A Noiz started off the night with a fun old school punk set that had the younger audience members thrashing around, and won the admiration of the older crowd who grew up listening to their style of play. These guys are pretty young and they already sound great – keep an eye on them, it’ll be interesting to see how they progress over the next few years. Kill Sid filled in the middle of the night by ripping through a set of dirty punk/metal hybrid tunes. It was only the band’s second show with their current lineup. They have a very raw sound, and I think we’ll see good things from these guys as they develop.

    With the small crowd, the night quickly took on the feel of hanging out in your friend’s garage watching their band jam. And although there was a very noticeable age divide in the audience, by the time Maximum RNR hit the stage, everyone young and old was feeling pretty loose and was brought together by the music.

    Maximum RNR
    Maximum RNR

    If you’ve never been to a Maximum RNR show, you are missing out! Their music sounds like the craziest house party you’ve ever been to in your life. A Maximum RNR show isn’t something you watch – it’s something you experience – and once you see them, you keep going back for more. The skatepark provided the perfect environment for the uninhibited wild thrashings of singer Diamond Brent Panther as he climbed, jumped, and slid his way through the show. The guys played a short but sweet set of some of their most popular songs. With lead guitarist Keith Carman now residing in Wellington County, I’m glad we can claim a local stake in this band. Your next opportunity to catch them will be at The Hive in Kitchener on June 1st, where they’ll play with The Nasties. Also take note that the band has a new album due out on June 18th called “Rough Side of the Dial” and is currently available for pre-order.

    Although initially disappointed with the low turnout, I think it ultimately didn’t matter to the bands, or the fans – we were there – and we were certainly entertained from start to finish.

    After the show, I hosted several band members back at my house for an impromptu after party, and a good time was had by all … until the wee hours of the morning. But that’s a whole other blog post that I’ll probably never be allowed to write about!

     

    Maximum RNR
    Maximum RNR
    Kill Sid
    Kill Sid
    Noiz A Noiz
    Noiz A Noiz

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