INTERVIEW WITH CYCLONE RECORDS
By Kristie Allen
This issue I had the pleasure of speaking with the folks at Cyclone Records. This label is quite unique, as they produce compilation discs; which means many bands per disc, less recording costs for you. They are currently looking for "fresh meat" around Canada, so if your band is interested in an upcoming project, check these cats out.
BSW: Tell us who Cyclone Records are and where you are based out of?
Brad: I am the founder of Cyclone Records. Myself, along with some other talented and passionate people such as Nadine Adam and Tony Dewald make up the heart and soul of the label. Bands are also an integral part and we have developed a powerful, cross-functional and supportive community. We began in Calgary, Alberta and have just relocated to just north of Toronto, Ontario before Christmas. This puts us in a better position to develop contacts and be in the thick of the action since major music vendors such as Socan, CIRPA, The Lacquer Channel and Sony are located here.
BSW: What was your initial motivation for starting Cyclone Records?
Brad: Simply put, I was motivated to bring the best music I could find into the forefront so that great musicians can be heard, recognized for their talent and enjoyed by others. I have been a drummer for over 20 years and have worked with some of the best musicians around and most, if not all, fade into obscurity because of the obstacles and challenges facing them in this business. The music machine can be a very costly, discouraging and take-no-prisoners kind of business. I am working to find the safe path and lead bands in the right direction and avoid the typical pitfalls of the business.
BSW: What I found different about Cyclone Records is that you have produced compilations of different bands, instead of full length c.d.’s. How do you feel this benefits a band that has little money? And how do you feel this benefits you?
Brad: The cost of releasing a full-length CD is prohibitive because it means having to record that many tracks, press upwards of 1000 copies and then try to promote, distribute and sell those discs. The Cyclone Records compilation series addresses this by requiring bands to record only one song which along with 10 or more other bands, is released with a distribution of 1000 or more copies. The beauty of these compilations are that a band that has a small, developing fan base can be promoted to a larger audience by the efforts of the other bands on the disc. As they distribute their portion of the discs, they are also promoting all the other artists. Plus, a band can typically earn up to $1000 through sales of their portion of the discs..
Working with bands at this stage of their development benefits me because it gives me an opportunity to see the personal dynamics of the band, their creative process, their dedication and business sense... all very important aspects of a band's longevity, perseverance and chance at success. Another residual effect is that the bands on the compilations form a small, symbiotic community and share shows, costs, members and promotion.
And just a heads up... I'm looking at doing a Manitoba compilation by year's end so if bands are interested, get in touch.
BSW: Tell us a bit about the services you offer.
Brad: We are a full-featured label and provide whatever a bands needs to move their careers to the next level. Our main focus is the compilations mentioned earlier, full-length releases and digital releases. We also do promotional items such as photo shoots, stickers, apparel, websites, graphic design. If there is something that we don't do, we will find someone that does and negotiate the best rate in the business.
BSW: Running a record label is time-consuming and competitive. What sets Cyclone Records apart from other labels out there?
Brad: Cyclone Records runs a lot leaner than other labels. That means that our overhead is lower and those savings can be passed on to bands. We are in this for the long run so do not gouge bands for the sake of making a quick buck. We stand behind our integrity. A band's success is our success.
BSW: Do you seek out bands or do they come to you? And what do you look for when considering new artists?
Brad: In the beginning, I approached as many bands as I could to get my name out and begin dialogue with them. I was an unknown to them so it wasn't always easy. Now, more and more bands are approaching me. When considering new artists, I want to see a band that has an accepted leader and yet harmony amongst the members. They need to have a solid recording and a bunch of songs written and be willing to get out and play lots of shows to get their message heard. Most importantly they have to have a business sense and be willing to care of that side of things, since after all this is a business.
BSW: You mentioned that you have plans on re-issuing several older discs online. How did you come up with this decision?
Brad: There is a growing trend towards online availability of tunes with a decrease in CD sales and an increase of online downloads. To remain on the leading edge, Cyclone is offering bands the opportunity to re-issue their music digitally through a variety of online download retailers such as iTunes, Napster, MSN Music, etc. Because of several high-profile releases, such as Inner Surge's "Signals Screaming" and the 14-band metal collection "The Greatest Underground Show on Earth" receiving international attention, this allows bands the opportunity to make their previous music strategically available to the international marketplace. Another benefit to digital only releases is that there is not the huge financial outlay in replicating and distributing CDs.
BSW: Name a few of the artists you have recently worked with, and do you have any personal favorites?
Brad: Its always hard to pick personal favorites. I won't work with bands that I don't personally believe in or believe in their chance at success. I have to be a fan of the band first. I work constantly with Creature Republic... they are a band going places. I have also worked extensively with Inner Surge because of their upcoming CD release, videos and movie soundtrack. New additions to the roster are Wormbox and Windsor, Ontario's, Pitch Union and they will be featured prominently in my plans down the road.
BSW: Any new releases we should be looking out for?
Brad: "The Greatest Underground Show on Earth" is a collection 14 of the best metal bands from Calgary. I am particularly proud of this disc. It will be on the street on February 28th but pre-orders are being taken now through the Cyclone Records website. Inner Surge's upcoming release "Signals Screaming" is getting critical acclaim worldwide and is on its way to becoming a premiere release, even before its April 1st release date.
BSW: Where can we find out more about Cyclone Records?
Brad: Cyclone Records and our discography is available online at www.cyclonerecords.ca.
BSW: Thank-you Brad, and good luck with your future endeavors!
INTERVIEW WITH DOUG DARLING OF SILENT OBSERVER PRODUCTIONS
By Kristie Allen
Some of you may know Doug Darling from such bands as Tequila Mockingbird, Forgetful Jones, or you may have even seen his mug on Shaw t.v. Now he has yet another new venture called Silent Observer Productions. “Decks, Drums and Rock n’ Roll” is a charity event he has organized in which all proceeds will go to MusiCan. So on March 18th, dig deep into your pockets you cheap asses and check this event out….Come on…it’s for charity!
BSW: Why don’t we start off by telling our readers who you are. (If you want to talk about “Silent Observer Productions” please do so…we all know the chicks dig it..hahahaha)
DD: I'm Doug Darling. I've been around this city for sometime now, playing in bands like Tequila Mockingbird and Forgetful Jones. I like long walks on the beach and... wait. Nevermind. I've now decided to sink my teeth into promoting shows, so I started Silent Observer Productions. And so far so good.
BSW: What gave you the idea to organize “Decks, Drums and Rock n’ Roll“?
DD: I'd be joking if I thought that DJs and bands playing the show was even remotely a new concept. I'm not the first to do it in Winnipeg - even this year - but I wanted to hype up the idea. The title is from a Propellerheads album that was a huge musical influence for me. That album did some of the best fusing of live and electronic elements that I'd heard. So aside from paying a little homage to the Propellerheads, I more just wanted to emphasize, promote and honour the rock and roll and electronic aspects of music.
BSW: Tell us a bit about the purpose of this event and what you hope to achieve.
DD: All proceeds will be going to MusiCan, which is through the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). They put together money and grants for music education for schools across Canada. We're hoping to raise at least $1000 after expenses for the show. And of course, anything after that will be awesome.
BSW: How did you get involved with MusiCan?
DD: I wanted to find a charity that had some sort of connection towards the event that I was putting on. MusiCan made the most sense. It's music for music. I called Srinka at MusiCan and it was a green light after that.
BSW: Do you have any suggestions for our readers as to how they can get more involved in supporting music education?
DD: Go to the show. Ha!
BSW: Which acts will be gracing the stage for this fundraiser?
DD: Honestly, in my mind, some of Winnipeg's finest. Tele who have just ecently moved back to da 'Peg, to record their album. The critical favorites, the Telepathic Butterflies, who blow me away everytime I see them. DJ RPG from who is from the ever-funky Moses Mayes. and Fascade@137db, who is an experimenally electronic genius. Also, and I'm making no promises, but it looks like Vancouver's Retrograde might join the show as well.
BSW: Have you had a lot of support from the community? And tell us about the work involved to make this concert happen.
DD: It's all finally starting to come together it seems. But this has taken an unbelievable amount of work. I've been doing everything from the bookings, to the designs, to the press releases and everything in between. Not that I mind though. I love this stuff, and there's still lots of stuff to do.
BSW: Are there any plans on making this an annual event?
DD: If this goes even remotely well, then there's a very good chance.
BSW: When and where will this take place? And how much will it cost?
DD: March 18th at the Pyramid Cabaret on 176 Fort Street. Tickets are 8 in advance at Nyce Records and Into the Music and $9 at the door.
BSW: If there is anything else you would like to add here, please feel free to do so.
DD: I urge everyone to come down. If not for the music then for the cause. This is going to be a wild party, so don't miss out.
INTERVIEW WITH ALLENTOWN SLUTS
By Kristie Allen
BSW: Please introduce the band to us and where you are all from
AS: King of Allentown- ATOWN, obviously C Vicious- South ATOWN, the dirrrrty south Johnny Cockring- from Whitehell, formerly of the Serial Rapists, 17, hs dropout
BSW: How did you all meet?
AS: At the local welfare office, we were all their scamming the local Puerto Rican broads with kids and absentee fathers, cheap dates!
BSW: Who came up with the name of your band? And why “The Atown Sluts”?
AS: King of Allentown, it came to me in a dream, some may say I'm a dreamer (like John Lennon and MLK JR)
BSW: How would you describe your music?
AS: Punk fucking rock
BSW: Do you have any “message” with your music?
AS: We have 2 mottos, Choke On It and Swing on This
BSW: Tell us in three words what we could expect to see at one of your shows.
AS: Us real high on drugs, KOA setting up impromptu abortion clinics in the bathroom!
BSW: Do you have any cd’s out? If so, where can we find them?
AS: Yes ATOWN SLUTS s/t all songs on our website or available by mail, lee 1481 lehigh pky s, allentown pa 18103, $7 1)Greed Rock 2)Drilldo 3)Beehive 4)Landmine 5)Tainted Seed 6)Buried Alive 7)Jet Boy Jet Girl In studio currently working on 2nd album called Choke On It! 7 songs, 1-choke on it 2- new entertainment 3-time to kill 4- dying to please 5- hookers and drugs 6- white trash holocaust 7-sonic reducer hookers and drugs video coming soon , featuring koa and his army of blow up dolls!
BSW: Do have any funny or weird stories to tell us that has happened at one of your shows?
AS: Sometimes we play good, sometimes we play real bad! We played all female college dressed as women and got thrown off stage and cops called after changing all our song names and simulating oral sex on stage, we have this on videotape, also got thrown off TRL when we tried to run up on Shakira and grope here, also on video!
BSW: Any shows coming up in March or April we should know about?
AS: Yeah, the ATOWN SLUTS world tour, were planning all over ATOWN!
BSW: Where can we find out more about The ATown Sluts?
AS: http://greedrock.tripod.com http://www.myspace.com/allentownsluts atownsluts@Hotmail.com kingofallentown@Hotmail.com
BSW: Thanks for the interview!
AS: No problem, hookers and drugs! -King of Allentown
INTERVIEW WITH BRYAN DAVID MELNYK
By Kristie Allen
Brian David Melnyk is no virgin to the Winnipeg music scene. After playing in various bands, he decided it was time to go solo. We had the chance to catch up with him to see how his solo project is going.
BSW: Who is Brian David Melnyk and where are you from?
Brian: I am from the frigid wasteland known as 'Winnipeg', which, in Chippewa, means: 'cheese nip on a bridge'. I think. as to WHO I am, I have no idea...
BSW: Tell our readers some of the bands you have played with? (The name “Joe Puke and The Chunky Bits” cracks me up!!! HA HA!)
Brian: I've played in a few bands, Farley Mohawk and Boo Radley to name a few. Joe Puke and the Chunky Bits was by far the most fun I’ve had, though. we would do Dickies, Clash, Devo, Sex Pistols covers etc. and wrote songs like 'I'm Only Lawn Bowling'. at one house party, Joe Puke waited about an hour stuffed inside a fireplace, so he could dramatically emerge in a frogman suit. and a tootoo.
BSW: You’ve traveled across Canada, and even had the pleasure of playing in Alaska. Do you have any stories you can tell our readers about your experiences?
Brian: ummm... Jane Fonda told me to 'get lost' when I was playing in Banff. does that count? apparently she wasn't too impressed by my witty charm... in Thompson, we had to stop playing due to gunfire... the ice bridge melted when we were playing in Yellowknife and we were stuck there for a month. I remember paying $15 for a paralyzer!!! (it was worth it). most of the other stories would be self-incriminating...
BSW: Typical question here; who are your influences and do you feel it comes out in your songwriting?
Brian: Typical answer: Beatles!!!!! and Bowie. and too many others to mention. I would like to think it comes out in my songwriting, but I doubt it!!!!
BSW: You’ve recorded everything yourself over the past few years. (vocals, guitars, drums etc.) Do you prefer this? I mean, it would be kind of cool because you avoid any “creative differences” or do you ever miss playing in a band?
Brian: I argue with myself, for old times sake... but yeah, I miss playing with other people. I miss the interesting directions that songs take, and the general debauchery and comradery. that said, I’m never late for practice with myself, and I can't actually break up with myself (though I’ve tried).
BSW: Tell us abit about your current project. You are in the midst of releasing a c.d., what can we expect to hear?
Brian: Music!!!!!!!! It's music... with a beat!!! I’m not sure how to describe it, really. sorta alternative, a little acoustic, an emphasis on melody...
BSW: When can we see something out by "Brian David Melnyk?"
Brian: barring any catastrophic events, the cd will be released in early April.
BSW: Do you have any gigs lined up for March?
Brian: with all my energy going into the mixing and graphics etc. for the cd, I’ve had no time to dedicate to live shows. I am, however putting something together for the April release with some other fellahs... I was also selected for the 92.9 kick fm homegrown cd. the release parties are on April 28th and May 5th at the pyramid. not sure if I’ll get selected to actually play the shows, though!!!!! I will be there shilling my merch... (hey.. that sounds kinda dirty...)
BSW: Where can we find out more about you?
Brian: you can find info and music at: http://www.myspace.com/briandavidmelnyk
and also at:
BSW: Thanks for the interview and stay in touch!
Brian: thank you!!!!
INTERVIEW WITH DR.RAGE & THE UPPERCUTS
By Kristie Allen
For a group of guys that hasn't been "on the scene" as a band too long, these boys sure have accomplished alot! Their in-your-face, old school rock will be coming to a stage near you this Spring! So keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, the "Doctor" is making house calls!
BSW: First off, please introduce Dr. Rage and The Uppercuts to us.
Colin: Well we have Chris Parkes on Rhythm Guitar, Les Dzialik on Bass, Dr. Rage on Lead Guitar and Vocals, and Myself on Drums.
BSW: Tell us a bit about this jam session that brought you all together. Were you all friends before forming as a band?
Colin: Well the jam session was just that. Actually it was Les, Dr. Rage and myself just jamming out some songs to see if there was anything there. We invited Chris over (He lives next door.) to jam out with us. It turned into something that we could all see was going to take on a sound of its own. All the components were there. We were all friends before joining the band and had been hanging out quite a bit before the impromptu jam session.
BSW: You were offered some pretty cool gigs, and you hadn’t even played a show. That must have been pretty exciting for you all. Tell us what it was like to open up for legendary Bo Diddley. Did you get to meet him? If so, what was he like?
Colin: Well getting the opening gig for Bo Diddley was huge for us. Chris had never played in a band before and we wanted to make sure that he was ready for a show of that magnitude. We whipped him into shape pretty quickly. As far as meeting him there were some complications with his accommodations and he arrived to the gig a bit late so I only spoke with him briefly and mentioned to him to have a great show. He mentioned that he thought we were a great band but he didn’t like our last song as much as the others. I can’t really say that I blame him. We played Revolutions off of our debut CD which is the one song that is vastly different than the others on the disc. It is a pretty loud and crushing song and in hind sight we probably should have closed with something else but we were pumped up and wanted to leave the crowd with something to remember us by. Well that was accomplished but we really should have been a bit more sensitive to the crowd we were playing to instead of doing our own thing, but we always do our own thing because that’s how we roll. Well be better prepared next time.
BSW: You also graced the main stage of Manitoba Summer fest; another huge accomplishment for a band that hasn’t been around that long. I know of many bands that have been trying for years to get onto the main stage, but are lucky if they are picked for the side stage. What do you think that sets you apart from other acts?
Colin: Yeah that was also a cool gig. We definitely had some breaks during the spring and summer that’s for sure. Most of the bands that were trying to get spots on the main stage don’t have the sound that this particular event was trying to promote. As well musically a lot of them just aren’t there yet, it takes time. Although we have one member in our band who was a little green the rest of the band members are seasoned veterans of the Canadian music scene. That allowed us to get our sound as a band in the pocket quickly and write a lot of original material in short period of time, which in turn set us up to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us. The thing that sets us apart from most other acts is the intensity level we bring to the stage as well as the originality and unique sound of our music. Very few bands today have a sound like ours or are even playing the type of amped up Rock/Funk/Blues that we have chosen as our identity. Although the sound may be familiar to people it is still original music.
BSW: Have you met any of your idols through your music career? If so, “enquiring minds want to know”!
Colin: As far as idols go I have meet some of them. I personally really like Fishbone and with my other band Guerrilla Funk Monster (out of Calgary) we had the privilege of not only meeting but partying with all the guys from Fishbone. Angelo Moore, Norwood, Spacey T, Dirty Walt and John Stewart who replaced the great FISH on drums. We have pictures of Norwood wearing a GFM shirt at a gig in Montreal, that was pretty cool, so we put it up on our GFM myspace account. Some other people that I have meet would be Jeff Healy, Bo Diddley, George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic), Xavier Rudd there are a few others but that’s all I can think of right now
BSW: You recently completed a western tour. Are there any gigs that stick out in your mind? (that you can tell us about?)
Colin: The western tour was good, a little short but good. The Canmore gig at The HO (Major shout outs to the HO!!!) was a two day thing but it was an awesome weekend. There was a great party afterwards. It happened to be Halloween weekend so the town got a little crazy. Later while we were partying we ran into “French Caveman” and partied with him and his buddies that was definitely a great time, strange but great. We also ran into the “The Toe” as we aptly named this guy because of his Narwhale horn of a toenail sticking out of his sandal. He was standing in the hall when we got to the hotel to check in and he asked us for some smokes. Nobody in the band smokes so we told him that we didn’t smoke and we couldn’t help him out. Well this didn’t sit to well with “The Toe” and he must have felt that we were holding out on him and just freaked out and said really loudly “Awwwww Come On!!!”. Well we just told him to settle down and went into our rooms to laugh it off. If you were there you would be laughing too. It really was quite surreal
BSW: Were there any differences as far as crowds went from city to city?
Colin: Well Canmore is a really awesome crowd. They are very receptive to all kinds of music but they want you to entertain them until the very end of the night. This can get ugly if you don’t have enough stuff or you aren’t putting out. They really pick up on that stuff. We didn’t have any problems they were totally into what we were doing. It was all good. Edmonton and Calgary were good crowds as well. I honestly find Winnipeg crowds to be some of the toughest in the country. They have been spoiled because of all the great acts to come out of here. It seems they have higher expectations than a lot of other cities so you better put out or it could get real quite after each song if you aren’t giving it your all.
BSW: Sticking with the tour, are there any places you wanted to go but didn’t get to play? And are there tour plans in the works for this year?
Colin: We didn’t get a chance to play in Banff which I really would have liked but we’ll hit it up in the fall. As far as tour plans go I have a small tour planned for the end of March into April. We will see how it all works out. Other than that we have a few festivals to play during the summer and there will be a fall tour probably in mid-September.
BSW: Tell us about your debut album “Hittin’ Wood and Diamond Hard”. And where can we purchase a copy.
Colin: The album actually was originally going to be 17 songs because we had so much material but we decided to cut it down and save some stuff that wasn’t quite ready for the next album. The next album will be really cool because we have the second wave of the bands sound and it is very different than the first but still has our signature sound and style. Copies of the CD can be directly purchased from Into the Music, Music Traders and Planet of Sound. Other than that you can buy a copy from the Absurd Machine Studios on 1905 Main St. or on CD Baby. That’s about it. I am currently looking for a distribution deal but it is taking some time to sort it out.
BSW: Any gigs lined up for March/April for you guys?
Colin: We have a few gigs coming up March 3rd at The Kings Head, April 21st also at The Kings Head, and April 28th at Shannon’s Irish Pub. We anticipate decent crowds to all of the shows. Other than that I am waiting to see what else comes along.
BSW: Where can one find out more about Dr.Rage and The Uppercuts?
Colin: You can go to our website www.drrage.com or our Myspace account at www.myspace.com/drrageandtheuppercuts. Or go to www.absurdmachine.com which is the record label web site
BSW: Thanks so much for the interview! Keep us posted on the happenings with the band!
Colin: I definitely will keep you posted on upcoming events. I would also like to thank you for the opportunity to do an interview with Backstage Winnipeg and we look forward to working with you in the future.
- The POWER of RAGE compels you….
Dr. Rage & The Uppercuts
INTERVIEW WITH INFLUATION
By Kristie Allen
“Influation was started about 3 years ago by Jeff and Chuck. They wanted to do something different then what every band in the area was doing and they wanted to do it their way. The problem was finding other members who wanted to go down the same musical path. It has been this drive to stand out from the rest and create something new that has lead the band to see many different members and to have been put on hiatus more then once over the years. This has been a puzzle that was only half finished for a long time. Jeff and Chuck knew what they wanted out of the missing pieces, now they just had to find them.” As quoted from their bio.
BSW: Who is Influation and where are you from?
Influation is Jeff Bastien, Chuck Moreau, Bryan Chalmers, and Ryan Petche. We all live in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
BSW: Tell us how you all first met?
I: Jeff and Chuck met each other in a coffee shop in Niagara eight years ago through aquaintences, instantly they became great friends and ultimatley decided to start a band. Bryan was brought out to a practice the band was having while they were searching for a new singer, at the time he had his own band, but after hearing the music Influation was making he decided to join the band full-time. Ryan was referred to the band while we were looking for a new drummer, he had recently stopped drumming altogether, but decided to give it one more chance with the band.
BSW: I noticed that you have gone through some member changes. What drives you to go forward with this band, instead of just "packing it in"? I mean, that has got to be pretty discouraging for you, not to have a solid line up.
Jeff - I started this band about 3 years ago with a specific goal and I am aiming for a certain sound and certain elements in the members of the band. The reasons we have gone through so many line up changes is because previous members were just not working out, different musical goals, lack of dedication and so on. It can be discouraging but there is no point in just "packing it in". You can't give up your dreams just because someone doesn't work out. Bands on any scale go through line up changes, its just part of the business. But you have to look at the positive and that maybe this member isn't working out but his replacement might be just what you are looking for. I feel right now that we have a solid line up and i cannot see it changing for a long time, if at all.
BSW: You are currently working on a few new songs, and touching up a few you already have. What can we expect to hear with these new songs?
I: The new songs are very good and you can hear that we are growing as a band. Every band takes a long time to really come together but with every new song you can hear that we are getting closer. The old songs have not changed very much. They have become a little more complete with our new drummer and some of the voids that were missing in the songs, we now feel have been filled.
BSW: Describe your music in 5 words or less.
I: Real, Big, Inspiring, Raw, Diverse
BSW: Are there any messages you try to portray in your songs?
Bryan - Lyrically I like to tell a story, as well as make it relatable. I've dealt with a lot of death in recent years and this is my way of dealing with it. If I'm singing about something of a negative nature, I like to add the bright side as well. Life can throw you a lot of curves to deter you. If you have a positive mind over it all, you can get through anything. I hope that shows in my lyrics.
BSW: Describe a typical night at one of your shows.
I: A lot of nervousness and energy. We plan the day around the venue and make sure we are on time so everything can be set up properly. Then, we can sit back, enjoy ourselves by talking to the people attending the venue, and deliver a performance we can be proud of.
BSW: If I had never been to one of your gig, tell me why I would want to see your band? What sets you apart from the rest?
I: When we put on a show, we all put 120% into it. There is nothing worse then going to a show and the band you go to see puts on a bad performance. Bad as in they just seem like they are going through the motions and not really putting any heart into it. What we are told sets us apart by our fans, is our drive and energy on stage. We try to get the crowd involved, and when we are on stage we are putting the show on for them. The fans are the reason we can do this and we want them to leave wanting more. Anybody who sees a band that does not deliver on stage, will not go back and see that band. But someones who sees a band that lights up the stage and puts everything they have into it, will want to go back and see that band again so that is the experience we try to deliver when we are on stage.
BSW: Any plans on traveling this way (Winnipeg) in the near future?
I: We can only hope so. Lots of new things are opening up for this band so we are doing our best to get there as soon as we can.
BSW: Have any gigs lined up for March?
I: As of now we only have 1 show booked for March. We are in the works of signing with War by Choice and they will be booking all of our shows. Any updates and new shows are always posted on the bands website and the bands MySpace profile.
BSW: Where can we find out more about "Influation"?
I: www.influation.com or www.myspace.com/influation
We try to keep both sites as up-to-date as possible so again, any news or show postings will be listed.
BSW: Well thanks for the interview! Take care and keep in touch!
I: Thank you very much for taking the time and interest in our band. We enjoyed answering your questions!!
INTERVIEW WITH INNER SURGE
By Cindy Massey
Backstage Winnipeg had the chance to chat with Inner Surge from Calgary. They are set to release their 3rd album "Signals Screaming", April 1st through Cyclone Records. We wish them all the best with their upcoming release.
BSW: Welcome to our ezine! What exciting news about your CD etc. do you want to share with us today?
Well, the CD "Signals Screaming" is being released April 1st through Cyclone Records and we're very excited. You'll be able to buy individual tracks online at iTunes and Napster, as well as other online retailers. For copies of the album, you can order it through www.innersurge.com or www.cyclonerecords.ca. To keep up with other aspects of the album, like the music video, keep checking the main site as well as www.cabrassoundtrack.com.
BSW: When will you be heading east to Winnipeg guys?
Hopefully very soon. There's a lot happening with this album, and I'm sure it will be pulling us in every direction soon enough. We can't wait to get out there with it.
BSW: What was the most exciting part about recording your CD?
Working with Casey at Echo Base studios was exciting, as he's someone a lot of people in the Calgary music scene admire for his musicianship and production skills. Also, getting these songs recorded was very rewarding, and the response so far has been overwhelming from fans and reviewers alike. It was a great experience that has us already looking forward to the next recording experience.
BSW: What studio/Producer etc. did you use to record your CD?
Casey Lewis at Echo Base Studios, and I would suggest any serious artist contact him to record. He worked hard with us and it shows. He practically became a 5th member of the band.
BSW: What is each of your favorite road experiences?
We haven't done a full scale tour as of yet, but that should be coming in 2006/2007 as this album hits the stores.
BSW: What advice would you give to a new musician?
I don't think anyone's in a position to give advice really, but I would encourage any musician to play your own music, and not succomb to the various 'scenes', whether it be trendy indie pop music or what the kids call 'hardcore' these days. Don't worry about the scenesters. If your music has passion, people will listen. In fact, if scenesters are the bulk of your fanbase, you are probably putting effort into appealing to fashion sensibilities/etc rather than actual music. Blaze your own path.
BSW: Who are your musical influences?
Public Enemy, Faith no More, Dillinger Escape Plan, Refused, Tool, Radiohead, the Mars Volta, Tom Waits, Sinead O' Connor, Portishead, a wide variety really. I mostly respect artists who aren't afraid to say what they think, even if they are not mainstream ideas.
BSW: What are your expectations for this CD and your next?
We have high expectations, and the airplay should be very good, as Cyclone Records is promoting this album pretty hard. The movie "Cabras" and Fredy Polania(director) are working hard as well on promoting the film's soundtrack, which we'll be featured on. The music video will be available at www.cabrassoundtrack.com as well as for request at Much Music, so that will help the album a lot. We hope to be well known by the time we release the next album. We'll be riding this wave for a while.
BSW: What can we expect to see at one of your performances?
You can expect relentless honesty. We are an aggressive live band, but not without a point. We'll give you something to think about and hopefully something to take home with you.
BSW: How do you feel about the music scene in general?
It's hard to generalize something so vast, but I think there is too much emphasis on style and scenes. For every genre, there are 'scholar' bands, and hordes of them, who are so into a particular style that they focus on the "We're metal" or "We're hardcore" more than actually being a great band. And I think it's actually extremely difficult to be a great band if you limit yourself to such a small paradigm. If the sense of the unexpected or the sense of adventure is lost in music, there's nowhere to go. We need to re-energize our music and demand more. And there's also so many bands with nothing to say, or they focus all their creativity on a theme. We've seen everything from zombie bands to pirate bands, to hardcore bands talking about martyr's over and over. Just hit me over the head with something honest. Rip my throat out. Lay it down. This is just getting ridiculous.
BSW: How do you feel about the new laws that are emerging regarding the taxation of videos on the internet on your own private pages?
I haven't heard of these to date, but it's just another attempt at stopping online downloading that won't work, in my opinion.
BSW: Thanks for the interview and we look forward to seeing you, when you hit the ol’peg.
Thank you, Backstage Winnipeg! See you soon!
INTERVIEW WITH LIGEIA
By Cindy Massey
BSW: Poured out your hearts and souls on this cd “Your Ghosts is a Gift” Describe what that was like?
Ligeia:We recorded “Your Ghost is a Gift“ with Ken Susi of Unearth in December 2004 and April 2005 at Ken’s home studio System Recordings. We tracked in December 2004 and April 2005 due to Ken’s busy touring schedule. At the point of production, the band was unaware of any label pressing and releasing the CD. It was only luck when Carl Severson from Nora (Trustkill) decided to sign Ligeia to Ferret Music. At the time we were beyond excited to be part of the Ferret family and we were big fans of other Ferret bands so it worked out perfectly.
BSW: What does your band name mean?
Ligeia: Ligeia is a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The band was drawn to the story due to the dramatic, overly romantic, yet depressing vibe that the story portrays. The story overall was very gothic yet Ligeia is not a gothic band what so ever. We needed a band name in time for a hometown show with Shadows Fall, Candiria, and Nora in Springfield, Ma. We annouced ourselves as Ligeia for that show and decided to keep it as our permanent band name.
BSW: So you’re touring a ton from now until March. Do you have any memorable road stories to share?
Ligeia: We have done a couple small east coast and Midwest tours and we’ve ran into all sorts of obstacles dealing with lack of funds. Our van once broke down in Mt. Pleasant, PA, a small town where literally, everyone knows everyone else, something out of a movie. We were taken in by a family that gave us hammocks to sleep in and fed us better than we eat at our own houses!. It ended up being a positive experience, but I admit it’s a relief to have a booking agent. We are touring now with Ion Dissonance (abacus) and August Burns Red (solid state) and then we head out for a month with Ringworm (victory), Demericous (metal blade) and August Burns Red
BSW: Who are your musical gawds?
Ligeia: Gawds? I don’t know about that one. We like all sorts of music hardcore, emo, metal, blood for blood and even coldplay. "Your Ghost is a Gift" hits stores March 21st everywhere!!
BSW: I noticed Winnipeg wasn’t on that list of dates. Will you be coming up to Canada?
Ligeia: Hopefully this summer for sure. We would love to play Canada, Ligeia has never played anywhere in Canada so it would definately be a tremendous oppoportunity.
BSW: Your Ghost is a Gift, what exactly does that mean?
Ligeia: Our guitar player Ryan Ober came up with it a long time ago when we started the band. It definately just clicked with the album subject matter and it fit with our band name Ligeia so we deciced to use it. Lyrically I just try and be as honest as I can. With Ligeia I wanted to give a listerners an in depth view of some of the situations i have been through in my life. Although I keep the vocab on a normal relative basis I try to say as much as i can with what little words people actually understand in normal conversation. I think bands today are too busy using large words to sound intelligent and succeed to say nothing when you can say more with words people can actually understand without looking in the dictionary. The record as a whole helped me cope with some rather difficult times in my time. I hope that people can listen to our record and get some sort of therapuetic redemdy for situations in their own lives. Although that may sound ridicoulus, i think listening to music helps people identify with universal human issues. We all go rough times in life and this record just shows the effect it can have on a person. No matter what, life brings you problems and it’s all how you deal with them. This is just how i dealt with my own, I definately lashed out as much as i could on paper without doing any accutal harm
BSW: Let’s say I hadn’t heard your music. How would you describe your music?
Ligeia: Heavy, moody and 100% honest.
BSW: What could we expect from one of your shows?
Ligeia: Lots of energy, dancing, pile ups and a relative good time.
BSW: Thank you very much for the interview. Anything else you want our readers to know?
Ligeia: Ligeia’s Ferret Music debut “Your Ghost is a Gift” hits store March 21st. Please visit us on myspace.com/ligeia or ferretstyle.com. Come out to our shows and say hello!!!!
INTERVIEW WITH ONLYFORWARD
By Kristie Allen
BSW: First and foremost, please introduce yourselves to us and where you are from.
ONLYFORWARD: Yanik Frenette, drums... born and raised in Montreal, Jesse Sauvé, guitar... born in High River, Alberta... raised in Vankleek Hill, Ontario Dave Martel, guitar, vocals... born on the south shore of Montreal...moved around a lot growing up in towns throughout Quebec and Ontario...currently residing in Montreal; Ian Yule, bass... born and raised in Winnipeg, MB... came to Montreal a few years ago to study Jazz Drums at McGill University... currently residing in Montreal with his wife, Sue.
BSW: Is there any meaning behind your band name? And how did you come up with it?
OF: "Only Forward" is the name of a book written by British author, Michael Marshall Smith. It's a crazy sci-fi adventure book about a guy (Stark) living in a futuristic society where every city is completely divided from the others.... they're called, Neighborhoods. A very important man is kidnapped, and Stark has been contacted to rescue him. All of a sudden, halfway through the book, in a strange turn of events, he finds a way to enter dreams... awake! It's a place called Jemland, I believe. Anyway, it's an interesting read.... I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone because it is rather vulgar and graphic! But the whole point behind the story is really interesting. Stark had an enemy that he was never able to free himself from. He realized it was simply because he never dealt with the problems between the two of them. He was always moving forward without dealing with the obstacles that would present themselves to him along the path of life. When he realized that was the main thing prohibiting him from being free, he decided to go back and deal with his past problems... and only in that was he able to free himself in the end. Anyway, that's what I got from the book. Now, our band name doesn't necessarily mean exactly that to me. That’s what's fun about it, it can mean a lot of things. Sometimes people share with me what it means to them, and I just love hearing about it. I love it that it's always different... it can mean what you want it to. I like it because it's positive. When I first considered it as a band name... at that time it meant to me, "if you've got no other reason to get up in the morning because you have no choice... because time moves forward... then just go back to bed!" basically it was a call to try to encourage myself and others to LIVE! To make something of their lives.I also like it because it reflects exactly what happened when I became a Christian or even further than that, when I was baptized at the age of 21. The whole process symbolizes an end to your old ways... and a new beginning. It’s what we all need to hear (at least I do), "Just keep going." don't let yourself be held back by the mistakes of your past. We’ve all made mistakes.... doesn't mean you need to stop trying.
BSW: You have a new video for your song called "Trees". Tell us a bit about your experiences making the video, and was this the first video your band has made?
OF: yeah, "trees" was our first video. It was a blast. We went to this studio downtown Toronto and worked with the wonderful people at Syndicate Films. Actually, it was pretty much like I thought it would be. We performed the song over and over and over in front of the cameras, got as many good shots as we could, and we were done. There was a whole lot of discussion between Syndicate and us as to what we wanted... our ideas really worked well with theirs! Oh... one fun thing was having makeup people! I sweat a lot... so after each take, someone would scream, "MAKE UP!" and Bianca, our makeup girl, would come and powder me down... sweat don't work on camera! The video is just us rocking out and having a blast in a studio. I’m really impressed with it. i think Syndicate did a phenomenal job! I hope we get to do another video soon!
BSW: The "Trees" video is currently in rotation on Much More Music. (wow, good for you!) How did it feel the first time you saw your "mugs"on television?
OF: Well, I haven't actually seen it on TV. Oddly enough, the day our video went on the air, the cable went out at my place, when it came back on, much more music wasn't in our package any more. I think we were getting much more music by accident before (for free), and my roommates don't want to pay for more channels right now... anyway, whenever I am somewhere that has much more music, I try to watch it as much as I can, but I still have yet to see our faces on the screen! We receive emails from time to time from fans telling us they saw us on TV and how excited they were about that... so that's cool.
BSW: "Everything's Perfect" is the name of your current c.d. Any particular reason for the name? Is "Everything Perfect" in your lives so far?
OF: Well, the term was coined by our producer, Mitch. He and I were hanging one night after working in the studio all day, we were making plans for the evening, and everything just fell right into place. I remember him looking right at me with a smile and saying, "Everything's Perfect." Doesn't sound super interesting, and you kind of had to be there... but it was great! The first album title we had was, "Incognito" we used to play a song, that didn't make it on the record... and we were thinking of naming the record after it, but I remember I was sharing the idea with a friend, and he told me Celine Dion had a hit years ago called, "Incognito" that didn't sit well with me so we kept thinking and when I suggested, "everything's perfect"... everyone loved the idea. It's another name I like because it can mean so many things! To me it meant, "maybe it doesn't look like it, but the plan is still working itself out perfectly." Our first drummer, Roy, shared something with me that I thought was really cool. He took it to a more personal level, he said to him it meant, "I don't get why everyone thinks they have to be happy all the time, and that when they're down or discouraged... they feel like they've failed, in a way. You can't have the ups without the downs; everything feels perfect when it's all going your way. Well, in that aspect, everything is still perfect even when it seems like everything around you is falling apart!"
BSW: You worked with producer Mitch Girio for a full year on this release. Why did it take so long? And do you feel that this benefited he final product because you took your time?
OF: Mitch, Mitch, Mitch. One of my favorite people on this planet, super, all-around pleasant character, really nice guy and the guy understands music, and songwriting! It was such a blast working with him. It took a long time because we could only work on weekends. Obviously, we're not making any money from the music yet, so we need to have day jobs to survive. In order to balance the two... we'd work during the week, and meet up with Mitch whenever we had the chance. Also, he's a busy guy with lots of projects going on, so he wasn't available every weekend.We did pre-production for the first five months; that means working and reworking the songs... trying to make them sound better... help the band play together more.... get rid of songs that weren't right for the record... all that stuff. Then we got into the studio to start laying down some tracks. We all took the week off work to do that. That week, we laid down the drums, the bass, and some guitars. Then, Mitch brought his portable studio to wherever we had instruments and recorded the vocals, additional guitars, pianos, percussion, and whatever else! So it took a while, but looking back... it really was the right process to doing this record. I’m really happy with the end result. Mitch did a phenomenal job... and Richard G Benoit did an amazing job mixing the record. We had the right people working with us, and it all worked out!
BSW: How would you describe your music? And what do you write about?
OF: Well, the phrase we're using right now to describe our sound is, "The fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams." I guess that doesn't really say anything... that's why we love it! hmmmm? Well, some people have told us how they would describe our sound, we've heard things like: Radiohead in The Bends days Jeff Buckley meets John Mayer stuff like that. I play the acoustic guitar; it mixes well with Jesse's dreamy lead guitars. Ian is a smooth, and solid bass player and Yanik is just this drum phenomenon! The music is very dreamy and melodic, it's groovin', at times, it's really intense rockin' stuff so, it covers a whole range of stuff, but I’m not gonna pretend like it's nothing you've never heard before...we're a rock band.
WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT?
Well, the only thing I can write about... stuff that happens in my life. I had a long and horrible breakup with the woman I love, a couple of years ago, and I still write to this day the effects it's had on me and my outlook on life. I had a friend who was dealing with suicide, and one night I was thinking about that while writing a song. Most of the stuff is about my faith and life through the eyes of a Christian, I guess. I can sing about a broken relationship, and say that life's just not fair, but I don't think that way. I can talk about someone dealing with suicide and conclude that there's nothing out there worth living for, but I don't think that way. I believe our story has a happy ending, there's so much to live for every day.... I try to have that hope underlying everything I choose to sing about.
BSW: Do you each have a favorite song on this album? If so, which one and why?
OF: I think Jesse's is “Mr Weakling”, it used to be our favorite song to play. We just loved the way we grooved when playing it, the bass, drums, and guitars are all fun to play and the intensity that builds throughout the whole thing is awesome! I don't know what ian or yanik's favorite song is. I think mine would be "promises, promises" I really wanted to have a song with that beautiful dreamy feel to it on the record, and I think we succeeded very well with that one. I don't know.... we're talking about the album here. Live, I would have to say something different because with our new drummer... just overall how far we've come in the last year and a half... it's so different today.
BSW: Any gigs lined up for March/April?
March 2nd... Sudbury, ON... Townhouse Tavern
March 3rd... CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK... Toronto... Cameron House
March 10th... I’m doing a solo show at the Legion in Montreal
March 18th... NEW YORK CITY... The Underground
March 23rd... Montreal... w/ my brother's band, Downhere.... La Place a Coté
March 24th... Windsor... Phog Lounge
March 25th... London... Last Drop
BSW: How can our readers find out more about "only forward"? And where can we purchase your album?
OF: Well, we don't have a full-time webmaster right now so the best way to keep up-to-date is via our myspace page. I can go in there and update it myself.... add new pictures... share stuff through the blogs... and there are some songs to listen to also, as well as our bio.
our album can be purchased via our website:
BSW: Thank-you for the interview and please keep us posted!
OF: Thanks for having us.
INTERVIEW BY MAYTINA OF VIRUS ZINE ON BACKSTAGE WINNIPEG
Backstage Winnipeg is, much like the name implies, a look in to the scene in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With CD reviews, interviews and bios full of info about locals bands. At a little more than a year old, Backstage Winnipeg is a growing source of information on all things music-related in The Peg. It's through this site I found Blush, and that alone makes me a happy gal. Run by Kristie Allen, a photographer (with a specialty in bands), and part of an Alice Cooper tribute show. She took some time to answer a few questions for us about Backstage Winnipeg, and what I found really refreshing is her reluctance to name drop. Where so many other editors would be jumping at putting in their thoughts on sounds, Kristie just says she'd rather 'encourage everyone to read about the bands I feature so they can use their own judgment.'
Five staffers, headed by Kristie, put together a fresh issue every month! Shortly after Backstage Winnipeg was created, it became clear this wasn't going to be a one-gal show. The first to be recruited of Kristie's friends was Cindy Massey, who is now the gal that heads up the advice column and does other writing for the site as well. 'I soon realized that I couldn't keep up with all the interview requests, so I asked one of my best buds (Cindy Massey) if she would be interested in helping, and of course she came to my rescue', says Kristie on Cindy's joining in. Kristie also cites Jason (CD reviews/web design), Diana (show reviews/tattoos reviews), Crystal (street team/promotion/interviews), Big T (show reviews), Ryno (interviews), and former Backstage Winnipeg staffers Shock and Fuzzy as amazing people who really keep the site going. 'They are all amazing people and I could not run Backstage Winnipeg without all their help. We are a volunteer run ezine; which means…no pay, but maybe the odd ticket to a show or a t-shirt from time to time, so I really value everyone's contribution.' Each issue features interviews, cd reviews, backstage shots, music trivia, contests and archives! There is also a 'for your amusement' section and I thought the bit on drugs and how you think you act vs how you really act was pretty funny.
Sites like this are important for every area to have. Noted by Kristie when I asked her if she thought there are different challenges coming out of The Peg, 'I don't know if there are specific challenges for musicians because they come from Winnipeg. I think there are tons of hurdles to jump for any band that is out there and trying to make a living at it no matter where you are from.' Bios on Backstage Winnipeg range from bands whose sound defies a label to country to rock and alternative rock, to music with a heavy political message. So much good can be accomplished by this site, says Kristie, 'my main goal for the ezine is to get the word out about all the hidden talent out there. It never ceases to amaze me how much crap the music industry pumps out, when there are so many bands with 10 times more talent just waiting to be discovered.' And when going through the site it's clear that there are a lot of bands in The Peg who could easily be described as far better than what's popular at the moment.
As for the gal behind it all, Kristie is driven by the very things that started it all, 'the music, the wonderful messages I receive from bands, fans, musicians and companies. I have met so many fabulous people all over the world due this project', she says. With heaps of ongoing side projects, including promo help for bands, and hooking up with other sites for an Indie Music Showcase, she's showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Kristie Allen’s Playlist (all Winnipeg bands!)
1. Redseed - Lesson Learned
2. Floor Thirteen - Bright Lights Rockin City
3. 20 Pound Shovel - Mistakes We've Made
4. Act Devoid - I Change My Skin
5. Forgetful Jones - SnowBlind
To find out more about Virus Zine, go to http://www.viruszine.com.
INTERVIEW WITH NEAL PINTO
By Ryan Settee
BSW: You play bass, organ, guitar, and sing. Do you feel that it yields a better perspective on writing music?
Neal Pinto: In my case, it has granted me some perspective on how a song should be arranged and produced. It also allows me to explore melody and chords beyond what I'd normally be able to do with guitar because I can visualize how all the other instruments can interact. I don't think that applies to all my songs because, the more dependent a song becomes on an idea of full instrumentation, the more of a challenge it becomes to perform it solo.
BSW: Do you play most of the instruments yourself, because you have a very specific vision towards a song that's playing in your head? Do you play out with a band very often, and if so, how do they feel about it? Can they put their own take on your parts, or do you need them to do it exactly the way it is on the recordings?
Neal Pinto : I suppose I do it to fulfill a "vision". For example, sometimes a musical idea starts as a bass or rhythm line in my head and then I have to flesh it out with the "middle instruments" like guitar or keyboards. The result may appear as if I had come up with an interesting bass-line for the song when, in reality, I had actually come up with an interesting song for the bass-line. :) When it comes to working with a band, we use my demos or studio recordings as a starting point. If a particular instrument's line serves as the song's "signature", we'll keep it. The rest of the band usually has the freedom to interpret the rest of my parts as they please. Even if they're copying the lines from the recording, they still introduce fresh dynamics that sound awesome. The guys are always careful never to undermine the song itself.
BSW: You stated in one of your blogs that you're done with solo-electric guitar performances. Do you find that an acoustic guitar for solo performances is much better sounding? Like is it the stigma that with an electric guitar, there's somehow the unsaid requirement that a band needs to accompany it?
Neal Pinto: In hindsight, that was an impulsive decision to quit using electric guitar for solo shows. I was going through my songs one afternoon and I was no longer feeling the groove that I used to get - so I said, "fuck it" and went back to acoustic guitar. Having done that, I don't think there is a said "stigma". There are many artists like Leslie Feist and Martin Sexton who play solo with electric guitars (I got the idea from Mr. Sexton). I have even seen local artists like Sister Dorothy play solo-electric for many years. I really enjoyed being able to use effects and the "crunch" from the amp when I dug into the guitar. With the right artist, it can be really cool. I just don't feel like it right now.
BSW: You've been around Winnipeg for a long time now. Do you find that it is a good city to work in, or do you get the impression that you'd be more popular in another city?
Neal Pinto: The continual success of homegrown talent is proof that Winnipeg is a great city for original musicians. Yet, when I compare my experiences here to what I've had in other cities, I have also wondered if I would enjoy more recognition elsewhere. I can't answer that question right now but I do have plans to find out.
BSW: I really like the song "Lying", that should be on some light rock or MOR stations. I'd imagine that it would be tough to break through to those places to get them to play unknown stuff. Have you had any supporters at a more local friendly station, such as UMFM or any of the other college stations?
Neal Pinto: Thanks!! "Lying" is definitely more of a contemporary-pop song that wouldn't fit in with the Powers & Freqs of this town. It's a challenging line to walk but I have started to receive support from college stations - in particular, from Broose Tulloch at CKUW and Howard Mandshein at UMFM. I'm very grateful for that.
BSW: Who would win in a super-power ballad death match: Diane Warren or Desmond Child, and why? (haha)
Neal Pinto: A guilty pleasure of mine is Alice Cooper's "Trash" album - which was produced and co-written by Desmond Child. Their one power-ballad "Hell Is Living Without You" smokes anything Diane Warren's done with Céline Dion or Michael Bolton.
BSW: Can you read music, or do you just play it by ear?
Neal Pinto: No, I'm strictly by ear.
BSW: What's your favorite venue in Winnipeg to play?
Neal Pinto: Although I'm no longer working in genres that suit the venue, my favourite stage has always been at The Albert. Since those days, I've also had some good times at the Regal Beagle downtown.
BSW: I have this theory that the good headphone discs all went the way of the Betamax. Do you approach any of your recordings from the point of view that someone might be listening on the headphones, and might hear some interesting things going on with some extreme panning or anything like that?
Neal Pinto: It's not a priority when I sit at the mixing board but, as the popularity of portable MP3 players continues to rise, it is something I plan to explore further as I keep recording.
BSW: (token bizarre question): Who's your favorite Smurf, and why?
Neal Pinto: I think I identify most with Lazy Smurf.
BSW: What else should our readers know about you? Anything on the horizon in Neal Pinto land?
Neal Pinto: Well... I'm working on my CD right now and hope to have it ready by late summer. I'll be doing lots of shows - both solo and with the band. I'm also writing for other artists, particularly in the urban/neo-soul genre. I think it's going to be a prolific year. Updates are at www.nealpinto.com or www.myspace.com/pintomusic
GLORIA DIGNAZIO OF PHANTOMPALOOZA
By Cindy Massey
BSW: If POTP was made and released today, what impact do you think it would have on Winnipeg audiences, the same, and different??.....please elaborate.
Gloria: I think Winnipeg audiences today would definitely “get it” and the proof in the pudding is that we had a younger generation of fans show up to ‘Palooza last year. I mean there were some 16 year old kids there and they absolutely loved it. My own 3 kids ages from 13 down to 4 love it, so that tells me that the younger generation loves the music and the movie. Winnipeggers ROCK and they get this movie, they really dig it and understand it.
BSW: Has your experience with POTP changed or molded you into the person you are today; and if so, how?
Gloria: Well this is probably going to sound strange to some people, but I think most Winnipeggers will get this … but I feel somewhat of a spiritual connection to something about this film. All I know is that this movie has gotten me through some rough patches in my life. I remember putting it the VCR in the old days (the 80’s!), now the DVD player, during some down times and man, it really lifted my spirits and cheered me up immensely and does so to this very day. All I know is that I absolutely cherish and love the music to the soundtrack and feel to this day that the music was way ahead of its time. “Somebody Super Like You” and “Life at Last” STILL rock!!!! On the slower side of things, I must say that “Old Souls” is an incredibly beautiful and powerful song. I totally resonate to the past life thing and now that I am older and hopefully, wiser, I certainly “get” that song and what it means in a spiritual sense of things. Also the movie has led me to the path of Phantompalooza, which has brought me immense personal satisfaction, joy and some great new friendships and experiences, so it’s all good!!
BSW: What was your favorite moment as last years Phantompalooza?
Gloria: This is a tough question as there was so many wonderful moments that I cherish, but the one that really sticks out in my mind the most is when I got off the elevator on the 8th floor after the evening screening and saw that the Skyview Ballroom was totally packed and people were totally rocking out. I was so proud and so excited, it was also a little scary as the Committee had put so much work and effort into the screenings and Q & A sessions that we really didn’t put that much energy into the social, but it still turned out pretty good! The other favorite moment was the nite before Phantompalooza when the Phantom Live band (which is detailed more in a subsequent question) performed the entire Phantom soundtrack at Cowboys and my twin brother, Eric and I were asked to “perform” with the band on stage to “Somebody Super Like You”, (my favorite Phantom song) so we did. I dressed up as a “bad nurse” and Eric was dressed up as one of the band members who cuts up members of the audience. He had a Grim Reaper mask on and fastened a knife blade to the tip of his guitar to pretend to chop up the audience. We can’t even believe we were up there with the band doing this bit, it was a huge honour and a major rush for us to do this!! Something to definitely reflect on when we’re old and gray and rocking out in our rocking chairs!
BSW: Describe for us what its like at a committee meeting. All those Phantom Phanatics in one room.
Gloria: It is really incredible. We are all such huge fans of the movie obviously and we constantly quote lines from the movie and you should see some of the e-mail exchanges amongst Committee members, they can get pretty hilarious at times.
BSW: POTP seems to have grown in pop- culture stature in the last two years. Discussion groups on the internet are talking, and there’s that recent Special Edition DVD from France. In what way do you think Phantompalooza has influenced this at all?
Gloria: Well I think Phantompalooza is the vehicle that let other Phantom phanatics know that they were not alone. I remember typing in “Phantom of the Paradise” into my search engine about 5 years ago and was amazed at some of the sites that came up on my screen. At the time, I literally felt like I was the only one (besides my twin brother) who remembered this awesome movie, so it was really great for me to see that I wasn’t alone. Then once the Winnipeg Free Press article hit, that’s when it really went wild and I soon discovered there were plenty of other Winnipeggers, as well as worldwide fans that still loved the movie. I started receiving tons of calls from fans wanting the Death Records t-shirts and asking me if there would be a screening at the old Garrick Theatre. I am really blown away that people are traveling from various locations around the world to come to the Phantompalooza events, so the power of the internet in promoting Phantom of the Paradise has been a very good thing.
BSW: Without giving too much away, how is Phantompalooza 2 going to compare with the first Phantompalooza?
Gloria: Man, all I can say is … get your rest now!!! I can’t even believe I’m going to say this, but it is going to be even bigger and better than last year!!!! As many are already probably aware, Paul Williams, AKA “Swan” will be in the house and also scheduled to appear are Jessica Harper (Phoenix), the 3 Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/Undead (Harold Oblong, Archie Hahn and Jeff Comanor) and of course, returning are Gerrit Graham (Beef) and William Finley (Winslow/the Phantom), so what can I say, it’s going to be an evening that will go down in Winnipeg history! There are also a couple of major surprises in store for the fans, but I am “under contract” not to say a word about them!!! Let’s just say that I can’t even believe what is going to happen and when I do try and wrap my head around it, it completely blows my mind!
BSW: Who can we expect to see at Phantompalooza this year? Are there any new cast members?
Gloria: Oops, I already answered that one in the question above … but also the Phantom Live band will be performing again this year. A lot of people weren’t aware of this, but last year, Gerry Atwell (70’s band, Boogie Nites fame etc.) got together an outstanding group of local musicians who are Phantom fans and they actually performed the entire soundtrack of the movie at Cowboys the night before Phantompalooza. All I can say is the fans are in for a real treat, this band is pure perfection, they totally duplicate the songs on the soundtrack and we are hoping for, ahem, perhaps some surprise guests to jump up on stage and possibly accompany the Phantom Live band with a couple of the “juicier” numbers. I
BSW: I’m sure there have been hundreds of ideas proposed for Phantompalooza 2. Any real OFF THE WALL ones you would care to divulge
Gloria: Well, I believe we have now had 6 documentary offers, which really blows my mind. I keep joking with the rest of the Committee that “get ready with your acceptance speech”, but seriously, there might be a full length feature film regarding the making of “Phantompalooza” in the near future, so who knows, what will come from all of this. We are actually hoping, and this was William Finley’s wish last year, that the movie hits Las Vegas as a musical. Apparently, Paul Williams has written 13 songs for that particular project, so I am hoping that when the entire cast is here, that somehow this will be talked about and possibly, come to fruition.
BSW: Can you honestly say Gloria that this years Phantompalooza is going to be the ULTIMATE Phantom bash? Why should someone from say, Dallas Texas take their savings and fly out to Winnipeg for the weekend to be a part of this?
Gloria: Absolutely!! I can GUARANTEE that this is THE ultimate Phantom bash!!! Where else would a Phantom fan get to see the ENTIRE principal cast of the movie reunited together??? Of course, it would have to be in Winnipeg and it is a once in a lifetime event, that I doubt will ever be repeated again.
BSW: What are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Phantompalooza?
Gloria: Well, I can hardly wait to meet Jessica Harper and to see the entire cast of the movie together. It is going to be very emotional and nostalgic for all of them as well. Some of them haven’t seen each other since the movie was made 31 years ago! Also, I really enjoy meeting the fans of this incredible movie, the fans make this event, they are ALL so awesome, they really dig this movie and know how to have fun with it. It will also be nice to see Paul Williams again and Archie Hahn and Harold Oblong (aka Peter Elbling). Some of the Phantompalooza committee members were lucky enough to fly out to L.A. last July and meet these three wonderful people! It was very exciting, except for the part when we almost died coming home from a plane crash, but that’s another story.
BSW: Gosh, what happened?
Gloria: Well, we were on our way home from Minneapolis and were actually almost home, perhaps 15 minutes from landing, I could even see the City of Winnipeg lights, so close, yet so far. We began our descent and it was raining really hard and the plane starting to experience the most intense turbulence I have ever experienced. Babies were crying and there was a Japanese family across the aisle and the teenage boys began crying and one of the boys actually threw up, so this was not a good sign! I began to get a really bad feeling am started praying, praying really hard as I am starting to remember all of those news stories about people that die in airplane crashes. There are more lightning flashes and Doug swears he could see two funnel clouds swirling off to the right of the wing. I am really scared now, my hands are sweating and I am praying in my head for it all to stop and all I can think of is “I want to be sitting in my chair at work” of all things, something mundane dammit would be good. Of course, I am also thinking about my loved ones and family and friends. I have never been so scared in my life. I keep thinking, at least we’ve met Paul Williams and I am going to die with fellow Phantom friends and committee members. I am trying really hard not to be a sucky girl and freak out, but am close to hugging my fellow committee members and basically saying goodbye to them. This whole time, we have absolutely no word from the pilot, which made it all worse. The pilot seems to be circling the storm and then finally, the pilot comes on and announces that we're going to take a little detour to Grand Forks to refuel. Grand Forks is 29 mins away from Winnipeg, but I was just glad that we would be landing somewhere, anywhere would be good. We ended up spending the nite at the Grand Forks airport, I actually slept on the floor and woke up to see a creepy crawly scampering right by my head. We finally got on the plane heading back to Winnipeg around 10:00 the next morning. Of course, when we cleared customs, who did they yank into Customs, yep, it was myself, and there, the guy who goes thru your suitcase checking out your underwear and stuff informed me that we were lucky to be alive as the plane was hit by lightening!! So this all put a slight damper to the conclusion of our beloved LA trip, but it was all worth it, we laugh and joke about it now, but it wasn’t too funny being way up there in the air, totally and completely helpless, but nevertheless,. it makes a good story to tell the grandchildren!
BSW: How many people do you have involved in helping you achieve Phantompalooza?
Gloria: Well I want to state for sure that it is not just me, there is no way I could have pulled this off on my own.
When the original article came out in the Winnipeg Free Press back in December, 2004, I got a call from Gary Gurniak (aka Zippy) to compliment my son, Colin and I for the article & picture of us wearing our cool Death Records t-shirts, which accompanied the feature. Our conversation continued with talk about actually doing a 30th anniversary screening of the movie at the Garrick. He made a suggestion to strike a committee of like minded phantom phans and perhaps plan an event and things evolved from there. Zippy also handles a lot of the technical stuff for for Phantompalooza I and II.
So a meeting was organized at Tim Horton’s on Portage Avenue last year and Zippy brought his friend, Doug Carlson, who ended up being our webmaster and is this year’s Chairperson for Phantompalooza II. I often joke with Doug and call him “Rod Peeler” - you know that real estate agent that advertises that he never sleeps, because I don’t think Doug does, as he seems to do the work of like 4 or 5 people!!!
Not much after that first meeting, Rod Warkentin joined us and he produced our stunning posters and the ads that ran in the Free Press last year, as well as the awesome Phantompalooza II ad that is running in the Free Press this year. Rod was also responsible for putting together that awesome Phantom mannequin that was on stage at last year’s Phantompalooza. He also handles a lot of other stuff, he multi-tasks, liases with the stars of the movie, as well as handling some security issues.
Then there is Del Pannu, who is in the hospitality business and has offered many wise words of advice to the rest of the committee who really have no experience on putting on event of this magnitude. Del is also the manager of the Chocolate Bunnies from Hell, one of my favorite Winnipeg bands and it is through my connection with Del and the Bunnies that they became associated with Phantompalooza last year. He is also a major perv, but that’s another story! ha ha Del, got you back!
Another awesome Committee member is Mike Navis who, quite frankly, is a walking movie encyclopedia. Mike is the guy who actually got held back in Grade 5 due to his obsession with Phantom and has the seen movie over 100 times!!! Mike was instrumental in helping us find and get in touch with William Finley for Phantompalooza. Mike has provided many wise words of advice and wisdom to the committee.
We also have "Joe User" -- his real name is Ari, but it seems he enjoys being a bit of a mystery -- he lives in California and worked with us on last year's Phantompalooza, providing the memorabilia that decorated the lobby, which, believe me, was a very small sampling of his insane collection. He also took the Committee around LA last July when we visited some of the cast. This year, "Joe" has been instrumental in enabling us to put together Phantompalooza II, working closely with Doug on the agenda, the website, the ticketing, and a lot of the behind the scenes legal and logistical stuff that nobody actually sees, but that has to go right for the event to happen.
My brother Eric was also most helpful in many areas with last year’s event and I am sure will help out in various capacities this year.
BSW: What challenges do you face with this type of extravaganza?
Gloria: Well to be honest with you, Palooza II almost did not happen. I am not going to bore people with all of the gruesome details, but it was a pretty rough time for the Committee for a bit there and of course, there is the plain pain in the butt of trying to organize ALL of the cast to fly up to Winnipeg and of course, there is funding issues. The biggest thing of course was working on getting Paul Williams confirmed, that took some time, but once that was done, everything else seems to fall into place and must say, it has all been so worth it, thank God we carried on and persevered as I believe Phantompalooza II is going to go down in Winnipeg history as one of the biggest nights in Winnipeg rock n’ roll history!
BSW: Is it hard to get people all on the same page with an event like this?
Gloria: Well, whenever you get a group of several different people together, there are going to be different personalities, egos, visions, etc etc., but ultimately, we ALL love the movie, I mean, we really do LOVE it and we wanted it to be the best event it could be and we think the fans are really going to love what we have planned for them this year
BSW: What drives you to do this for us Phantom fans Gloria?
Gloria: What can I say, I am a huge Phantom of the Paradise fan!!!! I love, love, love this movie, I love everything about it, I never get sick of watching it, ever. I would have never imagined that as a young girl of 11 years old, watching this as her first movie, that 30 years later, I would help to put together such an awesome Winnipeg event, it is truly an honour and a pleasure to do this for all the Phantom Phanatics!!!
BSW: How many people turned up for last year’s event?
Gloria: Well, we had two screenings of the movie, one in the afternoon and one in the evening and they both sold out, so that is 600 people at each, so that’s 1,200 people. Then we had almost 800 people at the social in the Skyview Ballroom, it was absolutely incredible!
BSW: Are you expecting that number to double for this year’s event?
Gloria: We hope to sell out everything.. and quickly!
BSW: Anything else you would like to add about this years event feel free to add here Gloria. Thank you so much for the interview. Have an awesome Phantompalooza 2006!!!!!!!
Gloria: I wanted to put in a plug for my boyfriend, Shahab, Winnipeg’s own “Master of Mehndi”. Shahab will be back doing his awesome henna body art tattoos. He can draw the Death Records birdie perfectly, as well as “Swan” font, and pretty much anything you want drawn on your skin that is Phantom related, or otherwise! So I think the fans will really get a kick out of this as they can keep a memento of this event on their skin, naturally, for about 2 3 weeks after the event!!! Lastly, I am looking forward to seeing and meeting all the Phantom Phanatics again this year, rock on!!!!!
INTERVIEW WITH A WIG FACTORY
By Kristie Allen
BSW: Please tell us a bit about your project "A Wig Factory" and where you are from.
AWF: A Wig Factory is a recording project. With it I explore how to make sounds that I want to hear, usually in the form of songs but sometimes the music takes very unconventional forms. More and more I find myself comparing what I do with A Wig Factory to painting. I really think of the work process as though it were just like painting. Each song starts from a simple idea that I record and is then worked upon layer by layer until a coherent picture is made. Often the initial ideas are improvised ones, and because they are recorded I can work with them in a way not possible in live music. That is, I can build other ideas on them and create something very complete sounding that started from a pure whim, and which is captured for listening at any time.
BSW: How long have you been a musician? And did you have any formal training?
AWF: I’ve been playing music since grade 7, when I got a white electric guitar with my snow shoveling money. I took lessons for two years; and two years ago I hacked my way through a year of piano, at the end of which I could officially play “the Entertainer”.
BSW: You are the sole member, but have played in bands ranging from country music to grunge. What inspired you to go solo?
AWF: It wasn’t really a matter of inspiration. Instead my band-mates kicked me out for reasons which are still somewhat undisclosed. Anyhow, finding myself without band I slowly became more and more obsessed with the beauty of having complete artistic freedom when I recorded on my dad’s computer. The discovery of multiple tracks to record on was a revelation for me, despite the slight nausea I would later come to feel after hearing way too much of my own voice.
BSW: How long did your c.d. take you to complete? I mean, you did everything from write, play, record and design your cd cover...that's alot of work for just one person!
AWF: The A Wig Factory EP is the product of about three months work, plus a few hours making that ridiculous cover. None of the tracks were properly mastered at a professional studio, so there could have been a few more hours put in. All of the writing/recording was done sporadically whenever I could find time to take the bus out to my dad’s basement in St. James, in between school and work. My already part-time presence at the U of W became quite the more so during these few months! If only I could have skipped work so easily…
BSW: Where would you like to go with "A Wig Factory"? I mean, you don't have a band, what are your plans with this release?
AWF: I’m really just using this CD as a way to get my name out there, so that in the near future when I have something a bit more substantial, I can start pushing that from a slightly easier situation. Ultimately I hope to create a fairly big name out of A Wig Factory. The project seems catchy to me, like people could get into it if it was presented properly. I don’t think it could ever be really popular, but perhaps it could one day be known by enough people to make recording seem worth while. I don’t quite know how I’ll do this yet, I’m too lazy with practical matters, but I’m figuring it out… Good music would be a good start I guess!
BSW: Are there hopes of involving some musicians and eventually play live shows?
AWF: I’ll take this as an opportunity to advertise! I’d love it if I could find a bunch of players to work some kind of live act out with. I’m interested in all kinds of possibilities really, but probably not playing much of the stuff on the EP. Most of it would just be too much of a pain in the ass; which is funny because in the initial concept of A Wig Factory I was going to write a bunch of music and then select a band of people to play it, without me. I wanted to sort of invent a band. Kind of like the Backstreet Boys but with heavy stuff. Then I got carried away…Any saxophone players out there interested in playing for 8 bars for one song?!
BSW: Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, when can we expect to hear something from you again?
AWF: At the moment I’m working on the first full length album for A Wig Factory. If all goes well it might be complete by mid-summer. Once it is done I hope to find some way of distributing it professionally. If I don’t, however, I can always mail the CDR to anyone interested! But yeah, I’m excited about it. The music is similar enough to the EP to still be A Wig Factory, but it’s definitely going in a different direction.
BSW: Please tell us where we can find out more about you.
The place to go on the internet is of course Myspace.com/awigfactory. Part of my production plan for this next album might involve a full web site, and when that happens there will be a link from Myspace. Anyone with questions or requests for a copy of the EP can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
BSW: Thanks for the interview Cam!
AWF: Thanks Kristie, it was a pleasure!
INTERVIEW WITH JASON M. BURNS
By Ryan Settee
Interview with Jason M. Burns Jason M Burns is a funny, yet serious writer for Viper Comics. He's written a new graphic novel comic book called "The Expendable One", and it promises lots of scaaaary moments. It also has an interview--in drawn form, of course--with the band Scary Kids Scaring Kids, including questions on that band entree of choice, Ramen Noodles! I had a chance to talk with him about how it came about, and it's all here for your reading pleasure.
1. Your new graphic novel comic book, The Expendable One, is a horror book. Is it a slasher tale of chaos, or is it more of a suspense thing?
Burns: Well, I guess it’s a little bit of both, but at the same time, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s basically a horror story blended with a comedy. That means you’ll get your blood, your gore and your occasional “What the BLEEP moments,” but you’ll also be able to turn the page and chuckle a bit too. At least… that’s the hope. I’ve done my part. It’s up to the readers now.
2. You also have an interview with the band Scary Kids Scaring Kids, in the book. I'm under the assumption that this is at the end, as a bit of an add on--or does it factor right into an ongoing part of the storyline?
Burns: Yes, the interview is an added extra feature that we’re lumping on at the end of the book. The thing is, my background is in journalism and I really wanted to bring that side of who I am into my comic work. For me, it seemed like the perfect marriage… two genres of entertainment that share a lot in common, including passionate fans.
3. Do the band themselves have any sort of theme song or concept album that was specifically done for this project? Or did you just think that their music already fit the concept?
Burns: No, there’s no obvious connection. I actually featured Scary Kids Scaring Kids in a publication I was working for not too long ago, so I had their disc and I had a sense of who they were, and for me, the music and vibe really seemed to fit with the storyline of “The Expendable One.” I approached the band about it and a couple of the members were actually comic fans growing up, so they dug the idea and agreed to do an exclusive for the book.
4. It says that you talked to the band about Ramen Noodles. Did you grow up eating these things? I sure did, it was like a way of life, man. They were super cheap.
Burns: Did I eat them? That implies past tense and the economy pack in my cupboard would suggest that they’re still on the menu. I have to be honest, I love me some Ramen Noodles from time to time. Not only that, but after I’m done with the noodles, I’ll drink the salty, murky water left behind. Yup, I’m pretty disgusting.
5. Obviously, being a horror comic book, this is not aimed at younger readers. Is there a large audience of adult comic book readers out there for this sort of genre? Better yet, have they moved out of their mom's basement yet? (haha)
Burns: This is a multi part question, so I’m going to approach it as such. First, “The Expendable One” is definitely not intended for young readers, unless of course, their parents approve of dismemberment, disembowelment, disfigurement and general disgustingness. Secondly, I would say that the majority of people buying comics these days, especially indie books like this, are adults. Now, I could just be talking out of my arse on this one, but I would think that there is a bigger audience for a book like this than there is for a cute story about a dog and cat who lost their way. Unless of course the dog and the cat are rabid escapees from a mysterious lab and they decide to terrorize a small town. Thirdly, is it their mom’s basement if they have a separate entrance? I mean technically sure, but they could always use the “my parents are old and I need to take care of them” excuse.
6. I guess it's whatever they want to call it, heh! Do you find that art--especially comics--has alot in common with music? If so, what are the parallels?
Burns: I do think they have a lot in common, especially in the way of fans. Both the fans of music and the fans of comic books are pretty much the most dedicated and passionate out there, and often times, there’s a lot of crossover.
7. How long have you been an artist for? When in your life did you decide that it was a career calling?
Burns: Well, I’m actually not an artist at all and I would be in trouble if someone held a gun to my head and told me to draw a lifelike… anything. I’m just a writer/creator and then I work with artists to bring the books to life. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid and always knew what I wanted to do, and that was to write for film and television. I fell into comics by accident while I was pursuing a film career, but now it’s sort of where my passion lies. I’m working on a couple of different film and television projects right now as well, but I get the most excited to see a comic go from script to completion. It’s an exciting and gratifying process.
8. I read that you're a Red Sox fan. Were you in shock when they won the World Series?
Burns: Opening day is only hours away and I’m wired. I can’t wait. I wasn’t shocked when they won because there’s no denying that they had one hell of a team, but for them to come back in the series against the Yankees, it was pretty amazing. Interesting side note, I sat around all day yesterday watching old games. It’s a little unhealthy in my opinion.
9. Tell us a little about Viper Comics. As a kid, I just grew up on the bigger companies like Marvel. I never should have got outta reading comic books, I loved the storylines and was into all that X-Men stuff before it became popular.....
Burns: Viper Comics is an amazing place for creators because you have the freedom to tell your story with very little input on their part. If they like your story, they’ll get behind you and they’ll go to bat for you and the project. Also, from a company standpoint, they’re so well respected in the industry for putting out quality product that it feels like you have a seal of approval attached to your books before they’re even released. It’s a great place to release projects.
10. Was it hard to convince anyone at the company that The Expendable One was a good idea, or did they love the concept from the beginning? Did they have any input into it, or was it all just your idea?
Burns: Well, it did take a little bit of convincing because the book is pretty graphic and Viper isn’t really known for that, but in the end they went with it and so far, the response from people who have seen the preview (http://www.vipercomics.com/features/the_expendable_one.asp) has been pretty positive. When the book actually comes out and people see how disturbing it is, that opinion may change. HAHA
11. What else should we know about The Expendable One? When is it out?
Burns: The book was due out in late April, but I’m told it will be out in early May now… most likely the first week. You’ll be able to pick it up anywhere that comics are sold or major retail chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble. For those who prefer to stay inside and do their shopping online, you can actually pre-order it now at www.amazon.com, www.target.com and other retail sites. The artist is Bryan Baugh and he’s an amazing macabre artist. (www.cryptlogic.net) We’ve already started working on another project together, and I promise it will be as equally screwed up as “The Expendable One.” Those interested in reaching out to me can do so at www.myspace.com/jasonmburns
INTERVIEW WITH AURAIK
By Kristie Allen
BSW: Who is Auraik and where are you all from?
Bren: Auraik consists of myself (Brenden Sommerhalder), Joshua Ranville, Ian Sorensen, and
Jesse Millar. We're all from Winnipeg originally and are still digging the scene!
BSW: What does your name mean, and how did you come up with it?
Bren: For clarification, we pronounce it "oh-ray-ick". The word "aura" has many interesting interpretations in many different languages and cultures. In English, we have come to associate "aura" as describing some vaguely understood emanation or radiation ... something distinctive but intangible. The Titanis (Greeks) have a goddess named "Aura", who is the goddess of freshness. The spiritual interpretation of "aura" is an atmospheric phenomenon which is a part of everyone. Further, the suffix "-ic" or "-ik" means "consisting of" or "full of". So, "Auraik" means "full of distinction", or "consisting of fresh components" ... we feel either interpretation would be descriptive of the rock that we play.
BSW: I noticed from your bio, that you have gone through member changes, as well as instrument changes! Now, tell us all who was playing what instrument in the beginning. And how did this all happen?
Bren: Haha yes, our group has seen many changes. Of course, many of the instrument changes that the members have experienced occurred before the conception of Auraik. Millar, our drummer, for example, started out as an aspiring guitar player. His rebirth as a drummer laid the basic structure of our band. The most notable change which had occurred within our band was with Josh, our original rhythm guitar player, who is now our bass player (and in my opinion definitely one of the most entertaning bass players I have watched!). A lot of these changes are because of musical experimentation and just finding our individual forte.
BSW: You have been together for 2 years, and your musical style has changed quite abit. How would you describe it now, as opposed to when you started out?
Bren: When we started out, I think we took the idea of our idols as "influences" a little too seriously. We've learned to be ourselves a lot more, and create music that we think represents what we believe music to be, and have identified that to be influenced by somebody doesn't mean to sound like somebody. I would say we're more experimental in nature now, and we allow other genres to speak their voices, while still always bringing it back to rock 'n roll.
BSW: Do you think that your sound has changed due to member changes, or maturity as a band?
Bren: I know responding "both" is a little cliche, but it's really the only answer that works. We are pretty proud to be able to say that every member of our band strongly contributes to the music that we create. This was also the case with our original members, and so the change in our sound can certainly in part be attributed to our new roster. Of course on the other hand, just by not only playing together more but being so deeply involved in music for longer, we have each matured and we have matured together. We know the limits of ourselves and of each other, and knowing that allows us the freedom to do everything in between.
BSW: Where have you played so far? And how have the crowds been towards your band?
Bren: We've played in a host of places. The Zoo, Pyramid, Dylan O'Connors .. you name the club and we've probably played there or will shortly. Aside from the clubs we like to play community centers, events, charity functions ... as long as there is a group of people to listen, we'll play to them. The crowds have always been very good to us, and have always expressed interest in our music. I think that people appreciate originality, and we try to give that back to them.
BSW: What do you think about the music scene here in Winnipeg?
Bren: BOOMING! I was talking to a friend recently, and she said it best in saying that the talent in this city right now is off the charts. It's absolutely true: every night of the week you can catch a really good show for cheap or free. We're excited and honored to be part of this scene, which has been described as one of the hottest in Canada.
BSW: Any funny/scary stories you would like to share about a gig?
Bren: There's not a band in the world that doesn't have a funny or scary story about a gig! We've had our share of technical difficulties, mixing horrors, and crowd disturbances, but that's rock 'n roll. I think some of the funniest stories can come from those that happen behind closed doors. For example, I can recall one of our early home-recording attempts for some of our songs. One time, we just bought a brand new microphone to mic Ian's guitar amp. We set it up perfectly, found all the right angles, put mattresses around it like good recorders would. When we were trying to record a track, we were able to EQ it so that the sound was half decent, but we couldn't figure out why we couldn't make it sound 'amazing', like this particular microphone is known for doing. Well, after hours of troubleshooting, one of us finally discovered: we didn't have our mixer set to record from our brand new mic, but rather a bass drum microphone all the way across the room! How we got the thing to sound even as good as it did is a mytery to us. But hey, everyone likes hearing about misfortunes!
BSW: Do you have any releases out? If so, where can your fans get a hold of one? If not, any plans on going into the studio in the near future?
Bren: We just finished recording a 3 song demo, tentatively calling "Walking Elsinore EP". It features the songs In The Weather, Summer Cometh, and Walking Elsinore. Our intention was to record the three of our songs most unlike one another. Jay at Encore Productions is a master in the studio. Attend any of our shows and we'll have copies on hand. Depending on how this EP is received, we'll be back in the studio to record our full album, "Back to Boxes", later in the year.
BSW: Where can we see "Auraik" play next?
Bren: Next we're at Dylan O'Connors on April 2nd. We also know we're booked for a spot at Club 3D near the end of the month. We're intending to keep some time open in the middle of the month to write a bunch of new material for the summer, but chances are we won't be able to resist the offers to play anywhere! We have an EP Release Party at The Local (112 Market Avenue) on April 22nd.Â Other bands TBA and tickets are 8 bucks.Â We'll be debuting a bunch of new material and of course, the Walking Elsinore EP
BSW: Where can we find out more about your band?
Bren: Right now we are using MySpace (www.myspace.com/auraik). We are workong on auraik.com, which hopefully will be up later this month. But currently, you can find show updates, album updates, photos and even a few rants and raves at our MySpace location.
BSW: Well, thanks so much for the interview! And good luck with your musical journeys!
Bren: Thank you! Hopefully we'll talk again soon!
INTERVIEW WITH CONFORMITY LIFESTYLE CLOTHING
By Kristie Allen
Something a little different for you this month, an interview with a clothing line. I know there are bands out there always looking for the best price for merch…so maybe Conformity Lifestyle Clothing can help you out.
BSW: Who is Conformity Lifestyle Clothing and where are you from?
CLC: Conformity Lifestyle Clothing was founded by Shawn Heron, a resident of St.Catharines, Ontario.
BSW: Any meaning behind the name?
CLC: "Conformity" is used as a play on words. The company's vision is to Create designs that go against the norm.
BSW: What inspired you to start a clothing line and how long have you been around?
CLC: Conformity was established in 2004. (Shawn) was inspired to start (his)own clothing line because (he) was tired of "repetitive" t-shirt designs with large price tags.
BSW: What services do you offer the public?'
CLC: Conformity offers t-shirts, hats, pins and stickers. Conformity is also a "one-stop shop" for band merchandise, offering creative services and merch production.
BSW: How do you feel that your company differs from other clothing lines out there?
CLC: The vision of Conformity is not only to create and produce merchandise but also to help promote independent "up-and-coming" bands in Canada
BSW: Are your services limited to Canadian buyers, or can anyone order from you?
CLC: Conformity can ship their products anywhere in the world.
BSW: What bands have you worked with so far?
CLC: So far Conformity has been supporting Blue Skies at War, Socialight,Youthinasia, FYI, Influation, Call the Ambulance, and Del Asher.
BSW: Where can one find out more about Conformity Lifestyle Clothing?
CLC: You can shop on line 24 hours a day at www.conformitylifestyle.com.
BSW: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about you?
CLC: Be sure to check the Conformity website for new gear and featured artists.
INTERVIEW WITH DRAGONFLY
By Cindy Massey
BSW: How is the surfing these days in Queensland, Australia?
Danny ha ha I don’t get to the at all really so I wouldn’t know.
Marc - ha ha I don’t surf!
BSW: Who is Dragonfly?
Danny- Dragonfly is a melodic hard rock band from the gold coast in Australia. We are all about good melodic passionate rock and our music emphasizes that. I personally love getting on stage and showing people that haven’t heard or seen us before the best live performance they have seen!
Marc - um well It came about by my need to get away from Sydney, I had a shit load of songs and moved up for a break a few months earlier and wanted to start a band I met Danny at a guitar shop he works at and well it just kinda happened from there.. but we have been adding and replacing players to find the right lineup.. we just got a new bass player who unfortunately isn’t on our EP but he will be on the next recording..
BSW: What are some of the things that make you guys get in the mood to write songs?
Danny - I’m always in the mood to write songs. It just depends on what mood I’m in as to what type of song I write!
Marc - well I write most of the stuff at home, but recently we have started to write together and its more a matter of applying my arrangement skills which seems to work fine cause everyone kinda trusts my writing skills.. but id say alcohol and broken relationships is a major factor in writing for me..
BSW: When can we expect to see at one of your performances?
Danny - A.s.a.p I can’t wait to get over there.
BSW: What can we expect to see?
Marc - well an energetic show, songs not wank and rippin solos
BSW: Do you have a visual experience for the audience also? (Lights/fog etc)
Danny - There is usually always a lighting show but we are working on it.
Marc - we are a little to small atm but we will have that kinda stuff when things pick up
BSW: Do any of you get the jitters before a show?
Danny - Yeah not too bad though!!
Marc - not the jitters I get stressed though.. especially in a new area of city
BSW: I’ve listened to the songs on your myspace site. I’m really excited to know that you’re just waiting to find someone to press your CDs. What are you looking forward to the most?
Danny - Getting out there, getting people interested in the band giving people the best time when they come and see us play.
Marc - ha ha smelling it opening the pages and putting the disc in a cd player im grinning just thinking about it but really looking forward to touring and doing a full album
BSW: Where do you rehearse?
Danny - Thankfully our singer Skip has a back room attached to his house so we jam there.
Marc - at Skips place he has a studio of sorts and a kick as PA
BSW: Who writes most of your lyrics?
Danny - At the moment Marc is the main lyric writer but now the band has established itself we are all getting in on it!
Marc - myself and an old singer i was in a band with but Skip has been writing our new stuff!!
BSW: Is the way you write songs usually started by a guitar riff, if not describe your process?
Danny - Yeah pretty much for me it is. I usually just sit there with guitar in hand and play whatever comes to my head. If I don’t like then I will either change it or just not bother
Marc - depends I usually start on an acoustic with a melody and I pen a few lyrics and then it just grows other times ill make up all the music and just find my way with the vocals and lyrics
BSW: I’ll leave this spot for you to tell our readers anything you would like to leave them with.
Marc - we are fuckin lookin forward to coming to Canada!!! So keep your eyes open for us.. You can DL our tunes from a link on our myspace page, or just have a listen there.
BSW: Thank you for the interview, I look forward to seeing you come to Canada one day. Stay wicked you guys.
Marc - awesome Cindy thanks for the interview