Sets You Don’t Want to Miss at WayHome 2017

With WayHome Music Festival right around the corner, we have all been prepping our bodies, minds, and bank accounts for the big weekend ahead. If you’re anything like me, you’re not excited to be camping for three days, but there is nothing like the motivation one gets from seeing their favourite artist’s name printed on a lineup. I will run the risk of not having a hot shower (or a shower at all for the matter) for three days, just for the opportunity to be 10 feet away from Frank Ocean’s feet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it will be a long 72 hours, but together, we can make things work. Below I have compiled a list of must-see sets at this year’s WayHome, along with the details of where each artist will be playing. You can thank me now, or later, but don’t forget to see these talented individuals in all their glory under the beaming sun.

FRIDAY, JULY 28th 2017

Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

NONAME [WayHome Stage @ 3:45-4:15 PM]

Noname, otherwise known to her parents and childhood friends as Fatima Warner, is a Chicago MC first known for her cameos on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap”, as well as Mick Jenkin’s mixtape, “The Waters”. Following this debut, Noname took her time and carefully detailed and executed her breakout project, Telefone, which provided hungry fans with a body of work. Noname is an up-and-comer with melodic soundscapes and lyrics that weave into poetry.

Photo by Zack Vitiello

ALLAN RAYMAN [WayBright Stage @ 4:30-5:00 PM]

Toronto native, Allan Rayman is an enigma. Fairly new to the scene, Rayman has managed to steer clear of the spotlight and keep his identity something of a mystery. His first ever interview was released in February of 2017 with Billboard. He is currently signed to Communion Records and has released two albums, Hotel Allen” and “Roadhouse 01” as well as two singles, “Much Too Much” and “All at Once“. Rayman’s vocal style is gritty and soulful, and his music crosses boundaries between genres.

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

DANNY BROWN [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

For those looking to end the WayHome Friday with a bang, attend Danny Brown’s closing set. This Detroit-native is no stranger to the festival circuit; he delivers high-energy through his performances without missing a beat. Danny’s shows are known for getting quite rowdy and #NSFW, to say the least, but that certainly doesn’t take away from his big finish.

SATURDAY, JULY 29TH 2017

Cover of Charlotte Cardin’s Big Boy EP

CHARLOTTE CARDIN [WayBright Stage @ 2:00-2:30 PM]

Charlotte Cardin is a pop/electro singer from Montréal who is best known for her single, “Like It Doesn’t Hurt, featuring Husser. Her smooth vocals compliment any backdrop, while her lyrics sing truths about tales of lost loves and relationships. Charlotte released her solo debut EP, “Big Boy“, in 2016 with Cult Nation Records with songs in both English and French.

Photo by Carlotta Guerrero

SOLANGE [WayBright Stage @ 8:30-9:30 PM]

One simply cannot leave out this beauty while highlighting the best-of-the-best at WayHome. Without Solange, there would be no list, and, frankly, if you take anything away from this article, let it be this one suggestion: do not miss her set.

Photo by Steven Taylor

RUSS [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

Russ is not only a singer-songwriter, but a producer, a beat-maker, and an artist who never stops grinding for his dream. Over the past decade, Russ has put out consistent singles and videos, making him a rising-star from Atlanta. Russ has released eleven “unofficial” albums before eventually signing to Columbia records and releasing his newest project, “There’s Really A Wolf“.

SUNDAY, JULY 30TH 2017

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

MITSKI [WayBright Stage @ 6:00-6:45 PM]

In 2016, Mitski released her fourth studio album, “Puberty 2” through Dead Oceans Records. The whole world applauded Mitski’s vulnerable and complex songwriting, whose subjects include love, depression, self-alienation, and racial identity. The New York Times describes “Puberty 2” as “an impressive collection of D.I.Y punk and indie rock.”

Photo by Liam MacRae & Sean Brown

DANIEL CAESAR [ WayAway Stage @ 6:45-7:30 PM]

Daniel Caesar is a singer-songwriter making waves in the Toronto music scene. Transcending the frameworks of R&B/Soul, Daniel’s music resonates with his audience and creates a moments of self-examination through his lyrics. The 21-year old Toronto native debuted in 2014 with his EP “Praise Break” and has since received attention from major music publications across the country. Daniel speaks directly to a millennial generation through ballads of love, lust, and faith.

Source: The Independent

FRANK OCEAN [WayHome Stage @ 9:45-11:15 PM]

I don’t think there is a combination of words or sentences that I can string together to explain the excitement I feel to finally see Frank Ocean live at WayHome. After a four-year hiatus, Frank has delivered with Blonde, Endless, and consistent singles we will cherish for decades to come. *cough* “Lens” *cough.* This angel sent from above needs no backstory or convincing. See his show, fall in love, and dance slowly under the moonlight, drifting away with his voice.

See the full line up for the 3 day festival here, and continue following our arts and culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

A Conversation with The Junction on their New Album City Nights

As an artist,  you will do anything to practice your craft and make a living out of it. If you put in hours, days, and years of unrelenting hard work and dedication, you may be lucky enough to see your dreams become reality. That being said, the journey to success doesn’t always take overnight. Many artists spend years producing art that reflects their psyche. By exploring an artist’s chronologically, we see their journey on display with its ups and downs and their very real emotions.

The Junction is a Toronto-based band and has spent the past seventeen years navigating its music scene. Originally from Brampton, the trio is made up of Michael Taylor, Matt Jameson, and Brent Jackson. We had the opportunity to chat with the bassist, Matt Jameson, and discuss the band’s early history and their new album, City Nights.

Kimberley Drapack: How did you first meet and form the band? 

Matt Jameson: Jackson and Taylor grew up down the street from one another and started playing music together with a music teacher. They later met Jameson after he saw them perform at a battle of the bands at his high school when they had no bass player.

K: What has it been like navigating the Toronto Music scene for the past seventeen years? Have you seen any major changes? 

MJ: It started with us coming to Toronto and playing a few shows and then feeling the pressure from promoters to bring people out and we didn’t really know how to handle it so we retreated back to the burbs. We played a lot around Brampton where we eventually grew our audience and then started playing more around Toronto like Guelph and Burlington. Getting older we finally started playing more in TO and have pretty much made The Horseshoe Tavern our home and have played there for every album release show we’ve ever had.

K: Tell me about City Nights. What does this album have to say? What can it teach us? 

MJ: City nights is written mainly from personal perspective from living in the city and bathing in its nightlife. The city thrives on social beings and party people. I’ve been dancing in the middle of it for years. As a musician I’ve benefited greatly from it. As a partier I’ve certainly abused it. I have a love-hate relationship with downtown these days. It brings the best and worst of me out. It can truly be damaging for restless souls.

This album’s lyrics are personal and self-reflective. I put the microscope on me and pulled myself apart in every way by questioning who I’ve become through substances, challenging my darkness, and my weaknesses while reminding myself to be a bit more empathetic. The party has turned me upside down and flipped me inside out.

City Nights is about many things but it’s mainly about checking in with yourself. It’s a big space here in Toronto. I definitely think this album can serve as anyone’s companion and make anyone feel less alone especially if they are also isolated by some of the thoughts on how the big city can move you and push you around.

If not to learn anything it can still be danced to.

Oh city nights… what would I do?

K: You mention that City Nights is an album that should first be heard through headphones. Why is this? 

MJ: Lots of space was carved out in the songwriting. It made way for other sonic elements to weave in between. Lots of different instruments, effects and panning create some awesome textures. If listened to on headphones, you’d be able to step inside the environment that was designed.

K: You are currently signed to Culvert music. How did this collaboration begin? Did you always intend on becoming signed for this particular album?

MJ: Jameson’s mom is friends with Phil’s (one of the founders) mom and he used to give Phil swimming lessons. Hence, Phil and Jameson go way back and have always been in touch over the years regarding music and the business around it. When it came time to talk about working with one another, we recorded some demos and shopped them around to labels and Culvert was clearly the best home for the project.

K: What is your favourite Toronto venue to play in?

MJ: The Horseshoe Tavern. There’s no place like home.

K: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How did you overcome it? 

MJ: Getting out of our major label deal and getting another record made after that was probably our biggest hurdle. Check out this post from Brent a few months ago:

TEN YEARS FOLKS! 

10 years ago this was huge to us. Major Label. Early 20’s. Touring Canada. First time hearing ‘components of four’ on ‘edge102.1’ ‘Much Music’ playing the video. We didn’t know what kind of ride we were in for. But, we felt damn great.10 years later and looking back at it.. well… truthfully, it hasn’t aged well for me and the memories of struggle that came just after it’s release, aren’t the coolest to think about. But, those are key ingredients to our story and I’m blessed they unfolded the way they did…starting from one of the biggest fights we’ve ever had in NYC, directly after it was mastered… or being dropped from our booking agents, while on tour.. or driving 40 hours straight from Saskatchewan to Universals head office (unkempt and out of it) to ask if we could get off the label and then hear them tell us they didn’t like the record anyways. We really felt like lost dogs for a second. To top it off the song we were (most likely) signed for, ‘frequencies’ never became a hit. Just couldn’t get it on radio. Matt and I even went radio station to radio station all across Canada trying to get it serviced. We couldn’t get the damn hit on 😉 This record was a struggle and I’m sure most bands would’ve packed it in right then and there. But, these memories are my favourites. Because, It’s this struggle and this story, that divides us from the rest. Time and age and popularity mean nothing to us. 10 years ago and 10 years from now It’s always gonna be about the music. Music is our life and I personally don’t need anything to validate that. My wealth, is in the music. 

Sure we got knocked down and some people might even think we failed. But, I look at this record and I hear a band that didn’t change a single note for anyone. Sure I think it’s an ugly and challenging album. I don’t listen to it that often. But, I’ll never knock it. It’s a rock in our catalog. It helped us grow into our future albums. It allowed us to be free from any expectations on “making it”. 10 years on…The Junction lives and we are the real deal!

Love,

Brent and the guys xo

K: A Music Blog, Yea? Describes Who Am I as: “one enchanting song as its irresistible bass grove, dreamy vocals, and playfully driven synths are flawlessly fused with old-school seventies atmospherics.” Would you agree? Why or why not?

MJ: I wouldn’t deny those adjectives. Sounds a lot like what we were going for.

K: What’s next for you? 

MJ: We’re at that vulnerable point right now where we’re not really sure what’s next. We just put the record out and had a great album release show. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how people react to it and take it from there.

K: In another life, with a different set of dreams and goals, what career would you most likely have?

MJ: Surf bum/Astronaut.

Check out City Nights by The Junction and continue following our arts and culture coverage on  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The EP Reigns Supreme: Why artists are choosing to put out EPs over the CDs

For years we have counted down the days, saved up pennies and lined up for hours in anticipation of our favourite band’s new CD release. However, not only is this whole ‘lining up’ business gone for good with the convenience of the internet, but this applies to the form of how we have consumed music for years.

I wouldn’t say the CD is dead but its definitely endangered due to the invasive species that is prevalent in online free streaming. Kid’s, Seniors and whomever can enjoy listening to their favourite songs for free whether it be by YouTube or an online streaming service. Because of how simple it has become, free music consumption has not only allowed easy access to listening to one’s favourite band, but it can now be filtered by specific songs. This convenience has been an option for the past 10 years and has taken the place of the former norm, which was hearing a single on a radio and then going out to buy the CD— hoping that the artist’s collection is just as good as the single (sometimes there was disappointment, sometimes it was pure glee).

While artists have struggled with this easy access to streaming, as it makes it exceedingly more difficult to make money from their music, a new form of music release has come about with promise to be more cost efficient and packed with more ‘hits’. An EP is a digital collection of around 5 tracks (in comparison to the approximate 12 tracks that CD’s usually have). It is generally used to present an artists most valued tracks in term’s of likability and artistry. EP’s cost much less money to produce as they have fewer songs. This is attractive to not only new bands with lower budget’s but even larger known bands as they see the decline in interest for their larger collection of songs due to the easy filtration system that streaming offers. While there are many benefit’s to the EP especially to fans when you consider that they are cheaper and likely to have many singles, the true fans and artists suffer alike as having fewer tracks means that there is less room for experimentation and obscurity in music. Sure, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” of Michael Jackson’s infamous 1982 Thriller album are all masterpiece’s, but what would the album be without Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney titled, “The Girl is Mine” where they exchange dialogue regarding their mutual interest in a girl? If you truly love an artist, the EP is just a symbol to the mainstream music listeners who really don’t give a damn about artistry and want to cut corners to hear a new popular single.

Since EP’s are cheaper to make and artists are accepting their impending doom on the CD sales front, many new artists are releasing their EP’s to be listened or downloaded on their site for free (many with an option to buy or listen to on a legitimate streaming site). Here are some artists who’s EP’s you can listen to for free without guilt!

The Beaches “Heights”

A Toronto favourite. These ladies have many show’s planned around the city. You can listen to The Beaches’ EP and find more info on the band here: The Beaches “Heights” EP

The Strumbellas EP

The Strumbellas have become much bigger since their release of their 2014 (now playing in some of Canada’s major music festival’s and wining a 2017 Juno for “Best Single”). It is nice to know that their EP is still accessible and sweetly listened to. Listen here: The Strumbellas EP

Under the Sun “The Mint EP”

Under the Sun has played in many Toronto venues over the past few years and playing their last this March. Don’t worry though you can listen to the bands farewell single here: Under the Sun- The Mint EP

Weaves “EP”

Weaves was just nominated for the Juno Awards “Alternative Album of the Year”. You can listen to their 2014 EP Weaves- EP

Tokyo Police Club “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness”

While Tokyo Police Club has been putting out CD’s for over ten years. The band recently decided to put out a two part EP collection. Listen to it here: http://www.tokyopoliceclub.com/catalog/

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Hanging with Hollerado: A Conversation on New Music, Touring, and Politics

As we grow up, we often dream of pursuing a career with our best friends from childhood. While more often than not, over time, our early years of entrepreneurship between lemonade stands, babysitting, and walking our neighbours dog fades away. After growing up on the same street in small town in Ontario, the four-person collective, Hollerado, has made their dreams into a reality.

Hollerado is certainly no stranger to the Canadian tour circuit. They have toured with big names such as Sum 41, Weezer, and Passion Pit. They have also been nominated for several Juno awards, and most recently have played at Canadian Music Week. Their third studio album, Born Yesterday is now available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

We had the chance to chat with Hollerado about the message behind their music and their love for GT Snow Racers.

Kimberley Drapack: How did you meet and form the band?

Hollerado: We met a long time ago, on an island in the Rideau River in a place called Manotick. We first played in our garage, right next to our dad’s old motorcycle and a pile of toboggans and GT Snow Racers.

K: What’s your favourite aspect of performing in Toronto?

H: Getting to the show on the streetcar! Nothing better than riding the Rocket to rock it!

K: Your first album, Record in a Bag was released in 2009 as a free digital download. What is the biggest transformation from this early record to your newest record, Born Yesterday?

H: A lot has happened in the world since 2009, and it’s hard not to be a reflection of that change and transformation, which is a good thing.  So, our views have broadened, in terms of what we sing about, but at the same time we still want to remain how we are.

K: In your early years, you spent some time in Montreal where you built your name. What is it about the music scene in Montreal that helped you grow as a band?

H: Montreal is cheap, so we could spend a lot of time writing and playing, and not a lot of time working to pay rent.  And compared to the hilly topography of Manotick, Montreal was a bustling, flat, metropolis; a barren wasteland when it came to GT Snow racing hills. Again, we were forced to write and play music to pass the time.

K: You have been nominated for 3 Juno awards, (one in 2011, one in 2012, and one in 2014) what was this experience like?  

H: It’s a great way to catch up with your friends in other bands that you never see because you’re always touring.  Plus, getting to watch Nickelback perform every year is great.

K: Currently, you are on tour with Sum 41. What is your favourite part about touring? Is it ever hard to be away from home for too long?

H: Our love of playing live is a big reason why we do this.  There’s nothing more exciting for us than connecting with a crowd, and feeling like they’re invested in the show just as much as we are.  It can be strange being away from home for a month or more at a time though, no question.  But little moments on the road, and support from our friends and family back home, make it doable.  And sometimes brands will reach out and try and make your life a little more comfortable if they see you’re touring across Canada in the winter or something. They might give you some free gear to go have fun on the hills in exchange for the odd plug in an interview.

K: Your video for “Americanarama” has gained over 1.4 Million YouTube views. What was your first reaction to its success?

H: It was a lot of fun making that video.  We expected our friends to think it was cool, but never thought it would be seen by as many people as it did.

K: Your new single, “Grief Money” has a pretty powerful video and message. What inspired this?  

H: Grief Money was written before Trump was even a candidate, but it was still a reaction to the dark side of politics.  We don’t hate politicians in general, but it does feel like corruption, fear-mongering, greed and opportunism are out of control.

K: Would you describe it as a protest song? 

H: I think it’s more of an anger song than a protest song!

K: If you could collab with any other artists, who would it be and why?

H: Thundercat because they are groovy beyond belief. And we love groovy.

K: What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

H: We just want to keep playing music, write songs we’re proud of, and play in space some day.

Check out their new album, Born Yesterday and continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Tagging along with Texas King at Canadian Music Week

As a fan of most genres of music, and Canadian talent in particular, I was excited to attend this year’s Canadian Music Week from April 18th to 23rd and check-in with a few bands I was excited to see live. Canadian Music Week, or CMW for short, showcased a plethora of local and international artists that were either up-and-coming, or seasoned veterans. After a long, luxurious Easter weekend where I nearly sent myself into a food coma, I was geared up for the long week ahead, mentally and physically preparing myself for long days at work, followed by late nights in different Toronto concert halls.

I began my week on Tuesday at Adelaide Hall, where I planned to meet up with the London-based band, Texas King. Formed in 2012 by front man and lead-singer, Jordan MacDonald, Texas King soon grew to be a four person collective with Colin Gray as lead guitar and back-up vocals, Phil Spina on bass, and Rob Shipway on drums. The band holds a regular slot at CMW as this is their fourth or fifth year playing the festival. Along with Canadian Music Week, Texas King has played NXNE, Scene Fest, and KOI Fest.

I tagged along with Jordan, Phil, Colin and fill-in drummer, Mark Swan throughout the night and dished on music, their early history, and what its like to be an independent artist.

 

Once meeting up with band members, Jordan MacDonald and Phil Spina, we began to walk over to Adelaide Hall. I had known Jordan since my early years in high school and ever since then had followed the success of his band. The first Texas King EP holds some of my favourite songs to which I know all the lyrics. While the EP was released in 2013, it currently stands as the main source of music currently available to the public by Texas King. Before chatting with Jordan and Phil, I had expectations of hearing the EP in its entirety at the show, but Jordan confirmed that, while it is a classic, the band has created an onslaught of music since then and has their debut album ready to be released at any moment.

As we walk over to the musical hall, I ask if the band is currently seeking representation, especially in regards to the release date of their new album. Jordan responds, “We’ve been shopping [the album] around different labels and stuff. Then we kind of hit this standstill with this one label we were talking to, so now we’re just kind of doing this final showcase thing.”

On April 29th, the band is performing a showcase at the Horseshoe Tavern. While the band has performed at the Horseshoe prior to this show, they are hoping to use this specific showcase as a way to gain recognition and attention of certain label representatives who frequent this venue.

I comment on the importance of the Horseshoe Tavern as a music venue. Jordan agrees and adds, “it’s good for showcases too because industry people know that bar and they know that you’re not going to be able to play there if you’re shit.”

We laugh, and Phil adds to the conversation by stating that with, “certain venues it’s hard to get people out to. Nothing against those venues, but there are certain venues that people like to go to. If you play somewhere cool, like Sneaky Dees, odds are, people will want to go there anyway and they’ll decide to check us out. As opposed to a smaller place, where people don’t know where it is, or sometimes the bands are hit and miss there.”

 

                                                                                                         Photo: Courtesy of Texas King

As we continue walking, I try poking around and getting more information about their upcoming album. While they answered all of my questions, they still are keeping most of the information on the down-low in order to build suspense and allow for the work to be interpreted when the time is right. I asked if the album had yet been mastered, to which Phil replied, “Yeah, it was mastered a few months ago. It’s pretty much all done. We’re in the art stage, it’s the only thing left. We just need to get artwork and then it will be ready to put out.”

I then asked if the band was currently looking for for artists to submit their work and if they were shopping it out that way. Phil noted that their drummer was responsible for handling the band’s graphics. He was responsible for their website design, and their merch design, because of this, he assumes that Rob will probably create their artwork for the album.

                                                                                                                Photo by: Kimberley Drapack

Once we entered the venue, another band, The Honest Heart Collective was currently in the middle of their sound check. We hung around and listened to part of their set. Texas King is currently touring with The Honest Heart Collective and urged me to check out their music. The two remaining band members, Colin and fill-in drummer, Mark, soon joined us after struggling to find parking.

Texas King soon took the stage and settled in quickly to their designated roles. After plugging in their equipment, and making sure they had everything in place, they began their sound check which brought a sense of nostalgia to the small space. The band played two new songs off their upcoming album, along with an older song, titled “Come Find Me” from their 2013 EP.

After a quick sound check, I tagged along Jordan and went outside for a smoke break. I asked if he was still the main songwriter of the group, to which he replied, “I still write all the songs. There’s a couple exceptions – a couple tunes where someone will come up with something, but for the most part, I write the tunes and bring it in still skeleton like. I still write most of them on my acoustic.”

Jordan finished the last drag of his cigarette and added, “I still imagine it in my head and then bring it to the band room.”

After sound check, we had some time to kill before the band’s slot in the showcase at 11pm. Around 6:30, I tagged along with Colin, Phil, and Mark, in search of some sort of food before our long night. I asked about the whereabouts of their resident drummer, Rob, to which Phil replied: “He was supposed to be back a couple of days ago, but work sort of fisted him and said we’re adding another day. He told work that he can’t stay, but they’re making him.”

Colin laughed and chimed in, “Imagine how badass it would have been if he did fly in and arrive just in time for somebody to pick him up and drop him off at the venue, and as he walks in, someone throws him a pair of sticks and he catches them out of midair.”

Phil replies, “That would be bad ass, but that would give me the worst anxiety all day.”

 

                                                                                                         Photo by: Kimberley Drapack

We then move onto the topic of work outside the band. I ask each member what job they currently have to be able to support the job they actually want to do. It becomes a funny conversation, the notion that in order to pursue a creative role, one must find another, (and sometimes multiple) job(s) in order to support their passion projects. Phil states that he works at a venue in London, and Colin replies that he has plays other people’s music, rather than his own.

Upon topics of origin stories, we recounted the early years of the band and how they formed their collective. Phil replied, “when we originally started with our first drummer, we were all in Fanshawe, and then our original drummer left 8 months or a year in. Our current drummer also went to Fanshawe, but we didn’t meet him there. I played in a band with him before. But the three of us met in the same program.”

Jordan and Colin got started in 2012 in their first year of college as an acoustic duo, and later, Phil and Rob joined the band to create the rest of Texas King. While finishing their final year of college, the band released their debut EP. Colin adds, “we released the it right during the end of exams.”

We returned to the venue and chatted with other band members playing the showcase that night. We laughed at a typo on the CMW handbook that said, “Mississausage Showcase” rather than the intended, “Mississauga Showcase.” One member of a Montreal band playing before Texas King stated that he used to play in a band called, “Crushed Luther”, and were once billed as “Crushed Leather.” Conversations like these had me triple checking my notes to make sure I had my own facts straight.

During our downtime, I chatted more with the band to get a sense of what Toronto venues they had under their belts. Phil listed off, “The Horseshoe Tavern, Sneaky Dees, The Drake, The Bovine Sex Club.” Colin added, “we’ve played a lot of places. You name anything on Queen and we’ve done it.”

 

                                                                                                                   Photo: by Kimberley Drapack

In comparison to the previously listed venues in Toronto, Adelaide Hall, which they were playing that night, had a promising set up. Audience members can get pretty close to the stage and right into the action. There’s even the chance of creating a pit. I asked if they encouraged this type of behaviour and Colin chimed in: “Yeah. Well, not like a pit where they kill each other, but Jordan is good at getting people to come up. He is charismatic and gets people who are bumming around the outskirts to come closer when the show starts.”

Along with Jordan’s ability to get the crowd amped up, the band has a great set time for their showcase. Phil recalls an earlier CMW where they had a great deal of luck as well: “We were at the Hideout, our very first year at CMW and the show was on a Tuesday around 8PM. We thought that no one is going to be here, but it was pretty packed. That’s when we realized that with CMW, it goes out the window. Just because you’re playing on a Tuesday or Wednesday, it would normally be kind of shitty, but that year, across the street was tattoo rock parlour, and the show started later, but it was with, “Stuck on Planet Earth, The Dirty Nill, and The Reason.” A lot of people ended up coming to the Hideout for our show at 8PM, and then at 9:30PM, they went over to see the shows at the other venue. Jeff from Teenage Kicks came out and saw us and then after we were done as the night went on, everyone went across the street. So, it’s very much about when you play versus what other is going on that night.”

We circled back to the discussion of  the much anticipated album. I asked when exactly it would be released. Phil stated that they were trying to keep most of the information low on the radar, and as far as naming the album, they were “tossing around a couple of ideas, but I don’t think we’ve settled on one yet. We usually just tell people “it’s coming.”

That’s sort of the general music rule within music: you’ll get it when you get it and until then, you’ve got to be patient. Phil agrees, and adds, “I don’t usually feel like explaining to people that there’s so much more behind it than just releasing music.”

                                                                                                                       Photo by: Kimberley Drapack

As the showcase began, we huddled backstage and tossed around stories as the bands playing before them set the tone for the evening.  We got on the topic of funny tour stories, and Phil recalled a time when he had to get 10 stitches in his hand before a show. Colin piped in, “we were rock climbing in Sudbury on a fine afternoon.”

Phil continues retelling the story and says, “we were going from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury, with plenty of time. On the sides of the roads, there’s a bunch of boulders – huge rocks, that are loose. After going and checking out a river, we decided we should leave, because we had to get loaded and get ready for soundcheck…”

Colin adds again, “after having a great day…”

Phil laughs. “We were 15 mins outside of Sudbury and it was the last show of the tour before going home. We were climbing up the boulders to get up to the road, and one of the ones I stepped on was loose. It slid out and I fell forward and instinctually put out my hands to catch myself and one of the rocks was a corner, the edge of the rock went right into my hand. I cut the artery. I was bleeding a lot and I needed two stitches just to close up the artery.”

I asked if they had flown into panic mode as soon as the injury happened. Phil stated that he knew right away that he needed stitches and Colin added, “Robbie ripped off his shirt in a heartbeat and wraps his hand. Jordan was in the van already and we were yelling, “start the van!”

Phil continued the story. “Jordan was sleeping. We made it back to the van, and Jordan is just waking up from his nap and there I was, gushing blood.”

Colin ended the saga by stating: “when we got to the hospital, the nurse wrapped his hand and said the wait would be around 20 minutes, a pretty reasonable time, and we got out to the waiting room, and within 4 minutes, it was already completely soaked in blood and dripping. We had to go back and be like, can you re-wrap this? They then rushed us to the front.”

I fished around for more stories, as I knew they had more to tell. Colin retells a story during one of their earlier years at Canadian Music Week. “Another time during Canadian Music Week, were at the Dakota and drinking with an industry guy and we were having jäger bombs, having a great time. We were new to this whole CMW thing but we knew this guy from another conference we were at before and he took us under his wing and brought us to an after hours party at the Bovine Sex Club. We walked in and I remember there are all these people… two members of The Trews, the guitar player from Billy Talent and John Lennon’s son, who does a solo project. It was sick, we were welcomed and then that night, we were doing a funny snap story together, cracking beers with a bunch of people with our arms around them, and seeing who we could get on the story. We got the bass player of The Trews to get on a snap story with us and crack a beer. He didn’t know: we were just like, “hey man, get on this snap story with us!” and we cracked a beer and took a sip together. It was probably our coolest snap story to date.”

At this point they are getting ready to perform and Colin ends with: “Another time, we forgot Robbie’s drum kit. But you probably should add that.”

                                                                                                           Photo: Courtesy of Texas King

Later after their set, Jordan and I stand outside the venue and reflect on the show. The energy was incredible, just as I remember it being, and as audience members trickle out of the venue, Jordan gets many words of praise.

He told me that in between sound check and their show, he went over to a bar close by where they claimed to have drinks for $2.50. After ordering a double bourbon, the bartender asks for $19.50. We laugh, and after asking why he didn’t ask the bartender about the mix-up, Jordan claims that it wasn’t the right time, as there was a crowd of guys standing around him in suits who were next up to get a drink. He adds, “yeah, they were just there, being rich, and as soon as I heard the price they were looking at me like, “you got a problem with that? Is it too much?” So, I just had to be like… just take half the money I have for the whole week.”

It was now around 12AM and I was ready to start my long journey home. Jordan told me to hang out, but I politely declined and as I had a train to catch. Before leaving, I had one last question that I was surprised I didn’t know the answer to. I asked Jordan to tell me the story behind the name of the band.

Jordan put up his right hand and said, “It’s from my adoptive name, Austin James. It’s a little word flay with the fingers. If you go Austin Texas and King James, then in the middle there, is Texas King. It’s dumb, but it seemed clever at the time.”

He explains that he was renamed Jordan Andrew MacDonald. “Yeah, my parents switched it up. You can do that with dogs, and apparently, people too.”

I ask what is next for Texas King. For now, if a label doesn’t work out, they plan on releasing the album independently, as they’ve done from the beginning with their music. “We’ll do it indie as we’ve done with the EP and stuff, tour it out of the van, make our own copies.” The first EP was self-produced and self-recorded and anyone who has self-recorded and self-promoted their own music knows that it requires a lot of time, manpower, and money, which isn’t always abundant during one’s early years.

With their debut album, they did things a little more professionally, while still having a hand in every part of the process. As of this current moment in time, Texas King remains independent and and without any external industry help.

                                                                                                                Photo: Courtesy of Texas King

Another goal on the horizon is getting Texas King on the radio. “We’re putting out a single,” says Jordan. I wondered if it was one of the newer songs I heard this evening, to which he replied, “no.”

Artists like Jordan have a pile of songs at the ready as his creativity never stops. I wonder then, in the current climate of awaiting a record deal, do artists often fall to the wayside, their creativity tested and tried over again, while they relentlessly self-promote their work that deserves a higher recognition? Bands like Texas King are doing extremely well, upping the roster at CMW and as I’m sure we’ll eventually see, headlining shows, and occupying prime spots in the showcase.

Jordan refers to a song they debuted tonight, titled, “Small Towns.” Along with this single, they have a few more in store, but they are not playing them quite yet.

On the other side, there is a cool self-starter vibe with Texas King where being independent is a large part of who they are. Jordan states that it’s “cool being indie because then you get to make all your own money, but I just wish there was more to make.” I add the fact that you also get to own your own music – your masters, what you release as your single, and so forth. Jordan agrees with this point and we call it a day.

 

 

Keep an eye out for Texas King‘s debut album coming soon and continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.