Farewell Davidson is trending upwards
Wakefield, Quebec indie and alternative rock band, Farewell Davidson, has been generating a lot of attention throughout the local music scenes in Eastern Ontario and Quebec lately.Â
The four-piece band consists of Ryan Wiles on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Zac Liberty on lead guitar, Alex Claro on bass guitar and Victor Antunes on drums. The band and its members are still fairly young, with the their ages ranging from 19 to 20 years old.
After winning their high school’s battle of the bands competition in 2011, Wiles, Liberty and Claro decided to continue making music together. Antunes joined the band a year and half later and the band has seen continued success since.
“It was more of just a fun thing at first, then we realized we were kind of good at this,” said Claro.
Practicing and playing the majority of their shows around Wakefield in Quebec, the band said they are usually known as a Wakefield band, but are also very familiar with Ottawa.
Farewell Davidson’s refreshing sound has echoes of artists like Tokyo Police Club, Band of Skulls, Kings of Leon and Jack White. However, their songs are a unique blend of the band members’ personal musical tastes.
With Wiles listening to softer indie bands, Claro preferring heavier sounds, Antunes liking funkier rock inspired music and Liberty coming from a blues background, their styles often conflicted when they began writing music together.
Although their musical styles sometimes disagree, they find ways to make it work, with Wiles usually writing the frame of most songs and the band filling the rest in with their own material.
“Most of the time, it is Ryan who would lay out the skeleton of the song,” said Liberty.
Originally playing cover songs at local venues for free, the band has evolved a lot since then. With no direction and playing up to five shows a week at the beginning, the band members said they worried that they would be nothing more than a cover band. However, they persisted through that and created something special.
While their musical tastes may not always be in sync, their instruments and aspirations certainly are. The band has recorded a great six-song EP called Hometown Lights that has generated a lot of attention.Â
They now hope to get back into the studio and create another EP. “We’ve grown a lot since that EP two years ago,” said Liberty.
The band members said they hope the next EP will be even better than the first. “We are going to spend a lot more time on this one and maybe some more money and try to promote it properly,” said Wiles.Â
They also said they hope to put everything into recording this summer and, although the release date is still unknown they hope to start recording a new single by the end of May.
Farewell Davidson has played with many notable Canadian bands like The Balconies, Paper Lions and Wildlife. They will also be opening for Hawksley Workman at Ottawa City Hall as part of Ottawa Race Weekend on May 24.
A few times a year, the band can also be seen playing live for causes and organizations such as Tony’s Promise and MADD, both of which hold a close meaning to the band and are responsible for the band’s name continuing to be Farewell Davidson.
They said the band’s name was originally chosen when the name of the street where Wiles lived and the band practiced, Davidson, was changed to something else, hence the name, Farewell Davidson. “We were saying goodbye to the street [name] because that is where we practiced on,” said Wiles.
However, there is a second story that is often linked to the band’s name. A drunk driver killed Wiles’ close friend, Anthony “Tony” McColl. Anthony’s father happened to be named David and when David’s son had passed away, the band said their name had a new meaning.
The band members said that before that tragic event happened, they were considering changing the name of the band, but decided to keep it. It has since become very symbolic in their community and an important part of their identity.Â
The future for the band looks bright as they look to generate the same success they have had in Ottawa and Wakefield when they move to Montreal in the coming months. The band members said a big reason for the move is to help them expand their reach and image into a larger market.Â
Even with Claro and Liberty going off to university in Montreal, they said they would try to keep the band as a top priority. “I don’t see it ever being not the main thing on the agenda,” said Liberty.
This is only the beginning of what hopes to be a long road to success for Farewell Davidson. You can also catch them on the River Stage this summer at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest on July 13, a show they said they are very excited to play.
Written by Michael Hanifi
Photographs from Erik Stolpmann
Find Out All About Goldroom’s Artistic Journey, Why They Complement Each Other, and What’s Next for the Group
When you’re in the presence of true artists, it’s obvious. And that’s exactly how I felt when I walked into the green room at Toronto venue, The Great Hall, to interview L.A.-based group, Goldroom, before their set on Sept 13.
Immediately, one can sense the feeling of camaraderie and artistic unity shared between the three members that now make up Goldroom; Josh Legg, Mereki Beach, and Nick Sandler. And as I shake each of their hands, they give off a warmth that many musicians don’t seem to have nowadays due to a blinding ego.
What stands out the most, though, is the way they speak of their music, and of each other.
“We have a unifying bond for playing a beautiful memorable melody. The parts of music that makes our spines tingle are the same things,” explains Legg.
It’s interesting to hear the group explain how they’ve all already began to influence each other in their music having only even been playing together for almost a year. Goldroom, which originally consisted of only Legg, began about two and a half years ago as a chance for him to get more involved in dance music.
Since joining forces last January, the group has evolved immensely. And they’re ability – not to mention passion – to put on a stellar live show and create beautiful musicÂ is ever-so evident.
“We all bring a different element,” says Beach, the group’s vocalist and Legg’s co-writer. “Josh and I write together, so I think that the collaborative process in itself happens organically.”
“We complement each other really well,” Sandler says. “And with that said, I have little experience in the dance/electronic world. But I’ve always loved the groove element. So it’s so fun to constantly be learning about different artists then pulling things and trying them when we play.”
The fact that each member of the group comes from a different musical background is one of the facets that makes Goldroom so unique, too. One doesn’t sense any feeling of jealousy or tension amongst them – they’re all just happy to learn from one another.
Sandler, the group’s drummer, speaks highly of Legg and his approach to their music.
“He doesn’t come at it like we’re going to do dance music. His view on music as a whole is very vast…It’s cool because I see a lot of different influences in his writing, and I think that’s what makes it fun playing together, for me,” he says.
Legg feels lucky to be collaborating with his current band mates, as well. Already, he’s inspired and excited for the future. “These guys have influenced the stuff that I want to write. And that’s exciting to me. We’re new as a band and working together. One of the most exciting things about starting to work with these guys isÂ that we weren’t friends before this, and I didn’t want to just have my bro come join my band,” explains Legg. “The cool thing is, what we play on stage is so different than what you hear on the record. The great tweaks on stage you see come from these guys.”
The fact that the group doesn’t just stand on stage and simply DJ is also what makes them so unique, and most likely why they appeal to so many people. Their nu-disco/funk sound is something fans can really dance to as opposed to so many of the fist-pumping house bangers you hear on the radio.
“At some point, maybe soon, I think we’ll reach a point where fans don’t enjoy just seeing a DJ play songs in front of them, which is why we do live music. It’s a different connection. Is there some sort of EDM bubble, yes. But I think we’re seeing a much larger change. People are becoming much more comfortable hearing electronic music in mainstream music,” comments Legg.
However, Legg does explain how the major pull for him to electronic music is how pure the production aspect of it is. “It’s so filling and warm,” he says. “It can do things to you emotionally that acoustic music just can’t do.”
Legg is perfectly right. And that’s why what Goldroom does is so interesting. They combine live performance aspects and instruments with electronic elements. The result – an undeniably sensational and groovy sound.
As their relationship evolves, Goldroom has a lot to look forward to. Their EP, Embrace, was just recently released on Sept. 9, and is getting a wonderful reaction. The self-titled single, ‘Embrace,’ featuring Ariela Jacobs is most definitely one of Legg’s greatest achievements to date, and has been in the works dating all the way back to 2009.
For now, the band will continue to tour before taking a hiatus where they’ll work on revamping their live show. In the mean time, Legg says they’ll continue to write and work towards a couple new singles, and hopefully get an album out next year.
Goldroom’s live performance following their interview confirmed their undeniable talent. They were authentic and engaging, and if the fan reaction to their performance was any indication, their popularity will only continue to grow.
To put it quite simply, Goldroom is pure gold.
A Record For Each Day of Bluesfest…
June is winding down, and with summer churning into full throttle, July brings with it some exciting events. If you live in or around the nation’s capital, you’ve probably been counting down the days; RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest is just around the corner.
With an overwhelming lineup of titanic stars and nifty gems, it can be a little exhausting to dissect the schedule and figure out where you want to put your money and time. So we’re here to give you a hand.
No doubt you’ve heard the buzz about acts like RUSH, BjÃ¶rk, and unfortunately Dog Blood, but what about the little man? We’re giving you a daily record, with two bands to check out for each day; an A-side and B-side (some with a bonus track.) We’ll give you an essential tune so you can check out what that band is all about. From there, you can make the decision. Let’s dig in and see what Bluesfest is really all about.
THURSDAY, JULY 4
Side-A: The Cat Empire, 8:00 PM, River Stage
Style:Â N/A (Smidges of Sublime, Bob Marley, Die Antwoord)
These Australian beat-smiths tote some of the funkiest and stylistically twisted-and-tangled sounds ever heard. The whole ensemble, which consists of eight individuals, features horns, keys, bass, vox, and all manner of percussion. Their eclectic styles and fresh groove are key components that make for an unforgettable live experience.
ESSENTIAL TRACK:Â Still Young
Side-B: The Black Keys, 9:30 PM, Bell Stage
From: Akron, Ohio
Style: Lo-fi grungey blues-rock
The one-two punch of Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney has exploded since their last appearance at Bluesfest in 2011. The singer/guitarist and drummer churn out infectious, rollicking garage-rock anthems like it’s their… Oh wait, it is their job. It’s always an energetic and sonically-awakening show; see how much noise two nerds can make.
ESSENTIAL TRACK:Â Set You Free
FRIDAY, JULY 5
Side-A: Frank Turner, 7:00 PM, Bell Stage
From: London, England
Frank Turner is a dose of honesty; a negative attitude, humming a positive tune. The singer/songwriter out of London has already achieved superstar status overseas, having headlined his own show at Wembley Stadium. Earlier this year, his fifth studio album, Tape Deck Heart, was released to unanimous acclaim. His jangly, spirited strain of punk-crammed folk music makes for an intense and involved live experience.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
Side-B: Dawes, 8:00 PM, River Stage
From: Los Angeles, California
Style: Folk Rock
This Neil Young-soundalike has toed the middle ground between moderate and fortunate success. The group of plaid-clad, mangy-haired country rockers emulate in body, mind, and spirit the “Laurel Canyon” sound and attitude of the 1970s.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: If I Wanted Someone
SATURDAY, JULY 6
Side-A: Fitz & the Tantrums, 6:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage
From: Los Angeles, California
Style: Indie Electro-Pop
This six-piece has been churning out dance-worthy synth-anthems that hearken back to soul beats of the ‘70s with ease. The effortless, sexy groove the band replicates feels vintage and intoxicatingly fun; I dare you to try not to shuffle your feet.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Breaking the Chains of Love
Side-B: The Gallop, 1:45 PM, River Stage
From: Ottawa, Ontario
Style: Roots Rock
The Ottawa indie rockers procured a spot in the Bluesfest lineup, and that in itself speaks volumes. The group’s multi-layered and dynamic sound incorporates mounds of inspiration from under the great blue Canadian sky, and always makes for a relaxed, peaceful, and comforting listen.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Arboretum
SUNDAY, JULY 7
Side-A: The Joy Formidable, 5:00 PM, Bell Stage
From: Wales, England
Style: Alt-Rock; think Smashing Pumpkins meets Cranberries
This English alt trio, fronted by bleach-blonde femme Ritzy Bryan, has flown under the radar for nearly six years now. Their second album, Wolf’s Law, was released this past January, and features more hard-hitting, thematically intricate songs than may be found on the entire Top 40. Being a three-piece can present difficulties when it comes to live sound and presentation, but The Joy Formidable are more than up to the challenge.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Cholla
Side-B: Hannah Georgas, 7:15 PM, River Stage
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Since releasing her debut album in 2010, this west coast songstress has kicked up a considerable storm. With a handful of Juno nominations and making it onto the Polaris Music Prize Long List, Georgas has demonstrated an acute taste for not just writing gorgeous, swelling pop anthems, but a live presence to be reckoned with.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Waiting Game
Bonus: Wu-Tang Clan, 6:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage
From: New York City, New York
Style: Golden-age Hip-Hop
Forget what you think you know about hip-hop and rap. Turn back the clock to a simpler time of bandanas and visors, and remember the glory days of hip hop. New York City’s Wu-Tang Clan produced some of the most revered and influential hip-hop recordings ever, and the all-star lineup of rappers and MCs continues to trump many. The legends will no doubt bring their A-game to Bluesfest’s main stage.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Bring Da Ruckus
MONDAY, JULY 8
Side-A: Mother Mother, 9:30 PM, River Stage
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Style: Indie Pop
Mother Mother has one of the edgiest, quirkiest, and most interesting sound in Canada today. With 2012’s album The Sticks, the band explored themes like isolation, withdrawal from modern society, and other darker corners. With equally intense and charged aesthetics, the five-piece outfit makes for a memorable live experience.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Let’s Fall In Love
Side-B: The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, 8:00 PM, River Stage
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Style: Gritty, swampy blues-rock
Besides having the coolest name ever, this duo emulates the grit and grime that colours blues such a filthy shade, tossed together with some rock-and-soul riffage for good measure. Where Jack White and The Black Keys have blazed bold and deep trails for modern blues-rock, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer have followed, while culling a distinctly attractive and enjoyable listen.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Roll With The Punches
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10
Side-A: A Tribe Called Red, 9:30 PM, Black Sheep Stage
From: Ottawa, Ontario
Style: Pow-Wow Step
This collective of DJ’s and musicians based in Ottawa hasn’t just changed a genre, they’ve created a new one entirely. The trio has given birth to a ridiculously catchy and rootsy blend of hip-hop and Aboriginal music styles. The so-called “Pow-Wow Step” genre has been pioneered by the three men, and the energy is infectious and electric.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Look At This
Side-B: Passion Pit, 9:30 PM, River Stage
From: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Passion Pit are some of the leading exemplars of the power of technology to create. The four-piece uses these advancements not as a crutch, but a catalyst, to new and exciting venues for music creation. Live shows present more than enough opportunity for unlimited dance routines and a dazzling visual experience.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Little Secrets
Bonus: Weezer, 9:30 PM, Bell Stage
From: Los Angeles, California
Weezer have come out on the other side of the ‘90s as one of the most integral and influential bands of the decade. With a catalogue that includes some of the catchiest garage-rock riffs of all time (“Say It Ain’t So”, anyone?) the quartet, fronted by quirk-master Rivers Cuomo, rolls out their finest chops each show, presenting note-for-note replications of their finest work. But look for jazzed-up “funny business”; last time at Bluesfest, Cuomo donned a blonde wig for a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: El Scorcho
THURSDAY, JULY 11
Side-A: The Tragically Hip, 9:30 PM, Bell Stage
From: Kingston, Ontario
A definitive Canadian band. A definitive Canadian concert experience. If you haven’t been privy to Gord Downey’s deranged whooping, twitching, and electric flailing, then you’re seriously missing out. Make up for it by catching them as they headline on the main stage at Bluesfest.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: My Music at Work
Side-B: Old Man Luedecke, 9:00 PM, Barney Danson Theatre
From: Chester, Nova Scotia
This sage and wonderfully old-timey feeling singer-songwriter was long listed for the Polar Music Prize this year, for his latest album Tender Is The Night. The multi-Juno award winner sounds straight out a century ago, with heart-warming lyrical intimacy, and soothing bluegrass instrumentation. Under the shade of stars will prove a beautiful backdrop to Luedecke’s easy-going folk music.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Kingdom Come
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Side-A: Great Big Sea, 9:30 PM, Bell Stage
From: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Style: Celtic Folk
As integral to the fabric of Canadian music as can be found, Great Big Sea has just recently celebrated 20 years together, gallivanding through the States and Canada on tour. The wonderfully accessible and enjoyable blend of Celtic, east coast, rock, and roots traditions make the listening experience fulfilling for all ages. Pair that with a live show with hardly a breath between some songs, and rambling, light-hearted stories splitting others, and you have a memorable night ahead.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Excursion Around The Bay
Side-B: Matthew Good, 7:00 PM, Bell Stage
From: Coquitlam, British Columbia
The Matthew Good Band was one of the driving forces in Canadian alt-rock in the 1990s, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it was the most successful. Good’s veteran status in the Canadian music scene ranks along with many stars, and believe it or not, he’s credited with coining the phrase, “First world problems;” just check out the lyrics to “Omissions of the Omen.” Good’s beloved place in the hearts of alternative rock fans earns him a nod for Bluesfest.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Load Me Up
SATURDAY, JULY 13
Side-A: Half Moon Run, 3:00 PM, Bell Stage
From: Montreal, Quebec
Style: Acoustic, Harmonic Indie-Folk
Soon-to-be household name Half Moon Run has had a good year. Since the release of their debut album Dark Eyes, the trio has been handpicked by English sensation Mumford & Sons to open for their spring European tour, and is currently on the road with Icelandic hit Of Monsters & Men. Nowhere to go but up for this band. As they gain steam, look for lots of folks with thick-rimmed glasses to say, “Ya, I knew about them last year.”
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Full Circle
Side-B:Â Stars, 8:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage
From: Montreal, Quebec
Style: Indie Pop-Rock
For the better part of the past decade, the name to know out of Montreal has been Stars. Fronted by the charismatic and dark duo of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, the group has been celebrated for their dramatic, hard-hitting, and emotionally-trying songwriting. In particular, the lyricism and imagery conjured up in songs like “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” and “Personal” have twice earned the band Polaris Music Prize nods, and twice earned them Juno nominations. The band furthered these efforts with 2012’s The North.
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Take Me To The Riot
SUNDAY, JULY 14
Side-A:Â B.B. King,Â 8:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage
From: Itta Bena, Mississippi
Let’s get something straight: there is no one on the lineup at Ottawa Bluesfest who has had a wider or more influential impact in the course of music history than Riley B. King. At a ripe 87 years old, the infamous jazz and blues guitarist still performs regularly year round. B.B. King bears a true, abiding love for music, which is translated into his indescribably emotive and passionate performance. If you’re waiting for the opportune moment to see a man who has shaped music as we know and understand it, it’s now.
ESSENTIAL TRACK:Â The Thrill Is Gone
Side-B:Â Yukon Blonde,Â 7:00 PM, Bell Stage
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Style: Indie Pop-Rock
With 2012’s Tiger Talk, this psychedelic dance-rock trio did much more than exhibit their passion for the big, striped jungle kitties. The irreverently fresh and ridiculously hummable tunes on the record left little doubt over whether or not the band could craft an accessible and fun album, without stooping to poor craftsmanship. The windy, open-air feel and energy will suit Bluesfest fans to a tee. Get your dancing shoes on!
ESSENTIAL TRACK: Stairway
So, there you have it. A record for each day of Ottawa Bluesfest. Of course, there are heaps of other incredibly talented and hidden acts to see, so if you have the opportunity, take in as much as possible. It’s not often that you’ll have that luxury. But, hopefully this will give you some things to consider.
See you next week!
The foggy, rocky eastern shores of Canada are all too fitting a “Welcome” banner. It’s an ever-raging conflict, ‘twixt the unrelenting swell of salt water and the jagged, harsh rock that stands sentry to the cozy towns that dot the peninsular edges of our country. Best the savagery of the two unforgiving and embattled elements, and you’ll find the warmth and inviting familiarity of such locales as Halifax, St. John, Antigonish.
The overdrawn-well that is sea-to-coast clichÃ©s has been exhausted. Serving perhaps as better reminders of the wholly stern but serene beauty of the east’s natural settings, and to shame the inadequacy of the aforementioned clichÃ©s, is Nova Scotia’s Wintersleep. It’s an easy thing to give character and breath to a band by likening them to sweeping geographical similarities, but in certain cases, a grasping and worn thing.
Escaping the stickiness and mortality of definitions and labels much beyond “indie”, the band has clipped along for a decade, churning out five full-length albums, including 2012’s Hello Hum. It’s a remarkable feather in the cap of members Paul Murphy, Mike Bigelow, Loel Campbell, Tim D’eon, and Jon Samuel that they seem to wed such seemingly incompatible styles and moods with a mathematical proficiency. Just listen to “In Came the Flood” from last year’s release, and this becomes apparent.
“Growing up we were always into stuff that was weird time signatures and strange arrangements,” said Murphy. “[But] in general, we’re all really big folk music fans, so I guess that element definitely seeps into a lot of our records. That record in particular there’s definitely a coexistence of those two things.”
“When I was in high school, our bands sounded a lot like Rush,” he added with a laugh.
“It’s really just trial and error… When we’re mixing, we’ll strip things back a little bit and make something that feels musical. There are things that happen that we don’t even necessarily mean to even do.”
The mix isn’t one that’s easily come by. Traditional folk music is anything but progressive. A steady hand on the soundboard can come in handy for such tasks, and Wintersleep has found one in Scottish producer Tony Doogan, who has worked with the band since 2007’s Welcome to the Night Sky.
“We’ve done the last three with him,” explained Murphy. “There’s one main thing with Tony with us, is that he really tries to get a really well-structured thing happening. He’s really in on getting really good performances at whatever we want to do with the song, so I think there’s something really great about it, but not too invasive.”
“He works with what’s already there. He’s not trying to like change your song into something that feels different. He really zones in on how to make what you’re trying to do clearer or a little more impactful.”
Surviving the test of time is a struggle in itself. The sink-or-swim mentality really comes to life, but you’ve got to do more than just tread water. Wintersleep has been sure not to remain stationary.
“There is something in the back of our minds when we go onto making a record that’s like, ‘Okay, we can’t do the same thing, we have to switch it up.’ But at the same time, I think it’s also just trying to make something that feels good to us at the moment, and writing songs that feel good in 2013.”
Regardless of the progression, there’s an unmistakable constant through the years: “the spark”, as Murphy puts it. There’s no glossing over the revered lightbulb atop the head that finds a home over each talented songwriter; or in this case, a collection of them. The varied collection of vowels, syllables, words, or lines are humble beginnings for the group’s songwriting.
“Some of the songs, it is that basic where you’re just basically making a lyric out of the sounds that you feel should be there,” said Murphy.
The rest of 2013 will play out much like the past decade has; by ear, and in the moment. But between potential gigs and other appearances, there is one sure fact in store for the fall. Wintersleep will return to the studio, to create and illuminate once again.
Be sure to catch Wintersleep in Ottawa on June 14 at Maverick’s, along with Data Romance.
Who: The Bonavista Chain Locker
From: St. John’s, NL Canada
Genre: Folk, Jazz, Swing
Steve Hoskins, Michael Boone, Andrew McCarthy, Chris McGee, Jill Dawe, and Mary Beth Waldram describe their band as “a big band that plays greasy klezmer-y shanty rock.” Drawing influences from gypsy jazz to pirate shanties to folk, blues, and reggae, they’ve been hauling people onto the dance floor all winter and show no signs of stopping.
Learn more about The Bonavista Chain Locker