What’s up world, ready to party with these cats?
I hope so because they are going to bring the claws out on Friday and thrash Luneta. Partycat is coming to make the girls purr, and generally fuck shit up. Birthed from the Greater Toronto Area these five guys have been going steady for four years and, if my conversation with guitarist Steve Sapienza is any indication, they will not be slowing down anytime soon. Here is a little taste of the Partycat mentality…
You guys claim that you are all about having fun and not taking things too seriously, the name of your band speaks volumes about that comment. Did you guys have negative experiences in other bands to finally just say “well that’s that, let’s just shred shows and have fun”?
In the public eye this band always is and always will be about having fun. We’re all on the same page, and our basic action plan is thought out each day. We do a lot of like, organized chaos, so our live shows are crazy and we’re always having fun but there’s professionalism to it. This is definitely something we all want to do on a career level, but we’re not quite there yet. We want this to be fun but at the same time we do treat it seriously every day.
Currently on tour in the East Coast, what is your favorite aspect of that environment?
Yeah we’re just driving from PEI to Moncton — this is our third little banger out East. Obviously the first time we had zero expectations because it was our first time being out and touring — but the first time was amazing. We obviously had some bum shows but the fans out here don’t generally get the bigger acts, so any band that comes out here is big for them. Not many bands want to drive all the way out to Charlottetown, but we’re Canadian and we’re working on building a solid fan base, so we’re trying to hit every city we can. This being our third time, we always expect shows to be good but at the end of the day we want to play music and have a good time whether its 10 people or 100. We just played a show in PEI last night that we thought might suck, next thing you know it’s the craziest show of the tour.
Have you guys experienced anything out of the ordinary while on tour yet, any wild characters or stories you’d like to share?
There was one dude in particular. We met him in Sydney, Nova Scotia at two separate shows. His name was Seagull, he was just the drunkest skunk we’d ever met. He was like “I don’t like your guys music, you’re not my scene, but I like you.” He looked like Deaner from Fubar.Â
I saw a photo on your Facebook feed of you guys cleaning dishes; can you elaborate on that photo?
Well basically we were staying with our friend Erin in Fredericton New Brunswick, and she was really hospitable. She was out at work for the day or whatever, so we figured the least we could do was just clean up and do the dishes for her.
Is it difficult to find sleeping arrangements on tour?
To be honest we’ve been pretty fortunate in this band. We’ve been on almost 10 or 11 tours now and we’ve never had to sleep in the van. Sometimes we find places where two of us might have to crash in the van, but we’re pretty sociable guys so usually right when we get to a show we start asking people if we can crash with them or whatever. I just emailed someone at four in the morning today. I knew this place in Moncton where we’d played with an apartment over the venue, so I just asked someone I knew if we could crash at the place regardless, and if the venue is available can we pick up another show. They hit me up by like eight in the morning, and they were like “yeah you guys are in luck, we have the venue and the apartment.” I was like “fuck yeah, we’re on the way.”
What do you think about the Ottawa music scene and do you enjoy coming here?
Honestly, Ottawa I think has been pretty good to us. We’ve played there two or three times and the first time we played there was Zaphod’s which was really sick, I love that place. I get stoked to play any city where all the fans come on Facebook and stuff and actually request us to come back.
Why should someone who has never heard of Partycat, or is not familiar with the genre come to the show at Luneta in Ottawa on Friday?
This is what I always tell people when I meet them: you can’t really deny paying 10 bucks to go out for a night and be entertained for an hour. We’re just an entertaining group of guys, even if you don’t like the music. Even if the music isn’t for you, there’s something there that you’ll like. We’re not trying to do something that’s never been done before, we’re not like fucking Hollywood rock stars. We’d never go to a show and be like “we’re too cool to talk to these people because we have more fans than them.” If you’re too cool for your own fans, who are you? You’re nobody. If you’re too cool for them, then you’re saying you’re too cool to be in your own band. Everybody comes to hockey games to see Sidney Crosby, but he doesn’t need the support. You can pay 10 bucks to see the next Alexisonfire or Cancer Bats or Billy Talent, but people don’t want to see these bands when they are small they want to see them when they are big, and even then they may complain about ticket prices. .Â But if you wanna have a good time and party and leave being like “wow, I can’t believe there’s talent like this in Canada,” if you want to support local musicians and support talent, you should come.Â
If you want to have a good time and see a bunch of guys with no pants on, come to the show!Â No we play with pants on, just not in PEI- it stands for Pants Excluded Indoors.Â So that’s the only city so far, but you know, if we get some requests or something…
Interview and words by Oliver Leniuk
Paterson Hall is a six-piece indie rock group coming from different parts of Ontario.
Now Ottawa based, the band consists of vocalists and guitarists, Josh White and Jesse Harding, vocalist and percussionist Kelsey Miki, keyboardist Patrick Bonne, bassist Adam Finlay and Alexandre Pilon on drums. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to huddle around Bonne’s bed with five of the six members and talked about where their music comes from, where they hope it goes and what they want listeners to take away from it.
How did the six of you come together to create music?
White: Pat, Jesse and I played in a band called The Tenagens throughout our high school days. We decided that we’d move to Ottawa as a group and continue playing music in some capacity. So when we got here, we tried that out for a while. We tried out some members and then we found Kelsey, who I knew from first year. We had Kelsey singing and Jesse and I writing songs and playing guitar. It ended up not working out with other members so I heard about these two guys that played Pokemon, had long hair and were in my program, who played bass and drums and then…take it away, Adam.
Finlay: Alex and I hadn’t really played in awhile so we were unsure. Nothing had really worked out with other people. We both stopped playing and started focusing on school. Then one day we were at a party and Josh was there and I joined in the conversation…
White: I was loud.
Finlay: Josh was very loud and he hasn’t changed. He was talking to Alex and I joined the conversation just as he was saying that he wanted Alex and I to play in his band. Like any good salesman he put in his Bandcamp into my phone and I dug the tunes. It was something more organized and nice sounding than anything I’d heard from peers and projects that we had done. It sounded complete so I knew that they knew what they were doing and that they had a direction. It sounded like it was worth a shot. And then we were invited over for jams and we showed up.
White: We meshed instantly. It was a chilly November 3rd.
Finlay: There was a lot of equipment and it was intimidating. It turned out a lot better than we thought. At the time it was awesome. Looking back, it was hilarious.
White: The first jam we did together was amazing! We just played our instruments together and we all knew when to build and when to fall and when to play.
Bonne: We were like lovers in unison.
So you definitely worked well together from the very start.
White: We worked well together from the very beginning. Coming from all over Ontario, that was pretty cool.
How did you come up with the name Paterson Hall?
Finlay: We fell into it. If you had to assign meaning to it, it was the first building in which we all played together, but the truth is it was just something that we had thrown off the cuff in thinking of band names. It wasn’t supposed to mean anything.
White: We wanted something empty that we could build on. The whole reason for deciding a new name was because it really felt like a new project. It had it’s own identity that wasn’t tied to what we were doing before.
Finlay: To be quite honest, we haven’t settled enough into a sound to even be able to describe it. We started from scratch and we built up this thing and it started at one place and now it’s at a different place.Â
So it’s an ever-changing thing?
Finlay: For the time being.
White: Nothing’s preconfigured. We’re moving as we go and every movement is a necessary one.
Bonne: That’s something that I think we emphasize a lot too in our songwriting. An important part of our sound and what Paterson Hall is, is that we don’t want anything to be contrived. We’re not trying to fit.
That’s good, because then you’re never forcing it, right?
Bonne: Exactly. There’s nothing that we’re going for, we’re just letting it become. That’s the thing when we’re asked about what our band sounds like, what I’ve realized after being asked that so much is it’s more important to describe what goes into the sound. I think that helps people better understand. Classifying ourselves as “indie rock” doesn’t mean anything.
It’s been over a year since Paterson Hall was formed, what do you think has been the most significant change for you as musicians in that time?
White: I’ve developed much more solid ideas about what art should be, what’s valuable in doing what we’re doing, and what’s worth doing.
Harding: Coming up with ideas that actually meant something for lyrics. I used to beat around the bush with lyrics but I’ve started to put both feet in.
Finlay: As far as being a musician goes, it’s very simple. I’m becoming a better musician. But for me, the important thing is outside of that; it’s coming into the identity of being a musician, which is something I’m not quite comfortable with yet. Everything else around me starts to gain this quality of creativity and being tied even in some way to the music that I’m making. It’s more about the spill off and what goes into in my life.
Miki: I learned to drum! I’m much more comfortable on stage, too.Â
You’ve grown a lot in popularity over the past year. What is your reaction to this? Did you expect this amount of support starting out?
White: The support has been amazing. It’s the greatest thing. When people actually give a shit, that’s just amazing. It’s amazing that you can communicate with other people in this non-verbal language that is all about feeling.
With so many of you in the band, how do you make important decisions while avoiding conflict?
Finlay: We just hear each other out. It’s never black or white; we’re always looking for compromise.
Miki: We all care the same amount about the same thing.
White: My favourite is the performance. Start to end, just shutting off and entering that mode.
Harding: My least favourite is having to stop.
Bonne: I only get butterflies right before we perform. I love that feeling; it’s a rush.
Finlay: I’d be upset if I ever stopped having that feeling.
Miki: I like right after, if you played well and everyone feels good about it.
Bonne: Another contender for least favourite thing is a shitty crowd. It doesn’t happen that often though.
Finlay: We’re very affected by our environment and each other. If one of us is in a bad place everyone gets thrown off.
White: The entire thing is a very empathetic project. We play off each other in that way, it’s all intuitive.
Bonne: We’ve been able to have these shows where you can tell that the crowd is into it and they understand. A performance is you giving something to the crowd but a big part of it is what the crowd gives back and how they reciprocate the energy. In that moment, you and the crowd are one and you’re all nothing more than apes sweating in this room. All humans share that feeling of being human and I think the performance can draw that out, that experience of, “Yeah, we’re people. We all know the same pain, we all know the same shit.”
White: It’s a celebration of something you can’t really articulate, but something that’s there. It’s a state of being that you get in those kinds of settings. It happens in so many different ways.
What has been the most significant show you’ve played so far?
Everyone: Raw Sugar CafÃ© this past September.
White: We were playing to a full room.
Bonne: Also the feeling that it was a show that we organized. We booked the venue, we got the bands together and that’s a powerful feeling; that you can get that many people in one place entirely of your own volition.
White: I would like to play with elaborate face paint and really great projection shit going on. Everything synced up to the music; images evoking same things the music is.
Finlay: Actually, let’s do that.
What do you draw upon in terms of musical influences?
Finlay: I think saying you draw upon a band means that immediately you and everyone else starts looking for the similarities between you and that person. Then suddenly it’s not about your music standing alone, it’s about how well your music is standing compared to this thing you’ve tried to compare it to.Â Music is related but only to a degree. I think that everyone brings a feeling from what they listen to, to the table when we play and I think there’s a general heart space that is created by whatever web of music anyone’s listening to. Whatever someone is feeling from musical concepts or specific techniques.
White: What I bring is an energy or feeling. It’s not very cerebral so taking from music is feelings and capturing the mood and putting it into what you’re making. Listing bands is kind of misleading.
What is it that you hope people take away from your music as a whole?
White: For me, I hope people feel something genuine and authentic in it. that it sticks with them, and they think about it in some kind of nice way. I’ve had a couple of songs where I really want people to cry at them but I don’t know how nice that is. With my songs, I hope I’m communicating properly. And that people are feeling what I’m putting into it.
Harding: If they relate to the idea that I’m trying to get across then it makes me feel better because it makes sense that I have these ideas and that people feel them too. If you feel like you’re the only one thinking something, you feel really isolated.
What can people expect from your EP, entitled O?
Finlay: Our humble-ass beginnings.
What are you excited about for the near future?
Finlay: My excitement comes from knowing we completed a cycle. Writing six songs, releasing six songs, playing a show with Spectrasonic. Let’s do it again but let’s do it better this time. Get a new batch of songs, record them, think it out better, do it better, do everything better. Do more awesome shows. Let’s start the cycle over again and come at it harder this time.
How would you describe Paterson Hall, as an entity?Â
Miki: A whole lot of feeling amongst the six of us. Everything is coming from a place of an intuitive feeling and we came together in that way.
White: Honest, unbridled feeling.
Interview and words by Brianna Harris
Live pictures by Mac Dimanlig
Harmony between musicians on stage, fluid songwriting and solid friendships. Even during their interview with The Scene, band members–who have known each other since grade school–were in perfect sync, finishing each other’s sentences as they excitedly explained their upcoming album, Kings and Queens.
“You’re getting five different mindsets in it, you know?” Singer and guitarist Al Friolet said. “There’s not one person saying how something should go in any way at all, so it makes it super comfortable.”
For guitarist Eric Stirtzinger, who recently left his studiesÂ at the University of Ottawa to focus on the band, this seamless collaboration makes for a solid record. “We’re not going over the top. We’re not distorting our guitars up to crazy amounts, there’s no crazy solos. It’s just this organic feeling of five different musicians playing their parts together well. And then these two voices that are just melodic and fit together on top and blend very well. It’s a nice full circle thing.”
Do not be fooled by these folksy elements, with the addition of drummer Sam Keating and the production magic of Catherine North Studios, The Royal Streets’ upcoming album promises to be pretty rock n’ roll.
“There’s still an acoustic root, there’s still catchy folky melodies, some good acoustic chording,” said StirtzingerÂ (aka “Stritzy”). “But…we’ve developed it into a bigger sound, a more rocky sound.”
It’s harmony you can party to, plain and simple. For a taste, just check out the band’s latest single, “Some Think.”
If you dig the single, you are in good company. The young band has already garnered attention from CBC Music, played with the likes of Said the Whale and Juno nominated July Talk, and received major support from their constantly growing fan base. An incredible 129 people lined up to back the Indiegogo campaign for Kings and Queens, contributing almost $7500 to the project.
For vocalist Jillian Dowding, the response was overwhelming. “I was worried that we weren’t going to hit our goal. I was like, ‘five thousand dollars is a lot [to raise] in three months. We’re probably going to get a thousand, two if we’re lucky.’”Â
Thankfully, fans proved her wrong. The Royal Streets hit their $5000 funding goal only a week into their campaign. The band is confident that Kings and Queens will be a hit with loyal supporters and new fans alike.
As they prepare for the March 6 release, The Royal Streets are dreaming big and–yes, I’ll say it again, harmoniously. The five members are all excited for the opportunity to make an impact on their listeners and share their new sound with the world.
“Anybody that loves music, they use it to help them through hard times, happy times, anything,” Dowding explained. “One thing that was definitely my goal was that if anybody was feeling a certain feeling, they would want to put on one of our songs. Â Whether it was a break up, whether it was something to celebrate. I’ve done that so many times with the bands I love.Â I want that to be us for someone.”
Kings and Queens is available on iTunes on March 6.
The Royal Streets will be performing at the Mercury Lounge on March 22.
Interview and words by Shauna Vert
The Chainsmokers SELFIE Tour Toronto – The New York-based duo draws devoted Toronto fans out on a bitter, snowy night for a sold-out show at the Hoxton
It’s officially March, which usually indicates the end of winter, as well as the forthcoming, highly anticipated “festival season”. However, with an onslaught of snow and harsh winds, this past Saturday goes to show that this unforgiving weather is far from over and spring still remains slightly out of reach. Despite all this, eager fans still bravely ventured over to the Hoxton in order to see The Chainsmokers, a NYC-based DJ duo consisting of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart. Before the show, Alex himself stated that as much as they love playing for us, it’s “always a problem to get here, due to the weather.” They are currently touring North America for their #SELFIE tour, in commemoration of their hit single of the same name — or in this case, hashtag.
The night began with North Prep, a duo consisting of two sisters hailing from the local Toronto scene. From the get-go, they had everyone jumping around and dancing. Meanwhile, the two ladies themselves were dancing along just as ecstatically with the crowd. Their set consisted mostly of progressive house, including tracks such as ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ by Swedish House Mafia, ‘Apollo’ by Hardwell, remixes of Krewella’s ‘Alive’ andÂ their collaboration with Nicky Romero, ‘Legacy’. Soon after, Matt Zanardo, another Toronto local, took to stage and kept the hype going as the room became increasingly packed. He added some electro house and melbourne bounce to the night, with tracks like his own ‘Bombshell’, a remix of Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’, and New World Sound and Thomas Newson’s ‘Flute’.
Having been there since the early hours of the night, I couldn’t have been more excited when at last the Chainsmokers took to the stage around 1. To my delight, throughout their set, they played countless familiar tunes like Tujamo’s ‘Hey Mister’, Calvin Harris’ ‘Feel So Close’ and ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S. For a good portion of the night though, they played remixes they had produced themselves, including ones of Icona Pop’s ‘Girlfriend’, Tove Lo’s ‘Habits’, and of course their ever so popular remix of Smallpools’ ‘Dreaming’. One of the highlights of the night had to be when they played #SELFIE. Apart from everybody (myself included) taking out their phones and holding them high in the air to take some obligatory selfies, the best selfie was taken by Andrew, who jumped atop the DJ booth and snapped one of himself with the crowd in the background.
The Scene even had the opportunity to interview The Chainsmokers backstage! Both Andrew and Alex were a pleasure to meet, and were open to answering questions.
How did the two of you meet?
Through a mutual friend… who put the two of us together, and said that the two of us should hang out.
What genre(s) would you classify yourselves as?
I would say just dance music. We’re not into the whole ‘genre’ thing… If we like the way it sounds, then we just go for it – almost like a sort of ‘Kanye West’ style.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as a band?
Probably keeping the music and what we’re doing for ourselves, while getting the most results. Everyone’s always saying they could do you a favour and ‘bump your shit up’, but you really have to be smart about what you’re giving away, who you’re leaving behind, and such.
Can you describe a typical day for us?
Our Friday starts with us waking up probably hungover in a hotel room, in a random city and getting on a plane where he (Alex) throws up. Then getting to some other random city… driving, taking a nap, or watching House of Cards. We’ll listen to music until we have to go get dinner before a show.Â And then after, we’ll head to the show and drink an entire bottle of tequila!
So just living the life, basically.
Yeah, it’s pretty sweet — except the ‘throwing up on planes’ part.
For the prospective fans that you’ve yet to reach, could you tell them about your next show and why they should be there?
Well, the last show in Montreal sucked. The equipment didn’t fucking work, and the stage was in the stupidest place ever… next, we’re playing at Stereo (Mar. 6) which apparently has one of the best (sound) systems in the country, so it should be fun!
By: Christian Kwamie
From the nation’s capital, The Red Rails are a three-piece power rock group whose unique sound offers a blend of 1970’s vibes mixed with a 21st century flair.
Guitarist/vocalist Kim Vincent, bassist Chris Stanley, and drummer Steve Brogno have generated an immediate buzz throughout Eastern Ontario that has proven the band’s technical wizardry on the instruments, leaving audiences breathless and wanting for more. Influenced by musicians ranging from The Beatles to Queens of the Stone Age to Dave Grohl, The Red Rails’ groove-laden, punchy music and intensive chemistry is sure to keep an audience rockin’ through the night. The Red Rails launched their band just last May, playing their first show ever at Zaphods. This band has gotten so much done already in just a year, including plans for a full-length studio album release scheduled to be out on June 24th. Followed by promotional tours in the summer.
Here’s what they had to say about the upcoming show at Maverick’s, their first EP and their upcoming full-studio album.
So first off, how do you guys feel about opening for Danko Jones?
Vincent: “Feel Good,” as James Brown would say. No, it’s exciting. What I like about [Friday] night is that it’s all three-piece bands so it’s the same energy just with different musicians. But he’s been doing music for a long time. I’ve seen him play before so it’s going be a good show.
Brogno: It was a surprise for us because really, we’re recording next week and we’ve just been writing. So we kind of told ourselves that we weren’t going to play any shows for like four or five months just so we could focus, and then this one came up and we said “Okay, let’s squeeze this one in.”
Vincent: Can’t say no to Danko, haha.
How did you do the song writing process for your first EP, is it true that you pretty much finished it in one long day?
Brogno: The EP was just… Us kind of figuring out what this band was going to sound like. It was kind of an experiment in a way. That was great. We were really proud of our EP but after that we kind of realized, “okay I think this is where we wanna go with it.” So for our new record, now that we know what our sound is, we want to add more depth into it. We’ve really kind of groomed the sound.
Vincent: Well we did record it one long day. We tracked everything live off the floor, just the three of us playing our instruments, but the vocals we did after. Still, it was awesome to bang out six songs in just one day.
What kind of music would you say influences the band the most?
Vincent: Them Crooked Vultures is definitely one, Queens of the Stone Age and Death from Above. Bright Light Social Hour as well, I think they influenced us more before than they do now for this record, but still their live performance is just amazing. Mother Mother also, probably a little bit more in the EP again, but even now we try to be a little bit quirky, and then with vocals be a little bit fun. We played with them actually, that was a fun show.
When did you guys start jamming together?
Vincent: Two years ago, like February 2012 is when we started.
Brogno: At the time, we had no idea what we were going to sound like. Then fast-forward six to eight months when we had songs, people would talk to us about our sound. They would mention Queens of the Stone Age and [Them Crooked] Vultures, and we started to see the comparison.
So then how did you come up with your poignant rock and roll sound?
Vincent: It just evolved in the jam room. The music at first was heavily bass driven, like really really bass driven. When we’re mixing the stuff, we try to make it kind of like the equal three. The drums are big, the bass is big, the guitar is big. Some albums you listen, and you don’t even hear the bass. With us it’s a huge part of our songs.
Brogno: Chris [Stanley], the man! With the EP, a lot of the stuff started from a bass line, which is different from a lot of bands where usually a guitar player will have a riff or a melody and you go from there… Whereas our new record is more of a mix of the two, there’s stuff that started with a bass line, there’s stuff that started with a guitar riff, and then there’s stuff that just started with a vocal melody. We feel we’re lucky in a way that the three of us are best friends. We practice three times a week, for the last two years, and we’ve never had an argument. I mean it’s like impossible to find that in bands. Even if you all get along there’s still always something. Musicians have big egos haha, but we have no ego and that’s why I think we sound the way we sound, because everyone’s idea gets an actual shot.
Vincent: And that’s the great thing about having the odd member, they are always there to make the tiebreaker.
What was the first song or band that made you fall in love with music?
Vincent: Oh man. I don’t know what the first song was, but the first band that I really got into was The Beatles. You know you hear everything that your parents listen to, like CCR and The Doors. My parents had Abbey Road, I put that on the record player and I listened to it front to back.
Brogno: For me it was CCR and Nirvana. Dave Grohl is still my favourite. We wore out our Abbey Road record a couple summers ago; haha the vinyl has a bunch of crackle now.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Vincent: This band. In terms of single accomplishments, I don’t know if there is one but I think just everything that we set out to seem to do, we’ve done. We’ve never bailed on a deadline or anything, and we’ve been steady.
Brogno: I feel bad for our girlfriends and stuff hahaha. All they have to listen to is us talking about this band all the time. We haveÂ every week spoken for until next September. We actually have a calendar where we know every week what’s happening. I can tell youÂ when we’re going away for mastering and we haven’t even recorded yet!
In your opinion, what is the most important part about creating an album?
Vincent: The most important part for me is making sure that you as a band are happy with it. That’s the main thing for us, is making sure we’re happy with it for ourselves. And if people hate it, and we love, which I hope won’t happen haha but then so be it. As long as we make a record that we’re proud of and happy, I think that’s all you really need.
Brogno:Â We’re comfortable with not trying to be anything that’s already been done before, sometimes being yourselves, that’s the stuff that sticks with people. These bands like [Them Crooked Vultures] and so on that we’re talking about, those are all bands that don’t sound like anybody else. I would rather have 10 people be obsessed with the band, than 100 people being like “they sound like Imagine Dragons.” I’d rather have less fans that love it than a bunch that compare us to somebody.Â
Any other major plans for 2014?
Vincent: Well we’ve got our record that we’ve mentioned, that’s being released June 24th. We’re doing a five-week tour in support of the record starting July 25th to August 30th. We’ve got Hamilton, Toronto, we’re trying for London and Kingston if we can, maybe Windsor.Â The sixth week in September will be our homecoming show here in Ottawa. We’re also shooting a music video in April.
Brogno: We have a lot of stuff going on right now for sure.
Vincent: In early May we’ll also release our single and we do have a show that will be like our music video release party/album pre-release. We’re going to play the whole record front to back at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday May 9th.
Brogno: And we will have bus shuttles to take you from downtown Ottawa to Wakefield!
Photos by Sean Sisk Photography