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Ben Caplan – Interview CMW

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Ben Caplan CMW interview

Ben Caplan CMW interview

 

1.What aspect of creating music excites you the most?

Finding a way to get sounds that are in my head into the world

 

2.What aspect do you find the most discouraging?

Being poor all the time.

 

3.Are you working on any new music or projects? or have any upcoming tours in store?

Playing ECMA’s and then I am heading to Europe to tour there for a little while then after that I have some summer festivals and then in September I’m back in Europe and after that I’m not exactly sure what’s on the go, I think I’m in the States. And, then I’m taking some downtown to do some writing and playing Symphony Nova Scotia in November and then after January I will be doing a cross Canada tour and recording my next EP. Perhaps in the New Year, I’ll be in St. John’s.

 

4.What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever made a recording or played a show?

On top of the CN tower definitely be the unusual place for a show.

5.Does the place you live or have lived influence your music style or taste?

I think so.  Just the musicians I get to work with are East Coaster.  I play with a Cape Breton fiddler and that has a nice effect on things. And I have a Newfie bass player and he just plays jazz a lot

 

6.What inspires you to write new songs?

Getting ladies!  That’s exclusively the reason!  And a drive to make things, so I just do it.

 

7.Name a musician or band, current or past, that you find yourself listening to and think more people should be doing the same?

Jon Zorne

 

8.How do you deal with somebody you don’t like?

Kill them with kindness.

9.Are you doing this right now with me?

No.

 

10.How would you describe your sound?

Folk roots meets gypsy klezmer.

 

11.What makes you stand out besides the beard?

Exclusively the beard.

 

12.  Who’s your favourite band that you have been on stage with or toured with?

Charlotte Cornfield. She is a songwriter based out of Montreal, she plays drums in my band sometimes and we do the tour together and we are double billed with her band and her bass player and my band.  Not only is she a good musician to have in my band, she is also an incredible songwriter, musician.

THE SCENE


Gordie Mackeeman & his rhythm boys – ECMA interview

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Gordie MacKeeman

Gordie MacKeeman

Gordie MacKeeman & his rhythm boys has been the buzz at the East Coast Music Awards. They had a stellar performance on Thursday night and did not disappoint on Friday. I have a chance to speak briefly with the lead singer Gordie on Friday night and this is what he had to say. 

 

 

 

1) What made you start playing the fiddle?

 

I stared playing the fiddle when I was 9.  I started off dancing first, my brother went to pick up girls and he did not pick up dancing. My aunt was there and she said why don’t you get up on the floor. So I started step dancing and fiddle went hand in hand so I just started both.

 

2) How excited are you to be at ECMAs 2012 and what are you most excited about?

 

I am very excited to be here, it’s always a fun time. My favourite part is the after party jams. We had two great shows already; the CBC show this afternoon was awesome. I was expecting it to be a quieter show but it was like a rowdy bar show.

 

3) Who puts together your stage show?

 

It’s all of us together. We are all an equal part in the stage show and what happens on stage. We are all a solid unit. I am luck that I have a band that I have a top notch band that makes it easy to play with.

 

4) What made you branch off and do your own thing?

 

It was by chance. We made a CD, Mark and I. Mark and I were roommates and we made a CD for the fun of it.  We decided to make an old time fiddle CD. When then Grass Mountain Hobos ended, we decide to keep going with this.

 

5) And how many beers are beers are you going to consume this ECMA weekend?

 

Ohhhh, I would have to say at least 20!!

 

By : Angie Toombs

THE SCENE


Gordie Mackeeman & his rhythm boys – ECMA interview

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Gordie MacKeeman

Gordie MacKeeman

Gordie MacKeeman & his rhythm boys has been the buzz at the East Coast Music Awards. They had a stellar performance on Thursday night and did not disappoint on Friday. I have a chance to speak briefly with the lead singer Gordie on Friday night and this is what he had to say. 

 

 

 

1) What made you start playing the fiddle?

 

I stared playing the fiddle when I was 9.  I started off dancing first, my brother went to pick up girls and he did not pick up dancing. My aunt was there and she said why don’t you get up on the floor. So I started step dancing and fiddle went hand in hand so I just started both.

 

2) How excited are you to be at ECMAs 2012 and what are you most excited about?

 

I am very excited to be here, it’s always a fun time. My favourite part is the after party jams. We had two great shows already; the CBC show this afternoon was awesome. I was expecting it to be a quieter show but it was like a rowdy bar show.

 

3) Who puts together your stage show?

 

It’s all of us together. We are all an equal part in the stage show and what happens on stage. We are all a solid unit. I am luck that I have a band that I have a top notch band that makes it easy to play with.

 

4) What made you branch off and do your own thing?

 

It was by chance. We made a CD, Mark and I. Mark and I were roommates and we made a CD for the fun of it.  We decided to make an old time fiddle CD. When then Grass Mountain Hobos ended, we decide to keep going with this.

 

5) And how many beers are beers are you going to consume this ECMA weekend?

 

Ohhhh, I would have to say at least 20!!

 

By : Angie Toombs

THE SCENE


The Town Heroes – ECMA Interview

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The Town Heroes

The Town Heroes

 

I had a chance to sit down with Mike Ryan from The Town Heroes to talk about ECMA and about the band in general.  They played a showcase at the Oxygen Complex on Thursday night and also played an acoustic set at the Spincount, Audio Blood, and Broken Chord showcase in the Member’s Lounge on Friday evening.

 

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Mike, I play in a band called The Town Heroes, I’m from Cape Breton and I live in Halifax now.  We’ve been a band for just over two years we play as a two piece band with our other member, Bruce Gillis.

 

 

2. Tell me about your most recent album.

The album feels a little old for us now; it’s been out for a little over a year so we’re getting to the point where we’re just finishing up a new album actually.  The first album, Birds and Fear, was recorded with a friend at his home studio.  We did 11 tracks there, and I did 2 tracks while I was in school for audio engineering at NSCC.  So far we had 3 singles off of it, one of them won the Radio Star Songwriting Competition last year for the East Coast; we went to Canadian Music Week and got to perform on the Tiki stage because of it.  We also got a couple of top 3 rankings on the East Coast Countdown from the album as well.  Our next album will be releasing in the early fall, so that’s our album status right now!

 

 

3. What’s the best part about being a musician?

Probably the free sandwiches we get at stuff like this, haha. I mean as soon as we’re done this I’ll be heading down to the registration room and will stand there and eat for about 20 minutes straight; sandwiches, granola bars, pop, coffee, and everything I can handle!  I actually think the best part of it is meeting other bands, and you just swap albums with everyone you meet so you have a giant pile of albums you can listen to on road trips.  You get to meet so many cool people, get to hear everything they’re doing and learn from them as well.

 

 

4. How has playing in a two-piece band been, since you don’t see too many two-pieces around?

Myself and Bruce played in multiple bands before we put this together.  We lived together and were always playing music.  I had a bunch of songs written and we were rehearsing them together just the two of us.  We actually did originally try out a few musicians for a bass player, but they just didn’t really fit our dynamic so we just decided to try it as a two piece band.  We had to rearrange a lot of our songs to try and make them fit for a two piece to be able to play live.  The songwriting changes quite drastically when you want to be able to have a full sound as two people on stage.  Travelling is pretty easy since we can fit the two of us and our gear into a mid-sized car, and when we traveled to Germany it was just two flights instead of say five flights.  It’s just a lot of convenience for sure.  There are lots of pros to it but obviously there are some cons because we can’t sound as full as a six piece band, but I don’t think anyone expects us to go up and sound like that.  I really like playing as a two piece band; it’s a lot of fun.  You just pray that you don’t break a string because that never ends well!

 

 

5. How has ECMA been so far for you?

It’s wonderful!  We played at the Oxygen Complex and had a great showcase there.  Everyone in Moncton is incredibly friendly just like everyone on the East Coast and I got to see a lot of our friends play.  There are also bands I’ve never seen before that really impressed me.  I’ve met a lot of new people, I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s been a great time all around.  You can never complain about anything happening music-wise on the East Coast; it’s always a blast!

By : Amandah Turner

THE SCENE


Spinoza Gambit – RPM challenge the triple threat

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The RPM challenge is a yearly creative challenge for musicians.    The concept is that an entire album must be written, rehearsed and recorded only in the month of February.  The 28 day challenge (29 this year) was started by Portsmouth NH alternative newspaper The Wire in 2006. There are no incentives or prizes awarded.  The purpose is strictly a non competitive creative challenge designed to foster and promote growth for musicians and local music scenes.  Over 1800 bands registered this year through the official website www.rpmchallenge.com. St. John’s Jason Paul Howard (aka Spinoza Gambit) was one of them.    Jayson completed not one, not two, but three full albums this February!  Thank goodness for leap years!    The Scene’s Vinoth Kumar had a chance to sit down with Jayson and speak about the experience.

 

 

So Jason, First of all introduce yourself?

Hi I am Jason Paul Hayward.  I am a Multi instrumentalist musician based in N.L. I am a composer, keyboard player, bass player,vocalist and am currently into electronic music and wind ensembles. I competed in the RPM challenge with my quartets Robot Scout and we recorded 3 albums in a month.

 

Your band has an interesting name Robot Scout. How did it become your band name?

Well we wouldn’t really like to call ourselves a band. We are more of a quartet. It’s not a single person’s music. We practice at our friend/spiritual leader , Chris Driedzic’s music studio. There are no specific composers but we share ideas, we collaborate to create spontaneous ideas and our goal is to create good music. That’s pretty much our secret to success too.
The name was an interesting idea, we are basically an electronic band so we derived the name Robot to connect with the idea of electronics and we are a group of people always seeking musical inspiration, thus the name Scout.

 

I am not a music prodigy but I know playing a piece on an instrument takes a day for a guy like me, Its amazing you recorded not only one but 3 albums in one month, how did you manage to do it?

I’ll have to say the four things. Patience, sleeplessness, drive and motivation. I’ve worked on various projects. My first album was Wayward & Upward and I am also working on a project called Spinoza Gambit.  I write songs as a hobby and I when I heard about the RPM challenge, I basically wanted to challenge myself into writing a lot of scores and that’s how I ended up there.

 

Tell us more about the rpm challenge.

I worked with my quartets and we went through a lot of sleepless nights and basically put in our best. We gave ideas to each other, decide which tunes would suit us. It was a lot of teamwork and innovation. Chris helped us a great deal with the postproduction audio editing and again I would say it’s a group success other than a single person’s achievement.

 

In your blog, you mentioned that there was a flood in your basement.   Now we a have snowstorm in spring in St Johns? You think it’s a disadvantage being in NL.

Well working in NL has its advantages and disadvantages. Geographically NL musicians are disadvantaged. Newfoundland is isolated from the rest of Canada especially in terms of accessibility. So for example, if we get a concert even in Halifax, its expensive in-terms of transportation and if the notice period is too short, we might not be able to make it for the show. We also have a small population and we are keeping ourselves updated about the music scene in Canada only through technological means. The musicians on the mainland have an advantage over us interms of connectivity and accessibility.  On the other hand, because we are isolated, we have a strong music culture here. With our weather and isolation, music infact keeps us Newfoundlanders sane. Maybe that is why we have one of the highest numbers of RPM challenge contestants in Canada.

 

Who is your inspiration?

Well my musical heroes go from classical musicians from Beethoven and Bach to modern musicians like Philip Glass. I come from a classical music background and I love jazz music, which is based on improvisation. I like Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. Basically I am a composer who appreciates and incorporates all genres of music from jazz to reggage to rock. My first album Wayward & Upward is a good example of this, so I try to get inspiration from all musicians regardless of genre.

 

Likewise you mentioned in your blog you made a major career move to write scores for wind ensemble? What made you do this move?

Well I was living in Korea in 2006 and I was a composing music undergrad whose specialization was in writing such scores. There I realized that my major strength is not performance but in creative output. I wanted to combine electronic music and wind ensemble. Wind ensembles are forward looking and are very accepting of innovation and I liked that concept. I met up with a local wind player group called the Eastern Wind Ensemble and started working with the group and I realized that was my niche.  It has been an interesting journey so far.

 

Whats one defining unique characteristics of your quartets? What do you love about your colleagues?

Well they are versatile and adaptable. We can play in academic festivals and also in bars and festivals. We can combine jazz, electronic music and classical music and come up with really groovy tunes. We also can create an ambience kind off atmosphere, which has a good following when it comes to electronic music.  I think their versatility and adaptability is something I admire in the group

 

Beside the music, what other hobbies do you have?

I love running and reading almost everything and anything. I work for the Association Of New Canadians and I coordinate volunteer programmes in the organization.

 

What are your future plans and goals?

My No.1 goal is to make a living solely through music. If I get there I think I would have made it. I am exploring new music composition and other streams of finance through music. When I do what I truly love (that’s music of course), that is my goal.

 

What would you like to tell aspiring artiste like you in N.L and the rest of Canada?

At any stage, basically be true to what you want do creatively. Learn and practice your skills. Instead of playing someone’s music, come up with your own music and finally persevere.

 

Where can fans find your music and info?

I have a website for my project www.spinozagambit.com. It’s also a hub for Robot Scout and we are working on an umbrella site where information related to my musical activity will be put up. You can follow me on my facebook page, Jason Hayward. I am also performing Monday, May 14 2012 at DF cook music school at Memorial University of Newfoundland, with eastern wind ensemble, drop by for a chat!

 

 

By: Vinoth Kumar

THE SCENE

 

 


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