I’m always excited to reach out to you all through this written medium and we’re not quite ready to break the silence on SBS Live This Week just yet….but soon! Everytime I log in here though, I really wish I got to this writing stuff a little more – but we all know how much I write and just LOOK at the title of this particular piece….hold on cause HERE WE GO!
Where do I even start? I think I’ll keep it somewhat linear this time….keep the facts straight in my head and all…
I left you last time getting ready to head to the island to meet up with JAMES KASPER and official photographers for the Vancouver Island Music Awards promo. The day was a MASSIVE success – really, really good time had by all….I think? I’ll let you be the judge by watching the footage on an SBS Live This Week coming out before the VIMA event…but I think it went extremely well and I can’t wait to tell the full story on the show. In the meantime – here’s some shout-outs to who I met and a little of the WHY I’m excited to show them all to you and our followers world wide via the internet.
Thankfully the getting there to the island was smooth sailing and I’m not even kidding – that was one of the most beautiful days in BC I have laid my eyes on since I can remember….gorgeous place that island….you should check that place out if you haven’t been lately! The music is incredible right now and it’s getting ready to kick into the high beauty of summer soon enough….but we’ll give you plenty of reasons to go before that…I digress…..I’m talking weather when I should be talking tunes….
OK – who did I meet again? Right!….
SPACEPORT UNION: Listed influences included everything from KATE BUSH to LED ZEPPELIN. No joke – that was a completely kick ass thing to read and really got me excited to meet this crew. Plus they’re stoked on their new album “Flirting With The Queen” and having their band in the running as a VIMA nominee for vocalist of the year.
ANNIE BECKER: This. This is the way you want a bright sunshine day to be. Spent with a tremendously large and colourful personality like Annie Becker – what a privilege! Absolutely as radiant and enthusiastic about her fellow nominees as she is about her own new fantastic music coming out – did I mention she is up for FOUR awards? From what I got to see that day through her performance she should have every expecatation of bringing something from VIMA home for the mantlepiece. Great time with Annie. VIMA nominee for vocalist of the year, music video of the year, artist of the year and songwriter of the year. Huge congrats to you Annie – getting nominated four times is a victory in itself my friend….
GEOFF HOWE: Freakin rights I met Geoff Howe! Great conversation here. Soft spoken but tremendous knowledge and extensive thought and emotion put into his music. Also got to see Geoff perform acoustically – which was fantastic and left little doubt that he belongs in the category for song of the year as a VIMA nominee – what I heard was excellent, well played music to the ears. Again – what a great day to be out there with all there awesome people! Geoff just playing in the wind with the water and boats in the background…gorgeous day….beautiful song….makes a guy like me really stop for a second to appreciate the excellent opportunities I’m presented with in life.
BRODIE DAWSON: Holy shit! Pardon my french here – but SHUT THE FRONT DOOR as they say! What a truly truly beautiful person inside and out – first of all she knocks it out of the part with a performance that shows you why she’s in the running for best live act at VIMA. Knowing that going into meeting Brodie – she doesn’t know it – but the pressure was ON… But there’s little doubt in my mind – no one I met that day had been remotely misplaced in their nomination and Brodie was no exception to that rule. Absolutely humble as a person – she’s enjoying the moment, living in the present and truly loving life along with the music she’s making – and you can see it on her face by simply meeting her. Good luck BD!
THE GLASS TABLES: Ha! Genres you can’t escape me….ya just can’t. I had been anxiously awaiting these guys all day – from the roster line up of interviews that day, this seemed to be right up my musical alley – nominees for Instrumental/Experimental album of the year at the 2013 VIMA’s. I got to meet Chris Rieche of the band and talk about some really cool elements that make up his music and this style and really get into a great conversation about some of our shared favorite bands.
PHOENIX LAZARE: It was not a competition that day – let that be known. But if this was a day divided into genders, well…the ladies were bringing it full force! I was talking to Chris from The Glass Tables when out of the corner of my eye I spotted Phoenix arriving. It’s like a sixth sense I have for music – I can just sense a future star’s energy in the wind…. This 17 year old has musical wisdom well beyond her years – she’s an incredibly humble and respectful individual – I’m telling you she was raised RIGHT (Well done mom + dad!) and knew a ton about her fellow nominees in the category of Youth Artist Of The Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards. A pleasure to talk to – there’s no doubt in my mind that Phoenix has a fantastic career in music ahead of her.
WARRIORS OF THE INFINITE: Ohhhhhhhhhhh! Ok – it just got REAL on the men’s side as my newest homie Jay Woti represented his crew in an interview. Totally awesome to talk to people in this genre right now. After first meeting Perception The Author through the internet – our determined producer/underground artist in the UK to our recent interview that left you hanging with only a single part of the episode posted before the break, LoMega – these crews and MC’s are starting to realize we’re about a lot more than just rock at SBS. Talking with Jay made me appreciate that not everyone in this rap game has the overblown ego we see often portrayed through video – this guy is down to earth. And I mean that in every sense of the words – Jay and his crew have a strong connection with this planet and really do their best to help defend it. The world needs more of these people like Jay. Warriors of the Infinite are nominated for best Hip Hop album or EP (And province wide, not just the island – NICE work WOTI) at VIMA 2013.
Alright so at this point in the interview we had a mysterious no-show and I could catch my breath. Sometimes in that respect, the occasional no-show isn’t so bad! Plus I could hide my giant forehead from the sun for a second instead of continually advertising this perfect campaign for skin cancer atop my eyebrows….but it might have already been too late….
CHRIS HO: So like I was saying about my ridiculously genetically inherited oversized and built-for-two-heads worth of forehead – I had DEFINITELY gotten my share of sun. No excuses, at least I don’t think this qualifies cause I didn’t stroke out or anything – but I completely and utterly lost my train of thought in the middle of questioning this VIMA nominee in the categories (That’s right – multiple!) of songwriter and artist of the year. Chris, for what seems like a soft spoken and generally all around good guy is also extremely intense in that quiet guy kinda way. His eyes study everything like he’s making a mental recording of the event for songwriting fuel later on. Always awesome to talk to an artist with tremendous focus like this.
NORTHTOWN: Like Phoenix Lazare earlier – another nominee for Youth Artist Of The Year at VIMA 2013. I don’t know – I know I’m enthusiastic, I know I find SOMETHING to like in everything…BUT….there’s a REASON. Imagine what an incredibly inspiring day this has been – and then NorthTown to send it off – a great group of guys at the beginnings of their career. Let me tell you – it’s awesome to be able to meet people this way. Every time. These young rock stars were no exception – very energetic and enthusiastic crew that made for a great ending to a great day of interviews…but not the ending to the entire adventure by a long shot yet…
This whole event was done in about 3-3.5 hours. As I’ve said to those that talk to me over e-mail or other social media – my hero Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud of that one I think. It’s a heck of a lot of talking – a lot of enthusiasm – lots of caffeine and little sleep prior to these events with time spent busy researching bands as best I can in whatever time allows me to continue the search for independent awesomeness. But after that long in the sun, let’s face it – a beer is required.
Ever the perfect host for my trips to the island, James Kasper not only grabbed us a couple cold ones but also led me back to the lair of the still-yet-to-be-formed all-girl Canadian rock band WHITE HOT JET. Now this is another level of awesome – I actually get to SIT IN on the auditions? Sign me up! I got to meet a couple of the official members of the band as well as a young hopeful trying out for vocals. Did I mention I LOVE THIS MOMENT IN TIME???
If you’re just reading my blog for the first time, or you’re trying to figure out what makes me tick – this is IT. THIS SPECIFIC MOMENT. ALL CAPS YAAAAAA.
But it’s the truth. Seeing people in that moment where they have to mentally flip the switch. That moment where it’s “go time” and they realize like is just to short to suck – this is the time to give it 110% of everything they have. That moment where they say “fuck it” inside their head and just let themselves be how they are. That’s what I live for…to continually watch for and SEE that beautiful moment for myself.
I get most of it from a steady diet of “…Got Talent” shows. Doesn’t matter what language – that moment is completely universal. And I’m man enough (or not perhaps?) to admit these moments JUST BEFORE they take the stage can often send me into a river of tears before they even start their act. The reason why is because you can see it in their eyes – that’s the REAL moment. It’s so obvious and clear at that time whether the gravity of this spotlight has hit them and whether or not they can rise to the occaision….it can be a truly beautiful thing.
Many thanks to White Hot Jet and to James Kasper for allowing me to be a part of that experience and the opportunity to be involved on the scene doing interviews at VIMA 2013. The WHJ line-up has now officially been completed as they continued to audition long past when I had to leave these wonderful people to catch my boat back to SBS until another time. I’ve said time and again that belief and determination can often lead you to results much more quickly than a natural skill set – and it’s because of that belief and determination I see in James Kasper that I had no issues supporting the White Hot Jet project sight unseen for the first time in my musical life. I have faith in his ear for talent and for the passion he has in this project to succeed. Brace yourselves for take-off ladies of White Hot Jet….
So…….looking at this I realize now I’ve managed to cover ONE single day of what happened in between the last blog post and this. I’d blog more often if I didn’t write like I talk……
The week that followed was just as interesting on home turf.
In hunting down resources available for independent bands through different websites – I was busy checking into fiverr.com where we currently offer a host of different options for people that we can’t reach otherwise – a place where we ourselves offer interviews etc. So I thought I’d check into “what else” was out there like us in this scenario – and innocently typing in “band interview” – there I was about a page and a half down with one of our fiverr deals. Satisfied that the link was working and that we weren’t too far away from the top of the list, I continued on down scanning for other similar offers.
And to you I pose this question: How much more similar does it get than EXACTLY? Someone had completely stolen our “gigs” that we offered on the Fiverr and used them as their own promising written and video interviews with SBS and JER @ SBS. Ummm? That was completely unique to me. So so so so foreign of a concept – this idea that people or bands even find us over the internet let alone steal our content! I still wonder how they intended to deliver these orders?
E-mailing Fiverr support was not so much of a treat through this experience and I was happy to let them know I like to share my stories….To this point I’ve had nothing but a fantastic relationship with Fiverr and really do think the site has opened some incredible doors for us. But in the same amount of time that I was uploading what was a completely unique offer to Fiverr from our other work, which came back rejected due to similarities to another offer of ours – someone else was able to offer our SBS Live gig word for word without it even being caught? C’mon Fiverr…..
And you all know our reputation is completely important to us – we don’t like to let anyone down in the musical realm or otherwise, so to have this out there for a moment longer did NOT sit well with me. In a politely worded e-mail (Yes I’m being truthful) I asked them to look into the issue, linked them to the fraudulent offers and user and asked them to please follow up with me on the proceedings and how this is handled. For the fantastic relationship my site and theirs have had – I was more than suprised that an issue of this nature could go unanswered for 24 hours let alone the entire week it took them to get back to us. In the end we received no apologies from the site, no “sorry we didn’t catch that, our bad” – nothing. And truthfully? I sleep exactly the same way knowing that as I did the night before. I don’t need an apology – it just would have been polite. After another 48 hours the user has now been officially disappeared from Fiverr.
Somehow it got weirder though. I googled sleepingbagstudios to see what was out there and discovered that a site in Germany had been leeching and hosting our entire site’s worth of content as well. I gotta admit – both these times resulted first in a genuine head shake of “people even KNOW about SBS?” I mean – we make NOISE but we ARE still the little guy out there on the block….for now…. Anyway – they currently generate a large amount of ad traffic & presumed revenues not being shared with either the artists or SBS whatsoever – and since we’ve yet to invade you with ads ourselves even – seemed like a little bit much and they’ve been asked to remove it as well. Let me be crystal clear with you all – please continue to happily repost your interviews and videos through SBS and your own sites. To the pirates out there that think they can profit off of other people’s original content by simply taking the files and hosting the content….well….to you guys I say let’s talk that out through an interview….open invite to anyone who’s brave enough to take that conversation on!
THE OTHER STUFF YOU WANNA KNOW ABOUT:
THE PIT: Continue to stop by and make SBS their home away from home while finishing up work on their upcoming single for “The Machine” and “Closer.” At this point they’re now flushing out full ideas for new tracks in the studio and we’ve really seen this band continue to go big, continue to attack their music with intensity and determination to break through to the next level. We just finished off another weekend with them all, including their friend Ryan who had called into the Ed Tyll show in New York when he was promoting The Pit on his live radio program. Great guy to have around – and late night when it maybe should have been quiet but sure wasn’t at SBS – the six of us all launched into freestyle jam after jam. With the atmosphere and lights in the studio working their magic, this giant 6-foot-everything frame of Ryan stepped up to the mic to deliver one of the absolute highlights of the night, jumping in on a jam for vocals and pulling off what sounded like a song he had written for years rather than in the moment. Big thanks to him for being a part of that weekend and of course to The Pit for continually finding new ways to both entertain and work with SBS.
TYLER MAYFIELD: R.I.P. OVERDOSE. This young grunger continues on his quest to find his new place in the musical world and in the meantime we’re totally taking him up on doing some random work on some new projects with SBS. You WILL see this guy popping up in all kinds of crazy ways in the future through SBS as part of our official alumni. He’s currently helping out on a couple of video interview projects we’re getting ready to film. Happy to have him as an official part of our team – we’re looking forward to sharing his point of view through our work together.
KYLE TRUELOVE: Word has it that this nominated performer for song of the year at this year’s VIMA’s will be stopping by SBS on his way through to Alberta for his upcoming tour! Awesome! He’s also playing a show at the Railway Club here in Vancouver and you can bet you’ll see myself there along with radio host and friendly-friend of SBS – Jeff Jeffries. Stoked to see the show and have him pop by! So stoked in fact – I put a call into an old friend from waaaaaaaay back (yeah, all the way in Nov. 2012….) LAURA KELSEY – the first guest on SBS Live This Week in the show’s history – and I asked if she’d consider doing a track or two with Kyle while he was here. Similar in temperment, personality and large quantities of heart and soul – I thought it might just make for a unique and beautiful musical pairing and I am very excited to see how this all turns out….
SBS WEBSITE UPDATE: Closer and closer and closer to the re-launch and re-design of the main SBS website. Rob @ SBS has been putting in all kinds of crazy hours to perfect the design and the progress sounds more than promising. I’m hoping to have something for you all to view that way really soon. Lots of new sections, we’ll finally host our own show on our OWN site instead of elsewhere. In the meantime our facebook page still sees a ton of traffic daily as does our supernova site which just passed it’s 33000th view in just over 6 months. Click that supernova link and take a look around at the pics and vids – not gonna lie – in this next six months I want to take it to the 100k mark. Let’s see if we can do it!
Written interviews continue to draw in more and more readers, as does this blog (THANK YOU ALL!) and it’s great to see that support visibly coming from all over the globe. I like to think that somewhere out there you readers can see this all goes far beyond caring about the music – I’ve absorbed my entire life into SBS and transformed into this tireless internet mouth intent that its every yelp and yap be the name of an independent band. So it is with great excitement that I’m announcing that we will also have album reviews on the main site upon re-launch with different perspectives being offered by SBS alumni on albums throughout time, not limited to any genre of course, and without ratings. The music speaks to us – and these people we’ve got involved in this project truly have the gift of being able to express the essence of WHAT makes music and these artists amazing through the printed word. You can look out for a test run on a couple of single perspectives of my own as I post interviews for bands like WE STEAL FLYERS and CHORDS OF TRUTH.
ACRES OF LIONS: We have had the privelege of welcoming what I’d certainly say is the biggest indie band we’ve had so far with AOL coming to our studio. We had Jeff and Tyson here at SBS HQ to represent the band on tour in support of their new album “Home(s)” and it was a real honour to talk to these internsely DRIVEN musicians who truly appreciate the ride their on and are currently writing some of their best material. I had yet to hear the album as it had only been released a day or two before they arrived here and they were awesome enough to drop a copy for me to listen to! Many thanks to them both for that, and for putting up with a studio that was in near shambles at the time. Rob and I had pulled it apart to redesign the wiring on the inside and had fallen short of the mark for reassembly in our timeline with Acres of Lions – but Tyson and Jeff made no deal about it whatsoever and truly seemed to enjoy their experience with us here at SBS. We got to see Jeff perform “Bright Lights” solo and acoustically as well as “Prairie Fire” performed by them both. Words simply cannot express how precious these performances became to me once I listened to the new album. The amount of change in “Bright Lights” is astounding – taking the energetic pumped up new single and stripping it down to reveal the real soul and emotion in the writing. Jeff’s voice is pure indie gold in these performances, allowing for those slight imperfections that make for the same reasons we love singers in bands like Jimmy Eat World or anything Ben Gibbard has ever done. And as far as “Prairie Fire” goes – if you’ve yet to hear the album yet – let me fill you in on a well known secret you probably know already….”Smells Like Teen Spirit” was intended to be the “warm-up” track for the people to Nirvana…for the intended big release of “Come As You Are” as the main single. This is quite often the case with any given band – you get a taste before they let you have the whole pie. “Prairie Fire” has everything about the indie/pop genre I love embedded right into the pulse and emotion of that track – believe me when I say – “Bright Lights” is the first track on the album and the first release, yes – but there is a lot more depth beyond revealing an incredibly strong middle portion of the album with great tracks like “Great Escape” and “Better Luck Next Year” really keeping this band lyrically engaging as well as chronicling many of the events that lead to the making of “Home(s).” And yes – as a supreme grammar nerd you better believe I asked about the brackets in the title….
Again – massive thanks to Sacha and all the people AUDIOBLOOD for setting that up with us, to Jeff and Tyson from Acres Of Lions for donating their time and music and to Brad from AETERNA who helped us film on a very shorthanded day here at sleepingbagstudios.
SBS LIVE, SHOW DETAILS AND I’LL WRAP IT UP: Alright – so like I’ve been saying, this machine of SBS never quits fighting for your music and this hiatus from the show has been anything other than pleasant for yours truly – I wanna talk about the music! So by this weekend latest, you can expect to see us popping back up online if not sooner. We’ve got island specials along with hip-hop from LoMEGA and we’ll finally get to see our first GENRE PANEL in action as we take on the metal genre with indie experts Leighton from IRON KINGDOM and RUDDY from AETERNA. Beyond awesome!
We’ve also sent out more video-style interviews out into the universe to see what comes back to us through the random of the internet… Projects have been sent out to seven piece band MAN MADE LAKE on Vancouver Island and to singer/songwriter/DJ ANDY RUCK in Ireland. New ones are being planned for r&b/hip hop artist TONY TIG, rapper NOVA (U SERIOUSLY gotta see him rap the periodic table elements – CAN’T be easy!) and for metal-turned-electronic artist ADAM DREW – exciting things in the works coming! We got one back just the other day from Rob Loncto of THE DANBURY LIE. I’m VERY excited to dig into this as soon as I can – I know him to want to rush himself and I know for a fact he gave it time, thought and effort. Can’t wait to show ya!
In addition to all that – COMEDY will also be making the occasional appearance on the show – indie style of course – but we’ll be featuring that whenever we come across brave souls willing to submit their videos – no judgement from us! Besides – what do I know – I watched “This Is 40” the other day and thought it was a documentary all too close to home! Not for me to judge what funny is, and just like with MUSIC or with all ART we like to encourage and support the creativity. So I’m proud to say that we’re gonna lead it off on one of the upcoming SBS Live shows with comedian Tom Williams who has promised to show us some hardcore comedy – and after talking with him and setting this up I’m inclined to believe him. Something about his correspondence is telling me that he truly believes that his time is now. I’m looking forward to this very, very much.
JEFF JEFFRIES has decided to end The Great Canadian Hit List podcast that he had developed in favour of a new and more independently focused idea that he has called “iIndie.” Somehow he has come to the conclusion to have me as his co-pilot on this show and host the program with him as we talk about the independent scene, featured independent artists and insights into our musical worlds. We’ve found a way to make the show more personal – a reflection of our growing relationship built on mutual respect for these amazing creators of indie music everywhere. Much thought went into the format and design for the musical content – demographics were argued – so was being true to our ideals and to the truism that is known between us all – YOUR music holds up. BIG TIME. Don’t ever think it doesn’t just because the Geffen’s or Capitols or ANY label isn’t paying attention – just continue to pursue your art and we WILL eventually cross paths in your musical adventures. What’s underground right now has a pulse and heart that beats with an intelluctual and emotional strength the mainstream has lost touch with altogether.
It keeps me up at night. For real – it’s 5:43 A.M. and once again, thanks to you all – artists, bands, followers and fans – I couldn’t be more content or possibly be more awake.
See you onscreen real soon.