Review – The Rekkening – Broken Mind EP


Vancouver’s The Rekkening has just brought out their new 4-song EP called Broken Mind.  For those of you who don’t know or who’ve never heard of The Rekkening, here is the background – Tracey Lynn Satann (main vocals/guitar) joined forces with bassist extraordinaire Goredzilla to form what is the backbone of The Rekkening.  At that time, they recorded a demo called “Best Served Cold” which went over well.  They played some gigs with a rotating door of guitarists and drummers and wrote songs.  They found guitarist Travis T (Treacherous T) who plays guitars on the EP and drummer Jordan Meyer.  However, Jordan just didn’t work out the way they had hoped, and they’re recruiting a new drummer, Natalie Elliot who has yet to find her nickname in the band.

As we speak, Goredzilla is in LA right now at the Bassist Convention where he handed out the EP to bassists’ for Metallica, Megadeath, Billy Sheehan, etc.  He’s also done an interview with the co-host of City Talk TV LA Robin Takizawa.

therekkening_brokenmindep_front

The EP was engineered by Esteban Cruz Z., Roger Lee and Jeevanath Sekaran.  And, it was mixed and mastered by Ken Burke.

The 4 songs are (in order):  In The End, Broken Mind, Cry, Is This Love (Whitesnake cover).

Starting with “In The End” the first words you hear are “Blinded by rage/At a young age…” and “I am who I am” should tell you right off the bat that this band follows their own muses and if you don’t like the music, then leave now.  Tracey has very powerful pipes and she can get in your face literally with a focus and concentration that probably scares most other people.  Her intensity with music is evident in the vocal work on all 4 songs.  The music is hypnotizing, the drums pound and the song explodes from the speakers.  Travis’ guitars are very good throughout the songs as well.  And the bass work is impeccable.

“Broken Mind” has a sinister quality about it musically right from the start due to the song being in a minor key.  Tracey picks up a megaphone to use it as an extension of her powerful vocals which only a few bands have ever used.  Asking questions “why…” make me wonder what is she looking for which is interesting in of itself.  It’s a dark song about why why why do certain things keep happening in life.  Many people wonder the same thing about their lives as well.

“Cry” starts out with an acoustic guitar and fills out as soon as the drums enter the song.  It’s a great ballad song and is radio friendly.  With lyrics “But now I only cry/When it’s late at night/And now I only cry/Instead of holding you” are some strong emotions in the words which you can hear in the vocals.  This song is mixed well.  The guitars are lovely, played with graceful hands by Travis.  And the bass work speaks for itself.

“Is This Love” is a Whitesnake cover which isn’t like the original.  The band took this song and put some speed into it and grind it out with powerful vocals, pounding drums, choppy but fluid guitars and the bass just goes with speed beat drums.  A great headbanging song!

The one thing I like about this fresh band is their passion, focus and concentration on the music.  Tracey and Goredzilla are working hard this time around to make a name for themselves in the competitive genre of hard rock/metal.  I asked Tracey what would be the ultimate thing to happen to which she replied “We’d love to play some festivals in Europe, Germany in particular.”  With the right karma, this just might happen.  This EP is solid, refreshing and hard hitting, and when more songs are written and recorded, who knows what can happen!

The band can be found at the following links:

Facebook

Twitter

Reverbnation

You can also find some older songs in their live videos such as “Angel” from 2009’s The Red Room’s performance and from 2010 with “Wake The Dead” from a show at The Bourbon.

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Review – Quick Wicked (self)


Quick Wicked are a band from Brantford ON that have high energy, focus and concentration.  It’s truly independent music at its finest.  Categorically this band is on its own in the stadium.  If you need a slot, they are progressive/hard rock/indie-rock band that have some of the best music I’ve heard this year.  Produced by Quick Wicked and Hamilton’s Matt Gauthier (who also engineered, mixed and mastered the album).  Part of the album was even recorded at the Gauthier house, as well as at B Town Sound in Burlington and at The Eggplant Collective in Toronto.

quickwickedfront

The band members are Jeff Love (vocals/guitars), Kyle Love (drums), Rob Eddy (guitars/bass) and Kevin French (bass/synths).  They have total “original music that doesn’t have any preconceived notions” and they “have a passion for making original music”.  They effectively use sharp musicianship, a collective creativity and a heavy use of effects.  They make each part work and you just know that so much is put behind the song emotionally.  I had the opportunity to email a few questions to Rob Eddy, who had this to say about the questions asked:

1.  Who writes the music/lyrics for the songs on the CD??  Do you all write together or separately and work it out in the rehearsal space?  What’s the process?

Well, Jeff writes all his own lyrics, and for the most part, everyone in the band is responsible for writing their own parts to the songs with only a few exceptions.  Our writing process begins with one member already having 2 or 3 different ideas worked out beforehand.  Then, at practice it get’s dissected and we usually know very quickly if it`s something that will work for a Quick Wicked song or not.  The structuring of the song and getting to the end result can sometimes take months.  We always try to treat each instrument (including vocals) equally, and feel that that is an important part of what gives Quick Wicked a different sound than many other rock acts.

The only exception to this is that on the album called “Night Chaser” which is a song that I wrote and recorded everything myself.  I re-recorded it with Matt to use on the album as an interlude.  I couldn’t be happier with the end result!  I’m also pleased with how the songs “Monolith”, “Night Chaser” and “King” flow into each other seamlessly.  I feel that it’s just one really long song.  That was not planned out; we just stumbled across that when we were putting the track listing together.  It ended up being one of my favourite things about the album!

2.  How did the band come together as a whole as it is now?

The story of the band is as follows:  Jeff and I (Rob) met each other in public school and have been friends since grade 7.  We’ve been playing music together since we were 14 and were in many different bands in our teens.  Kyle (Jeff’s younger brother) was too young at first but by the time Kyle was 16 he was better than any other drummer we knew and eventually he came into the band.  We were sneaking him into the bars at that point because he was the only drummer we wanted to play with.

I then took some some time off from playing in a band for about two and a half years when Jeff approached me about a new project he had in mind.  He said that he had found a bass player (Kevin) who was Kyle’s friend before becoming our friend, and he wanted me to hear some demos for a couple of songs that he had already done.  Shortly after that we all met for the first time together at a rehearsal space in Hamilton and started jamming the songs.  That was the birth of Quick Wicked.  Two years later after spending a considerable amount of time getting comfortable as a band, writing songs, playing live, finding Matt, recording a demo with Matt, writing more songs and finally recording the full album with Matt again, we have our first album and a finished product that we are proud of.

3.  What is the mindset of the band when it comes to social networking?  How has the Music Industry changed the rules of bringing a new band on a roster or signing to a major label?

Currently, we are using social networking for almost all of our content and promotions.  We feel it’s a huge part of getting your music heard.  In our early days, we desperately wanted to sign with a major label and have them take care of everything for us so we could just focus on the music.  I think that was the story that was being told to us.  After seeing what has been going on over the last 10-15 years we have re-aligned our goals and no longer have that mentality.  Our main goal with this project is to give people a taste of something different when there is so much of the same happening right now in rock genre.  Many bands seem to follow a “cookie cutter” approach to their songs that they end up becoming a parody of each other.

qw3

The track listing is as follows:

1.   Dingo

2.   Blix

3.   The Bodyline

4.   Rhum Rocket

5.   Monolith

6.   Night Chaser

7.   King

8.   Re-awake

9.   Beetleweed

10. The Docks

The CD begins with “Dingo” which is a song that has a killer melody and is played with an amazing attention to every single detail by all four members.  With time signature changes that would confuse the best of musicians, and root chords in the bass work, they make it seem so easy and seamless in this one song.  Vicious guitars, pounding drums and awesome vocals are just the beginning of this very impressive collection of songs.  This song speaks of control and being original.

“Monolith” is the longest song at just over 6 minutes.  It has a pretty guitar opening, followed by drums and bass.  The melody flows easily through the song and the vocals are pained – tearing at your heartstrings with emotion.  Lyrically, “I pick you over me/I’ve done it before/I miss you/Don’t walk away” can all be attributed by choosing another over yourself which can lead to confusion, tension and loss.

“Night Chaser” is an instrumental song, played well and is easy on the ears.  Similar to “Monolith”, it makes a statement of quality music for the listener.  The completion to this is the song “King” which gives you a trilogy of sorts.  All three songs have well constructed melodies that flow into one other.  The music is subtle and also tense, but “King” takes it over the goal line.  “Which side of the billions do you follow?” is an interesting question to ask in a song lyric.  As a listener it makes you think about what the band is asking you.

“Re-awake” is a short song (2:40) that is by far my favourite song.  Time changes, choppy drums and good vocals, this song makes me want to start headbanging and pretending that I’m at a Quick Wicked concert.  With my pretension to punk music, this song combines that punk spirit with hard rock and is played with intensity that equals no other band out there on the indie circuit at present.  Lyrically, I hear it as a rebirth of sorts in some way, which reminds me of a snake shedding its skin and becoming new again in its own protection for survival.

Every song on this CD is solid, likeable and really can’t be slotted into one category.  There are many influences this band takes from other bands and make it their own by playing to their own drummers, so to speak.  The recording, mixing and mastering are impeccable and speak to me of a band who found the perfect match in Matt Gauthier’s ability to nail the bands’ authentic sound in this 10 song CD.

You can find the band on Facebook (facebook.com/quickwicked), on Bandcamp where you can hear the CD in its entire format and buy it from there, and on the bands’ website.

The band has an upcoming show at The Volume Lounge in Oshawa ON on Saturday November 16.  Contact the venue for ticket prices and door times.

Quick Wicked – Video – Dingo (as recorded in studio) followed by “King”

General Overview of Older Reviews


Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had an overloaded plate and at some point due to many issues, I just couldn’t keep up.

But slow change is happening, and since the reviews I had been working on are 6 months or older now, I’m just going to give out the artists’ name/band name with a link to read about the music and that kind of thing.  I’ll just make a comment about the music, but it’ll be more or less “general”.  I want to leave it to fate and what consumers want (that means you!).  Whether it’s a name of a person/band that sucks you in or just being curious as to what kind of person/band with that name has what kind of music?  Either way, it’s your free will to choose what you do.

One final note:  I do have 2 new reviews that will be posted separately over this long holiday weekend – both are Vancouver BC based artists Sex With Strangers and Rec Centre.

Mother Mother

Hill and the Sky Heroes** (see below for contest)

Jesse Sparks

The Gromble

The Red Button

Seth Swirsky

Taz Taylor Band

Cubic Feet

Infared Sunday

**Hill and the Sky Heroes are on Audio Blood Media, and thanks to the AB Team, I just happen to have 2 extra copies of the CD and if you’d like one sent to you, just answer me this:  1)  who is the force behind this CD and 2) name 3 other artists who this force has worked with and on what kind of project (music, film, art, etc.)

Send an email with your answers to:

jadedphotograhy@me.com

Deadline is September 20th, 2013.  The first correct entries win the CD.  Please remember to include an address to send the CD to in your email.

Mother Mother “The Sticks” is my favorite CD this year hands down.  I love the progressive nature of this band so much it hurts.  The lyrics are always stark and stripped down but remain mysterious to individual listeners.  The opening track OMENS is downright ominous and creepy , but there is a lingering question mark at the end of that song that leads directly into the title track THE STICKS.  I can’t explain how a song can make you think of a question mark.  It just is.  I’ll be playing those 2 songs at the infamous Halloween party this year out in Surrey!  The music does lighten up and take on more happy but melancholy tones  (musically) but lyrically it could go either way.  I would describe the vibe/undercurrent of this CD in 3 words:  On the edge.

Hill and the Sky Heroes is another example of a progressive artist and band member with other impressive credentials to the name Hill.  I had never heard of this band but the talent that is bursting out of this CD is like a water deluge of biblical proportions.  It’s overwhelming at first.  If you like whimsical, edgy and a life being lived fully kind of music, this is a must have for your Indie music collection.

Jessie Sparks is originally from Melbourne Australia where she is based out of today.  She did live in her early teenage years in Illinois, Iowa and New York State in the US where early on she had a huge talent for singing and pianos.  This 5 song EP is worth a listen and download from iTunes.  Great blues vocals reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Odetta and Billie Holiday.  Good timing, upbeat melodies for the most part and a fantastic voice highlight this Blues artist – and if you like Blues, you’ll want to add this to your collection.

The Gromble have that throwback music from the 1990’s.  Not a bad sound if you’re in a longing for the 1990’s.

The Red Button is a Seth Swirsky collaboration.

Taz Taylor Band is pretty much good rocking music.  Check out the link above to find out more.

Cubic Feet and Infared Sunday have good solid music you should check out by following the links above.

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I want to thank Audio Blood Media and Luck Media for their patience while I’ve been AWOL with medical issues.  You guys rock!  And its good to be back!

Show Review – Rickshaw Theatre – The Electric Demons/Kicked off the Farm


The Electric Demons played host to a fantastic lineup at the Rickshaw Theater in Vancouver on a cold night in February.   Although I’m not familiar with the bands’ current music, it’s very fast, abrasive and hits you upside the head.  And in the midst of all this music was a moshpit that churned itself into a frenzied dance of the early 1990’s grunge music of Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with a little dash of Ozzy Osbourne and the Crazy Train riders of the new incarnation of The Electric Demons.

As I ride on the road to destination vacation, I think of this show with the moshpit that was insane.  I think that was the best thing about the show itself, giving off an idea that the fans of these bands love the music is quite an understatement.  Although not familiar with Kicked Off The Farm’s music, I was very familiar to a band coming across as giving it all they had for this show – excellent vocal work, good songs and great instruments gets the point across to the reviewer.  When I have some extra money after this holiday to buy the music, I will do so.

And the same goes to The Electric Demons.  Three years ago, I had the privilege to review the bands’ CD Rip Your Heart Out.  Shortly after that review was posted on this blog, the lead singer of the band died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.  What should have a celebration of this bands’ music and stunning vocal work by Tarja, the female voice of the band, it was to attend a funeral of a remarkable woman who was just on the cusp of something bigger that herself.  I was unaware that at the funeral, Tarja’s parents had framed my review and it was there for all to read.  I was stunned when I found this out shortly after the funeral.  Tarja Ridgewell (Thundermonkey), RIP.  I posted this review the same day there was a tribute show to the late singer, where many were reminded how special she was to the Vancouver Music Scene.

On the bands’ Soundcloud page, there is a current 3 song live bootleg to enjoy.  The 3 songs are I’m Weak, Drugs and Kings Game.  Although these are not well recorded and are rough, I like the feel the band gives off to the crowd.  It’s like the band is giving energy to the crowd who in turn give it back to the band.  I personally am looking forward to more shows to come from this current line up of The Electric Demons!

Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 018 Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 020 Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 023 The Electric Demons The Electric Demons The Electric Demons

Current members:

Guitar – Murray Howes

Drums – Melanie Fox

Bass – Brian Sword

Vocals – Dave Barroqueiro

Toronto’s The Bloody Five CD review


CD Release:  The Bloody Five

Released:  Summer of 2012

by Jade Sperry

The Bloody Five are a rock band out of Toronto ON who are moving up the in the local club circuit.  They’ve got an EP that was released in June 2010 (Bedroom Music – a FREE download) that I reviewed – that EP totally rocked!!  And in 2012 they’ve done 2 things which is heading in the right direction – they’ve done a cover version of the classic song by The Demics called “(I Wanna Go To) New York City” this past February.  And in the summer of 2012, they’ll release their debut CD which is definitely a progression of their musical skills.

The track listing is as follows:

1.    Release

2.    Tethered

3.    Just Joking

4.    After You

5.    Under This Mountain

6.    Exit Sign

7.    (I Wanna Go To) New York City

8.    And For Me The Forest

9.    Bedroom Music

10.   Never Again

11.   Je M’excuse

The Bloody Five are Tomi Fear (guitars), KD has got the pipes, Jay Appleby (Bass) and Raw Beats Sedan (Drums).  The mastering of the CD is the work of one talented guy from Toronto – Producer Joao Carvalho who reminds me of Rick Rubin.  Vancouver artist David Vertesi worked with Joao on his solo CD Cardiograpphy.  The other songs on this CD were recording and mixing the CD was done by Derek Hoffman (in the band Brighter Brightest)  The cover song was mixed by Brian Moncarz.  And the band traveled to New York in the summer of 2011 to shoot the video for the song and had help via Kevin McLaughlin (owner of Autoshare), Chris Nelson and videographer Martin Wojtunik.  And CBGB’S and The Ramones somehow.

“Release” is the first song.  Slighty off key, it has a creepy or unsure sound to it.  It’s slow sombre music that suddenly drives you straight into to the drums pounding, bass raging, guitars off in a clean buzz with vocals sounding strained, sad and pleading.   Just for a second I got the shiver that this song makes you physically feel.  Good choice for the leadoff song!   “Tethered” has a blues feel in the beginning with slow harmonicas.  But then the voltage of the song rises instantly out of nowhere.  Because it slams into your face so fast that the song takes right off into the horizon.  It’s a well written song that this band can pull it off.  “Just Joking” and “After You” are solid ballad songs with hurt and raw emotion which generates the emotion of the song across to the listener.  I felt as though the four band members were playing it just for me.  In my living room.  With a cold beer.  Good work!  Hands down my favorite song on the CD is  “Under The Mountain”.  Wonderful melodies with what sounds like a mandolin that truly makes the emotion in this song.  The vocals are particularly good in this song as well.  In 3/4 time,  “Exit Sign” is another song that really smacks you in the face and screams “HELLO?” Pieces of this song are reminiscent of The Beatles, The Ramones and Green Day to name a few.  One thing I really like about this band is the age dimension.  It’s quite evident that the band have a vast knowledge of music to work with and its evident in this one song.  The Cover song of  (I Wanna Go To)  New York City is very well done.  Upbeat tempo which Green Day do so brilliantly in 3/3 (tempo).  The last four songs are on the Bedroom Music EP which you can download for free by clicking the link at the beginning of this article.

This CD rates a 9 out of 10.  I like the vocal sounds with the music and the music is very well written and performed by all four members.  I would suggest this CD to anyone who likes good music of any kind.  So and get your hands on this CD!

Watch the video by The Bloody Five

Disclaimer – article was released with errors and not to my knowledge.  I have fixed the errors and will post accordingly to various sites.

Show Review – Rancid, My Chemcial Romance and Blink 182


Show Review – Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182

Wednesday August 31, 2100

Rogers Arena Vancovuer BC

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Rancid. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The Honda Civic Tour rolled through Vancouver this past Wednesday and the arena was set up for concert bowl due to the apparatus of the lighting system – it would have been in the way of the show. Four great bands in order of first to last – Against Me!, Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182. I’d seen the Florida US band Against Me!, so I decided to check out the mech table of all the bands. Tons of stuff for sale if you are a teenager or in your 20’s. I do have to say the posters were pretty special. Good pictures.

Rancid came out and performed a stellar set that they played hard and with fantastic energy. I loved this band in the 1990’s and saw them a handful of times but in all honestly, I drank a lot back then and really don’t remember the shows I did attend – the only proof was the ticket stub in my pocket. But, they did a favorite of mine just toward the end of their forty minute set called “Radio” Awesome!

My Chemical Romance took to the stage next and they looked well rested and ready to rock Vancouver for the next hour. Teenage girls still scream at the men onstage. Although I was really there to see Rancid (sober) they really rocked the crowd. One friend of mine in a band from Vancouver called Philoceraptor said that “the My Chem boys really rocked the place out.” And I totally agree. A good light show with video screens on either side so that if you were at the back of the arena, you could look at the video screens. Since many people requested that I get a set list, here it is to the best of my recollection in a crowd of screaming, dancing teens:

Na Na Na

I’m Not Okay

Planetary Go!

Mama

Helena

This Is The Best Day Ever

You Know What They Do To Guys…

Famous Last Words

Scarecrow

Destroyer

Welcome To The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance. Photo by Jade Sperry.

With no encore. No band on this circuit did an encore except for Blink 182. Speaking of which, they followed MCR and hit the stage about 1030pm. I have to admit I was really tired by this time but I had to see Blink 182. I’m not sure of the songs they played in order were but my favorites performed were “Does My Breath Smell”, “All The Small Things”, “Feeling This” and “I Miss You”. Every song was bang on and in between the songs the band members took pictures of themselves and joked around with themselves and the audience. A fantastic show with high energy and good lighting for photographers as you can see from the pictures that are on my Flikr page.

Blink 182. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The remainder of the tour dates are as follows:

9/7/11 Minneapolis, MN- Xcel Center
9/8/11 Des Moines, IA- Wells Fargo Arena
9/9/11 Kansas City, MO- Sandstone Amphitheater
9/10/11 Indianapolis, IN- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/11/11 Detroit, MI- DTE Energy Music Centre
9/13/11 Cleveland, OH- Blossom Music Center
9/15/11 Pittsburgh, PA- First Niagara Pavilion
9/16/11 Saratoga, NY- SPAC
9/17/11 Philadelphia, PA- Susquehanna Bank Center
9/18/11 Virginia Beach, VA- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
9/20/11 Charlotte, NC- Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/21/11 Atlanta, GA- Lakewood Amphitheater
9/23/11 Miami, FL- Cruzan Amphitheater
9/24/11 Tampa, FL- 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre
9/26/11 Houston, TX- Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/27/11 Dallas, TX- Gexa Energy Pavilion
9/29/11 Albuquerque, NM- Journal Pavilion
10/1/11 Anaheim, CA- Honda Center
10/2/11 Sacramento, CA- Sleep Train Amphitheatre
10/4/11 Concord, CA- Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
10/5/11 San Francisco, CA- Shoreline Amphitheatre
10/7/11 Las Vegas, NV- Red Rock Resort, Spa & Casino
10/8/11 Los Angeles, CA- Hollywood Bowl
10/14/11 San Diego, CA- Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

For more tour information visit the Tour Page

FOOTNOTE:

Posted on the My Chemical Romance page is the awful circumstances that led to the drummer, Michael Pedicone, being fired from the band. He was caught red handed stealing from the band. That’s pretty bad and I feel sorry for the band. He was an excellent drummer. This was posted by Frank on Friday September 2, two days after the show in Vancouver.

CD Review and Interview with … Seven Year Riot


CD Review and Interview with … Seven Year Riot

CD Self Titled and released February 3, 2011

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Seven Year Riot are a band from Windsor ON. Formerly called Citizen Erased, this is a new life for the band with a new name and outlook. They have hard, kick ass music that immediately lops off your head while you wonder what just happened. The members of the band are Justin Forsyth (vocals), Jim O’Neil (guitars), Jeff Azar (drums and percussion) and Jarrod Oglan (bass).

One day in the recent past, I had some time to kill which doesn’t happen often anymore these days. I was scouring the internet for new music and bands to write about, and I found this band on Supernova.com and contacted them to see if they were interested in some media.

And so here we are. What follows is a CD review and interview with links at the bottom of the page to where you can find the band and info on the band. I’ve also listed 4 shows the band is playing in the next 2 months for you to catch them:

Jade: What personal goals has the band as a whole achieved in the last year?

Justin: Well, to start, we FINALLY released our album. This was massive for us, because it seemed as if all the things we wanted to do were kind of hinging on the release of the disc. It was over a year in the making, and at times it felt like we would never get it done. So that was huge for us, as well as the overwhelming response we received from around the world.

Jade: What goals in relation to the band are you setting now to work towards over the next year?

Justin: We really are just trying to become a well known name. Radio rotation is a huge goal for us, because we want to reach the mainstream, and come out with a bang. Touring is also a goal, as we would love to break into the united states and begin touring there.

Jade: As a band, what has been the best thing that has happened, and the worst thing?

Justin: I think I can safely say that there really hasn’t been a “worst” occurrence for us. Sure, there have been ups and downs, but that comes with any band. As for the best things, we’ve been very fortunate to have been able to share the stage with a lot of big names and subsequently get great exposure so we’re very thankful for that. And I think I speak for us all when I say that the fans and the constant support have been and will continue to be the best part of what we do.

Jade: How do you see the current state of the Corporate Music Industry in Canada? And how do you see in comparison to the DIY band who puts out their own music independently? And, how do you feel that either (the music industry and DIY bands) help in the creativity within a band?

Justin: Hmm…well I know there is a lot of complaining about the state of the music industry today, and while I would like to see certain things done differently, the bottom line is that it’s all evolution. The internet was a MASSIVE game changer to the music industry, and certain people embraced it, others didn’t. I think the state of the industry right now is just a byproduct of the quickly evolving use of technology. It’s easier now more than ever for a DIY band to get their music heard without a label. We did it for a couple years and had success with it – you just have to embrace and use every avenue that’s available to you. To answer the second part of the question, I think the state of the industry is actually HEALTHY for a DIY band, because it’s now imperative for a band to push their boundaries and attempt things that will get them noticed in an over-saturated sea of music.

Jade: Do you feel that the band have control over how your music reaches the fans? (IF yes) Why do you feel this way and what factors into that?

Justin: In the beginning, absolutely. Until you are signed to a major label that calls all the shots, I think it’s completely up to the band to decide how to get their music out there. As I mentioned above, there are SO many ways for music to be heard now, I think every band needs to jump on those outlets. We put our entire album up on our My Space page to listen for free, because we wanted people to get our music as easily as possible. As far as I see it, even if you’re with an indie label like we are, nothing is stopping you from getting music into the hands of people that want to hear it. Find a way, and do it.

Jade: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard the music before?

Justin: This is always a tough question, because I really hate to put labels on it. It’s hard rock with melody. I could say we sound like so and so, but I find that immediately puts an image in peoples’ minds. And if I say we sound like a band they don’t like, they won’t listen…you know? I’ll say this: We write rock music. It’s hard rock with a melodic edge. And as one venue owner put it, we have “Pop sensibility with Rock Credibility.”.

Jade: Who are the primary songwriters in the band? Collectively, how does the songwriting process go within the band?

Justin: The primary song writers are Jim (guitars) and myself (vocals), who write the music and lyrics respectively. Generally a songwriting process begins with Jim having a rough riff or chord progression and building from that. If we are writing as a duo we will spend time constructing the entire skeleton before bringing it to the band. If we’re writing as a band, it starts with the riff, and we kind of just see where it takes us. No song is ever done in a day, we always re-visit it, and make tweaks until it just sounds right. I will add lyrics as we go, finding words that sound right, getting the flow right, then I will sit down and craft the lyrics until they work for me.

Jade: How did you come up with the band name?

Justin: We basically spent a couple months compiling a giant list of names we liked…some were full band names, others were just cool words we thought would be cool IN a band name. It got to the point where we HAD to pick one. So we sat down at a pub, got a round of beers and vowed not to leave until we decided on a name and three hours, twenty-four beers, and eight shots of Jager later, Seven Year Riot was born.

Jade: What is your opinion on the current state of the East York/Toronto/Ontario music scene? Do you feel that there are enough venues for bands to book club shows, or, do you feel that there is competition for the club slots?

Justin: To be honest I am really not sure. I feel there are enough venues, but it feels that bands are striving for just the premiere venues and don’t like exploring all their options. There is definitely competition for club slots, and that is bound to happen with an over-saturated market. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you play, as long as new faces see you, and your word spreads.

Jade: How has the new CD changed life for the band members?

Justin: Well, things are still pretty much the same for the time being, but becoming busier with every day. We’re all completely blown away by the response we’re getting, and I know Jarrod (bass) and I are spending more time than ever replying to fan questions and input. Things are moving up slowly but surely.

Jade: When you were in the studio recording the new CD, how was the overall experience for each member of the band? What were the best and worst times?

Justin: This was actually the first time we were hardly ever in the studio all together for the recording of something. Because we all still balance jobs and school for the time being, we recorded the entire album while working around everyone’s availabilities. It’s not the way I would have preferred things done, but it was unavoidable. So Jeff did his drums, then Jarrod did bass, then Jim did guitars, then I did vocals, and we pieced it together and made it happen. Using the technology at our hands however, we were able to always keep in contact. For example, our producer (Martin Bak at SLR studios) would email me the track that Jim completed that day, so I was able to offer input, etc. So it was as if we were all there anyways. I can only speak on my own behalf, but the worst times were those six to eight hour sessions in the vocal booth. I started to lose my mind.

Seven Year Riot CD Cover.

Now onto the music of this band. This 10-song CD really stands above others in the hard rock with melodic edges realm that will definitely give Nickelback and Shinedown a run for the money in the near future. First off is the song “Victims (Aren’t We All)”. With a melodic beginning of 40+ seconds that lulls you into thinking it’s a ballad-type song, the band launch into the song full force and smack you in the head while screaming ‘wake up!!’. Nice. Although I can hear influences of other bands’ music, all members of Seven Year Riot are making that sound their own. Choppy, hard guitars with vocals that are strained and on the edge combined with the sublte foreboding sound of the drums and bass, this is a really good song. It’s very well written with good time changes that makes this song very radio friendly. The second song “Stitched and Mended” is equally just as good and in some respects is better than the first. A steady drum beat that the guitars and bass follow to create a sound that is almost mesmerizing and the vocals float seamlessly on the melody of the song and beckons you to listen. That is great songwriting in the melodies folks. Both songs seem to speak of inner conflict, dark desires and evolutionary changes from within that are hidden in some ways to other people. The fourth song called “Headcase” is this writer’s favorite song on the CD. Sarcastic and scathing lyrics, explosive and dangerous music that’s on the edge and vocals that just sound so pissed off make for a great song. Other standout songs are “Close Your Eyes” which is a fast, head-banging song that speaks of taking whatever you can get; “Behind The Mask” which has hard and fast drumming and speaks of swallowing your pride and admitting defeat and of falling apart in some way; and the final song “Black Wedding Dress” which is a pure musical assault song in every way. This is one CD that you want to have in your collection if you like the musical styles of Shinedown, 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse. You can buy the CD here on iTunes for under $10 Canadian.

Seven Year Riot will be playing 2 upcoming shows in March in Toronto and a few shows in April:

March 13 – Cherry Cola’s Rock and Roll Cabaret – Toronto ON (Canadian Music Fest Show)

March 18 – The Opera House – Toronto ON

April 10 – All Stars (an all ages show) – Brampton ON

April 30 – The El Mocambo – Toronto ON

You can find all this info and more on the bands’ sites:

Twitter: @sevenyearriot

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/sevenyearriot

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Seven-Year-Riot/122962677759879