Interview with Columbia’s Richard and Kevin


Columbia, L to R: Jacques Rossouw, Richard Jacquard, Kevin Schallie, Jason Tait, Brian Welsch. Photo by Ashley Perry.

Interview with Columbia’s Kevin Schallie and Richard Jacquard, March 2010.

In the band Columbia, there are five members that have come together to form a dynamic yet naturally appealing band in today’s music.  They also have the technical know how with innovative Management representation in the form of Thorny Bleeder Records.  Managing partner Brian Thompson adds another dynamic to the band’s already impressive foundation.

I first met this band back in August of 2009 through a networking site, Supernova.com. Columbia was at that time in the Battle of the Band Finals, which I ended up covering this past January. They won and placed first nationally. The first thing that struck me was their easy-going approach but as I interviewed them after a photoshoot in Gastown, I realized that these guys knew exactly what they wanted and where they were going. This one element sets them apart from most bands here in Vancouver. In the past seven months, they have found a drummer, Brian Welsh, that fits in with the other guys so well that it’s a seamless fit. They have found a manager and promotional company, Shameless Productions, have toured down the West Coast of the United States late last year, and are currently on tour in Western Canada. The band will also be touring later this year. Their self titled CD, Join Our Ride, has done very well and is a big hit with fans in North America.

Richard and Kevin are the main songwriters in the group; the other members are Jason Tait on rhythm guitars and Jacques Rossouw on bass.  Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that Richard and Kevin have a very close bond not only in music but in life – like brothers.  Due to some time constraints on both ends, I originally wanted to interview Richard and Kevin in person, but circumstances were beyond anyone’s control.  So instead we agreed to do this interview via email.  What follows are a direct question and answer interview:

J:  How did you both meet?

R/K:  We met in Elementary School in our town of Surrey BC (AKA Cloverdale).

J:  What kind of goals, if any, did you both set early in your partnership?

R/K:  We have basically had the same goals since day one: become a touring band, get on the radio and make music that people will like.

J:  Do you feel that you have achieved that first goal?

R/K:  We have achieved that first goal we set long ago, but now our goals are to find a bigger audience, bigger tours, more radio play and have better songs.

J:  What goals are you currently setting your sights on?

R/K:  Writing the songs for the next album.  We’re very excited about the songs we’re writing now.  They will really get us to the next level.

J:  What was it like for each of you growing up in Surrey/Cloverdale?

R/K:  We both had a good upbringing with good parents.  Surrey/Cloverdale is a small town but we’re so close to Vancouver that we’re actually city boys with a really good sense of reality.

J;  Tell me about a band called Straightpipe which I believe was a band name from your shared past…?

R/K:  It was really just the start of our music careers so it doesn’t have that much to do with us now but it did teach us about music, how to be in a band and to play shows that people would like to see.

At this point, I also had questions for each Richard and Kevin and here are their answers:

 

Kevin Schallie

J:  When did you start singing?

K:  I started singing 10 years ago when Rich and I started our first band.  I had always wanted to sing my own songs so it was just a matter of time before I would start a band and start singing.

J:  When did you start playing the guitar?

K:  I actually played the bass guitar when I started singing but I quickly went to the guitar and singing.

J:  Have you ever taken guitar or singing lessons?

K:  No lessons I’m self taught (on guitar) and quick to pick things up that I’m passionate about.  No lessons for singing either.  I taught myself and learned from listening to all my favourite singers.

J:  When did you start writing music/songs and why?

K:  I just love to write songs and getting them recorded so that people can hear them and get into the band.  It’s our life now so I couldn’t imagine not writing songs all of the time.

J:  What motivates you to write music?

K:  Meeting our fans on tour and just making music I like to listen to.

 

Richard Jacquard

J:  When did you start playing the guitar?

R:  I started to play when I was 16.  I got an acoustic for Christmas that year.

J:  Have you ever taken guitar lessons?

R:  I’ve never taken any guitar lessons.  I first learned how to play Green Day and Nirvana songs but Hendrix was the first guitarist I remember looking up to.

J:  When did you start writing music/songs?  Why did you start writing your own music?

R:  I started writing stuff as as I picked up a guitar.  It’s something that I’ve always done so matter what the instrument.

J:  What motivates you to play guitar, write music and perform original songs?  Is there an inner drive or does it feel natural that you should be doing this?

R:  I love music.  It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to write music and have other people really get into it.  Music is something that I’ve always had inside of me.  I love that I’m in a position to write and perform. It’s my favourite thing in the world!

J: What is your personal inspiration to perform in a band?

R:  To write better music.  That will be my inspiration forever.  I can’t sit still with music.

J:  What band or artist inspired you to begin a musical career?

R:  I don’t remember a certain band being an inspiration for a career.  I never thought of it like that.  Once I got a guitar I stated to write and wanted to learn as much as I could.  From then on music was full time for me.

J: When you were a teenager, who were some of your early influences in music? And what was it about that band or artist you liked?

R:  From the beginning I was drawn to songwriters.  Hendrix was huge for me but you have to remember that underneath his wild playing was always a great song.  That’s what it’s all about.

J:  What kind of jobs have you had in the past that supported your dreams of being a full time musician?

R: Teaching guitar lessons has been the best.  It’s great to turn people on to music.

 

Thank you to the guys in Columbia and also to Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder Records for making this possible.  Join Columbia on tour by checking out the following links to the band:

Band Website

MySpace

Twitter

Fallan Soldier sets sights on the Okanagan


Fallan Soldier. live onstage, 2009. Photo by Jade Sperry

by Jade Sperry, from a press release from Dedication Entertainment

Dedication Entertainment is pleased to announce FALLAN SOLDIER will be touring the Okanagan in March. Joining him on a full bill of “made in BC” hip hop are BASIC VALUE from Kamloops and REPHRAZE from Kelowna.

Basic Value is hosting the show in Kamloops at Pogue Mahone’s on Thursday March 25 all three acts hit the road together for Kelowna to perform at The Habitat Friday March 26 with guests Bitter Rhythm, and from there to Penticton to play Voodoo’s on Saturday March 27.

Fallan Soldier met Basic Value – emcees Stylez J and Adict the Mad Scientist – when he performed last Novermber at Pogue Mahone’s. He became aware Repharaze when he performed at The Media Club in Vancouver in January. “I’m stoked to be coming back to the Okanagan where there’s a vibrant hip hop scene”, said Fallan Soldier, “and I wanted to work with these guys so it just made sense to put something together we could all have some fun with.”

Fallan Soldier ‘s show features songs from his debut album Above The Call of Duty. The album has received praise for its “fresh sound, unique lyrics and hard-hitting beats” and is available at The Art We Are in Kamloops and The Grooveyard in Pentiction. The music video for his single “Fights” is available on his YOUTUBE channel. Fallan Soldier is also known as actor Harris Allan whose numerous credits include series regular “Hunter” on Queer As Fold, and his guest roles on Smallville, The 4400, Masters of Horror, and Cold Squad.

Tour Details are as follows:

Thursday March 25
Pogue Mahone’s, Kamloops BC – Doors at 8pm, show 9pm, No cover, 19+

Friday March 26
Habitat, Kelowna BC – Doors at 7pm, show 9pm, Tickets are $8, ALL AGES SHOW

Saturday March 27
Voodoo’s, Pentiction BC – Doors at 7pm – show 8pm, Tickets are $8 which includes $2 off a beverage of your choice, 19+

For more information or to arrange an interview with any of the artists, please contact:

Dedication Entertainment
Robyn Allan
Email: robyn@robynallan.com
Website: http://www.dedicationentertainment.com

You can find the artists at the following sites:

Fallan Soldier
Basic Value
Rephraze

Come out to support BC hip hop talent! And have fun.

4 song EP Review – Philoceraptor


EP cover, courtesy of the band.

EP Review – Philoceraptor

by Jade Sperry

Philoceraptor is composed of Justin Penney on Guitars, Steve Mann on Guitars, and Phil Jette on drums. They wrote “Grammar” about fifteen minutes into their first jam, according to their My Space page (http://www.myspace.com/philoceraptor).

The four songs on this EP are truly diverse, interesting and leave you wanting more.  This trio of young men remind me of a band from Philly called MewithoutYou.  Hard rocking tunes and raw vocals are evident on the first song “Grammar”.   There is fuzzed guitar feedback and hard-hitting drumbeats assaulting your eardrums with a 4 count break lead into the song itself.  The melodies of this song are bridged and with small tempo changes and I really dig this song.  The vocal work by Steve and Justin is strong and steady and the song on whole could easily be on college radio.  “Learjet” is a song that has a bit of a darker side musically speaking as it is mostly in minor notes.  Well mixed this song is a standout of the four as it is a genderless song.  This is becoming more prevalent within our society as a whole, and Philoceraptor capture that within the lyrics of the song.  “It’s Not Me It’s You” is a good song about self-preservation.  Knowing the difference is what this song is about.  Solid guitar work by both Justin and Steve with Phil giving the song a great backbone.  The final song is called “Advanced” which has good tempo changes several times throughout the song as well as solid work by all three members.  Overall, this EP points to a lot of potential by three young musicians.  I am looking forward to hearing more of Philoceraptor in the future.

You can download the EP for FREE from the band’s My Space page:
My Space Band page

CD Review – Graydon James and the Young Novelists


Graydon James and the Young Novelists live photos from bands' myspace site

Graydon James and the Young Novelists at the Drake Underground January 2010

CD Review – Graydon James and the Young Novelists

By Jade Sperry

This double CD offer titled Good Night was too good to pass up and so I embarked on a musical journey about life from a different perspective. The first song “Country Kids” immediately caught my attention with its infectious melodies and slighty fuzzed guitars. Well written and mixed this song has biting lyrics under the happy music. All 40 songs are for the most part good songs but it could have been a single CD of 12 or 13 really good songs. Another song “It Seems to Happen All the Time” is folksy and whimsical in its melodies. The vocal harmonies really work well with this song. And the acoustic guitar work is solid. All in all when you’ve got the time this outing is worth at least one listen through before making any decisions.

You can find Graydon James and the Young Novelists at their MySpace page

Graydon James and the Young Novelists

They are currently playing the Winterfolk Festival, February 12-15, 2010, at various locations in Toronto, and you can find out more information at this link:

Winterfolk Festival

Sex With Strangers – Show Review


Sex with Strangers, photo by Jade Sperry.

Sex With Strangers Show Review

January 28, 2010 @ The Lamplighter Lounge, Vancouver BC

 by Jade Sperry

 I left work shortly after 8pm to go to Gastown in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The night was pleasant and after having a meal, I went to the Lamplighter Lounge for a live show. I arrived shortly after 9pm, and the first band was on. This venue has recently been renovated, and it is has a great vibe. The sound was pretty good no matter where you were. I wasn’t too sure which band was playing but they were very good. I found later that the band was Lengthy List of Lovers. Great melodies! Shortly after that, Accost were on. This was a band with some teeth. Good vocal work by Chantelle on pretty much every song with synths behind guitars to make a repetitive bass-like sound. Solid showmanship, crowd interaction and total enthusiasm was what this band was about.

 Shortly before Sex With Strangers were to be on, I went to the front of the stage as I wanted to get some really good shots of the band in action. The show was high energy from the first chords to the last dance. A standout for this writer was the great rhythm work by the mysterious Magnus Magnum who hid behind Isabel because of the stage setup with drummer Dallas Archangel. They both laid the road open for frontman Hatch Benedict to act totally unpredictable as he danced with his band onstage and came out to join the masses on the floor. I was really surprised at how well behaved the crowd was in giving space to a photographer at the front. Amazing. Wedge Beavers on guitar was quietly playing himself into a subtle frenzy towards the end of the set, but not before the band had performed “New City Anthem” and as they closed the show out, members of the audience, myself included, got up and danced away the final notes of the gig. With high five’s all around, I would like to give kudos to the band for such a high energy, tripped out and up time at a show.

 I would last like to thank Mark, cheers!, and the door staff at the Lamplighter. You guys should get a raise! You can find all the bands mentioned here in this article at the following links:

Accoust

Lengthy List of Lovers

Sex With Strangers

Supernova.com Band Finals – Vancouver @ Wise Hall Jan 29 2010


Vancouver Supernova Finals, Wise Hall, Vancouver – Jan 29 2010, Show Review

Supernova.com Band Finals

Bridges and Breakdowns

by Jade Sperry

It’s Friday in the rainy city of Vancouver and I’m off to photograph Supernova.com’s Battle of the Bands Finals. I arrived at Wise Hall and met with one of the co-ordinators, Vanessa. I then set about taking test shots of the hall in general to test lighting and shades.

The first act was a solo by Johnny Good. I found that he is a good guitarist and has excellent melodies to his songs. Johnny’s music reminded me of mellow folk music with a bite to the lyrics. I found his voice to be strong and full of emotion. It was definitely a good start to the night.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Johnny Good

The next act, This Means Nothing in Mexico, were a trio of young men probably still in high school. But looks and youth can be deceiving. I found their songs to have really good tempo and chord changes. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, they definitely have a fanbase. I also found them all to be entertaining and their personalities seem to mesh well with being onstage.

Supernova.com Band Finals

This Means Nothing In Mexico

Decognition took the stage next. This was a high energy band with fast guitar riffs and a solid steady rhythm throughout each song of their short set. I also found that they have good stage presence and this will serve them well in the future.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Decognition

High Life Scenery were next. I really got into the music of this band. Even though all the band members are teenagers, I didn’t think that about their music. Solid chord progressions, good melodies and high energy really took the crowd to another level. At first, they seemed surprised by the reaction they received, but then really got into the show. What struck me the most was how polite they were onstage, thanking the crowd for coming out and thanking the Supernova.com people.

Supernova.com Band Finals

High Life Scenery

Red Couch Lounge came on next, and instantly reminded me of of a mix of Rage Against The Machine and Wolfmother. Funky guitar and bass grooves mixed with pop sensibility were the highlight of every song. The young man who played bass blew this writer away with his root chords and just how well he can play a bass. Mind-blowing. This band has excellent rhythm to every song with very good guitar chord progression and melodies. The singer has a very good voice and this band could very easily take it the next level if they chose to.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Red Couch Lounge

The next band that came onstage was Jive Talk. I loved their initial outfits onstage. Pink fur jackets with dark shades on as well as the korean drummer and the police guitarist! I knew that this was going to be a good set just based on that. I was happy to hear that they also have really well placed funky grooves as the bass player was right on the money with every song. This band can pretty much do it all – excellent chord changes and progressions, really fast tempo changes and very high energy onstage is what a band is all about. I really enjoyed a sax player onstage, and this young man can certainly play with the best of them.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Jive Talk

Bridges and Breakdowns hit the stage next with their heavy guitars and solid chord progressions. The singer had a very big personality which really set the crowd off into a frenzy. The crowd really got into this band’s set. As a collective, this band oozes with high energy that you can actually feel. That is hard to get across in any setting but they manged that without much effort. The melodies of the songs are well constructed and each member plays with enthusiasm in each song.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Bridges and Breakdowns

Soldat came on after, and this was a solid band hands down. The singer really knows how to sing and he can push it in any direction he chooses to go into. The drummer hit the skins hard which gave all the songs a fantastic backbone to work from. Add the bass into that and you have a phenomenal rhythm section. The bass player was hard on the strings but that worked well with the hard hitting drummer. Every song had very good chord progressions and the root chord rhythms just worked so well into what the guitarists were doing.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Soldat

The Colombians were a good band but I wondered why they set up their own drums when no other band did that. Regardless, I was surprised by their raw sound. Solid rhythms, good vocal work and high energy made this band sound great. The drummer hit the skins hard and the bass followed the drummer in perfect time. The lead singer has very strong vocal chords and I really got into the sound of his voice. All members had great stage presence, and I liked how this band was encouraging the audience to participate with them.

Supernova.com Band Finals

The Colombians

Next up was the band Columbia. Most bands had a set of 4-5 songs while this band only had 3 songs. Regardless of that, I found that they played extremely well despite a small crowd and short set. Columbia used that small space of time to hit up the crowd with solid guitar chords from Richard and Jason. Each song was played in time and in tune with a lot of energy. This band really has found its members and they all click onstage and off. Columbia’s songs are well executed, well constructed and have a lot to say to everyone. They were happy to be there, and found that their fans who can’t make it into clubs because of age were there and they were interacting with them. That was great to see.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Columbia

At that point, I had been in Wise Hall for just over 6 hours and I really needed to eat some kind of meal. Since they were only selling snack food, I left to get something to eat and call it a night. Although I didn’t speak to most of the bands because of time constraints on photography, I overheard many conversations of the guys in the bands with their friends, and it was all about being excited, playing a set to people who’ve never seen these bands and that was the vibe for most of the evening – EXCITEMENT.

As of this writing, Columbia were the winners of this phase of the contest. I can only wish them well in their future endeavors, and I hope to join their ride with them in their first cross Canada tour starting in March 2010.

And finally, Corina at Supernova.com posted a review of the winners, and you can see a picture of Richard Jacquard from Columbia that I took.  So I would like to say a big thank you to the folks at Supernova.com – Vanessa and Corina in particular.  Cheers!

Supernova.com Band Finals

Supernova.com Band Finals

Interview with Greyawake


After 6 years of playing in a damp basement, writing and then forgetting song after song, Kyle Baker (Vocalist/Guitar) and Tyler Lawson (Guitar) finally decided enough was enough.

They asked long time friend and ex-drummer of the band Nimfo, Matt Waszonek, to take part in a new music project to allow his interlligent and flowing drum beats to be heard outside of the garage.  After working with over half a dozen drummers in the last 6 years, it was a relief to find someone with the talent, dedication and cohesiveness to flow with Kyle and Tyler.

The fourth and final member was a testament to the saying “last but not least”, as bass player Dave Rodgers joined the gang and immediately put his unique spin on the music.

With the four members finally together, the easy part was over.  Now for the music…….

GREYAWAKE, photo by Claire Foster

I had a chance to send some questions to the band to find out some general things as well as ask about their opinions on different subjects.

First off, I wanted to know what was the reasoning behind Kyle and Tyler forming a band and taking it to the next level. They both replied that “there were a lot of really awesome underground bands that we listened to such as Choke, Belvedere and Propahandhi that really rocked our worlds. These bands evoked such powerful emotions that I think we always wanted to have the same effect on people that those bands had on us. We also want to expand the Punk genre of fast, aggressive music to people who normally might not give it a chance.”

This band has that raw and powerful emotion that resonates within the group and shows in their music. I wanted to know what inspires the lyrics to the songs and was it a personal statement or was it something imagined. Kyle answered this question by saying that “the lyrics for the song ‘Know This Tension’ came out as an aggravated, sarcastic view of the things going on in my life that either pissed me off or was troubling me. I try and say things in a way that leaves room for interpretation so anyone can listen to them and find something that relates to their own experiences. This allows me to get things off my chest and really say what’s on my mind, while avoiding a certain vulnerability.”

Getting more into how a young and intelligent band sees the “music industry”, I asked them what their opinions are on the current state of the industry as a whole. They replied that “music has become more accessible over the years and we think it’s great. Not only for the musicians and/or artists who want to promote themselves, but for the listeners as well. Music is so easily accessible through multiple mediums on the internet and this allows for more variety and progression with each genre of music. With a positive side, there’s also a negative side which is how the music scene becomes more diluted which makes it more difficult for listeners to find what they are looking for. With so many bands out there promoting themselves, it’s difficult for the great ones to be noticed.”

With many talented bands out there, how does the lack of media coverage on independent bands and the scene in general affect Greyawake? They replied that “in this genre of music there just isn’t a lot of mainstream coverage, and we knew that beforehand. A lot of bands that we grew up on became shitty as they got more mainstream attention. There are ways to get your foot in the door at the mainstream outlets. They won’t come to you unless you’re a band that is making some big waves in the scene which basically means you have to be making money.”

Coming from Cambridge ON., I wanted to know how the guys felt about the lack of venues in which to play unknown and unheard songs. Cambridge is a smaller city to other more urban areas such as Kitchener and Guelph, and it was no surprise that they responded “in Cambridge there are very few venues that play original music by local talent. We are forced to go to surrounding cities to get any paying gigs. Bar owners also want to ensure that you can bring in enough people to make it worth putting on the show. What this means is that we end up playing a lot of shows with no specific genre and we end up playing for a metal crowd one night and a pop rock crowd the next. And that in turn forces bands in general to not only have a tight set but to also be exceptional performers so that even if the genre isn’t the crowd’s first choice you’re at least entertaining to watch.” I think that they hit on a good point here. In this day and age, not only should you have good tunes but you need to have a “show”. Individual talent within the band is becoming commonplace. Greyawake also add that “these days bands really need to network with other bands that are in the same genre and put together shows themselves. And by doing that you reach more of the listeners that want to hear your music.” This is another good point – self promotion is done by musicians that don’t have a label to do that for them.

When I asked the band about how they would describe their music to someone who has never heard the songs, they answered “we consider ourselves a Progressive Punk band. There is a strong focus on the vocal melodies as well as the technicality of our instrumentation and arrangements.” I also asked the guys about what kind of statement that they’re trying to make, and is there a message of any kind. They find that “Punk music doesn’t have to sound shitty. Musically, we want to melt people’s faces with our chops. There seems to be a stigma about Punk musicians who can’t play their instruments and in many cases this is true. We would really like to change this perception.” With that being said, I believe that they accomplish this goal extremely well.

Finally I asked what were the goals of the band over the next 2 years and where did they see themselves. They replied that “we are really focused on playing shows and promoting our EP but in the future we would like to tour extensively GLOBALLY. We also want to finish writing and recording our first full length album by the end of 2010. We’re all just very excited to play everywhere and anywhere that will have us. We’re ready to put in the work to get our music out there.” They also added that they were in discussion about getting their own line of action figures. That could be an excellent idea, Punk action figures, complete with moving arms and guitars that work!

All in all, Greyawake present a powerful, intelligent and progressive Punk band in their debut EP called KNOW THIS TENSION.