CD Review and Interview – Se7enSided – The Silver Lining


CD Review – Se7enSided – The Silver Lining

Released: May 19, 2009

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Se7enSided the band. Photo by Nicole Ashley Photography.

Se7enSided are an interesting and solid rock band currently residing in Edmonton AB Canada. This is a band that has been together for over 7 years, have shared a stage with the likes of Canadian acts Default and Social Code among others . This is a band that is driven and passionate about their music which is powerful and original. The current members of the band are: Darren Nakonechny (lead vocals/guitar), Graham Bissell (lead guitar/backup vocals), Aaron Hanley (drums) and Jon Squires (bass).

The 10 song CD starts with the song “Break Me Out” which has some tight bass playing that are under the vocals and guitars which gives it a really solid backbone for the melody to float on. Darren’s vocals are sung with passion, Graham’s guitars are choppy and fluid and the drums pull it all together. Lyrically, this song is about a breakup that leaves you feeling that even though its hard to let go, you need to follow your instincts in matters of the heart (I hate goodbyes/but I think its time we’ll say it anyway/I’m letting go). “Watch Me Burn” is a kick ass song that starts out slow and mellow and builds to a solid chorus. The acoustic guitar works so well with Darren’s vocals and the timing of the song is impeccable. Lyrically, this is a song about feeling trapped with one person who may not be the best match for you personally (have you ever felt broken/had your everything/your whole life stolen/ I am running out/out of air). “Your Fool” is in this writer’s opinion the best song on the CD. Musically, its an odd time signature but it works with the vocals very well. The bass break in the song is played really well and is kind of ominous and foreboding. Darren’s vocals are passionate and edgy. Lyrically this song is about being in a relationship in which the other person is making you feel like a total ass (call me a fool/cause I miss you/well its not right/you’re on my mind/you’re off with him/I’m losing again). Another standout song is “Rust”. The melody is very catchy as is the riff. I totally dig the beginning and I like the fluidity of this song above the others. The drumming is superb with timing changes in the bridgework. Lyrically, I love the way the lyrics really speak of being in a “rusty” relationship (hello how are you feeling/when you’re cell phone isn’t ringing/I thought you always had my back/What the hell would ever make me think that).

Se7enSided are currently recording new material which should be out in the near future. In the meantime, you can find the band on their website, Myspace page and watch a video for a live acoustic performance right here:

The band has a couple of shows on December 28 & 29 at The Rose and Crown in Banff, AB where they are headlining. Tickets are $10 at the door and the doors open at 8pm.

I also had the opportunity to interview the band via email, and here is what they had to say about all things Se7enSided….

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

The last year has been extremely busy for us; last March (CFBR) 100.3 The Bear & Astral Media sent us to Canadian Music Week to take part in the RADIOSTAR contest as Regional Finalists for our song “Rust” off our debut album ‘The Silver Lining.’ We met a lot of great people, cool bands and learned a lot about the industry. In July we played at the Kin Slo Pitch Festival in Edson, AB to a crowd of 5000 people opening for Default! We also shared the stage with Soul Side In, and Social Code in the past year as well. We feel as though we have accomplished a lot, and continue to try to do bigger & better things in the future!

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

Currently we are writing and recording pre-production tracks for our upcoming album. We’re just begging the process but it’s definitely exciting to start writing again!
We’re looking into producers, studios, and all that kind of stuff – but it may be a while until you see a new Se7en Sided record on the shelves!

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

So far, the best thing for us was playing with Default at the Kin Slo Pitch Festival in Edson! I mean, 5000 crazy, screaming fans… you can’t go wrong! & they loved us, so it was a great time!!! The worst? We haven’t had horrible luck, but we have shown up to clubs with like 5 people in them and had to play – and been double booked (we were double booked with a burlesque show in Calgary last year haha!!)

How do you see the current state of the Corporate Music Industry in relation to your band? How do you see your band in the big scheme of things (ie/ indie Canadian band) in comparison to counterparts in other countries? How does being an indie band bring the creativity out of yourselves? Do you feel you have to compete for an audience? What’s your take on all of this??

Well as an independent, unsigned band currently we just have to be hopeful. We work extremely hard, practicing and rehearsing countless hours every week, playing as frequently as we can, continually getting better as musicians & song writers and trying to get as many people to hear our music as we can – that is all we can do at this point. Being a Canadian band trying to make it is tough. There are only 32 million people and are all very spread out. Maybe it’s good? Maybe it’s not? It sure makes touring tougher… you need to drive 8 hours a day to get to the next city… sometimes longer! Who likes 15 hour drives? If we were in the UK there would be the same number of people in the size of Alberta… you could tour it easily! So you really have to make your music something great, as well as the live show. You have to be noticeable enough that people on the other side of the country are like “I wanna see these guys! I wanna buy their record!” But as long as you play good music and give it all you got, people respond to it and that’s all that counts.

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?

It’s sort of a yes/no answer. We certainly try to put our music out in every way we can; whether that’s building up a fan base online (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Etc.) or playing live as often, and in as many places as possible. We also have our songs on a number of radio stations across Canada. Just in Edmonton alone, we’ve received high rotation on 100.3 The Bear for our song “Rust” and on 102.3 NOW radio for our singles “It’s Over” & “Face Yourself.” All of this has come through hard work and perseverance, but if we were signed or had higher connections success would be much easier. You can’t make someone listen to your music, but you can definitely try!

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

A musical experience that can only be appreciated by heading down to your local HMV or hitting up iTunes, or Amazon and grabbing a copy yourself.

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

Darren (lead vocals/rhythm guitar) usually writes the skeletons of the songs, and then brings them to the band and we flesh them out there. Whether it needs some lyrics or just musical parts or whatever, we figure a lot of stuff out as a band and just try stuff until it works and feels good. We all come from very different backgrounds literally and in terms of what we listen to musically. So it’s great to have a bunch of different ideas flying around – it keeps things interesting!

How did you come up with the band name?

It’s a question we seem to get asked all the time. Although we get this question on a regular basis its always been the same simple answer…. a seven sided figure is a unique an uncommon shape, we like to believe this is very true with our music as well. As a seven sided shape does exist (Heptagon), so does our distinct, original, diverse style of modern rock music.

What is your opinion on the current state of the Edmonton music scene? Do you feel that there are enough venues for bands to book club shows, or, do you feel that there is too much competition for the club slots? What’s your experience with this issue?

There are a number of great venues in Edmonton and it’s got a great scene! If you play good music, people will like you – if people like you, places will book you. That’s my impression of it, and it seems to be working for us. There are great bands on the scene as well, and when you can hook up with two or three other bands and get a real bill going it’s a lot of fun!

CD Review – My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys


CD Review – My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Release date: Monday November 22, 2010 (Canada and US)

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

CD Cover.

It’s been four years since My Chemical Romance brought out The Black Parade. Since then, many things have changed for this band – relocating to LA, marriages, member changes, children, dogs and a much needed recharging of the batteries. Their newest offering of 15 songs are well crafted, imaginative, mature and artistic in ways that mirror a comic book that has a Mad Max/Thunderdome kind-of-feel to it. To be honest, I thought I wouldn’t like this record but I found myself liking it more and more as I played it over and over in my iPhone while working my hospital job. And I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised. I hear a lot of influences in all the songs including Abba-like piano/synths chord structures and MSI-like lyrical structure and vocal performances by Gerard Way on the song NA NA NA (NA NA NA…..). I can also hear other influences such as MC5, The Stooges, Metallica and The Beatles (with the more psychedelic aspects of certain melodies). If you think about each of these bands mentioned, you get some idea of how versatile these songs are. I really dig “Party Poison” that begins with Japanese spoken word in a slightly hostile female voice and the punked out chord structures and vocals which has a Ramones feel to it. “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back” begins with Metallica-like drums for the first 30 seconds or so and Gerard’s vocals are performed really well with an edge to it that I’ve never heard before. And the bridge is downright creepy musically and the growl in the vocals is pretty obvious. And of course, you can’t go wrong with having mofo in there too. “Scarecrow” is one of the better tracks on this CD. Sounding vaguely like The Beatles or the 90’s Canadian band The Tea Party with psychedelic touches on the vocals in particular. “Summertime” has a real pop rock sense musically to it and I also get the feeling this is a song that Gerard has special ties to (When the lights go out/will you take me with you/the highways I call home/with your lip gloss smile). I like the guitars in the bridgework as they are understated but stand out in the melodic rhythm of the song itself. “Destroya” reminds me of Rage Against The Machine at its peak with a bit of awkward rapping and is musically interesting in its rhythm, vocal work, guitar work by both Ray and Frank and some awesome root chord bass structure by Mikey. “Vampire Money” is so crazy, you just have to get up and dance to it. A catchy hook in the melodies that just suck you in, smoking hot guitars in the bridgework and vocals that sing of being a movie star, acting out of control and being on the edge.

The videos have imagery that is comic book like in its look.  Here is the official video for “Sing”.

Overall, this is a strong musical return by this band. Welcome back from The Black Parade. I would highly recommend this CD to all the people who don’t like this band. Because this CD takes the band in a more artistically musical direction that will appeal to pretty much anyone who likes hard biting rock and roll with a sprinkle of maturity and a touch of madness.

You can pre-order the CD in Canada on iTunes here and you can find the band at their website. Currently, the band is on tour and you can check out the dates here.

CD Review – Decade Of Sleep – Self-titled


Cd Review – Decade of Sleep – Self-titled

Release date: November/December 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

CD cover for the self titled Decade Of Sleep CD.

Decade Of Sleep reside in the busy city of Toronto ON. Back in 2009, I interviewed lead singer Phil Laffin (lead vocals) about their first EP release, Morning Sun. At that time, I knew this band had what it takes musically to go global. And this self-titled CD of 11 new songs just reaffirms this first impression. Rounding out the band is Lance Schibler (guitars), Eric Walker (bass/backing vocals) who plays lead guitar on “Dog” and Mat Pataki (drums/percussion/backing vocals). This foursome have a lot of talent packed into the genetics of the band – they produced this CD on their own and also have engineering credits as well (Lance and Mat).

The lead off song “Sympathy” is a jazzy/rocking tune especially with Lance’s guitar and Eric’s bass locking into each other immediately. Then we have Phil’s powerful voice belting out the lyrics while Mat plays his kit with all the right cymbals and high hats. The break in the bridge work is stellar and overall these guys play so well together that it comes across to the listener effortlessly. Lyrically, this song is about relaxing, forgiveness and just going with whatever life is dishing out – and dance while showing some sympathy towards others. The video for this song is interesting in its visual of the band in action. “Northern Lights” is musically more pop rock oriented that shows the lighter side of the band. Lyrically, Phil and Lance write great lyrics (is there something out here anywhere/that can save us from our disrepair). Having never seen the Northern Lights with my own eyes, I’m sure Phil has and maybe Lance too but I get a vision of what that looks like from this song. It speaks too of leaving it all behind for something better. “Fool Heart” has great drumming and bass work, “Lovers” has some of the best vocal work I’ve heard in a long while as well as some under-stated guitar work layered under Phil’s vocals and “Dog” is just so … dirty, but in a good way. The guitars from Eric are just so well suited to the song which has a definite Soundgarden/Pearl Jam feel to it. Every song on this CD is well written, constructed, executed and performed to almost utter perfection. This writer’s favorite song is “Corinna” based on the music, the lyrics (come on corinna/show me you want it/show me everything/dance for your dinner/sing for your supper/be my beauty queen) and the whole performance of the song by all four members. All songs are standouts in their own ways. It’s just a pleasure to listen to this music. Jazz, rock, country, fushion jazz and progressive rock is in every single song. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who is a music fan of edgy, powerful and dangerous music from a talented foursome. This band is a force to reckoned with.

Decade of Sleep has a CD release show coming up on December 2 at The Rivoli in Toronto. And the CD can be bought on iTunes or directly through Tangent North Music. You can also find the band at their website and on MySpace.

 

CD Review – The Quiet Kids – Serious Lovers


CD Review – The Quiet Kids – Serious Lovers

Released: April 2010/Unsigned Indie Band

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

 

CD Cover for "Serious Lovers".

 

Vancouver’s The Quiet Kids are making some real waves in the Vancouver Indie music scene. They formed the band just last year (2009) and have recorded and released their debut 11 song collection called Serious Lovers. The members are Jay Hosking (vocals/keys/guitar), Ronnie Ellis (guitar/vocals), Mike Bowd (bass) and Geoffrey Stratton (drums). This band is totally original in its music but could be compared to bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle and maybe The Killers. But, I stress that The Quiet Kids only mildly sound like these bands.

 

Starting out with “Fugue State”, this song makes you want to jump up and get moving in a good way. Musically there is a great amount of tension in this song (as all the songs on the CD have this same kind of tension) that makes for a high strung feeling throughout the song and CD. Great drumming and vocals make this song a good choice to open the CD with, and there is some fine bass work with root chords that are just outstanding. Lyrically, this song speaks of isolation, paranoia and of moving away to find better things to come after being through the wringer, so to speak. “Her Euology” starts out in a kind of Devo-ish way but quickly changes to an original song. Musically, its a fast paced song which has that tension as well as anger in the chord structure. Lyrically, speaking of funerals and asking “what the fuck is your problem” and “nothing ever happens” can be taken in many ways by different people. The fourth song “Instrument” is a bit more on the slower side but has biting tension in not only the music but in the lyrics as well. For this writer “The Party” is the most original song on the CD. Starting with trippy keyboards that go back and forth fast this song utilizes many instrumental melodies, off key chord structures and all instruments played by the band are used in unusual ways. Lyrically this song speaks of wanting to be with a person or group of people you haven’t seen in a while. Other standout songs are “The List” which has a sombre sad feel musically to it; and “’Til Then” which is a lovely ballad sung well and played acoustically. Brilliant! This song is also the longest at 4:15 on the CD.

 

I highly recommend this CD to anyone that likes harder edged music that is original and really doesn’t resemble any band that I’ve ever heard to date.

 

The Quiet Kids are playing some shows in the Vancouver area over the next several months with more dates to be added. You can check out their MYSPACE page which has other links to other pages. If you’d like to purchase a copy of the CD, you can contact the band directly at the following email address:

 

quiet.kids.vancouver@gmail.com

 

Upcoming shows:

 

19 November – Pat’s Pub w/ AK-747’s, Wizerds and Vincent Parker

18 December – The Forum w/ Bangarang, Oh No Yoko!, DJ Fratkid and Junior

 

9 March 2011 – The Forum for Push The Amp 2011 Battle of the Bands (the money you pay for the tickets purchased through the band goes directly to the band so contact them through email for tickets)

CD review – Henry and the Nightcrawlers – 100 Blows


CD Review – Henry and the Nightcrawlers

Released: November 1, 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

CD cover for 100 Blows. Photo by Henry Alcock-White.

Henry and the Nightcrawlers band members read like an all-star line-up from some of the best indie bands in BC at this time – The Zolas (Zachary Gray and Tom Dobrzanski), We Are The City (Andy Huculiak and Cayne MacKenzie) and Said The Whale (Peter Carruthers). Leading the band is Henry Alcock-White (The Zolas and formerly of Bend Sinister) who takes this talented group into this riveting collection of songs called 100 Blows, the debut and birth of Henry and the Nightcrawlers. One thing that should be said about this 10 song CD is that this is a journey of two people and how each affects the other.

Having said that, the title song “100 Blows” opens with quirky upbeat drums and weirdly off-key backing vocals which set the stage for this unusual and likeable song. Laid back guitars and a good mix of lead and backing vocals make this an interesting song musically. Lyrically, this song speaks of pain (the pain that you feel and the way in which it burns) and of life’s hard knocks (trying to start a fire without a match/rocking your kayak forth and back). “The Fucking” is a song in ¾ time and is a favorite of this writer. It speaks of wonder, waiting and not wanting to be fucked with because that game is old (it’s better to be fucked than to do the fucking/so don’t fuck with me I won’t play that game). Musically, the guitar solo is pure blues and works well with the keys in the background and the vocal work by Henry is superb – a bit angry, a bit sad and speaking your mind about how you really feel. “The Fight (La Luncha)” musically reminds me of cabaret-style music (much like The Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer) mixed with blues done in 2/4 time which builds with consistency through the song like mountains and valleys. Lyrically, its about seeing through bullshit basically and this song ends strong with a chorus of voices chanting “La Luncha”. Well done! Other standout songs are “Fan the Flames” which is about painful memories of a past relationship (some things are never forgotten/some loves should never have happened) which is also musically appealing; “On a Week Night” is the longest song which musically is up-tempo and upbeat and moves fluidly but has biting lyrics (it’s kind of like love/with a lot of self-destruction/my head is getting heavy/my head is deconstructing). The musical breaks in this song are interesting and original. Musically the song, as well as life for the singer, is chaotic. For this writer, the best on the CD is “Amberly”. So many influences are heard in this one song. The vocals work so well with the music it sounds like magic in many ways. The musicianship is very fluid and all members are on the same page with this song as well as all the songs in this eclectic band.

If you are in the Vancouver area, Henry Alcock-White will be on CiTR on Tuesday November 23 from 11am – 1pm where he will play acoustic versions of some songs from 100 Blows and be interviewed about the CD itself.

You can buy this CD on CD Baby and iTunes.

Upcoming shows for Henry and the Nightcrawlers:

13 Nov 2010 – Music Trader, Winnipeg MB @ 14:00 (2pm)

13 Nov 2010 – The Park Theatre, Winnipeg MB @ 20:00 (8pm) w/ The Liptonians

15 Nov 2010 – The Slice, Lethbridge AB @ 20:00 (8pm)

17 Nov 2010 – The Central, Fernie BC @ 21:00 (9pm)

19 Nov 2010 – TBA, Kelowna BC @ 20:00 (8pm)

27 Nov 2010 – The Billy Bishop Legion Hall, Vancouver BC @ 20:00 (8pm)

Tickets for the Vancouver show will be on sale through Zulu Records soon.

CD Review – Lola Spriggs – Nobody But You


CD Review – Lola Spriggs – Nobody But You

Released: January 2010 Canada, February 2010 US

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Lola Spriggs is a native of Montreal Quebec Canada but started her career in trendy Ottawa nightclubs. She has 3 previous releases under her belt with 2004’s mini CD Expressed, 2005’s Lifescrapes, and 2008’s Barefoot. Lola’s collection of all original songs over the years is extensive and they have received regular play on radio stations in Canada and the US. Her career includes stints in regional favourites The Republic and fronting Rough Edges as 2 good examples. She has also been nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media award in the Adult Contemporary/AAA categroy for her breakthrough US single “Nobody But You”. Lola is the only Canadian nominee in this category. The nominated song was co-written by internationally acclaimed platinum producer Marcus Kane (Snow, Xquisite, GQ).

Lola’s newest offering is a six song collection called Nobody But You which was released in January 2010 in Canada (and in February in the US). Lola has original, fresh and vibrant music that has great pop sensibilities, good hooks and melodies that have a flow and ebb all their own. First up is the very pop oriented song “I Wanna Love You”. This song is so catchy it flows smoothly like Jack Daniels over ice on a hot summer day. Original melodies and good chord structure in blues, this song is worth the price of the whole CD. “Nobody But You” is the song Lola has been nominated for with HMMA. On the slow side in a good time signature, this song evokes passion and and a sense of longing for what you’re looking for in love or in friendship. Well written, well performed vocally and musically, this song stands head and shoulders above the other 5 songs on this CD. The other standout song for this writer is “The Game” which has a rock edge to it. This song is structured differently in a rock sense as opposed to a pop sense. Good hooks, a great melody and stellar vocal performance from Lola makes me wonder what she will do next in her career. I’m looking forward to what she does in the future.

You can find Lola Spriggs on her MYSPACE page as well as her WEBSITE.

CD Review – Exit 451 – The Sea Above The Sky


CD Review – Exit 451 – The Sea Above The Sky

Released: 19 October 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Album cover for Exit 451's The Sea Above The Sky.

The dynamic Montreal trio of Alain Avon (guitars, piano, keyboards and backing vox), Martin Avon (bass, arrangements and backing vox) and JP Alepins (lead vox, backing vox, lyrics, Kaoss Pad and piano) have released a stunningly beautiful package of music to the masses. Beginning with the haunting “You Exist”, this is a song that has tripped-out melodies and chord structures which give it a magical quality in its overall sound. The meaning behind the song for this writer is about freeing yourself from the chains of life you create around you (you can leave it all/set yourself free/you can leave it all/and follow your feeling). Following this is title song “Where The Sea Meets The Sky” which has great drumming, good vocal work overall, flowing melodies and chord structure. The meaning of the song for this writer is lost love and regrets (now that you’re gone/where the sea meets the sky/will you ever come back to me?). The inspired “Morning Star” has tripped out funky reggae beats in a slower time signature but is strongly reggae influenced in its chord structure. Unusual for a song but it works in this one. Other standout songs are “Face Of Maya”, the slower ballad “Somewhere In The Ocean” and another reggae-influenced “The One” which could be about several things that came to mind upon the first listen.

The band Exit 451 has been nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award (HMMA). The Award show is on November 18, 2010 at The Highlands which is located in the Kodak Theater complex in Hollywood CA. Their nomination is for the song “Where The Sea Meets The Sky” and their US tour is starting in January 2011.

The CD was recorded in Montreal Quebec Canada at The 451 Recording house Inc., produced and mixed by Mark Howard with drums, percussions and Kaoss Pad by Steve Nistor, and mastered by Gavin & Reuben at Lurssen Mastering.

You can find the band here on their MySpace page as well as here for the band’s bilingual webpage.

CD review and interview with…David Vertesi


CD review – David Vertesi – Cardiography

Release date: Tuesday October 26, 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Cover for David Vertesi's solo CD Cardiography.

David Vertesi is well known for having been part of the Vancouver indie pop group Hey Ocean!. He has just completed his first solo album, Cardiography, which is a diamond in the rough that sparkles with its beckoning intensity. Starting out with the song “Mountainside” with its fuzzed out feedback, bird-like chirps and prominent bass line, David’s beautiful baritone voice sings of sincerity to the point of being self painful (love’s a mountainside/that I wish I could climb/your love is a stormy sea). Following that song is “Gentlemen Say”, a poignant song about how love can be confusing without communication. David’s vocals in some way remind me of Leonard Cohen in this song in particular – how he can tell a story through songs and get the emotional output across to the listener. The title song “Cardiography” is an upbeat, up tempo song that musically sounds almost happy in a forlorn way. The acoustic guitar is absolutely spot on in this song. Although musically the songs on this CD are simple in their melody and chord structures, they are effective in their subtle charm. Many different instruments were used in the songs which give the CD a good overall structure and versatility. Lyrically, David can weave emotions vocally through each song in a style that is his own. Other stand out songs are “Learn To Run”, “Rossland” and “Soft Skin”. This is a very refreshing and original start to his own solo career with this collection of 11 songs.

The CD will be available starting on Tuesday October 26 and you can order it at File Under:Music.

On a bright Wednesday morning, I met up with David Vertesi at an East Vancouver location in mid-October to discuss his new album Cardiography which is being released on Tuesday October 26. It was an insightful interview into David’s background with music and family and what led to making this album of his original music. Here is the interview in a Q&A format with an album review following:

Jade: So let’s discuss the first song “Mountainside” – who’s female voice is backing you up?

David: All the female vocals on the record were done by Hannah Georgas. There are four songs that she helps me out on which are “Mountainside”, “Gentlemen Say”, “All Night All Night All Night” and “Epilogue”. I went back and forth between having multiple female singers versus just one female singer and in the end, I wanted Hannah’s vocals. She is a close, close friend of mine and I really love her voice. She’s very easy to work with; she comes in, goes with it and figures it out.

Jade: How did you come up with the music and lyrics for “Mountainside”?

David: This is one of the last songs that made it to the record. I wrote this song around my break-up and around a book I was given in that same time period by Eric Fromme called “The Art of Loving”. It was written in the 1950’s in response to Freud and his concept of love. The reason I like this book is because it discusses different views and levels on love between friends and family and also speaks of sexual love between people. It was an incredibly inspiring book to read but also really intense and dark too. Academically, when you read a line that states “Love is more a reflection of how alone we are than how much we really love that other person”… that is a really intense thing to read! My entire record is conceptual and meant to tackle the idea of love. Love is more than one dimension. There are some songs on my album that are about young love, others about devastating heartbreak … and there are other songs that fall somewhere in between. With “Mountainside” (and the entire album), I wanted to write about myself and try to understand this concept of love. The whole album is about me and the journey that I’m on. I wanted to start the record with talking about who I am. And that idea was inspired by Gene Simmons. He was the one who said that you should introduce yourself before you play music.

Jade: I like the way that by introducing yourself on this record it comes across in your music to the listener. Within the first three songs, I got a really good impression of who you are as a person in regards to what you’re doing as an artist. I think that a lot of people can relate to what you’re talking about. You’re record is original and fresh and can crossover to other genres (jazz, folk, etc,.).

David: I really believe as an artist in the “Universal Experience” at this point in time. I’ve just been through some really intense times in my personal life and part of this record is about that. The more personal you are in your music and art the more you’ll speak to people. I’m blown away that some people are relating to what I wrote about in so many different ways!

David Vertesi (left) and David Joseph (right, from By Divine Right) plays songs from the CD Cardiography. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: On this record, you have a friend helping you out from The Zolas – Tom Dobrzanski and also Adian Knight. What was it like to bring them into the project and work with them?

David: The Zolas are good friends of mine, yes. Tom Dobrzanski plays keys in The Zolas and he has his own studio in town (Vertical Studios). Tom has had studios in basements as long as I can remember and he’s worked on every Hey Ocean! project. He works a lot with indie bands. I went and worked with Jose Miguel Contreras in Ontario on Cardiography and when I got home, it wasn’t quite finished and I needed to get it done. A lot of the strings, horns, piano and Hannah’s vocals were done in my parents living room. Tom brought in extra gear, and Adian came into the project because I really trust his opinion because I like his music. Adian is great to bounce ideas off of. I knew that I could turn to him at any point and say “Is this a stupid idea?” and I would always get an honest answer.

Jade: How did the song “Gentlemen Say” come about? I think that’s the best song on the album.

David: Thank you! Well, this is one of those songs that literally happened, it’s a true story …

Jade: Really? Well, the lyrics are awesome!

David: (laughing) Yeah, it was something that happened, and then I went home and wrote about it. I write the music first and the lyrics followed. It just came together. How I write music is I write a bit of music, then some lyrics, more music and the music takes the song in a certain direction so the lyrics then follow. Actually, my friend Shad has influenced me in how I write in some ways. He’s a good friend. Hannah is also a good friend of Shad’s. Shad learned how to play guitar that had 4 strings. One string was missing. But the guitar was in the house, so he just picked it up and took it on. So when he writes a song now on a guitar, he gets these quirky riffs and this is how he has influenced me. So getting back to the song, this is about that game of getting tired of the game. It’s like a dog eat dog thing. Do I hurt you before you hurt me? Should get my guard up? When I played it for Hannah, she laughed her face off! We have our moments….(lots of laughter)…she’s on tour right now actually.

Jade: Yes I saw on her website that’s she’s somewhere out east….having fun no doubt (more laughter)…One song on the record “Learn To Run” has a really slow build for about three and a half minutes when suddenly the music just explodes within the song – how did this song come to fruition? The tension in the song is mind-blowing really…

David: Yeah, I like to record music and be open to what’s going on in the moment and sculpt a song – I don’t like forcing anything in music, it never works if you do that. It was always meant to build like that. The middle wasn’t quite supposed to be that way, but we pulled out the guitars and it just sounded so great. Jose said that I was lucky to be in a position in any song to be open enough to let the moment happen. And this is such a personal song. For me, this song turned out the way I wanted it to.

David Vertesi (left) and David Joseph (right, from By Divine Right) play songs from the CD Cardiography. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: In the song “Cardiography” is that you playing the guitar part in the middle of the song? It’s such an uptempo, funky piece of music …

David: Yes that’s me. It was planned that way. Sort of. My philosophy with making music is that I want to make teenagers cry and older people dance. (we both break out laughing) If you make older people dance, everyone is dancing. I love the shoulder shimy too. Kind of fun with contrast. If you make people dance and get emotional it’s good.

Jade: A lot of people are saying that Hey Ocean! are no more, that you’ve left the band to do this album. Is this true?

David: No. Hey Ocean! is still a band but we haven’t done anything in a while. We’re going on tour next month (November 2010). So when my album comes out, I’ll be on tour with Hey Ocean! and not with myself (laughter from David). I’m actually producing the next Hey Ocean! record.

Jade: So you’ll have producer credits as well.

David: Yeah. But, with Cardiography … I’ve been writing music since I was twelve years old and I did try to write a previous album but it fell by the wayside. The oldest song on this record is about 3 years old. I started writing a lot of love songs but at some point, I just wanted to write about different things – not love. I got into Hayden and other people’s music. Then I went through this break-up. I went to a friend who said “Instead of fighting it, why don’t you do it on purpose, write love songs and make an album about it?”. This is more about the journey than just a break-up album for me.

Jade: Yeah, when I was listening to the album, I felt like I was walking a path with you, because I could relate to what you were singing about.

David: Thanks. That was my intention.

Jade: One of the many people who follow my blogs sent me a question to ask you – what is the Topless Gay Love Tekno Party about?

David: Alright! This is such a joy for me. It’s a band that I play in that’s totally crazy, it’s a great release for me and it’s garage synth dance music! I wear a full body spandex suit! It’s all performance based. The music is great too. Michael Schindler and Donne Torr started this about a year ago, looking for musicians to play bass and drums … so they recruited myself and the former drummer for Hey Ocean! Benny Schutze. We just played a show this past Saturday – and that was nuts! It was totally packed, I was playing bass lying on my back in the middle of the floor with the crowd around me … and I’m wearing spandex pants, no shirt and space boots … (lots of laughter)…the lyrics to the songs are so over the top and it just goes….(more laughter), we also did crowd surfing and the place was packed! (@ The Media Club).   This is why I do music – this is how I express myself and exist. Hey Ocean! is about musicianship and writing music and progressing as a band; my own music is about expressing things that I feel, and with Topless, it’s about release; getting crazy and having fun. Different outlets to express different things all within the realm of music. When you tour for 5 years of serious music you just need to blow off steam. I just love it all.

Jade: What personal goals have you accomplished this year and what goals are you setting for yourself for the next year? I know some musicians don’t set goals…

David: Actually I do set goals. Before last year I wanted to record 4 albums. And I’ve done 3. I did mine, I’m in the process of recording with Hey Ocean! (which should be done this winter) and recorded with Topless. And I’m happy with that. As for goals for this upcoming year, I’d like to do a lot more producing.

Jade: Do you like producing better than playing the music?

David: Producing is just totally different. I love to produce. Translating music into a recorded form is just a beautiful art form. With Hey Ocean! I’ve gotten to work with bigger name producers and I’ve learned a lot. Doing more mainstream producing as well as independent producing – I mean, I recorded my album in a barn out in the woods with Jose, living with his family … it was crazy and I definitely learned a LOT. I feel like I have a lot to bring to the table and I love music. With this record, my goal was to introduce myself to the industry. I’ve been around, I’ve done a lot, but because I’m the bass player in a band with an amazing vocalist (Ashleigh Ball), I tend to get overlooked. I’m an integral part of the musical process of Hey Ocean!. I just wanted my voice out there telling people where I’m coming from.

Jade: How was the whole recording process with Jose, and how was sharing producing credits?

David: I loved it. I never could have done this without Jose. I really couldn’t afford to go to Toronto but I decided in the end to do this with Jose. There are a few producers in Vancouver, but I just couldn’t see myself doing this with anyone else. We have great chemistry and there is a dynamic element there between us that I liked. He’s someone who believes in the “experience” of recording which translates to the record. I needed someone whose palate I trusted but at the same time who wasn’t going to force anything on me. I like to experiment and feel my way through the music and I wanted someone to guide me and bring that side of me out. Enhancing that experience! There is so much on the record that is recorded weirdly. I play drums on the record – and I don’t play drums at all. I took a kick drum and propped it up …then I took a snare drum in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and I just went for it! You don’t hear any cymbals on the record except for two songs. And that was me later just adding the cymbals in! I don’t know of any other producers that puts up with that kind of thing. Jose is always talking about the “vibe” and he also gets into the idea of “it sounds like something”. He’s a very positive and supportive man. He is an underrated talented man. And he has so much patience!

Jade: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard of you or the bands you’re in?

David: It’s very personal music. I like the term “new-folk”, modern folk music, not based in roots. Music for the people. I use synths in an organic way, not a “Devo” way. Adian Knight has that same kind of music. New modern indie folk…..

Jade: What’s your take on the Vancouver music scene in general?

David: I think it’s a weird place because it’s so removed from the rest of country. You have to drive a while to get somewhere to play a show. In Ontario it’s not so removed. So that element makes Vancouver interesting. I personally feel that there is a vibrant scene here. It’s an amazing scene and it’s growing. I like watching it grow. I had a conversation with Ryan (vocalist/guitarist for Mother Mother) and drinking wine and playing songs and going to see his band at The Marine Club … and playing at The Fairview with Dan Mangan! And looking at these bands and people now….wow. It’s amazing. There is so many great young bands like We Are The City and The Zolas … people don’t realize how young these guys are! Said The Whale have only been on the scene about 3 years! So yeah in the next 5 years … who knows where it could go? We could be the new Montreal … well maybe not so much Montreal but …

Jade: You know, it’s funny you say that but a few years ago, I interviewed Patrick Krief (The Dears, Black Diamond Bay) who said that Montreal and Vancouver have a common musical link ….

David: He’s right. I think there’s also an element of commonality between Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We are the third largest city in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal. One thing is that there is a sound here just like in Montreal and Toronto which is just blossoming right now. The only problem is that there is no support structure for young bands starting. It just structure isn’t there. Art groups focus on artists, not music. Factor is federal funding which can be difficult to obtain. Factor is based in Ontario and there could be a bias there for other bands in other provinces. In BC there should be a fund of some kind to support regional artists to national artists. I think one of the worst things in not having all ages venues. Kids in bands have no where to play. Oscar Wroz in Kamloops let us stay at his house after Hannah and I had played in a music school that was weirdly shaped. Lots of people came, Collen Brown, Hannah Georgas and I played then Oscar’s band played. Then we went back to his Dad’s house and there were rooms for all of us…..he shouldn’t have to do that, there should be something else in place to support what Oscar did. There are just so many ways to do things…

Jade: You’re very passionate about this….

David: Yes! I truly believe in this.

Jade: If you ever need help with this I would like to help out.

David: Thanks, I think I’ll take you up on that.

Jade: Yeah, I will publicize this for you big time! (laughter)

David: Cool.

David Vertesi plays songs from his new CD Cardiography to a full house @ The Media Club Vancouver. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: What motivates/inspires/drives you to create music?

David: I’ve been making music since I was really young. My family is very musical. I took singing lessons until my voice changed when I was about 12. I was in the choir in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” with Donny Osmond! I was Pink, that was my colour, Pink. Then, I wanted to be a hockey player at some point. I never thought about making music. At all. My mom taught me the ukulele when I was eight or nine. Shredding on uke! Then I tried to play guitar and I just couldn’t get it. So I gave up. Then my older brother started playing guitar and that was it. I had to learn the guitar. It was that little brother thing. If he could do it, I could too. I wanted to impress girls with my guitar skills. I was in Sooke that summer and my brother taught me Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here”, and within 2 months I was writing like crazy! I started grade eight that year. My parents were always supportive of my music, but wanted me to stay in school. I went to Mount Allison and was in a band and did fund raisers for Cancer. I left after 2 years, came home and met David and Ashleigh and yeah the rest is history. I thought I was just going to work in the Industry and thought that I wasn’t good enough to work in music with a band. Inspirations have changed over time. It started with girls…

Jade: (lol) It usually does with most men.

David: Yeah. Well the album is about girls….and other things….

Jade: I heard that! (laughter)

David: Thanks for doing this Jade.

Jade: You’re welcome. And thank you for this interview. I know a lot of people are really excited about this. They want to see what music you do outside of Hey Ocean!.

David: I just hope people check out the record, come to the shows and HEAR the music, not just listen to it.

David Vertesi Show Review – The Media Club Vancouver BC


Show Review – David Vertesi

The Media Club, Vancouver BC

Friday October 15, 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

It was a cool night here in Vancouver as my friend Denis and I made our way to The Media Club to check out 3 Canadian bands – David Vertesi of the brilliant indie band Hey Ocean! whose debut solo CD Cardiography is set to be released on October 26, Vancouver band Run River and Edmonton artist Northcote (formerly of Means and The Emerson Letters) who debut EP Borrowed Chords, Tired Eyes has done well in Canada.

I was there specifically to cover David Vertesi’s show and although we arrived a bit late, the club was in fine form with many people there for David’s show. Shortly after getting a beer and drinking that down, David started his 45 minute set with “Gentlemen Say” which is the second song on his upcoming CD. As I began taking photos of him onstage, I noticed that the 100+ people were really into his songs from the first notes he strummed on his acoustic guitar. About 50 people began approaching the stage and sat down on the floor to enjoy themselves and listen to some fine music.

 

David Vertesi (left) and David Joseph (right). Photo by Jade Sperry

 

To start with, David is very musically inclined and really knows how to tell a story within a song. At times, the crowd clapped and got into the songs, but at all times people were listening to the songs. That is a high compliment from any crowd. He was joined onstage with a keytar and David Joseph (from By Divine Right) to accompany him with his songs. Every song was performed well and these two guys played flawlessly together. David’s storytelling within a song really reminded me of three artists whose elements I find in David’s music, especially live – Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Sid Barrett (of the early incarnation of Pink Floyd). With his deep baritone voice, David could mesmerize anyone. He sang “Mountainside” and “Jolene” with the raw emotions of pain and confusion and powerful vocals mixed into the songs. David ended his set with the song “All Night All Night All Night” which got a loud round of applause, whistles and shouting from the crowd. I managed to capture that final song on video which turned out very well. With that brilliant start to the night by David, the stage was set for the other two bands performing.

 

The crowd at The Media Club enjoy David's show. Photo by Jade Sperry.

 

Vancouver band Run River came onstage afterwards. I wasn’t familiar with their music, but I really enjoyed their songs and how they performed generally speaking. In many of their melodies and some chord structures, they remind me of Radiohead but with their own stamp on it. I did manage to get up and dance a bit and had some fun.

Northcote was the last and headlining artist on the bill and although I’m not familiar with Americana Folk/Roots music, I totally enjoyed his full sound with other musicians backing him from the previous band Run River. I thought they all played well together, and for this writer, I enjoyed the fact that different band members played with other musicians on the same bill. That is the spirit of the independent music in a vibrant scene such as Vancouver.

As I left the venue, I had and still have the vague feeling that something is brewing out here in the city of Vancouver, musically speaking. And I will wait and see if that feeling comes to fruition in the near future.

Interview with singer/songwriter Jeremy Allingham of Like A Martyr


Like A Martyr
Interview with singer/songwriter Jeremy Allingham

by Jade Sperry/JadedPhotography

On a bright Friday morning, I met up with Jeremy at an East Vancouver location that I used to live nearby. I had forgotten how good the sweet East Indian coffees are in this place. Jeremy was the only customer in the place at the time I arrived, but as we talked about the album that Jeremy’s band Like A Martyr has just released, As Long As You Don’t Get Caught, the place was full of customers in no time.

Here is how the interview went in a question and answer format:

Jade: How did the song “Calloused Hand By Calloused Hand” come about?

Jeremy: This song was written with one of our old drummers in a jam space called Alley Cat Music on Clark Street. Ben (Henthorne, lead guitar) came in with the opening riff idea and that was it. We knew it was going to be solid pretty quickly and within 20 minutes the music was done. We built it off that one riff. Strong melody, good chorus, and the insistent drum beat. Kind of a dark song but it has the juxtaposition of that uplifting chorus. That’s why I like it.

Jade: What about the song “Rock and Roll Made Me Do It”, who came up with the groove for that?

Jeremy: I actually wrote this. When I write a riff, I feel like I have a bit of leeway to go further with the arrangement because I do write most of the melodies and the lyrics. This song was pretty much fully done except for the backing vocals. Matt (Denny-Keys, bass) and Ben are absolute ace singers – technically better than me. They just know what the harmony is and how to vocally pull it out. We had all the lyrics and the riff and once that drum beat and the pickup with the vocal were added, it just cooked. And then the three part harmony and the chorus came, what a gearshift! Based on jamming this song, we really liked it.

Jade: In the last year, what personal goals has the band as a whole achieved?

Jeremy: Well, with being in a “DIY” band as it’s called now, just to be able to make a record is a herculean effort. It’s so much work on everyone’s part. As a person who drives the band in a large way from some clerical/administrative work (with the record label folks) to recording the vinyl, pressing it and getting it out there – this was our goal; to make a really good rock and roll record that people enjoy. And being able to talk about it with people such as yourself makes it a reality. We’ve also done a couple of mini tours up in the interior of BC. We definitely want to tour more. We were also in the CFOX Seeds competition with a goal to play live for the CFOX folks because our music isn’t really geared for FM or any radio play the way it is in Vancouver. We have a really big live feel to our music which can be lost in compressing the songs for radio play. We recorded As Long As You Don’t Get Caught live off the floor. Most bands can’t do that in this day and age of ultra pre and post production. Our engineer/mixer Marcel (Rambo at K&M Studios) went for a Glynn Johns/ACDC feel to it and I think it worked out really well. Four dudes in a room giving it all they’ve got.

 

Ben Henthorne, lead guitars. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: Having discussed past goals over the last year that the band has achieved, what goals are the band setting now to work towards over the upcoming year?

 

Jeremy: One crucial thing that we do need right now is a good manager. We’re good at what we do, we have great support from our indie label (Fantasy Ranch Records) and other people who support us, but, we lack connections. An agent and/or manager would be a huge and welcome help to us in where we see ourselves going. We would love to get great reviews, tour more regularly and to be better known as the band we are here in the Vancouver scene as well as anywhere else. We want to play live for everyone. We just released this album but we have enough material now to do another record which is costly! (lots of laughter) Just to be playing to people who are enjoying the music.

Jade: As a band, what has been the BEST thing that has happened, and what has been the WORST thing that has happened?

Jeremy: Okay, two best things that have happened were The Georgia Straight review which said “we were resurrecting rock”. I was shocked and thought they were joking. I had to read it twice just to make sure they were serious. Very humbling and awesome. The writer had listened to our first album The North on vinyl and then came to see a show and based the review on that. And the second thing was the day the vinyl came in for As Long As You Don’t Get Caught. I was flying so high when they arrived! We were all so excited…..we rehearsed, got the vinyls and went to a bar in Gastown called The Diamond which is right across from our jam space. We had one of the happiest band times just saying to ourselves “wow look at what we did”. A lot of arguments, disagreements and strife that went into that album just dissipated with that shiny piece of vinyl.
And the worst thing would be our recent struggles with finding a drummer. We had a drummer named Dom Coletta who is a terrific drummer but we just didn’t gel. On the whole, our music is positive and fun and he wasn’t having fun. It needed to end and it wasn’t bitter at all. We thought we had finally found our drummer but then he got hired to tour with Hail The Villain for 7 months. So we tried to find a “band member” rather than a hired gun. But it just didn’t work out. And in the end we found Alex Glassford who came through a friend of mine and he seems to fit in well.

 

Alex Glassford (drums) and Jeremy Allingham (rhythm guitar). Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: How does the band see the Corporate Music Industry as it is today?

 

Jeremy: Well, every one keeps talking about this “transition” period … isn’t that done yet? I do find it frustrating because there are still aspects of the old guard in the music industry that completely control access to the market now. We give away albums and give away free downloads to get people interested in our music, our sound, to come to a show, buy merch and drink some beers and tell their friends what that they had a great time. For us, we can’t apply for many of the Factor grants because our band doesn’t have a distribution deal. That to me is so ass backwards because in a way, distribution doesn’t mean anything anymore apart from a marketing presence in record stores. A good example of this is on CD Baby. We sold a copy of each one of our albums to a guy in Denmark. Does this not count as distribution? People around the globe can buy this record. That is distribution. In that realm, there can be too many contradictions and it is confusing.

Jade: How do you as a band feel that you have control over how your music reaches the fans?

Jeremy: As far as control, I think you have to let it go at this point in the game. If it reaches anyone that is a success. It doesn’t matter how it gets to a fan. The music is your leaping point for sales. This prompts fans to come and see you play, buy the vinyl, talk about your band to their friends…I don’t care how it gets there as long as it does.

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

Jeremy: We play rock and roll with no sub-genres. No emo, screamo, grunge – nothing like that. Straight ahead dirty sweaty rock and roll. Our influences are ACDC, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, The White Stripes….we listen to bands like My Morning Jacket, The Faces, CCR, The Kinks…..and it goes on. Mostly classic bands with some modern bands sprinkled in.

Jade: What is it about these bands that have inspired you to do the classic feel to the music?

Jeremy: We all love the classic, raw powerful rock music sound … we love every second of it. Also, in some small way our music is a reaction to what is out there that we don’t like. Like backing tracks behind the live show. We play honest rock and roll without any of that shit behind us. Our album has very few overdubs and no massive post production at all. I would like bands to just be honest about who they are, especially live. If you’re in the audience watching a band mimic playing their instruments and singing, are you going to know that? Maybe not.

Jade: Who are the primary songwriters in the band? Do you collectively write the songs?

Jeremy: The two people who write the riffs are myself and my cousin Ben. I write most of the melodies and the lyrics. Sometimes Ben comes in with a melody and we work off that. We also write melodies collectively on a vague idea and in 15 minutes we have a song that is killer. On one of the last tunes we wrote, Ben was taking a leak and Matt and I just start playing a riff and Ben walks back in and we have a solid song in 5 minutes. Matt has some great ideas that will be on the next record as well. If it’s a good idea, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.

 

Ben Henthorne and Jeremy Allingham. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: How did you all come up with the band name Like A Martyr?

 

Jeremy: We struggled with this for a long time. We had some really shitty names. I really like Buck 65 and I’m a big fan…you might even call it a bit of a man crush. I’ve toned it down though. He is the best Canadian lyricist. He has a song on the Talkin’ Honky Blues LP called “463” and in the second verse he says “like a martyr / I drove myself harder and harder”. And I really fell for that name and passed it on to Ben who really liked it as well. I think in the end, the music affects how people respond to the name, so making that initial choice isn’t quite as dire as it feels right at the beginning.

Jade: What is your opinion of the Vancouver music scene?

Jeremy: If we were where we were five years ago now, it would be really tough because you have to play shows to get good. We were really awful when we first started out. Terrible. But over the last four to five years we’ve practiced endlessly, writing songs, etc., and I think now we’re pretty darn good. With a lot of the live venues shutting down, it isn’t too too bad for us because we have connections in certain clubs and venues. When the Bourbon becomes a country bar, Richards gets torn down for condos, it’s sad. It would be nice to see a real commitment to live music in the city, but at the same time, I haven’t seen these clubs’ balance sheets. They could be hemorrhaging money for all I know.

Jade: In reading over a bio sent to me on your band, there was a reference to a “Gallagher-esque relationship” (between Ben and Jeremy) which intrigued me. What does this mean?

Jeremy: It refers to the tumultuous nature of our relationship. Neither of us has a brother, we’re 5 months apart in age and we are maternal cousins. We’re like brothers; very tight and very close. With that level of comfort comes a level of animosity and of not being afraid to say “shut the fuck up” or “fuck off”. A lot of people around us get very uncomfortable when this happens. We also have extremely stubborn attitudes about how the music should sound. We’re not shy about vocalizing it to each other. It’s really intense and it can become dangerously unbalanced. We get through it and the music is better for it. It adds to the tension to the music.

Jade: That definitely comes through in the recording and adds an element to the music, a layer that is emotionally hard to get across to the listener.

Jeremy: Exactly.

Jade: How did you like the whole recording process at Factory Studios with Marcel Rambo?

Jeremy: Marcel Rambo engineered and mixed it. He was outstanding, I really enjoyed working with him. You always knew where you stood with him at all times. He was calm, meticulous, patient, detailed, organized … and honestly he fed into my OCD need for detail-oriented work. He was very technically sound. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. The live room is awesome. We were only in there for 5 days, because of cost, but I could have spent 2 months in there…..drinking, writing, drinking, writing…. JJ Golden mastered the record on the recommendation of some of our friends. But initially he compressed it. And we panicked. I finally got him on the phone and told him that we wanted that live sound for vinyl and he understood what we meant and got it on the third try. So it was all a good experience and we learned a lot throughout the process.

At this point, Jeremy and I talked about a few other things, but I want to move on to the show review.

On Friday October 1, my friend Denis and I went to The Media Club to check out Like A Martyr live. I have to say I was excited about hearing the music live in person.

As we arrived in the club, it was half full and The Best Revenge had just started. A 3 piece band that was definitely loud and passionate about their music. Anarchist music was how the frontman described it. They played for about 40 minutes, and then a duo by the name of War Child took the stage to a fairly full club. After one song, the guitarist wanted some technical help. After a few minutes, they went right back into it. The drummer was the rhythm while the guitarist was flavoring the drums. They played tight, well rehearsed songs, and at the end, the guitarist went into the drum kit softly like Kurt Cobain did many years ago in that famous Bleach photograph.

This leads up to Like A Martyr. They took the stage and started with “As Long As You Don’t Get Caught”. I wanted to immediately put my camera down and start dancing. However, I overcame that urge and started taking pictures. Matt on bass was really working every single note with some stellar riffs that weren’t necessarily on the record. From the get-go, I could tell that this band practices a lot and are very tight. New drummer Alex Glassford is a gifted drummer who was playing his first show with this band. He made very minor mistakes that I’m sure no one heard but me. He really added that missing element that Jeremy talked about in our interview. Through the course of the hour plus set, they played every song from their album As Long As You Don’t Get Caught, did a killer version of Bob Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and just had fun giving it 100% sweaty rock and roll. The entire time the band was onstage they had high energy and were in total control musically. A few things that stood out for this writer is “Let’s Ride” which was performed straight up rock and roll played at high volume and was as fast as bottled moonshine takes to hit your brain. The ballad “7th and Main” was truly awesome and a slow break in the show which just killed the audience. The last song they did was this writer’s favorite song “Worker 684” which was played right on the money – tight and fast with Jeremy’s red smoking hot vocals that by now were raw, emotional and manic. Jeremy and Matt’s guitar and bass work flowed really well with what Ben and Alex were doing. I saw the birth of a new phase in the band Like A Martyr, and I know it won’t be the last. The sweat flew, girls were dancing and guys were drinking. I finally put the camera down at some point and just let the music take over. A truly awesome show that left me wanting more.

 

Jeremy Allingham and Matt Denny-Keys. Photo by Jade Sperry.

You can find the band at their MYSPACE page which gives you links and information on the band.