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Indie Bands

Getting Schooled By 'Professor'

2013-06-17 15:14:36 mrichardson

Smaller PRofessor 2 copy

The 4-peice band based out of Toronto, Ontario Canada, Professor are definitely a band to look out for.  With their forthcoming EP “Season One” set to be released independently July 5th, these guys are a rock’n’roll band with a sound I’m personally really excited about.  I had the pleasure of interviewing the guys from Professor to see what they’re all about and dig a little deeper into their lovable debauched psyche.

MW:  Who is in your band? What does each member play?

P:  Well, we have Craig Flaman who plays guitar. If we are super nice to him we can convince him to sing as well. He has a great voice but it takes some convincing for him to use it.  Then there’s Jeff Howell, he plays a mean bass guitar always has been the bass player and hopefully always will be. Graeme Miller is the lead vocals and also shreds licks on the guitar way beyond his capabilities.  And last but not least there’s Robbie Haring, the drummer and does vocals as well.  He would be the “dad” of the group if you will.

MW:  Give me a brief history of your band, where did you guys meet and what started Professor?

P:  Colin, Graeme, Craig and Robbie went to high school together. Then met JJ when they formed a band called ‘Kidnapped By Coyotes’ (Jeff didn’t even like Robbie at first)

Robbie:  hahahaha. Best friends/roommates now, but didn’t start off so smooth

JJ:  I remember wondering who the fuck is this loud mouth prick behind the drums?  hahaha

Robbie:  hahahaha yeah I guess that’s the way she goes

Graeme:  I mean I have been chums with these boys for, well, I don’t know… It’s been a journey really.

Robbie:  I heard about Graeme back in middle school, we went to the same school but didn’t hang out.  I kind of thought he was fucked up…he looked like Eminem soooooo…..

Graeme:  what the fuck!?

Robbie:  ummmmm

Graeme:  yeah ok maybe I did….Shit!

Kidnapped By Coyotes consisted of Rob, Graeme and JJ plus a few friends including Steve and Geoff (long time friends). At this time Colin was in a band called Hit Wall in Fashion, which ended at the end of high school. KBC played as a band around Toronto before it fizzled out around 2008. That’s while Graeme was away at university for film. JJ and Robbie went to college in Toronto and continued playing together in Jeff’s basement.

Robbie:  Once Graeme was home from school, the three of us sat down and thought about how to get the band going again. We knew 2 or 3 guitar players, and after jamming with Craig on one occasion and Colin on another we decided to add both of them to the mix. 

Craig:  I used to go watch these guys play actually… when they were KBC, so it’s was cool being on the other side of things.

Robbie:  Craig you didn’t even play guitar at that point did you?

Craig:  Nah not really, I didn’t really start actually playing until I was in third year when I got sick with mono.  I dropped out of school and spent a lot of time on the couch hahahaha.  I didn’t have much else I could do so I spent a lot for time playing my guitar and singing.  So anyways then I started coming back and forth every weekend from school in Guelph to practice at the Shit Barn.  The Shit Barn was the name of the house rob, Graeme and Colin were living at hahaha.

Graeme:  I really don’t remember how we all met.

JJ: Yeah I think they all meet on an on-line dating site and just called each other up…Hahahaha

Craig:  Colin left the band around June of last summer, 2012.  We played our first show without him around the fall of that year. He played a major roll in a lot of our songs so it was weird at first.

JJ:  There’s a few songs we don’t play anymore that he was in.

Robbie:  He wrote Pillow Talk and that is one of our bigger songs to play live

Craig:  Once Colin left we spent a lot of time recording and sorting our what route we wanted to take.  That’s been the biggest thing lately to get our material finished and done professionally, independently. And now we have some shit to show for it.

MW:  Do you have a primary songwriter in the band? Or do you all share songwriting duties?

Craig:  Like the sweet tickling sound of a banjo (as he’s strumming a banjo)  Hahahaha

Robbie:  I like to think we’re like the sound of two dragons having sex. I feel that’s the closest sound to describe our music.

Craig:  Usually when I’m asked this question, I say “we’re Alternative with a 90’s feel…nothing too heavy but definitely pretty trippy”.

Graeme: I think it’s just like four rocking dudes. Doing exactly what they can do. I think there’s a personality that lives in each song that makes it quite unique at the moment. I think its still special.

MW: What are your influences?

JJ:  …My Mom and my Dad

Craig:  Jesus for sure.  Is alcohol considered an influence?

Graeme:  Reading stuff, but if you are asking my 5 favourite bands it’s: U2, Beatles, Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode, RadioheadI have thought about that for a while. I guess it sounds kinds cheesy.

JJ:Incubus, I really like them, Korn, Staind, SlipknotI find I listen to the rest of the band.  They all play songs that they write around the house so I take a lot from what they play on a regular basis.  I guess you can say I’m a fan of the other members in the band as solo acts. Robbie is an all right guitar player as well, so he has almost an albums worth of material on his own.  He plays a lot in the house and I listen.  But bands like Radiohead are big for me now… I didn’t even like them at first, before the guys introduced me to them

Craig:  Uhhhh I don’t know…I like a lot of stuff, I wouldn’t necessarily say these are influences but I really like Modest Mouse, Pin Back…But then again I really like hip hop too…The Talking Heads! and then some folk…Fuck I don’t know I’m all over the place..

Robbie:  I based all my earlier drumming from hip-hop music. As time went on I tended to bounce around through all kinds of music.  However I did learn to play the drums from watching a live Led Zeppelin DVD I stole from Graeme way back in high school.  I chose to play drums because that was the only spot left in the band at the time so I got an old kit from a friend and started bothering my family as often as I could (hahaha sorry Mom, Dad and Kelly).

But my favorite drummer is Abe Cunningham from the Deftones. “Straight up and down”

MW: I was actually going to say I hear some early Radiohead and Incubus in your sound.  I saw you guys play a few years ago at The Rivoli.  I was honestly blown away. It was refreshing to hear a band with your sound coming from Toronto and instantly I was telling everyone to check you guys out whenever they could.  Do you guys have any gigs coming up? I also hear you guys have a new EP coming out.  When is the release date?

Craig:  Wow…thanks man that’s super cool of you to say…ya, that was a fun show.  We have 3 gigs coming up.

June 22nd, it’s a Festival in Malton.  It’s a Family Festival…I think it might be a Tandoori-chicken fest.

Robbie:  Then July 5th at the Silver Dollar RoomThat’s our EP Release PartyWe have a few good old bands coming out to play with us that night so it should be a great show!

Craig: and Saturday August 3rd at the Cameron House

Robbie: The Malton show is more of an entertainment festival. Our buddy that puts on comedy shows in the city is putting this on in Malton.  I heard about it through a friend and asked to play. Seems liked like too much fun to miss out on.

MW: How do you plan on its release?  Is it going to be download only, or are you releasing traditionally on CD or Vinyl?

Robbie: What we are planning is to have a few CD’s made. We are most likely going to make them by hand and have them at the shows. Free download will be available on our web site (professormusic.com). We are putting out 2 EP’s this year so we are going to print both EP’s on to one 12’’ vinyl at the end of the year. Have like a special release for it with a bad-ass show to go alone with it.

MW: That’s amazing.  I’m a huge supporter of vinyl, so i’ll definitely be picking up the 12″.

Who produced the record? Or did you guys take on the duties yourselves?

P: Well a gentleman named Rob Higgins (and a little help from Robbie) did the producing on the EP. It was a great experience with him. Sitting in a smoke filled room with the instruments, drinks, friend’s, coffee and music. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

MW:  What does the future have in store for Professor?  Are you planning on touring the new EP?

P: We are talking about it right now.  It’s an idea that we all want to do.  We are really working on getting more out of town shows.  And after the summer once school is done it would be nice to go to some university towns. We would also really like to try and put out fully produced videos for each one of our songs. Maybe do some outdoor shoots as we have been trying to work out an unplugged set.

MW:  Where can we find Professor online?  Do you have a website or Facebook etc?

P: Oh big time bud!

www.professormusic.com

www.facebook.com/ProfessorMu5ic.com

If you’re in the Toronto area, come out to The Silver Dollar Room and show your support at their CD Release Party  on July 5th.

Hear their new single Wide Awake here.

Another time.

 

Posted in: Indie BandsTagged in: bandBeatlesconcertCraig FlamanDeftonesDepeche ModeEPGraeme Millerindependentindie musicinterviewJeff HowellKidnapped by CoyotesKornLiveProfessorProfessormusicRadioheadRobbie HaringRockRock'n'RollSeason OneslipknotstaindTorontoU2 Read more... 0 comments

Rock Out With Your Hammer Out

2013-04-19 08:58:11 mrichardson

Hammer Antics PromoThe Hammer Antics.

A 4-piece band from Hamilton, ON Canada comprised of singer Michelle Owen, guitars Jeff Rinne, bass Simon Kiela and Jenna Rovinelli behind the kit.

When I initially listened to their first track from the new self-titled EP, I was a little apprehensive of what I heard.  Opening track Sneakers has a little more of a Green Day sound to it than I would ever consider publishing on this site, but as I continued to the next track (and current single) Courtney Love, I started to hear something that got me excited.  It brought me back to when I was a kid walking through the streets listening to my walkman and the sounds of L7 bursting through that awful headset.  Singer Michelle Owen’s voice delivers that familiar sneer that basically went missing in rock’n’roll since Donita Sparks and the L7 crew called it quits.

Heartbreaker follows the single Courtney love.  The track that I would have picked as the first single (but I see what the band were trying to do with Courtney Love) brings some dynamics and a touch of punk rock to the mix making it one of the stand-out tracks on the record.  Kiss Of Deathprobably the most POP sounding track of the record boasts the most memorable (I hate to use the word catchy, but fuck it) catchy chorus while Gold Chain and Monster finish the record with a tiny nugget of the Melvins sound nestled in there somewhere.

The Hammer Antics EP is a rock record from beginning to end and the way the industry is currently heading, these guys are bringing it back to when music was a little more raw and guitars were a little louder.

Rating: 7.5/10

Stand-Out tracks: Heartbreaker, Monster

Follow The Hammer Antics: Facebook, Twitter, Website

Download their single Courtney Love from iTunes

The Hammer Antics EP

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming shows:

May 11 – Club Absinthe. Hamilton,ON

May 18 – Lee’s Palace. Toronto,ON

May 24 – The Underground. Hamilton,ON

May 25 – The Central. Toronto,ON

June 1 – The Corktown. Hamilton,ON

 

Another time.

 

Posted in: Indie BandsTagged in: Club AbsintheCourtney LoveDonita SparksEPHamiltonHammerHeatbreakerJeff RinneJenna RovinelliL7Lee's PalaceMelvinsMichelle OwenMonsterRockRock'n'RollSimon KielaThe CentralThe CorktownThe Hammer AnticsThe Underground Read more... 0 comments

Verra City Waves

2012-12-13 14:28:01 mrichardson
Verra City Waves

Verra City Waves

Verry City Waves, as I would describe them, an indie rock with a suggestion of blues-infused 4-peice band from Oshawa, Ontario Canada.  When I initially heard about these guys and where they were from, my assumptions were that they had to be either a metal or a punk band.  I grew up about a half hour away from Oshawa and played in a few bands, and the Oshawa scene had always been overwhelmed by metal and punk bands.  You could not go to any show without it being at least 80% metal or punk on the bill.  I listened to their single “Save Your Dignity“, needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to hear something completely different.  I was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist/vocalist Keith Dean to find out a little more about Verra City Waves and what they’re all about.

MW: Who is in your band? What does each member play?

KD: On Lead Vocals is Kiera Amyot, Guitar and Vocals is Keith Dean, Bass and Vocals is Conor Amyot and Drums is Trevor Dewitt.

MW: Give me a brief history of your band, where did you guys meet? How long have you been together? Etc…

KD: Kiera and I started playing together acoustically about 2 years ago. We were just doing local bar gigs as I was busy with a different project. We played Covers mostly with some originals that we had been working on. Then I had moved on from the other project and we both decided to form a band. Conor( Kiera’s brother) was a bass player so we approached him and asked if he would be interested in playing in the band and luckily he agreed. We found a drummer who was a really good buddy of mine. He was really busy with work and life in general and it was kind of hard for him to get out for jam. It was a hard decision but I made the call and told him we were gonna look for somebody else. Then Kiera just posted an ad on Kijiji and Trevor was the first one to reply. He came and jammed and we all knew right away that he was the missing link. That was 8 months ago.

MW: How would you describe the sound of Verra City Waves?

KD: We have a hard time with explaining our sound. We have songs that are totally different from each other but they still sound like us. It’s a classic rock vibe mixed with folk and blues.

MW: You guys are from Oshawa, Ontario Canada.  I grew up near Oshawa, played in bands and always found it a bit of a challenge getting shows on a bill that wasn’t filled with punk bands or metal that sounded like it came directly out of the late 90’s.   Being a band with your sound, do you get a lot of support locally around Oshawa?

KD: The Oshawa scene isn’t the best but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was. There are some hot rock bands coming out of here like 20 Amp Soundchild, The Standstills, London  Swagger the list goes on. So it’s not the best but it’s better because of the talent and places like The Thirsty Monk.

MW: Do you guys have a chief songwriter in the band? Or is it generally an equal collaboration between all members?

KD: Generally I bring the skeleton of the song (melody, rhythm, structure) and then everyone has input on changes or additions they hear. It’s a pretty good system so far.

MW: I really dig the single “Save Your Dignity”, are you guys planning a full-length release?

KD: Thank you, really glad you dig the single. We are doing an EP so 5 tracks. Should be out in February.

MW: I just found out about you guys and unfortunately didn’t get to see it, but I saw you just had a gig at The Opera House in Toronto.  Being someone who played in a band myself from outside of Toronto, The Opera House was always a really cool venue for any indie band to play at.  How was the vibe of the show?

KD: Ya the Opera House show was pretty rad actually. The crowd was good, the sound was great, stage was big so we had lots of room to move around. Everything you could ask for was there so you missed a good one Ha. 

MW: Do you have any shows coming up?

KD: We’re playing in Kitchener, Montreal, and Windsor. The local show we are promoting is at the Velvet Underground on December 28th in Toronto. It’s $5, and we go on at 9:45pm should be a really good show. 

MW: What does the future have in store for Verra City Waves?

KD: The future of VCW is to get as many shows as we can, in as many different cities and venues as we can, and to add to our fan base. The goal is to tour and we need all of the above to do so. 

MW: Where can we find Verra City Waves, do you have a website? Facebook/Twitter/Bandcamp etc?

KD: Ah Yes the plugs! You can find us here;

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

 

If you have the chance, check these guys out, go to one of their shows and share their music!

Verra City Waves Logo

 

 

 

 

 

Another time.

 

 

Posted in: Indie BandsTagged in: Canadian RockOntario RockOpera HouseOshawa BluesOshawa RockRock'n'Rollsave your dignityToronto MusicVerra City Waves Read more... 0 comments

Denied Existence

2012-11-14 12:52:45 mrichardson
Denied Existence

Denied Existence

To those who have followed my blog, I have said in the past that I played in metal bands for a good portion of my teenage years and early twenties,  however in recent years metal has lost much of its allure to me.  In my opinion it has become a genre that is extremely diluted through several sub genres with many of the those sub genres being overexposed resulting in the extinction of those sub genres (i.e. 80’s hair metal, early 80’s thrash metal, nu-metal,metalcore etc.).  On the flip side, you have these metal bands who don’t become overexposed but their records intentionally sound like complete shit (as I refer to it as ‘hipster metal’).

When I decided that I was going to support Indie Bands on this site, I knew that metal was a massive underground scene that couldn’t be ignored and my background in this genre made it an obvious choice to launch this section of the site.

As I mentioned above, I can’t stomach pure shit recordings and I won’t support metal that sounds like shit for the sake of sounding like shit because they think it gives their band cred (or whatever).

Denied Existence, a band out of Port Perry Ontario, Canada is a band that has caught my attention, not only because they are from my home town, but because of how great their new record “Monarch” sounds. Monarch, a self-produced metal masterpiece churning melodic guitar riffs coupled with face-punishing dirt metal and lyrical honesty has really opened my eyes to the potential of indie talent out there in metal. I had the pleasure of interviewing the guys from the band to get a little more information of who these guys are and what drives their music…check it out below.

In addition to this, check out/like Denied Existence on Facebook, and buy their new record “Monarch” on iTunes.

 

MW: Who is in your band? What does each member play?

DE:

Jordan Bull: Vocals

Adam Bull: Guitar/Vocals

Jason Monk: Guitar

Andre Greco: Drums

Chris Privett: Bass

 

MW: Give me a brief history of your band?

Jordan: Denied existence started when I was 16, a couple of guys learning how to play some heavy music. We were all so new at the music scene. We are all self taught, but none of that mattered because the chemistry spoke for itself! After we lost our guitarist due to style and interest, my brother joined the band and the true denied existence was formed!

 

MW: Who’s the primary songwriter in your band? Or is the music made by all Denied Existence?

Adam: Jason & I both contribute to the songwriting 50/50. Some songs I’ll come up with the majority of the parts or Jason will, depending on the song. Both of us write music constantly and have a lot of ideas that we compile over time. So usually it comes down to us jamming out riffs together and combining both of our ideas. We have great guitar chemistry and feed off of each other really well. The rest of the guys will have input on the parts of songs and different ideas. So we demo up the song and bring it to the jam sessions where we put our heads together and fine tune all of the parts.

 

MW: Do all 5 of you contribute to the lyrics? Or is it primarily Jordan’s role?

Jordan: Lyrics are mostly my part of the band. My songs lyrically are very personal to me which is why I seem to take charge for that part of the band. Though I am always up for some input when I’m writing, so it’s a bit of both, especially when recording.

 

MW: Why did you call the record “Monarch”?

Jordan: The greater number of songs in monarch are about staying true to yourself. Not following something that you think you should follow, but doing what you want to do. We called the album monarch because we want people to be their own monarchies or leaders of what they stand for.

 

MW: The record is on iTunes, do you plan on a physical release? The popularity of vinyl has strongly increased in the last few years, is that something the band might be looking into for the future?

Jordan: Yes we are very excited to have our album up on iTunes! As of right now, I don’t think that a vinyl would be a primary focus for us to make/put out. We want our music out there first. Then follow up with extras, like a vinyl, so possibly in the future.

 

MW: What inspires you to be in this metal band?

Jason: We wanted to create our own ‘favourite’ band, so to speak. There are so many elements to music that we love, so why just focus on one of them, right?

You go and see big metal bands play, and the energy of the place is intense, everybody is so into it! That energy and emotion drives us. We want to feel that in our own music.

 

MW: What does music mean to you? Is there a specific reason you play metal?

Adam:  Music to me is everything. Since I was young I would be listening to music that would make me feel something. The type of music that would get the most emotion out of me ended up mostly being heavy music. I do however like a lot of softer/ambient bands, but it’s rare for me to find ones that I really get into. To me heavy music has so much hidden depth and meaning behind the songs. I have always been drawn to the energy in heavy music, when you go to a show all of this energy builds up until the band comes out. Then the place sets off…so much energy so much fun. I don’t get the same feeling anywhere else. I also love the complexity in the musicianship.

 

MW: Are you planning on taking Monarch on the road?

Jordan: If an opportunity presents itself we would be proud to drop everything and take our music on the road! Sure it would be hard, but why not try living the dream! Though Jason is at school, we have found a fill in guitarist (Matt Williams currently in the band called “Living Skies”) who is willing to play shows that Jason can’t make.

 

MW: What’s the future have in store for Denied Existence?

Jordan: Denied Existence never stops writing, discussing and pushing ourselves for higher goals. The future is unanswered but you can expect us to keep on working hard, doing what we love.

 

MW: Do you have a website?

Jordan: We use Facebook and Bandcamp as our website right now. An official website will be made in the near future.

 

I strongly suggest downloading your copy of “Monarch”, even if you’re not a metal fan it might just convert you!  For a look at their new video for “Scars Of Man”, check it out below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another time.

Posted in: Indie BandsTagged in: 80's Metal80s hair metal80s thrash metalCanadian MetalDenied Existencedirtdirty guitarsguitarsGuns'n'rosesheadbangingindependent metalindieindie metalmetalmetal musicMonarchno labelport perryport perry metalpunishing Read more... 0 comments