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Getting Schooled By ‘Professor’
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!?
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?
JJ:Incubus, I really like them, Korn, Staind, Slipknot. I 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.
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!
Hear their new single ‘Wide Awake‘ here.