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Preview: Canadian Music Week 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 27th April 2016 at 11:00 am
 

What event starts up in earnest next week and has been kicking around longer than SXSW, and yet you may never have heard of its name? Canadian Music Week, 34 years young in 2016, kicks things off this coming Monday, the 2nd of May, through to the wee hours of Saturday, the 8th of May. And possibly longer, depending on how long the revelers last, eh? (Sorry, I had to get a good-hearted Canadian joke in there somewhere.) Naturally, it takes place in Canada’s most populous city, the crown jewel of the province of Ontario, and arguably its multicultural and cosmopolitan heart, Toronto. It’s a city I can’t wait to explore and come see for myself.

Like SXSW, Canadian Music Week 2016 will boast plenty of evening music showcases featuring homegrown Canadian talent alongside international acts equally eager to make their mark on the Great White North and the world. Also like its Texan younger brother, it also has a conference portion that will appeal to film, digital media and music fanatics and professionals in those businesses alike. Unlike SXSW, Canadian Music Week also runs in tandem with Canadian Comedy Fest, so I’m expecting to run into some funny folks while doing normal Canadian errands, like getting takeaway poutine. (In case you are not familiar with the Quebecois food phenomenon that has become the national dish of Canada, read more about its history here.)

There are plenty of amazing acts scheduled to perform in Toronto next week for music fans to sink their teeth into. Of the Canadian talent on show, sister pop act Tegan and Sara, Saskatoon rockers The Sheepdogs, pop star Lights and alt-country stars the Strumbellas are sure to show who’s boss in their home country. Alongside the Canadians near the top of the bill are Americans Eagles of Death Metal, X Ambassadors, Wild Nothing and ‘90s alt-rock heroes Collective Soul. The British are well represented too, with festival favourites Fat White Family, electro r&b artist NAO, rapper and grime artist Skepta and electronic producer Mura Masa. I would be humanly impossible to list all the artists playing at CMW 2016, so I invite to check out the artist list here.

Base-level wristbands for the evening music showcases are available at the price of CAD 75.00. These wristbands will give the purchaser access to all music showcases for the 7-day event, subject to venue capacity. Note: Most showcases and the venues participating are 19+ unless specifically marked as all ages. For CAD 150.00, you can upgrade to a VIP wristband, allowing the purchaser to choose guaranteed access to three shows of their choosing. Wristbands for Canadian Music Week can be purchased here. Tickets can also be purchased singly for the specific show / artist you want to see, if you’re less OCD than we are about music festivals (you know, hitting as many bands and acts we can before falling over into our dinner, exhausted). To purchase single event tickets, go here.

You can keep up with TGTF’s continuing coverage of Canadian Music Week 2016 through this link. See you in Toronto!

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #108: Elle Exxe

 
By on Tuesday, 26th April 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 takes place next week. So this week, in the lead-up to the event, we’ll be previewing some of the acts I’m keen on seeing while I’m in Toronto. We’ll be asking some of these artists to answer a special list of Quickfire Questions tailored specifically to CMW 2016. Fans of Edinburgh singer/songwriter Elle Exxe (pronounced as the letters L X) are called ‘EXXTERMINATORS’ (sure beats ‘Nesbians’, eh?), so that should indicate to you the level of devotion that already exists for the young ‘dirty pop’ artist.

Hey Beyonce, you better watch your back! She’s got wayyy better hair than you and you know, in case the day gig doesn’t work out, she can start her own salon in London on the back of her mastery of all things that make a woman’s hair did. What do *you* have going for you, eh? If you’re heading out to CMW 2016 next week you have four chances to catch her live: Wednesday the 4th of May at the Cave (upstairs from Lee’s Palace) at 11 PM; Thursday the 5th at the Nest at midnight; Friday the 6th at the 300 Club at 2 AM; and finally Saturday the 7th at Drake Underground at 11 PM. For now, Elle has kindly answered our questions and you can read her answers below.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Loud. Feisty. Hormonal.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
Can I? Duh..

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
I’ve never been before. Honestly I’m mostly looking forward to seeing and hearing loads of amazing bands and artists with my friends and eating good food! We’re playing every single night so I’m not sure if we’ll have much time for exploring. I’d love to take the day trip to Niagara Falls though, that’s on my bucket list. I’d also love to do the Edge Walk on CN Tower.

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Yes – NAO is a must see!!! I’m looking forward to seeing Willa on Saturday night at Drake (Underground) before our set. I’d love to see Tegan and Sara too.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Probably wig glue..there’s not gonna be time for my usual glamour routine and I gotta keep my hair on while I’m moshing, hahaha.

You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
My manager told me about it. The funding means I can take my band with me and showcase my music in the best possible way. I think the trip would have been almost impossible without the PRS Foundation giving their financial support. It means a lot to me as an artist as well because it shows that they believe in me and my music. It gives me faith and hope and strengthens my belief that this is what I’m meant to be doing. I’m so grateful for it!

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
Yes I’ll be playing TGE, Liverpool Sound City and Xpo North amongst others. I’ll be writing and recording at the same time and working on some visual creative projects too. It’s going to be a mad few months; my album ‘Love Fuelled Hate’ is out in September.

We now go back to our regularly scheduled programming of our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘We Will Rock You’ – Queen.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’– The Offspring.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Business Time’ – Flight Of The Conchords.

What song makes you cry?
‘Good Goodbye’ – Lianne La Havas.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Safe Home’ – Anthrax.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘Caught Out There’ – Kelis.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Aaah, there are too many to choose from! The most recent song I wish I’d written is ‘7 Years’ – Lukas Graham.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Screenwriter John Waters.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d be running a unique hair salon specialising in creative-do’s and synthetic hair.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Cartel – ‘Chroma’. It’s an album I loved when I was a teenager and although it’s not my favourite album now, it’s always something I can listen to without getting irritated at or bored of. If you only have one album to listen to you wanna make sure it’s something you never get sick of. But…it wouldn’t be heaven if I could only bring one album!

Thanks, Elle, for answering our questions! And many thanks, too, to Umong for his kind assistance.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #107: NINA

 
By on Monday, 25th April 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

I’ll be leaving for my first Canadian Music Week (CMW) in just a few days, so leading up to the event, we’ll be previewing some of the acts I’m keen on seeing while I’m in Toronto. We’ll be asking some of these artists to answer a special list of Quickfire Questions tailored specifically to CMW 2016. German born but now London-based singer/songwriter NINA specialises in synthpop, so it’s not surprising that she cites Depeche Mode as one of her earliest musical influences. Somehow I think this woman and I will be fast friends!

Given her love of all things from the ’80s, I was quite surprised to hear which album she would take with her to heaven, as well as the two artists she narrowed her choices down to for her favourite writer of all time. And thanks to NINA, I’ve got four more artists to check out in Toronto, so thank you NINA for your kind assistance! If you’re heading out to CMW 2016, you can catch her at the Cave (upstairs from the legendary Lee’s Palace) on Friday the 6th of May at 9 PM, as well as at Studio Bar Saturday the 7th of May at 1 AM.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Dreamy. Melancholic. ’80s.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
Idyllic national parks.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
I’ve never been to Canada before, but it’s always been a dream of mine. I’m very excited to discover Toronto and explore the local music scene.

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Love X Stereo – I’m kinda in love with this girl’s voice.
Jesper Munk – What a voice! This German boy’s got soul.
Glass Apple Bonzai – Awesome synthpop band. Nostalgia!
Big Black Delta – Of course! I worked with him in the past, and he always delivers an amazing show.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Everywhere I go, I take my rather big Dr. Nelson’s ceramic inhaler with me. It’s a weird shape so people don’t usually know what it’s for. It helps my vocal chords to relax and hydrate with steam. Let’s see what the guys at the airport say!

You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
I played at ‘Live At Heart’ in Sweden last year and someone in the music industry mentioned I should go to CMW and so my record label Aztec Records applied for PRS funding and luckily we were accepted. I’m so grateful to PRS for making this trip happen. Their support is vital for independent artists and labels like us, to get heard abroad and to reach wider audiences.

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
My new EP ‘Beyond Memory’ will be out on the 27th of May worldwide. The rest of the year I’m focusing on touring and finishing my debut album. I’ll be playing some shows in the UK, France and Italy and I’m also supporting DE/VISION again in Germany in October, which I’m super excited about.

Now, let’s switch gears to our usual list of Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Talk Talk – ‘Such A Shame’. Still one of my favourite songs. They were huge in Germany in the ’80s.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Michael Jackson – ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’. I must have been about 4 or 5, and I always listened to this song on our long car journeys with my mum. I knew all the lyrics.

What song makes you laugh?
Alanis Morissette – ‘Ironic’. It’s such a classic, and the lyrics are so true.

What song makes you cry?
Phosphorescent – ‘Song For Zula’. It’s really beautifully written. So sad, it moves you. You can tell Matthew is a real poet. The melody was made in heaven. The first time I heard it, I had to Shazam it instantly.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Maria McKee – ‘Show Me Heaven’. I remember being on a skiing trip in Austria with my dad when I had a crush on someone for the first time. I was sad when I had to leave and then the song was playing on the radio as my dad drove off. I never told anyone, I tried to keep my emotions to myself.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I love Pink Floyd – ‘Comfortably Numb’. It’s pretty dark and a perfect song for when you’re feeling angry or frustrated.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. It’s genius and out of this world.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Can I pick two? David Bowie. I think he was a very special artist (visually and sonically) and wrote the most beautiful lyrics and melodies. And Bob Dylan, I recently read his book ‘Chronicles’ and fell in love all over again with his writing. I was already a fan of his music, but his book was something else.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
A photographer. I love how you can freeze a memory in just one click. Taking photographs is really therapeutic for me. Or maybe a perfumer. I’m very passionate about fragrances and one day I’d love to create my own.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘The Doors’ by The Doors. I’m the biggest Doors fan, I grew up listening to their music. Jim Morrison always inspired me, especially as he was quite shy and reserved like myself. His performances were magic, unpredictable and captivating.

Many thanks to NINA for her answers and Laura for her kind assistance!

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2061: The Sheepdogs

 
By on Wednesday, 13th April 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan band The Sheepdogs – who have more hair and beard than fur – have a new video out for ‘Bad Lieutenant’. There seems to be a kerfluffle over the promo video below NSFW, and as I think there are two versions of this running around on the internet (and I don’t know which one this is), proceed with caution.

The Sheepdogs just completed a UK tour and have now begun a campaign across Germany (they like them blues rock in the Fatherland?), before they head back to North America. In the midst of their North American dates, they will also be appearing at Canadian Music Week 2016 in Toronto, with a gig lined up for the 6th of May at Horseshoe Tavern. Watch the video for ‘Bad Lieutenant’ below; for all their upcoming live dates, check out their pretty long schedule here on their Facebook.

 
 
 

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