VISUAL FEATURE EDITORIAL #1
INTERACTIVE VIDEO RELEASE WITH
AND LOST CAUSE
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
By: Fridae Mattas
Indie week 2014 happened back in October notice the visual editorials already published. This chick is not one to give up easy, had some tech issues that were solved and then a big project landed on my lap from one of my international clients. These past few months too many job offers and have been turning down almost everyone, dedicating my focus on my record and the new FridaeTV 2.0. Enough with the excuses right? Here we go, the rest of this jibber is all “aboot” the bands haha! Normally, I filter the bands for quality, however, due to tech issues some of the bands were not recovered. We can thank the universe for filtering the bands this time…Still, I would have liked the option to choose them myself. Thankfully the FridaeTV visual team shot a few bands I wanted to tell you about.
It was good to see familiar faces I haven’t seen in a while including a few Montreal & American friends. Ya’ll are too fantastik! Wish I caught more bands and saw more amazing people I didn’t get a chance to hang with! Festivals are a multiple venue migration for the media. We have to work during and after, people don’t realize editing and writing are the most time consuming and least favorite aspects of multimedia. Okay, let’s get with the program! British band New City Kings were the first band I caught at Indie Week 2014, it was not the first time I have seen them and it sure as hell won’t be the last! They put on such a vibrant performance, always genuine and not forced as it is with some bands I have observed. The passion is missing in today’s music, the majors are dying out and more than ever focused on selling product, not art. New City Kings definitely feel their music and everyone needs to check them out! Enjoy a few shots thanks to FridaeTV photographer Joanna and a tune I filmed below.
Next up was last year’s Indie Week Canada winners, Toronto’s Sumo Cyco. They hit the stage at the Hideout after New City Kings for the opening night launch party. For a while now I’ve wanted to see this band live, when they rocked indie week last year I always missed the bands set but finally mission accomplished. The band is a new school metal punk blend, vocals are different and much more aggressive than most are use to from former Canadian poptart “Skye Sweetnam” who fronts the group. It is rare to find female fronted bands that kick ass, Skye did a pretty fantastik job holding down the boys and putting on a show for people to talk about. I remember my photographer Joanna commenting on seeing Sweetnam before but this suited her much better, I agree!! Go see “Sumo Cyco” if you get the chance!
The next few that survived the Universe’s cuts were rocking the Hard Rock Cafe on Friday October 17th! First up was Laugh At The Fakes a local band who I had yet to see live, of course I was running late thanks to the always delayed subway. Hoping to catch at least one song, when I arrived at the venue I was praying they were still on stage and they were. Managed to catch the last few tunes, which were surprisingly well done. A little more confidence is needed from vox and guitarist Everett Mason, he has the skills, just needs to overcome the nerves because the guitar he was rocking sounded amazing and the vocals have extreme potential. Always trust your talents, they will guide you and all you need to do is believe in yourself as you refine them! Laugh At The Fakes has a bright future ahead of them and everyone should go see a set to see what I’m talking about.
The headliner at the Hard Rock Indie Week Metal showcase was no stranger to the stage, former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bailey rocked out with his band. It was interesting to observe his interaction with the fans, they were a bit aggressive and so into it. I’m surprised a mosh pit wasn’t formed, then again they were too busy trying to touch Bailey like teenies do for their favorite artist, fanboys! Bailey’s vocals are unique yet he is the epitome of old school metal, clearly there is a reason he fronted Iron Maiden. The band was crisp, professional and entertaining but the crowd just focused on Blaze Bailey. Once I got the best shots I could in the always horrible hard rock lighting, I migrated to safety at the back watching the enthusiasm of the performer and the crowd. It was a cool set, if you love metal and get the chance, go see for yourself.
The last few bands I managed to recover we’re The Rathburns and Dick Rodan at the Virgin Mobile MOD club for the best of the fest, the Indie Week finals! Was not able to recover many photos of Dick Rodan but for a country band they did pretty well! The crowd was loving them and it was obvious who the Dick fans were…They kept chanting “We want Dick! We want Dick!” as the band was setting up their gear, yes it sounded funnier than it’s read. They put on a very high energy performance thanks to their super drunk guitarist jumping and playing in the crowd giving people a set to remember.
Soon after Dick, The Rathburns hit the stage, did not recover any of the videos from this night just a few photos that I shot. Thankfully photog Kenny caught them the night before at the Hideout and got more photos. I want everyone to remember the Rathburns because one day they’re going to be huge. Vocals need a little work and the rest of the band needs to step up a bit but frontwoman Frances Rose does a spectacular job embodying her music. She has a special energy and can take this band to the next level with a bit more polishing. Check every single band mentioned and covered in this four part Indie Week series. The only issues other than the 500 wristbands was that my photographer had trouble returning to a venue after brief migration to shoot the bands she was required. All festivals have this same issue when it comes to media at festivals, we must have access to get the most coverage possible. Until next year my friends keep it rocking and who knows maybe I’ll hit up Indie Week Europe in Manchester!
Dani Rosenoer is a classically trained pianist, vocalist and composer. Born in Russia and raised in Israel, Dani is now based in Toronto, Canada and plays keys for the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace as a touring member. He is also working on a new full-length album.
Basement Jams 2 was released on April 3, 2014. It is the second in the series of EP’s by indie artist Dani Rosenoer, collecting his collaborations and solo productions with fellow Toronto artists such as Canadian Idol semi-finalist Oliver Pigott, rappers Truezt & Boris Giller and the psy-metal act PsyCoPath.
The EP includes the 1 st single ‘Whoa Whoa Yeah’, which was filmed on location in Costa Rica. And track number seven is not your ordinary song its the soundtrack to the short film of trhe same moniker ‘A Horny Ghost Named Buster’ (Feat. Alexey Dolgansky on vocals).. The film has been submitted to film festivals all over the world.
You can find Dani’s Basement Jams 2 at any of the below links or stream it here!
By: Fridae Mattas
By: Fridae Mattas
Yes, it’s time to let the world read this editorial, that’s just me reassuring my O.C.D perfectionist self to let it go. Not the first time Collie Buddz brought the fiyah to Toronto and probably not the last! Good music and talented artists always get repeated coverage from me because it’s so rare to find these days. Collie Buddz (Colin Harper) new school Dancehall, Reggae, Soca artist hit Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall on his “Light It Up Tour” with support from Miami’s Cris Cab and Brooklyn’s New Kingston. Unlike many publications I don’t care about covering bands/artists that will give me a million new views and fans, I like introducing people to the good ones, new and old. Quality is very important because my ears don’t hear numbers but music is heard clearly. If I were to cover all of the mainstream crap everyone else does, I would be working at Much Music like everyone else instead of running my own budding media empire.
The Danforth Music Hall has been a part of East Toronto history since 1919 and was even shut down a few times since, most recently for a year and a half until it was resurrected in 2011. Come to think of it, this venue is where I saw my first ever live concert performance, a Greek Singer my Mom took me to see back in the late eighties. The Danforth is a neighbourhood in Toronto known as “Greek Town” by non Greeks and is always fun to wander, I partly grew up on that strip from Greenwood to Pape.
Back to present day, I was hoping to make it on time for the first band New Kingston and I did! Finally I saw their full set! Well, kind of…I missed one song but did get a few good shots from the pit, they actually had a pit! Very surprised and excited when I saw the pit because I was ready for a general admission, no pit shoot from the crowd event, so I came prepped with different lenses. No complaints here, this show ended up being my favorite of the year thus far! New Kingston is a band of brothers with a “Fathager” (Father & Manager) Courtney Panton Sr. who also plays the Bass in the band. Brooklyn, NY is where they: Tahir Panton – Vocals/Keys, Stephen Suckarie – Vocals/Guitar and Courtney Panton Jr. – Vocals/Drums) are from. They have two records available for you to hear “Kingston University” and “In The Streets“. You can usually find them on tour with Harper (they are also his backup band), it is pretty fantastic that they get to kick off the night with their own material. I remember last year, they had a set in the city without Buddz that I wanted to cover but I had another show and all my photographers were booked. It’s hard to be five places at once, unless you can freeze time or fly which unfortunately I have yet to learn how to do.
The band was vibing it out, still I felt like they were not fully comfortable on stage but did warm up and let loose by the end of the set. Drummer/Singer Courtney Panton Jr. migrated from behind his drum kit, took off his shirt and sang for the people of Toronto. The females were loving every minute of the shirt removal and I noticed every time I wandered to different areas of the venue the crowd was growing quickly. New Kingston has this one tune with a sick beat that I have heard before but never know the name of the tune because they don’t introduce all the songs. Advice for all newbies: introduce your songs to the crowd if you want people to actually remember them and check out your music. Tahir was a lot more enthusiastic, he even smiled a few times as he was rocking a portable keyboard instead of being so serious all the time. Steve did a commendable job entertaining the crowd but he could talk to them a bit more. They need to separate themselves from being the backup band and embody more of a headlining act attitude with every performance. They also need to work on tightening up those harmonies, they were pitchy in a few songs but overall well done, I would see them again for sure.
The next artist to heat the stage was Cris Cab, he is new to my ears, I have never heard of him or his music but quite a few people in the crowd seemed to be familiar with him. There were plenty of different age groups, couples and of course the hard core Collie Buddz fans keeping their space hostage at the front of the barricade. Cris Cab is from Miami, Florida and like many people from Miami he has Cuban roots. Cuba is such a beautiful country and my heart aches for the people who live there, prisoners of paradise.
The crowd cheered Cab on as he was jamming out with his band, strumming a few tunes on the acoustic himself. Not bad for a young Larry, a little work is still needed here and there but he already has swagger and a presence about him. Cris was working the stage and a crowd like a seasoned veteran and looks absolutely natural! Truly coming from his heart you could see how much he loves being on the stage, I could tell he was nervous but had it under control almost immediately. He just released the Red Road Mixtape which you can grab here. Cris was discovered by Pharrell Williams and was signed to Mercury/Island Def Jam in 2011, one thing I know is Pharrell is right, this kid is the future.
The headliner for the evening Collie (Colin Harper) Buddz was up next! The crowd was more than ready chanting his stage name “Collie Buddz!”, “Collie Buddz!”. Once the house music stopped and the band started to jam the packed venue erupted into cheers of excitement for their favorite Reggae artist. The girls were going nuts, I avoided the area he was performing right in front of because the fans were getting grabby and “Too Watchy” (laughs). I really didn’t feel like having a chunk of my hair pulled out or my head whacked by hands.
Better lighting this time around and the setlist had old tunes and new, he even played a few super fresh tunes like “Light It Up” and “Payback’s A Bitch”. I was shocked when he threw down “Come Around” so early in the set, I think it was the last pit tune before I migrated back into the crowd. Usually when I’m shooting in the media pit and I have a three song limit I can barely remember the songs, its all a blur! This was true for the first two but the last one I photographed I remembered. “Come Around” is one of his big tunes and I’m used to it being played in the middle or near the end of the set, this time he mixed it up. Looking forward to hearing what Collie drops next his tunes are always original big tunes.
Once I stood still long enough to observe the set for a minute, my attention was drawn to the security guards who came out of the pit to converse with an older Jamaican man. He clearly had a problem with a female who was smoking weed and apparently was blowing the smoke in his face on purpose when he told her to put it out. She should not have aggravated him by showing some common courtesy and he should have known by going to a Collie “Buddz” show on the “Light It Up Tour” people would be blazing herbs. Both could have moved somewhere else in the crowd to avoid the whole problem from the start but that didn’t happen. Don’t know the outcome because I wandered off to another corner too much drama for me, that was the first and probably the last time I will ever see a Jamaican man so mad about ganja.
Unlike many musicians and people, I noticed that Collie is loyal to his crew, New Kingston always is his back up band and the fantastical Lady Alexis is always backup vocals. Lady Alexis (Alexis Layne) did a fabulous job although she didn’t get a solo this time around. I loved the shirt she was wearing, all the haters really should.
Buddz not only played fan favorites like “Mamacita”, “Sensimilla” and “Tomorrow’s Another Day” he also threw down some old school Reggae, DanceHall, Soca tunes like “Murder She Wrote”, “Who Am I (Sim Sima)” and one of my all time old school Reggae favorites “Everyone Falls In Love” by Tanto Metro and Devonte, I believe Beenie Man did a remix of the tune or was featured. I wish my siblings were with me they would have loved this show as would have many of you.
Buddz was relaxed yet extremely enthused when engaging the fans, throwing smiles at them, jumping around. He was bringing his music to life for his fans wholeheartedly with sweat cloth and mic in hand. I have not heard anyone like Collie Buddz, he is still the only one who can throw it down the way he does. With other artists you can tell many are putting on a front but with Buddz he’s as real and natural as they get. The one song the crowd loved the most and I’m basing it purely on the decibel level was “Blind To You”. As Harper came back on stage for the encores, he popped out wearing a custom Toronto Blue Jay jersey with Buddz on the back of it, the crowd exploded! Everyone loves it when people represent their city and Collie does have some history with T.O.. The largest crowd I have seen for Collie Buddz, he also noticed stating that it was his biggest Toronto show and he didn’t want to leave the stage. I will definitley be covering Collie again to see his progression, plus I still want to do an interview! You all should go check out his unique blend of island sounds live if you get the chance. I’m glad everyone was having fun and nobody ended up on a gurney this time.
By: Fridae Mattas
This year I wanted everything to be different, told myself not to stress over anything…Yeah, now I am stressing over stupid technolgy not working as it should! I tried Final Cut Pro on my friends computer a few weeks ago…I wanted to shoot myself in the face, don’t understand why Apple makes the simplest things so time consuming and complicated! After listening to more than half of the bands playing the festival, I concluded that there was nothing new appealing to my ears. Most of the good bands on the Toronto scene I already love, know about, have heard of or don’t like. There were a few Australian and Japanese bands I saw for a few minutes but they were just mediocre.
On March 21st I had a few bands to check but it turned out one of the bands was not even playing, regardless of what the book said. I thought why not just hit up a few clubs on Queen and then reach Incura’s set at the Hard Luck. Absolutely thrilled that I was able to catch their set and I arrived early!! The first time I saw Vancouver band Incura was at the Rivoli in 2009, they were so fantastic I had to check them out again but kept missing the sets in the city. This time I was determined, I even agreed to an interview with dynamo frontman Kyle Gruninger when the bands publicist reached out. To watch the interview click here or go to www.youtube.com/fridaetv.
Incura is: Kyle Gruninger – Vocals, Royce Whittaker – Guitar, Jono Olson – Bass, Jim McLaren – Keyboards and Phil Gardner on the kit. You cannot describe their music by genre-boxing them. They have such a fantastically different blend of artistic sounds and if anyone tries to change them that will be a sad day.Kyle is one of the best frontmen I have seen ever! His vocals and stage presence surpass many of the veteran artists out there today, if Freddie Mercury and David Bowie had a son it would be Kyle. You can see him shine by watching the band live or viewing a video on Fridae TV youtube.
The rest of the band did well, Whittaker was immense on the axe but there were a few tuning issues that I heard, but this time I will let it slide because they played four shows back to back in three days. When I notice mistakes at least I know he is actually playing the guitar and not “Rock Banding it” with a backing track pretending to play the instrument. (I have seen that happen far too often these days!). Phil Gardner on the Drums was tight the whole time! Most Drummers I have seen and know are always on top of their game. Bassist Jono Olson kept those Bass lines crisp , he was very energetic and not overly enthusiastic. They all have chemistry beyond words that you have to see for yourself, keep Incura in your thought because soon enough they will have a huge following!
On Friday March 22nd an interview was scheduled with James Black of Finger Eleven who also has his own solo project and an Alt-Country band “Blackie Jackett Jr.” with fellow guitarist Rick Jackett. You can watch the very informative interview here. Once his set wrapped I was to run down to The Indies but instead I ran into an awesome friend as I was leaving the Rivoli and decided to check the Protest The Hero set at The Hoxton which I have never been too. I did feel a little guilty for fucking up the coverage rotation but I really wanted to see PTH kill it! Fridae TV photographer Dipan was already at The Kool Haus shooting the show, so my guilt wasn’t too overwhelming. The Hoxton looked nice, the sound system was shit up close but farther back it sounded decent, invest in your sound system people. Did not stay too long because it was getting crazy and I didn’t want to miss Matt Mays and El Torpedo I take it and go.
The Indies were held at the Kool Haus this year due to the relocation because of the construction on front street by Union station and the usual CMW HQ Royal York. Next year they should have CMW/CMF at the Sheraton Centre, after all it is a spacious hotel and centrally located. The band playing when I arrived was Diamond Rings…The bands music was good but the singer was horrible, he ruined everything, my ears were screaming! Thankfully, the set was almost over and Matt Mays was hitting the stage next. It is beyond tragic that band member Jay Smith of El Torpedo was died not even a week later. Smith was found dead Wednesday March 27th in his Alberta hotel room, cause of death is yet to be released. He was a strong influence on the band and a very talented musician who left behind a young family. My condolences to all of his family and friends, it is always hard to lose people so suddenly. When people say time will heal, I don’t agree with that saying when it comes to the death of someone close. You never really get over it, you just learn how to cope and live your life.
The band was fantastic they were all so cohesive and I loved the guitars, always a sucker for the sound of a guitar played well. I don’t know why but the more guitars squealing the better for my ears! Mays has a soulful mellow voice and is a fabulous frontman with great stage presence. The crowd was hypnotized by his every move, see for yourself and watch “Loveless” and “Stoned” the two best tracks I filmed of their performance at The Indies.
This year CMW had over a thousand bands playing but not enough quality entertainment that I wanted to hear. Always remember it is about quality, not quantity. The headliners for The 2013 Indie Awards were Metric, the crowd was waiting patiently for the first twenty minutes and then they began to get restless because the band was still not on the stage after an hour.
The crowd forgot about the delay the minute vox Emily Haines walked onto the stage. Metric started off their set with Artificial Nocturne, followed by Youth Without You which I absolutely think sounds like “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. There were moments when it seemed as though Haines wasn’t singing, photographer Dipan even notice that, maybe everyone should lay off the vocal effects and sing normally. They were okay, I don’t get the hype but Haines does put on a respectable performance.
Next!! Six Side Die at Cherry Colas!! Prior to their set I was on a mission to find a good band! So I trekked up and down Queen street in search of new quality entertainment. Most of the good bands I have already seen and like the days before the bands playing were not mesmerizing enough to keep me. I did a new interview with Six Side Die but it is still being edited, like Kyle’s it was to be right here for you all to see but I don’t always get what I want.
Six Side Die is in the process of recording their debut record “That F’N Album” which should be out this summer for everyone to listen to. SSD’s fans raised enough funds for the band to make the record possible. Many people know frontman Bryan Crouch from his previous band “Hail The Villain” and I have noticed by the comments left on a few FridaeTV videos some of his Villain fans are not happy with the migration. People don’t understand how harsh hard rock vocals are on your chords, all of the screaming and growling damages the vocal chords causing them to deteriorate because of continual misuse. There are so many metal and hard rock bands that have had to hold off on tours because the vocalist needed some voice rest or had to get legit surgery to try and repair some of the affliction. Honestly people need to get over it and move the fuck on, he is a talented guy who wants to continue evolving as an artist on his own terms. If you don’t love it anymore, you have to let it go to truly find what you are missing because in the end the only one watching out for you is you.
They rocked Cherry Cola’s “Tiny Tim” stage to the fullest of their ability, it was so hard to get photos of everyone because there are five Larries on a tiny stage at once overlapping one another. Six Side Die is: Bryan Crouch – Vocals, Anthony Xander – Lead Axe, Kelly Voelkel- Drums, Mike Liske – Rhythm Guitar/Vox and Pat Kavanagh- Bass/Vocals.
I love Pat’s has screamage skills he sounds fantastic and plays bass pretty well keeping the moment up. Mike on the rhythm needs to relax a little bit, have fun on stage! The hardest was getting shots of Kelly he was always blocked by a Larry but shit I managed one still. Loving their sound, very eclectic and Bryan still kills it as a frontman, he brings the vibrancy needed to make this new venture a successful endeavour. It’s amazing how the band interacts with their fans on the regular either by doing random fb or twitter updates or playing video-games with them. Xander is great guitarist, he tried to do some tricks with a bottle…Didn’t exactly work but at least he tried something different. People are too afraid of risks and change but if you don’t take a chance on something you are not living. Check out all of the above bands and artists as well as the others mentioned in the previous CMW editorials and keep it locked for those interviews, that’s all for this year!
By: Fridae Mattas
Amidst the whirlwind of press for her new album “Secret Sulk”, Nikki of Dolls (You may know her as Nikki Awesome.) had a few minutes to catch up and share some of her life.
Fridae: Hello, Hello! It has been awhile since we hijacked a ballroom, how are you?
DOLLS – Nikki: OMG I almost forgot about ballroom-hijacking. I mean, nowadays they just give themselves up. It’s been a while!
Fridae: What has been going on in Awesome land since we last chatted a few years back?
DOLLS – Nikki: So much. I’ve pretty much left the ‘Nikki Awesome’ thing behind (DOLLS website launching soon, but won’t change my Facebook fan page), relocated to the UK (three grey and glorious years this summer), learned how to produce my own music, have thrown myself about traveling, meet/greeting some of my favourite artists and making ridiculous videos. Basically, I’ve spent the last three years regaining control of my art and having FUN again after leaving the major label game, which has definitely been a good move.
Fridae: How was Dolls created? If you could tell the world and myself a little more background information on the history of Dolls.
DOLLS – Nikki: DOLLS was initially an outlet for me to create music with a darker overall sound which wasn’t really compatible with The Royal Society’s. I always listened to synth-heavy music with a dirty, raw vibe, like Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division/New Order. I also really love some of the pop artists of the 80’s like Tears for Fears, Pet Shop Boys and Men Without Hats, all acts that had depth in their lyricism as well as wicked synth lines. I found that many mainstream artists were not into that style when I was last living in North America. There weren’t many artists making a crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘synthpop,’ coming from a commercial pop background (though some were crossing over the other way). I’ve always written all my own lyrics and melodies, played guitar and keys, but I felt despite that, I was limited to one style of music by virtue of having had a hit in that genre and lacking the resources to produce music on my own. Even though The Royal Society’s fans were wonderful and the media outlets were amazing in supporting the project, the club scene was feeling a little superficial to me. After losing several years worth of work to a series of heavily political power plays (in case you ever wondered why there wasn’t a Royal Society album), I began learning production in order to make the music I wanted, so as not to have to take direction from people who didn’t get me as an artist. It wasn’t the easiest transition and I probably burned some bridges, but ultimately I feel more empowered and happier doing what I want to do, and if people don’t ‘get it’ I don’t have to answer to anyone.
Fridae: Good for you! It’s seems like every artist comes to learn in their own time, that the only person who can truly relay your vision is you.
Fridae: How did you come up with the new records title?
DOLLS – Nikki: It was little bit of a joke at my own expense. I felt like in writing the material for DOLLS, people saw me as being a bit of a ‘poor little bitch girl,’ biting the hand that had fed me. Because the songs were a lot more angry, less commercially friendly, and openly bitter about things that usually get hushed up. Dolls music is a total contrast to The Royal Society vibe which is all “let’s party, everything’s rad.”. I wrote so many songs over the last three years that chronicled some experiences pretty viciously, and it turned out that after incessant (often unsolicited) input from everyone else I was (un)surprisingly kind of pissed off. Making Secret Sulk the album’s title seemed appropriate in the sense that everything I did musically and the way I did it was otherwise so atypical and ‘inappropriate’.
Fridae: Did you work with someone on the new album or did you create everything yourself?
DOLLS – Nikki: Millions of hours alone in my bedroom. I didn’t have any previous experience with production outside of being in-studio, so it’s been an insanely huge learning curve, which is obviously not yet complete. The new (unreleased) stuff is a lot more refined in terms of sound quality (since I have upgraded my equipment) but it’s still DOLLS: dark cynical synth/wave with pop vocals.