Featured Artist - Black Phoenix Orchestra

Featured Artist – Black Phoenix Orchestra

Indie403 is thrilled to present Black Phoenix Orchestra as our Featured Artist of the Month!


There are certain bands that stand up and soar above the others. These bands are mythical, their stories are legendary, and their greatness seems to be almost unnatural. Exploding onto the Calgary music scene and becoming mythical by more than just their name, Black Phoenix Orchestra has risen from the ashes time and again, constantly evolving and blowing minds everywhere they go. BPO is a force to be reckoned with, and as they spread their wings across Canada, they’re definitely a band to watch.

The Band, Influences, and Attitude

Black Phoenix Orchestra has come a long way over the years. Like the creature they’re named for, BPO has been reborn again and again, emerging stronger and more powerful with each new breath. The band has undergone a few changes since its inception in 2010, but as frontman and founder Darren McDade acknowledges, the chemistry has always been good. “It helps when you’re all friends,” he says. “Members come and go but the friendships always stay. We wish nothing but the best for each other.” This attitude has played a large role in the reputation the band has received in Calgary, and now with a full line-up of McDade (vocals/guitar), Erik Ermantrout (lead guitar), Kenton Amstutz (bass/vocals) and Johnny Noriega (drums), the band’s chemistry and friendship is stronger than ever. Black Phoenix Orchestra is one of those eclectic music-loving bands that anyone can love, and a lot can be said about them based on their influences alone. While the band’s sound has been compared to that of Alice in Chains and The Verve, they love all types of music and listen to everything from Mozart to Underworld. Fans of music that might make you laugh, dance, or cry (or sometimes all three), BPO understands the therapeutic aspects of music and uses those aspects to their advantage, whether that involves guitarist Ermantrout’s love of the blues or just the mood of the day. Fans have been inspired by the band’s creativity and dedication to their writing, and it is a testament to their thoughtfulness and intelligence that their music has touched the lives of so many people. In spite of their success, however, McDade remains humble and gives credit to the people who have stood by them: “We respect the fact that people pay money that they worked hard for and take the time to come see us. That pushes us to be the best we can be.” It’s this dedication that makes Black Phoenix Orchestra soar. They care about their fans, their music, and putting on a great show, and while the band acknowledges every musician’s dream of success and fame, they’re not about to change who they are to get it. The band knows what they want, and McDade shows they have high expectations: “It’s about time someone stood up and took a chance on music… I still hold hope that one day I will find that person.”

Success and Accomplishments

While the band has been around for only two years, Black Phoenix Orchestra has already accomplished a lot. Released in June 2011, their self-titled first EP received rave reviews, hailed as one of year’s best local releases and setting the band in motion for a whole series of amazing accomplishments. After winning X92.9’s Xposure contest and the much-desired $25,000 top prize, BPO played with Jane’s Addiction at XFest, a huge dream for any band, especially one that has worked so hard to get there. As McDade reflects, “Getting to play XFest 2011 was one of the greatest moments for us. Every time we make a new fan is a fantastic accomplishment… After all, that’s what we are here for, to share the music.” Well said, and after touring over the mountains and across Canada, including a gig at The Horseshoe during Canadian Music Week in Toronto, BPO also earned fans across the country and created a whole new niche in the music scene. Imagine: they’re not even done yet!

Looking Forward

It has already been an exciting start to 2012 for the band with the solidification of the new line-up, and moving into June, they have even more to look forward to. Embarking on an Eastern Canada Tour (to be announced in the next couple of weeks), Black Phoenix Orchestra is set to make an even bigger splash in the Canadian music world, and with the release of a new EP in August and a full-length album in the works, there’s no telling how far their music will take them. As anyone who has been lucky enough to hear their music and see the band in person can tell you, Black Phoenix Orchestra is the real deal, and they’re on their way to take over the world. That is why they are Indie403’s Featured Artist of the Month. For a taste of Black Phoenix Orchestra, listen to “No Guarantee“: To learn more about Black Phoenix Orchestra and find out about their upcoming music releases, gigs and tour, visit the Website, join their Facebook page and check out for Youtube page for some live videos.


Music, Art & Lifestyle