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The Advantage Of Attending Music Showcases

With a growing music community and the ability to network and connect to virtually anywhere in the world, it’s easy to get locked into the digital communication world. Social media and video conferencing are great tools when used properly, but nothing measures up to a good old face-to-face conversation, especially when it comes to networking in the music industry.

Events such as: North By… and South By… festivals, Canadian Music Week,  and Indie Week, allow for musicians to not only travel and learn from industry professionals, but they also provide the opportunity to showcase their music to a large audience of industry professionals, other musicians, and most importantly, to music lovers. With most of the events lasting a few days, and others lasting up to a week, musicians should always take in as much as they can when attending these festivals and conferences.

©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz
©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz

Indie403 caught up with 2 musicians and a magazine editor, all based in Calgary, who attended the 2013 Canadian Music Week in Toronto.

Curtis Butala – Vocalist for Kingdom of Few

Michael Valenzuela – Drummer for Septembryo

Shannon Ambrose – Chief Managing Editor and Founder of The Portal Magazine

Here are some comments from the musicians side of attending Canadian Music Week:

Curtis: “This trip marked the 2nd time Kingdom of Few has made the trip to Toronto, the first time being for Toronto Indie Week.  The connections that we made [during] our first trip lent well to our experience at CMW, allowing us to book more shows and network more effectively…and drink for free!

What you see right away at CMW is that a vibrant and passionate music community resides in Toronto, with all styles of music well represented.  Original music venues litter Queen Street, with line ups of passionate music fans out the door.  Bands support one another, bouncing from showcase to showcase.  You get the feeling Toronto is the mecca for independent artists.  The Marriot was packed daily with people from all walks of the music and entertainment business, with eager bands and artists trying to make their mark on the scene.”

Michael:Septembryo‘s trip to Toronto was very worthwhile and insightful. [CMW] is a massive event in which musicians and industry professionals all gather in Toronto to perform, learn, network and enlighten. We were invited to showcase and perform a set at one of the many venues that were delegated for the event. We got the gig by applying through Sonicbids.com which was followed up by many emails and a detailed registration process. Septembryo got to reach a new crowd and get our music and circle of influence spreading out to a new city.

I know the trip might not seem like a worthwhile thing from an outside perspective, but it was very worthwhile for us. It was an educational experience and the more my band and I are present at events like this, the more we can have a relevant impact on the important people in the industry.”

“The summit [portion of the festival] was based on vital information sessions going on all week with industry professionals. One of the perks of getting invited to showcase at CMW is that you get to attend the summit for free. To put things into perspective, the summit costs around $600-$900 to attend if you don’t have a free pass. We were able to sit in on these summit sessions and absorb advice and experienced outlooks on various elements regarding the music industry. We were also occasionally able to talk and network with these important people who were all gathered at the Marriot Hotel.

©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz
©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz

Some of the summit sessions we attended included: Keynote with Arthur Fogel, Chairman, Global Music and CEO, Global Touring, Live Nation, Celebrity Interview – A Conversation with METRIC, Featured Speaker Tom Jackson, Live Music Producer, OnstageSuccess.com, USA, Panel Discussion on Licensing Issues Worldwide: Where Do We Stand?, Music For The Screen – Putting Your Music In Film & TV, and Presentation – The Elements of a Hit Song.”

And here are some comments from the industry side of attending Canadian Music Week:

Shannon: “This being my third time to Canadian Music Week, I went prepared for what I was about to experience, or so I thought.

The fact that its five long days and very late nights hadn’t changed but there were some other obvious changes.  First off, the hub of all things CMW moved from the Royal York as host hotel, to the Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre and that wasn’t the only change this year.

Another major change this year was moving two of the four award shows from afternoon luncheons to evening events, as well as the dates they were held on. The Indies (Independent Music Awards) moved from Saturday night to Friday, the Canadian Radio Music Awards, formally a Friday afternoon luncheon, was now held on Wednesday evening, and the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards were open to the media for the first time. Attending awards shows is always fun and exciting, though at times a little frustrating as media. It’s a great opportunity to get audio or video content with winners and guests backstage, as well as experiencing the excitement as award recipients are brought backstage.

©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz
©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz

Canadian Music Fest – a crazy six nights, with 1000 artists performing in any one of 60 venues is an original Indie music lovers delight. It’s virtually impossible to take every show in, but the best way to experience CMF is to hop from venue to venue, catching as much as possible. Most of the venues are a short walk apart, so it isn’t that difficult to hit 3 or 4 venues in one night.  I’ve “discovered” several original bands I’ve never heard of before during CMF, and usually come home with a handful of CDs to review.

All that said, each year I attend Canadian Music Week, I see it as a great networking opportunity, meeting industry professionals, spreading the word of The PORTAL Magazine, attending conferences to advance my knowledge of the industry and basically being seen in the rich, creative environment.”

Michael: “Not only was I there to represent my band, I also was well represented as a graphic designer while I was there. Other than my band Septembryo, 2 other Alberta based bands (Rend and Maddison Krebs) were also showcasing at Canadian Music Week. I have done design work for these artists, so it is good to know the albums and business cards and posters I created for them were being handed out to industry professionals. These bands are both really talented and were getting a lot of attention during the week, so this could be very good if people appreciate my design work.”

©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz
©Michael Valenzuela 2013 @Mickey_Valenz

 

In closing, here are some words of wisdom from our 3 attendees of Canadian Music Week:

“It takes a while to build dreams and to have them mature from ideas to reality, but we are on our way. Slowly but surely.”

~Michael Valenzuela | Drummer, Septembryo

“Overall the trip experience is what you make of it.  Get your face seen, get your voice heard and meet some like minded artists.
It also looks great on your resume. Alberta was well represented at CMW with great acts like Oldbury, Double Fuzz and Septembryo.
I came away with the feeling that success is just around the corner for many of us here in Alberta, and that we are part of
something special here.”

~Curtis Butala | Vocalist, Kingdom of Few

“For anyone serious about a career in the music industry I recommend attending Canadian Music Week at least once. The conferences are extremely valuable, and the networking opportunities are priceless.”

~Shannon Ambrose |  Chief Managing Editor, The Portal Magazine

Raising The Funk Level In Western Canada

Fur Eel

4-Piece Funk, Soul & Rock | Regina, Saskatchewan

Highlights:

  • Debut album released in 2011 & currently recording and mixing a new album for a 2012 release
  • Various mini-tours throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
  • Chosen to perform at 2012 Canadian Music Fest in Toronto (March 21-25)

“Fur Eel”: A play on words that might suggest a hairy sea creature or a response you’d hear from a young adult engaged in a conversation involving something unbelievable. “For Real?”

This funk band from Regina will definitely leave you thinking, “For Real?” as you bob your head and tap your feet along to their music. After the show, it will take you days to get the catchy lyrics, “Who am I writing 4 for…for?” out of your head.

Fur Eel

The band Fur Eel formed in the summer of 2010 after Justin and Thomas wrote the song “I See”. Taking from each band member’s eclectic music tastes, Fur Eel delivers a sexy stage presence reminiscent of the biggest 80’s pop stars combined with the classic rock guitar riffs and solos comparable to your favorite hits, layered over top of grooving drums and bass that will get your feet tapping and your hips swaying.

Justin, the lead singer, is strongly influenced and inspired by Prince and it shows in his on-stage dancing swagger and deliverance of lyrics. Each word is punctuated, accentuated, and delivered with specific tone and pitch and followed up with precise and melodic finger-picked solos.

Indie403 had a chance to sit down with the lads in Fur Eel and talk all things furry prior to their set at The Ironwood on January 3rd, 2012.

Thomas St. Onge: “There are not a lot of people doing what we’re doing in Regina. Most people our age are doing the Indie rock stuff and the generation ahead of us is playing a lot of country music. Most of the venues in Regina are well attended though, so you get a lot of support throughout the scene.”

Fur Eel

Currently working on their second album with an anticipated release in the spring of 2012, Fur Eel prides itself as a fully functional DIY Band. The albums are self-produced with the help of Thomas’s father, who primarily takes on the mixing aspect of the album production.

“We’ve been doing it all ourselves. We’ve never tried to tour before, put out an album…it’s been a learning process and we’re having a lot of fun with it”.
~Justin Sheppard – Fur Eel

Justin Sheppard: “We honestly have super supportive families. It makes all the difference to have their support. Thomas’s dad helps us with the mixes amongst other stuff, James’s parents lent us their van to drive out on our last mini-tour, Travis’s dad is at pretty much any show he can make it to, including a few shows in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and my mom helps us out with the business side of being a working band. A lot of bands don’t get that kind of support base in their family.”

Fur Eel

“Fur Eel is not just about performance and entertainment…they are musical magicians. They own their instruments as well as the stage”.
~Indie403

Fur Eel just returned home from a mini-tour that saw them play in Calgary, Regina, Brandon and Winnipeg, with a video and interview session in Saskatoon for an episode of Stripped Down. They hit the road again in February for a week and will be returning to Calgary to funk up The Distillery on February 18th, followed up by a month long cross-Canada tour in May.

Be sure to watch for Fur Eel at this year’s Canadian Music Fest in Toronto from March 21st-25th. Music fans at the Toronto festival will soon know who funk’d up The Prairies.

Fun Fur-ry Fact:
The Leader Post, Regina’s most subscribed newspaper, recently had an article that featured top choices in music from 2011 and Fur Eel was one of Mike Shiplack‘s selections. The rest of the selections are listed here.