Tag Archives: Toronto

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

Elk – “Daydreams”

Indie music has taken a turn toward retro pop in recent years. We hear a lot of beats and grooves reminiscent of the 50s or 60s, and this really comes as no surprise: music and art are cyclical and we love to revisit old favourites. Bringing back some great 60s surfer rock and semi-psychedelic groove is Elk, a fantastic four-piece from Toronto and Niagara. A modern version of The Kinks, The Beach Boys, and The Wonders (the fictional band from That Thing You Do!), Elk is new but familiar, and their new album Daydreams has quickly become a lasting favourite.

The title of Daydreams is a perfect reflection of the band’s sound. Dreamlike and distant, it feels almost ethereal and otherworldly; vocals seem to take an echoey, reverb-filled backseat to the instrumental pieces, and this creates an eerie undertone to the otherwise upbeat album. Elk uses a variety of instruments and tempos on the album to add more creativity and range to the tracks, and in doing so they separate themselves from other less unique acts. They throw in super fun tambourine, piano (“Come Home”), and hand claps (“Every Girl That I Meet”) at appropriate parts throughout the album, and with plenty of toe-tapping beats and zippy hip-twisting the album creates a mixture of songs that both you and your mom can dance to.

The tracks themselves aren’t super complex or complicated, but this just adds to their charm. The easy, breezy flow of the album creates something that can be listened to repeatedly without even thinking about it. It doesn’t have that muddled jumble of noise that occasionally comes with garage-type bands, and the simple beats and riffs are what make the album flow so smoothly. The album-opening “Before The Sun” is a great example of why simple is better. You become part of the music, drumming along and humming the melody almost immediately, and when an album gets in your head the first time you hear it, you know you’ve found something good.

Listening to this album will make you want to see the band play live, and lucky fans in Southern Ontario will get a ton of chances to do so. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for their most up-to-date news, and take a peek at their label, IndoorShoes. Daydreams is available on iTunes and for a preview of Elk’s great sound, check out the video for “Before The Sun”. This is a band you need to hear, and a retro sound you need to revisit.

Elk - "Daydreams"

Kaptur – “Thousands”

There are few new artists who are capable of releasing a great first album. While many albums are good, they are usually missing the precision and smoothness that will typically come only after a few recording attempts and years of practice.

“Thousands”, the first studio release from new artist Kaptur, is an exception. The five-track EP is near perfection, an unexpected surprise that restores faith in new music and pure talent. Jumping onto the surprise ride is the additional fact that Kaptur is only one person: Riley Jensen shows incredible and enviable skill by singlehandedly performing each song, personally playing each instrument on the EP and showing off a phenomenal voice that is – somehow – both soothing and invigorating. Jensen’s talent defies all explanation, seeming incredibly sophisticated and flawless for a young man of only 22.

With the help of Toronto recording engineer Josh Korody, Kaptur has created a fantastic collection of songs that shows the influence of such acts as Radiohead, Matthew Good, and Death Cab for Cutie. These are songs that can be listened to again and again, liking more each time, and the medium-rock sound can find a place among many tastes. Jensen’s voice is just cool – there aren’t many singers like him out there, and that just adds to his appeal.

The only negative side of the EP is shockingly obvious: it is a tease! Yes, it’s just an EP, but it’s an EP so good that the small taste of Kaptur’s music is just plain mean. At only $4 (correct – $4) Kaptur’s album is a steal. “Thousands” can be streamed and purchased here, and check out Kaptur’s Facebook page for more details on live shows in the Niagara Region and future releases.

One listen and you’ll be hooked. Enjoy with a drink in hand, dreamy thoughts, and reluctant patience for Kaptur’s next release.

Kaptur - "Thousands"