i interviewed these guys (and why i love going to shows)

I’ve had some pretty good luck with interviewing bands I like.

Many music/entertainment journalists have to beg, borrow, steal and bribe their editors for that good “get” (don’t quote me on that – it’s just the perception I have of this industry).

But I haven’t.

How? Why?

First, it helps to work for an independent publication that is wholly dependent on unpaid* contributions from their writers to fill their mag. It’s hard for the higher-ups to say “No” to you. Not to say I take advantage of my editors-in-chief. I’m just saying that they’re more open minded about what you pitch.

Second, I go to a lot of shows.

Well, not a LOT – just, enough. I live in downtown Toronto, with the means to get around town, and I have a fairly flexible schedule. I have friends in the music industry and friends who enjoy going to shows with me (although I’m more than game to go to a show on my own), so I’m never lacking in reason or company.

How does this tie into my ability to get bands to talk to me?

I tend to go to shows of smaller bands, unsigned or signed, and I think there is some kind of mutual appreciation between the journalist and the artist in this case: the journalist knows the artist appreciates the chance to publicly talk about their music, and the artist knows that the journalist appreciates the chance to practise their craft and publish an article.

So usually, I’ll go to a show to see one band, and end up really liking a supporting act. I ask them if they have a publicist or manager present, and that’s where I get the ball rolling.

And although I’ve only done this a handful of times, I can genuinely say I’ve never had anyone turn me down.

My latest interview was with this charming band from Ireland, Nightbox. I saw them at Canadian Music Week and they blew me away. They’re a mix of Canadian, Irish and American boys who have had some pretty wild success for an unsigned band without a full-length album. They’ve toured with Lights several times, remixed a couple of her songs, performed at the Reading Music Fest, was a cast of Much Music’s “Discovered,” and had their EP produced by Seb Grainger from Death From Above 1979 and Al-P of MSTRKRFT, which was distributed by Last Gang Records.

For now, I’m grateful that I don’t have to bow to the wishes of a paying employer and still get to write about what I want to. But of course, I could just forego the whole steady-paycheck thing and live my life out as a freelancer. Who knows?

Til then, I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing.

*Press+1 recently started paying their writers for articles/reviews on Canadian cinema, thanks to a government grant!

music maturity

When I was in “middle school” or “junior high” as you Americans would call it, I was so adamant on not being sucked into the bubble gum pop trend, and would be quite stubborn about my love for alternative rock, even though my knowledge of alt rock didn’t really go beyond Our Lady Peace.

Every self-respecting Canadian should own this album.

Don’t get me wrong; I really did love OLP back in the day, and I still love the name Raine, and I love that he and Chantal Kreviazuk are a super Canadian rocker couple with adorable children.  But I don’t cling onto my need to be “different” as much as I used to.  I suppose I thought it made me seem more mature than my friends who were hitting up the convenience stores every lunch hour to get the latest Spice Girls stickers.

Now, I can’t help but embrace the fact that I do love a good dance-pop song.  I think it all started with the fact that I began to drive nearly every day.  Driving is a lot more fun when listening to an upbeat song.  And then, the Spice Girls announced the reunion tour.  I totally jumped on that bandwagon.  I can proudly say that I attended the final concert that the Spice Girls ever performed together (their tour ended in Toronto).

Spice Girls at the ACC; their finale

And then, Britney went on tour for “Circus”, and my friend gave me tickets for Christmas.

brit brit at the ACC

So it all kept snowballing until I began to embrace my love for mainstream music.

I think as I’ve become more mature (for realz this time; not pretentious mature like Alex from Modern Family), I’ve come to accept that I like singing along badly in the car, or wanting to pump my fist at the club and mouth the words drunkenly to my friends (oh yeah, REAL mature).  My point is, I can still love my indie bands (holla, Copeland!) but embrace my silly dancey side (recent new love: Far East Movement).

one of my favourite albums, ever

So all that being said, I can’t wait to see Robyn in concert.   Her music and image has changed so much since the late 90s/early 2000s, but her position in the music industry still allows me to like her and be cool amongst my hipster friends (and all my uber trendy students).  Gotta love the proletarian claim to cool-dom.

she's too cool for you.

I’ve got my comfy Deena & Ozzy ankle booties to dance all night in. SO EXCITED!