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Summer Livin

Since we last spoke we’ve played with some of our favourite bands, written a bunch of new songs, and are getting ready to record them.

It’s been a summer of outdoor shows/festivals, which as one can imagine is a totally different beast than playing in bars and clubs. The first few outdoor shows can be strange and intimidating. We (and I’m sure most other bands) spent our formative years in basements and bars building a live show and learned how to be comfortable, loud and entertaining in the familiar confines of four walls and a roof. I’ve always found that once you take the lid off of that box, you can feel the energy on stage change and the band has to adapt. I remember sound check at my first outdoor show, the kick drum echoing off the back of Springer Market Square and realizing just how huge the sound was. We’ve grown a lot since then and now it feels like an old hat – I sometimes feel that we perform and sound better out in the elements rather than in a shoebox club. That being said, nothing beats the energy found in a hot room…maybe I just like playing shows and am nitpicking…I digress!

~ Some recent highlights ~

View from the stage at Springer Market Square 

View from the stage at Springer Market Square 

We played a show with the Sam Roberts Band back in May. It was one of my favourite shows not just because I’m a big SRB fan, but because it felt like something really clicked for us as a band. Since that show we have felt tighter and more capable on stage.

***Not Pictured: Julz...somehow he missed this well thought out photo shoot

***Not Pictured: Julz...somehow he missed this well thought out photo shoot

 

Watch out roads, the fellas are up and running - we bought a van! Up until now we have been borrowing tour vans. It has been trying at times, booking shows and then figuring out how we are going to travel hundreds of kilometers…we always made it happen, but it’s nice to finally welcome one of our own into the family.

PS: HUUUUUGE shout outs to Phil for lending us ‘Humphrey’ and to Geoff for the use of his van/trailer from Jan-May and Paul for occasional use of the ‘Intruder’.
 

 

We have a few more shows with SRB at the end of the summer at The Kee To Bala in Muskoka, something we have been looking forward to for months. We also have more festival shows coming up before the summer winds down (August 19th at the Westport Music Festival near Kingsotn and August 21st at The CNE in Toronto). After a short sabbatical, Kingston’s own Wolfe Island Music Festival is back in action and we can’t wait to see what Virginia Clark and her team has cooked up this year!
 

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The Road

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The Road

The Road

When our friends and family ask, “How’s the tour going?” a lot of the time we as a band just try and summarize our experiences as ‘Fun!’ or ‘We’re having a great time!’ as a place holder for lots of challenging, out of control, exciting and sometimes discouraging stories that can’t be captured in a sound bite. Although I can’t speak on behalf of every touring band, I can say that one of the most appealing aspects of the job is that it’s so hands on, touch and go, and unpredictable. It’s hard to summarize more than one day, let alone a whole tour, in one simple answer. There’s just too much that happens daily, so I’ll try to unpack a little more here.

We had set the tour up so that we would alternate weekends between Canada and the United States… mainly to do with the fact that we didn’t really know what to expect south of the border. We’re just a couple of naive Canadian boys looking to play shows in America, our past experience in the states had been too good to be true, (see last blog post about Canada Day 2016) and we’d never done the club circuit before. So we thought spacing them out made more sense. The only thing that didn’t make sense was the number of border crossings we’d be doing, as well as the timing of the first one: January 19th. This was one day before Donald Trump’s inauguration and two days before the Women’s March… making for a tenser atmosphere than we would have cared for.

As a whole I would say we were very impressed by the American shows. Most of them had a hitch or two, but all of the other bands we met were extremely supportive and inviting for our next trip down: ‘Next time we’ll play _____ room and you can stay at our house!”. It was nice to experience such hospitality in these new cities. We were also very impressed by how many live bands there are (I know they have a larger population, so statistically more bands blah blah) and how supportive they are to their music scene. The fact that anyone would come out to specifically check out a Canadian band playing their favourite live music venue is very impressive to me.

Throughout the tour there were some moments were we were awestruck by how the internet can help your music reach people. Our last American show in Philadelphia is my favourite example. We arrived at The Fire (which is located in the trendy Northern Liberties/Fishtown area of Philly) to a rough-around-the-edges bar. The staff was incredible, easy to work with, and just excited about out-of-towners playing their room. Since this was our last American show, we were well rehearsed and the set itself went smoothly. After the set we were talking to people and found out that a couple from Philly that had seen us play last September at the YUL-EAT festival in Montreal and had turned a whole group of their friends on to our EP, and they came to support us that night. Another women had driven in from Washington DC to see our live show with her friend from Philly. It was one of those moments where you realize every show counts and how much you owe the crowd your best performance every night. As an aside: I loved The Fire for a number of reasons, but mostly because dogs were valued customers.

Honestly didn't see if this dog had an owner...also don't know where he keeps his money.... - Taken at The Fire in Philadelphia.

Honestly didn't see if this dog had an owner...also don't know where he keeps his money.... - Taken at The Fire in Philadelphia.

The Canadian run of shows was incredible – each time we come back to towns and see more people singing along it reminds us all that the drives are worth it. For me the standout show was Kingston: we’ve played the Brooklyn a number of times and it’s one of our favourite places to hang when we’re home, but there was something electric about that night. I also love the new table they have in the middle of the bar – I decided to walk out to it in the middle of the set to use it as extra stage, seemed like a good idea at the time. Once I got on it, I realized that the microphone cable was mildly tangled up in the crowd that I had confidently walked through. So after a few twist-and-shout style dance moves I got back to the stage. Maybe wireless mics next round? #itsBritneybitch

Love the new table - Taken at The Brooklyn in Kingston

Love the new table - Taken at The Brooklyn in Kingston

On this run we went through: colds (everyone had a cold at one time or another), lung infections, wrists on the brink of collapse, two vans (one of which would only start if you used lens cleaner and a wrench to jam the key into the starter) and two trailers…. But would we do it again? 

In a heartbeat.

I’m going to get a little nice/sentimental for a second: Being on the road requires a lot of support and understanding from everyone in the band, and there were countless examples of that on this tour. Maybe it was loading in and setting up someone else’s gear because they’re on the phone with someone back home, or that person is sleeping in the van because they have some plague and the only time they’ll be moving that day is the 11pm-1145pm set, buying coffees for everyone before sound check, or not taking too long in the shower when we’re behind schedule. The list goes on.  We were lucky enough to have two incredible non-band members on the road with us that also changed everything. Geoff Chown was our soundperson and general ‘Save-our-ass’ consultant to the band. There were at least two specific times where I said out loud “We’d be dead without you” and 100% meant it. The other helping hand was Luke Ottenoff (AKA Lucky). Lucky originally signed on to sling merch, but soon took on a few other responsibilities: roadie, drinking buddy, accountant and finally merch slinger extraordinaire.

So to summarize - To anyone who came out to a show, bought a CD, tweeted, instagrammed, shared us on facebook, told a friend, sang along, snuck into sound check, let us play at your venue: Thank you a million times over, you have no idea how much these little acts help us move forward. 

See you back on the road very soon!
Will

Recent Highlights: 
1. Taking a breather from shows and working on new songs
2. Confirming some very cool summer plans....stay tuned

For more updates on what we are doing, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

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This Year

A lot has changed since our last blog post. We’ve played dozens of shows, finally released our first EP, changed drummers, played in New York City and started getting radio play, just to name a few! There have been a lot of stories that have come out of these changes (some good, some bad), and under the advice of legal council I can’t tell all of the stories, but I can share a few! So lets start in order of importance:

The Changing of The Drummer

Don and I started this band (read last post for the story of Mr. Pineapple and the band), but being in a band requires a lot of personal and professional sacrifice. I had pulled Don into the world of being in a band while he was at school working on other ambitions, and the time had come where he couldn’t physically or mentally do both properly. It was a sad conversation but we pulled out one last tour with him in March to support our single ‘Never Alone’, ending with a packed set at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Don has been nothing but supportive of us since the beginning of this band and nothing has changed. You’ll find him dancing front row at as many shows as he can get to!

Our newest addition is Angus Fay, who has been around the band for many years in a few different capacities: friend, jam-drummer, and ‘photographer’. Back when Angus was too young to get into venues to see our show, he would put a camera around his neck and tell the promoter he was the 'bands photographer' (which isn’t a total lie, the kid has an eye), but is still not the total truth. Angus’s natural inclination to lie to promoters was a quality I personally found quite endearing, reminded me of something a young Keith Moon would do. Angus had spent most of his 2015 working on getting into the Humber School Of Music to study drumming, making him a very versatile drummer with strong music theory chops. Our only concern with him when we started was he hadn’t had much show experience, but our fears were quickly shut down. He’s a very talented drummer who is only going to get better, and we are happy to have on the team!

Taking A Bite Of The Big Apple

I’ll start at the beginning: One day we were in a rehearsal and I received a booking notification from our website. It was an offer to open for Whitehorse and Wintersleep in Brooklyn New York on Canada day, which as people in other indie bands know, sounds like spam and I was half expecting him to ask for my banking information so the promoter could ‘pay me’… but after a few emails, phone calls and some Google/Facebook research, we decided to accept the offer.

I could explain the details and differences of the B1 Showcase Visa verses the P2 Work Visa, but that’s a really boring blog post. So I’ll skip that part and just say that we crossed the boarder legally…to the best of our limited knowledge. When we were crossing, all 5 of us were laughing uncontrollably from nerves. Did we actually get the correct visas? Were they going to rip apart the car and all of our gear? Was Boris allowed to keep chomping on an apple?? From the outside, our van must have sounded like a pack of hyenas watching ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’, just lots of laughing and crying. In reality the hardest question the boarder guard asked us was ‘what type of music do you play?’. Cameron, who was driving, took a little too long answering this: “ummmm rock? ..Pop? …Indie?”. Granted, Cam never likes to pinhole what style of music he plays, but this was not the time for semantics. I thought our goose was cooked, but after a long silence and almost no more interrogation, we made it through with ease. We all had a big sigh of relief and continued on our way blasting “Not Meant To Be” by Theory Of A Deadman (check our Instagram videos).

The show was a lot of fun and we had a great time with Wintersleep and Whitehorse. New York on the other hand wasn’t having a great time with a tornado warning underway. Our outdoor Canada Day party was looking like it might be washed out. But as these things tend to go, the rain stopped at around 6, letting us play our set with sunshine cutting through the clouds. Unfortunately for the our new friends, the rain started up twice as hard the minute we had loaded our gear out and didn’t stop all night. They played to a soaking wet crowd who were pickled on Canadian beer (a bit stronger then what they are use to). 

Wintersleep performing at The Well in Brooklyn, NY. 

Wintersleep performing at The Well in Brooklyn, NY. 

After the show, the band and I had to part ways. I was moving houses back home and needed to get to Toronto ASAP, so I took the first flight out of LaGuardia (4am) to Toronto and moved boxes all day. The band had a different goal: Get to the Kee To Bala before 9pm to see July Talk play. This is not an easy task and would require no traffic in the states, an easy boarder crossing and no trouble on the 400. It was the perfect storm. They left NYC at around 9am, giving them a 2 hour buffer on this 10hour cruise. We try and have a simple rule in the van: whoever is in the passenger seat must stay awake and hang out with the driver. It’s a simple task most days with Cameron at the wheel (he talks pretty continuously while driving), but after a night of celebrating our first time playing New York City, the fellas were wiped. By Cameron’s telling of the day, everyone was asleep before New Jersey. Against all odds the band made it to the Kee in time and really enjoyed the show…well kind of…After supposedly 'moshing' at the front, Boris was removed from the venue 4 songs in. The guys all saw that it was a case of mistaken identity, but security felt otherwise. Good use of a 10hour drive!

Overall, we had a great first experience in the states and can’t wait to be back in early 2017.

Recent Highlights:

1. Getting the record out

2. Hearing ‘Talk About It’ and ‘Neighbourhood’ on the radio

3. Doing a Stombo session (will air before the end of the year). 

4. Having people in the industry reach out to us. Having started many years ago with people not even replying to my emails, it’s very cool to have the same people contact us. Patience is crucial in this business.

Will 

 

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How We Met Our Drummer

How We Met Our Drummer

The year was 2012.

Mitt Romney was running for president, Gangnam Style reached 100 million views on Youtube, and people were preparing to #paintthenight in order to #stopkony. Success was permeating the air, and I was ready to get my slice of the pie.

I figured starting a band would be easy ~ bands are cool and music is fun! ~ Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to join my band? So I went looking for the backline: a bass player and a drummer.

I decided to take advantage of social media and posted an ad on the Queen’s University Music Club message board:

I initially hoped that my post would prompt a mass exodus of Kingston drummers and bass players, radiating with enthusiasm to embark on a new musical adventure with me. To my chagrin, this was the not the case. Days went by with no reply, so I opted for a more grassroots approach and started attending local jam sessions. I hadn’t found any drummers through my scouting and was feeling pretty down about the whole thing. Then about a week later, I was sitting down to take a long, hard look at my life when I received a message from a mysterious individual by the name of Don Pineapple.

I was intrigued. I’ve known a few Pineapples throughout my life, but I had never met anyone named Don.

After a few weeks of more scouting, I met Colin Simonds. He not only owned a bass, but also claimed that he could actually play it. Colin seemed like a good fit, so the lineup was set for our first jam: Saturday October 27th at noon.

I got there early to set up the room and make sure we had everything we needed. Colin strolled in soon after, ready to go. We talked a bit about music, influences and US diplomat J. Christopher Stevens, just getting to know each other a bit. It was around 12:20 when Don arrived. One thing to know about university students is that if there is a holiday that involves drinking, they pre-celebrate the event with even more drinking. We were all recovering from night before when Don walked in. Suddenly, it was as if the party never ended.

He was carrying a pair of drumsticks in one hand and a bottle of Spice Box whisky in the other. He was also dressed as a cowboy, wearing a 10-gallon hat with a gun in his holster. I was shocked to say the least, but as time went on Don’s radical personality become a cornerstone of our dynamic.

That day we jammed the Bedouin Soundclash song ‘Santa Monica’ and even started to work on an original that later became ‘Young and Hopeless’.

It’s been a long time since then, and our three-year anniversary just recently passed. We’ve had a few people come and go in the band, but Donny has always been the one keeping the beat. Like the wind beneath our wings, the river beneath our raft, and the Castrol high-performance Motor oil coursing through the veins of my 2010 Kia Sportage, Don is the syncopated lifeblood of our band.

In those three years here are some important things I’ve learned about him:

1. Don is from Hinton, Alberta (population 9,640) near Jasper. Other notable people from Hinton include Bob Nystrom, (NHL Player) Dave Scatchard, (NHL Player) and Susan B. Anthony (Feminist Trailblazer).

2. Insanely smart. He retains almost anything he reads and has an anecdote for every story. It’s one of the reasons he never stops talking.

3. Incredible cook. Don took some time and went to the St. Lawrence College Culinary School in Kingston. He compares his wrist movements when he’s drumming to… the art of chopping when he’s cooking.

4. Social Butterfly. He’s a truly nice guy who is always looking for the next adventure, and can make friends anywhere he goes. Fun!

-Will

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Studio Time

It’s been a long few weeks with shows in Montreal, Ottawa, Guelph, Hamilton and Kingston. We’ve been working hard to synchronize our current live aesthetic with the new material we’ve been creating in the studio, and our recent shows have reinforced the value of this goal.

Some people assume that recording in a studio is akin to performing in a live show. You set up your stuff, play the song until you ‘get’ it and then pack up and head to the next venue. In reality, the process is much more time consuming, hair-pulling and delicate than most people would anticipate. I can’t speak for all artists, as there are plenty of mavericks that actually do just set up and play (commonly known as ‘Live Off The Floor’ recording), as their production habits often parallel the DIY sound that they’re trying to create. However, we approach the studio differently with a ‘Deconstruct and Rebuild’ philosophy.

It all starts with a completed draft. I’ll bring a sketch of a song to the band and we’ll jam parts out, experimenting with hooks and features until we can collectively finalize an official first draft. We rehearse the resulting track over and over in practice before eventually subjecting it to the massively important ‘Road Test’. After a few months of everyone intimately knowing their parts and thinking them out, we head confidently to the studio to start the deconstruction process. We record a demo of the track (generally stripped down to bass/drums/vocal and rhythm guitar) so that we can really isolate the backbone of the song. Once we’ve identified the central groove, we can go through and reevaluate everyone’s parts, focusing on what can be cut, tweaked, expanded and reduced.

I personally believe that while the studio is where we write our songs, live performances are where we truly find them. Sometimes we go down the rabbit hole a bit too far, and end up frantically back-tracking to recreate our initial sound. While this can be incredibly frustrating, we as a band believe that it’s the best way to craft a cohesive record. It gives us the freedom to create the nimblest tracks possible, and reflects our belief that every bar should be a compliment to the song rather than the performer.

There’s a quote from Bruce Springsteen that has really influenced my approach to recording: “I played in front of every conceivable audience you could face: an all-black audience, all-white, firemen's fairs, policemen's balls, in front of supermarkets, bar mitzvahs, weddings, drive-in theaters. I'd seen it all before I ever walked into a recording studio.”

If the song can play 20+ shows and consistently elicit a reaction, then it’s worth spending days constructing and crafting each individual sound. We are very proud of what we have done this summer and are looking forward to our next two shows at the end of this month.

It’s been a minute since we have released any new recordings and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has continued to come out to shows and support us. It really does mean the world. I can’t give a deadline for when we will be putting out a new song, but what I can do is promise that it will be worth the wait.

-Will

- RECENT HIGHLIGHTS - 
1. Queen's Frosh Week
2. Studio (specifically taking breaks and sucking at basketball...check our Instagram) 
3. Welcome back show at The Brooklyn (pics below). 

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End Of Summer

This summer has been one of much change.

Starting all the way back in April we had to replace our old keyboard player Colin because he was moving out west. It was a sad au revoir. BUT as many tattoos and bumper stickers say 'the darkest nights still see the morning light' and we have been lucky enough to have Nick Babcock join the band. After two auditions, we knew that Nick would be a great fit for the band, and has been a double shot of (INSERT booze of choice) to our song compositions!

SO the summer started with some shows in May, but we spent a fair amount of time working on new material. We would lock ourselves in the Queen's Music Club (which is a basement room in Mac-Brown on Queen's University Campus) from 830-12 at night and work on one song. By the end of the night we'd have a song pretty much ready to go. We did this for a few weeks and finally June/July came around, where we played as much as possible, and played some of our new tunes. I don't speak on behalf of every band out there, but a song doesn't feel like its finished or a 'real thing' until we've played it live. It just doesn't. There is some kind of energy that other peoples ears bring that make it a real thing. Anyways, we'd play the songs and they would get better and better. 

I should also mention that we had been playing every second Wednesday at a Kingston coffee shop/whiskey bar called Mussiikki Cafe. Its right on Brock and Wellington downtown, so go grab coffee and a shot! We used our Mussiikki times to try new material and work on our acoustic set up. I might be a little old school for someone who is 23, but I feel that if you can't play a song by yourself on an acoustic guitar and still get some reaction, the song probably doesn't have legs. OBVIOUSLY there are exceptions, but its kind of a rule-of-thumb I try and keep in my own song writing, so Mussiikki was a great way to work on those skills.  We also brought some of our friends from out of town (Xprime, The Kents) and some local talent (Andrew Mansfield, Jonas, The Tidman Sisters) to play sets at this awesome coffee shop. 

Now that the summer is coming to a close, we are heading back to the studio to pump out some new music. We are beyond excited to be working on new material that, for the most part, started in April. I think these are some of our best songs and can't wait to show them off. 

I think thats all for now....Follow us on Twitter/Instagram @kasadorband for more frequent updates! #plug

I'll leave you on a few of the summer highlights: 
1. When a member of our band (I wont name names, but he plays a 4 stringed instrument...) got on a train going to Montreal instead of Toronto. We played the set acoustically and a member of the Sheepdogs was there. After the set he said that he "liked our sound"....it was not our intended sound...  
2. Opening for Ben Caplan at Mussiikki, but didn't know it was happening until I got there and saw a man with a very impressive beard. 
3. Getting to play our new tunes and having our friends (who have been coming to see us forever) say you guys are starting to 'find your own sound'. 

Now off to the studio. 

-Will




 

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New Beginings

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New Beginings

We are pretty damn happy to be announcing our new band name.

Kasador is what we are naming ourselves going forward.  Same band, same great tunes.

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