Press clippings are unequivocal necessities to a growing EPK and getting a review in a print publication can certainly be an arduous task. Without a support team to help you publicize, it'll take an Indie artist dedication and lots of grueling hours in front of the ol' confuser as well as standing in line at the post office. But a little hard work and persistence can and will pay off.
Once you've got yourself reviewed on Toronto Indie take a trip over to your local Chapters / Indigo and peruse the music magazine section. Now quickly flip to the review sections of these magazines and take note of a disturbing consistency. The publications that cover Indie artists seem to focus mainly on Indie acts that are signed to a label of some kind. However, there are a couple rags with a little more street cred that pride themselves on their accessibility to the unique and underground sounds that hover low below the radar.
Based out of Seattle, Redefine magazine is a classy mix of Indie reviews, interviews and visual artist showcases. Redefine prides themselves on their dedication to the buzz. The contributors of this publication operate as a democratic collective that are given a fair bit of creative license in choosing which acts the magazine will include in their next issue.
Here's a quote from their mission statement: REDEFINE was born from the reality that sometimes extremely talented people are overlooked while less talented people take the spotlight. In this day and age where even huge outlets like Billboard and SPIN Magazine have spots dedicated to independent music, our publication offers an alternative to the mainstream. We make clear that while the mainstream is not always bad, there are often greater things lurking underneath.
Previous Issue Cover
Redefine magazine actively includes reviews of truly independent and unsigned artists from all over the world, including Toronto. So if you're looking to get some press clippings included in your EPK, Redefine is definitely a great place to start.
Ah springtime! The air is crisp, the animals are all confused by their instinctual first quarter rituals and the weather is doing its part to help the plant life thrive. Unfortunately for the artists performing at this year's installment of the RYE Market Festival at Dundas Square (corner of Dundas and Yonge), the weather brought nothing positive to the all day festival.
The RYE Market festival (Ryerson Youth Entrepreneurial Market) is an annual event designed to help promote young entrepreneurs across Canada still in Colleges and universities. The organization responsible for the event is called SIFE Ryerson (Students in Free Enterprise) headed up by Leslie Bradt and Indie Music manager Marco Capo of Lynxz management. The goal is to provide these students with a test market to show their products, receive feedback and earn a profit while networking with their entrepreneurial peers. 3 years in the making, originally located in the Ryerson Cafeteria, the festival has grown to a 25 booth fairway at Dundas Square where 60,000 people walk through every day…. unless it’s pouring rain.
Fake Reality took the Dundas Square stage around 1:00 and performed amazingly. Being the first act of the day at an outdoor festival is never easy. The sound team often uses the first act to tweak the audio in order to make the whole festival sound sharp and although monitors may not have been loud enough and backings we're a little quiet, Fake Reality was able to convey their brand of heavy trip rock and make it look effortless. By the time these indie stalwarts reached their 3rd song "Pilot Season", the RYE festival sound team had nailed it. Fake Reality barreled through their set for a growing crowd that didn't seem to mind a light drizzle from over head. Looking around, fans could be seen singing along to songs, which is no big surprise since fan favorites like "Tragic Helpless Romantic" and "Deeper Further" have stolen air time on stations like Y108 in Hamilton, Kingston's K-rock, Rock 95 in Barrie, 105.1 the River and Toronto's own Indie Love Radio. Fake Reality certainly started the day off on the right foot and the audience was ready for more.
Next up, the Cunninghams! Fresh off their win of the Mazda Muzic Fest and an opening slot for Sam Roberts at the Opera House, the Cunninghams were in fine form chugging through their set bursting with straight forward balls to the wall rock n' roll. A sound tried tested and true, the Cunninghams delighted onlookers with tunes like "Keep movin' like a butterfly" and "Black & White". If you head over to their Myspace page, you'll notice the only tracks available are acoustic, however they are slated to begin recording their electric debut that reflects their killer live show in less than a week and you can expect that EP sometime in the summer.
the Cunnighams live @ Dundas Square - Move Like a Butterfly
The rain remained consistent and near harmless as SOPE (Stuck.On.Planet.Earth) pummeled the crowd with their twisted mix of punk, garage rock and pop. Loyal are SOPE's fans, and they proved it with every cheer and scream as the band unveiled new tunes such as "Paradise" and played a barrage of indie ear candy off their most recent self titled EP. It should also be noted that SOPE's covers of the Police's "Can’t stand loosing you" and Justin Timberlake’s “Lovestoned” were stellar to say the least.
Sope live @ Dundas Square - Lovestoned (Justin Timberlake) Cover
The rain began to subside as Word People took the stage. These staunch Hip Hop archetypes may have taken a little extra time to set up, but the performance was well worth the wait. Spewing forth rhymes off their up coming People's Eatery CD, the audience was nothing short of mesmerized by the motor mouthed machine gun delivery and keen hooks emanating from the band shell. I'm not entirely sure if the word "shell" is appropriate however, since a shell is, by definition, something that protects it's contents. A shell does not empty collected pools of water through its apex. A design flaw in the canopy covering the Dundas Square band shell resulted in the soaking of Word People's Drummer, but they pushed on and finished their set with class and style.
The bad weather crept back in and continued to haunt the RYE Market festival. But the crowd collected in far larger numbers than they had all day. Quintessential Hip-hop innovator George Reefah was about to make his entrance with the 5 Deutsche crew (Kastro & Young Grova). Rippin' through singles off the up coming album titled Public Service Announcement, Reefah was joined by a pair of choreographed, minimally uniformed, foxy female members of Toronto's finest who proceeded to manhandle and arrest him through his first 2 tracks including the single "Freak'em". Then Kastro and Young Grova stepped in and showed Toronto what the 5 Deutsche are all about and why they are so magnificent.... appropriately with the song "I am magnificent". These three hip hop super heroes amplified the electricity from the crowd and set Dundas Square alight proving why Reef's music has been standing strong on the charts at Flow 93.5.
Reefah and co. just barely made it off the stage in time. As Easy Way Out began setting up their gear, the rain picked up and the wind shifted. A huge "crack" was heard, followed by a "crash" and the canopy broke dumping another flood of water onto the stage. The rain was now attacking at an angle, drenching every piece of equipment on stage. The fate of the monitors, amps, heads, effects pedals, mixing boards and more were now questionable and the sky seemed as if it was falling. Panic struck the sound techs as they clamoured and tripped over each other trying desperately to save any equipment they could. Tents in the market began toppling and booth covers took flight. The RYE Market was over for the day and the concert was sadly called off with 2 acts to go. Before long, the rain had subsided and the sun came out, a kick in the teeth for Easy Way Out and DJ M-Kutz, but in the end no one was hurt... although there were a few close calls.
For the acts that did play, the RYE Market provided a tremendous opportunity for exposure and a great addition to their bios and gig resumes. That alone, should fill the organizers with gleaming pride.
SOPE (Stuck on Planet Earth) are diligently ascending the ladder of Canadian indie success. Taking each rung in a carefully planned sequence and spending the necessary time to strategize a plan to reach the next.
Rung 1: SOPE released their debut self titled EP back in September of 2007, and have since enjoyed increasing sales of their disc... which you can buy online at CDbaby.
These first 2 steps have SOPE's fans, scratching their heads, wondering "What could possibly be next?"
SOPE travelled all the way to New York city to film Stampede at the School for Visual Arts. It was shot in cool blue hues by Garret Davis and artfully directed by Joseph Zentil. SOPE's Al Capo had this to say about working with their NY film team:
"This was out first music video and we had a blast! The video is intended for internet promotions and the video has also been submitted to Much music and MTV Canada."
The video has a crisp, straight forward appeal. Music video sites and stations are saturated by the mini-movie mind set and rarely focus on the artist anymore. Video's like Stampede are far more functional and permeate the feeling of what it might be like to be up on stage or at a rehearsal with the band. Conveying this intimacy is the most endearing trait of this video and goes a long way in connecting with a growing audience. Thus creating the illusion that SOPE has invited you share a deep, intimate, musical moment with them... and you can relive that moment anytime you want by clicking play.
Podcasts and blogs are an essential part of any grass roots indie marketing campaign.
In the weeks preceding this post, Easy Way Out has had the good fortune to be featured on a number of blogs and podcasts. Most recently, EWO's album "Steal the show" was reviewed on an awesome indie music blog called Gitpop.
Gitpop is a tremendous source for locating up and coming acts the world over. Steve Chatterton, your Gitpop blog host, covers everything from album and show reviews to music news. His most recent article informs the reader about the upcoming Toronto Freedom Festival and Marijuana March.
The album reviews are refreshingly brief and to the point. Folks today certainly have short attention spans, so this format allows the reader to get in, get the goods and move on... and there's plenty to move on to. After satisfying my ego by reading the review of our album "Steal the show" I began clicking away, jumping to and from Gitpop, to Myspace and back through the provided links. Before I knew it, 2 hours had gone by... a perfect example of why less is more.
Steve also writes for BlogTO and has a Podcast there which, although it has been on a short hiatus, will be returning in the coming weeks... most likely with a tune or 2 from Easy Way Out.
For now, dear reader, head on over to Gitpop and find yourself some new ear candy.
At the very last minute Easy Way Out was asked to join the lineup and the show ran smoothly with the help of some amazing promoters, a great lineup and some wicked die hard fans. Listen to the Podcast for all the details.
So tell us a little bit about your show and what you do over at Indie Love Radio.
My weekday 5-7pm show is very tame compared to The Sunday Night Freakshow, but the constant is always great Canadian Indie Music. I talk about current events and whatever info our bands send me. The Freakshow is something completely different. Irreverent, irrelevent and not for the weak of heart, The Vixen and I talk about whatever is turning or burning our cranks. Also, we now feature one Hard, Hot and Heavy band every week, with one of my favorites, Easy Way Out, coming in on Sunday May 4th.
Nice... who is this Vixen you speak of? Sounds soooo... uh... Super Villain-esque!
The Vixen Meaghan, is my not so new anymore co-host on The Freakshow. She's hot, open-minded and the yin to my yang. Since her arrival, things are a tad more freaky (if that was ever possible), much more interactive and funny as hell. We have a blast and really don't care if anyone else does. We even hang out aside from the show as much as we can, and things just carry on. I can honestly say that I've never laughed as much before her arrival.
Can you give our readers an example of freaky?
An example of me eh? Well, I re-wrote the lyrics for the Twelve Days Of Christmas to The Twelve Days of Freakmas. The partige "in a pear tree" was replaced with "A finger up my pooter". Also, The Vixen and I are re-working a clssic film genre, PORN. We are currently working on a Super Hero Porn Blog cumming soon to the Freak Show. On top of this, I think the freakiest thing is the way I have inspired those around me to freakiness. One of my many, many, many talents is being able to turn any comment sexual. Now it has gotten to the point where I do not even have to comment, or even react and Im being told to shuuuuuuut up! Everyone else is now thinking what I would think, before I can think it!
Do you have any off air plans for your show, maybe a Freak Festival of some kind?
Plans, plans, plans. Halloween is a big night for me, and The Vixen as well. With her announcement that she is with child, another Freak in the making, we will be dressed as pregnant nun and her priest. Indie Love Loud is still in the works. That would be a showcase for all the Hard, Hot and Heavy bands. I'm just need to find the right venue. Freakmas was a big hit last year and that will end up being the first tradition for The Freakshow.
What are the top 5 bands your spinning right now on your show (excluding Easy Way Out)?
My top five is hard, but here it goes. In no particular order: