March 16 2012 – We are very excited that Slacker Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2012 is happening in Toronto from March 21st to the 25th. CMW is a music festival, conference, exhibition, and even a film festival all rolled into one. It is also billed as “Canada’s Largest Music Festival” and aims to bring exposure to Canadian music of all genres and in general to support the Canadian music industry. Over 900 artists from 40 countries in 60 venues converge for 5 nights in Toronto and this puts us on the map in terms of large artistic and creative gatherings. Having just come back from the fabled South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, we are very pleased that Toronto will host CMW and we are certain that CMW will grow in both number of attendees and stature in the music industry (much like Toronto’s International Film Festival has). You can read a recap of some of the festival’s highlights here for March 21st, and also recommendations for the whole festival here.
We weeded through all the bands bios found here and narrowed it down to the ones that were of interest to us musically. From there we quickly listened to a sample of their songs found on the same page and were left with a handful of bands that we were interested in finding out more about. We approached those bands and offered them to appear on our Emerging Artist Spotlight feature. So far our CMW spotlights featured TimeGiant from Toronto, Grain from Edmonton, Matt Groopie and The Bandits from Richmond Hill and Breaching Vista from Kitchener. On March 21st though we ran into a band mostly by luck and we loved their sound so much we asked them to an interview. They gladly accepted so now we set our focus on Beta from Mexico! All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Beta’sCMW page reads:
2003 is the year BETA appears on scene. Five friends and musicians with the idea of making both interesting and intense music. BETA grew under the underground movement and so did their fans, which gave them the push to enter a recording studio for the first time in 2005, to récord what would become their first album “Revolver”. While it was still on production, the popularity of the band grew strong due to their constant appearance in shows.January 2007 their first album is released (Revolver), which is sold online through iTunes and CDBaby.
As an independent band, BETA has drawn attention of media like Rolling Stone magazine and SWITCH rock magazine with favorable references. Also in the Mexican music television channel TELEHIT as band of the week. BETA has also had constant rotation in a couple of the most important radio stations in Mexico such as Radio Ibero 90.9 and Reactor 105.1.
Here is what they had to say to us:
Hey guys from Beta, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?
BETA:We are a four-piece band comprised by two guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Lead vocals and guitar – Blas Cernicchiaro
Lead Guitar and supporting vocals – Alvaro Contreras
Bass and supporting vocals – Diego De la Torre
Drums – Rodrigo González
We found you accidentally when we walked in to the bar you were setting up to play a gig at the 2012 Canada Music Week. We stayed, we watched you and we were blown away. How important is CMW for bands fighting to get noticed and the exposure you can gain from it?
BETA:We think that playing at the CMW is a great opportunity to spread your music and reach people easier by playing live. We believe that for many bands, just like us, the experience of being here is very nourishing in many ways, and it is a great platform to get noticed internationally. It has been a great experience for us and we are sure that this will make a marker in our struggle to gain attention.
Not sure if you read the recent interview with Dave Grohl on Billboard, but the interview title was “Why Rock Will Never Die & Why 2011 Was His Best Year Ever”. So tell us your thoughts – Why do you believe rock will never die?
BETA: Rock is not just about being in a band and having fun, getting drunk and party hard, you do have a good time when you ‘re in a band, but we know that rock is also harsh at times, you must fight every day in order to achieve things, you must be totally into it if you want to make living out of this and as everybody knows it is a tough business. Music is our passion, it makes us wake up everyday with a smile on our face, it takes our imagination anywhere we want, it gives us strength to overcome any troubles, it makes us be alive, and we think that this is the main reason rock will never die; rock is medicine for our soul.
Why will 2012 be your best year ever?
BETA: This actually has been our most important year so far. We closed 2011 with two gigs in New York and this year started with many great shows in our town and around Mexico. We’ve also had many interviews in national TV shows and now coming to play to the CMW has made this a very good year for us.
Imagine each of you were the guitarist/drummer/bassist/vocalist in another band. Would that band be: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath or Nickelback and why?
BETA:We’d probably go for Zeppelin, we like their energy and we identify more with that band than with any of the other four. That is not to say that Floyd or Sabbath aren’t great, they are also big influences, but not so much as Led. No disrespect to Nickelback, but it’s not our thing. [ED.they aint our thing either – we just that in there as an option because if a band we interview picked them we would not want to interview them again LOL)
Beta under the CN Tower in Toronto
What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for merging artists?
BETA:I think it hasn’t changed as much as one would actually think it did. People in the 50’s bought singles, that’s happening all over again. I bet in 10 years the concept album will be back because media will have evolved, probably into album apps or something of the sort, new devices always entail new formats. The economics are harder but I guess that now that will be how the bar is set. Before it used to be about getting a distribution deal, now it is about getting paid for doing something you like. So I think if you’re a good artist, and if you are dedicated and constant in spite of not getting paid for a while eventually things will work themselves out. It’s all a matter of hard work and patience.
How long has the band been around, and how did you guys get started?
BETA: We’ve been around for about 8 years now. We started out as a cover band when we were 17 in our garage in Cholula, Mexico. We eventually started messing around with ideas and came up with some songs that we released under various monikers, first Drawn Faith and then just Drawn. Half of our stuff was in Spanish and the other half in English. After 6 years we decided to drop the English name because it was confusing in Mexico and to just start fresh all over again, with a small change in the line-up and a new name, Beta.
Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
BETA:The music is on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. The usual suspects, hehe (sic). Just look it up as Beta.
At the end of 2011 we did our picks for top 10 albums of 2011. What albums did we miss on our list, or how would your top 10 list differ from ours?
BETA: We dig the list man! We would just add a couple more:
If not now, when? by Incubus
Velociraptor! by Kasabian
I’m with you by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Universal Pulse – 311
Hats off to the bull – Chevelle
Beta at Canadian Music Week
Any closing remarks for our readers? BETA: Don’t run with scissors.
Good advice dudes, I would also add dont strum your guitar or bang your drums with scissors as well! Thanks so much toBeta. We hope that you can see them live. They are playing one more gig at the Laughing Buddha on Saturday . The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime check out their video below from YouTube to see why we really like this band!