June 2 2012 – For the 18th straight year, North By Northeast (NXNE) is happening in Toronto from June 11th to the 17th 2012. NXNE is a music festival, conference, and even a film festival all rolled into one. NXNE is the most anticipated summer music event in Canada and aims to bring exposure to Canadian music of all genres and in general to support the Canadian music industry. Over 650 bands and 40 films converge for 7 days in Toronto and put us on the map in terms of large artistic and creative gatherings. Modeled after the fabled South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, we are very pleased that Toronto is hosting NXNE and we are certain that NXNE will grow in both number of attendees and stature in the music industry (much like Toronto’s International Film Festival has). SXSW is plagued by over-commercialization and unless you’re deeply embedded in the industry you can forget about watching the big names. NXNE will also feature large free performances at Yonge-Dundas Square for four nights with the Flaming Lips being the main attraction on June 16.
After we weeded through all the bands bios found here and listened to their music, we were still left with a long list of bands that we were interested in finding out more about. We approached some of our favourite bands to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series. Today we set our focus on a band from Thunder Baynamed Bella Clava. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Bella Clava’s NXNE bio page reads:
Brace yourself, Bella Clava make one hell of a fuzzed out, blues rock racket with a grungey backbone. Never has a band more appropriately come from Thunder Bay.
Here is what they had to say to us:
Hey Bella Clava, 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?
Bella Clava: Why hello T-Mak World! Bella Clava is Steve “Slutty” Suttie on guitar, Scott “is the man-again” Hannigan on bass and Caitlin “Dizzy-Daisy” Dacey on keys/organ.
How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
Bella Clava: Steve auditioned for “One Direction” but was rejected. He was pretty bummed out and his self-esteem took a bit of a plunge. Fortunately, he met Scott who had just been fired from Hedley while in line at McDonald’s (they both ordered happy meals to get the batman toy). After drowning their sorrows over fries and classics, they decided to start a band that would be accepting of facial hair and loose trousers (showcasing the gluteal cleft). When Caitlin realized that her solo career as a pop-star was doomed (no dance moves or coordination for that matter), she made a demo of brooding singer songwriter dribble and gave it out at every live show possible. She finally passed it into the hands of Steve and Scott at a Jan Terri concert.….but really, Caitlin and Steve moved from Thunder Bay to Toronto looking to start up a lean, mean, rockin’ machine…and this dream was realized when they found Scott (awwww!)
Who are some of your musical influences?
Bella Clava: We have a lot musical influences, but basically we’re trying to make music that doesn’t sound anything like Theory of a Dead Man, “I’m a wild party” by Kim Mitchell or that “We are Young” song by a hip band called “Fun”. As much as we love music, sometimes it can fill us with a blinding rage. No “fun” or “wild parties” in that case.
We found you as we were searching through the mountain of artists being featured at the 2012 NXNE. Why should a music fan come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them?
Bella Clava: Mountains are great because they are grand and majestic. Some mountains however can be made of garbage. Snow covered dumps. Don’t believe me? Just think of all of the artificial ski hills that were made out of heaps of trash. What the hell does this analogy mean? Well, TMAKWorld obviously cares enough about music to hunt for the gems. Any music fan knows that the greatest feeling in the world is discovering something you love….and discovering it FIRST! The beauty of NXNE is if you are patient and daring enough to venture from the “hype”, you will not be sorry. A lot of bigger festivals are chock-full of people who pretend to be “music fans” but are really just giant turds who take up room at the “hot” venues. Come see Bella Clava. Mostly because you will definitely meet other music fans (including the band itself) and have a friggin’ blast.
What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?
Bella Clava: It would have to be “You’re an industry bitch, I’m an in da streets bitch”. Wait….that was Foxy Brown. But that’s pretty much what we’re trying to articulate with almost every lyric.
What does the rest of 2012 and 2013 hold for you?
Bella Clava: Well, if the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t take hold (but seriously….have you read the news lately?!?!) we’re going to be touring the US again this August right after playing Low Key Fest in Milton. We’re meeting up with our blood brothers, Mad Anthony, for a few gigs. They’ll also be joining us at the Hideout for NXNE, so…you’ve been warned. They’re actually bears dressed up as humans . Grizzlies in people suits. Ask them about their honey. As for new Bella Clava tunage, we’ll be recording in the fall. Just waiting for the magic 8 ball to give us the go ahead. Keeps sayin’ “Concentrate and ask again” and our heads hurt.
Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.
Bella Clava: Queens of the Stone Age.
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 emerging artists?
Bella Clava: Hahaha, consuming music….made me think of the cannibals or soy-based download cards that leave some form of a code imprint on your tongue…..Honestly, I just wish people would get off of their computers and go see live bands. The internet is not real. It is an illusion of community. No one, in any industry, can be successful without community. Don’t wait ‘til a show has already happened so you can see someone’s grainy/distorted cell phone footage. Just go and enjoy it for yourself. If it’s far away, make it a road trip. Just as much as people want to connect with the bands they love, people want to connect to people who love the same things that they do. As long as this remains the priority, music will be in a healthy place as far as I’m concerned. This band doesn’t need fifty Bentleys in the West Indies.
Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
Bella Clava: Why yessss….you can download our music on iTunes or bandcamp, or send us an email (bellaclavabandits [at] hotmail [dot] com) and we’ll mail ya one for ten bones. We had some discs at Sonic Boom, but I don’t know if they survived the move (maybe they’re leveling some tables in the stock room). Otherwise, we can give you a giant sweaty hug and CD at our next gig. We had a very elaborate merch table before we even had any merch….
At the end of 2011 we did our picks for top 10 albums of 2011. What album do you think we should include in our top 10 albums of 2012 article?
Bella Clava: Mark Lanegan, Blues Funeral. If the song “Quivery Syndrome” doesn’t get your goat, you probably don’t have one.
Any closing remarks for our readers?
Bella Clava: The fact that you are keeping abreast (hehe, breast…) of new music and independent bands means that you are cooler than the rest of ‘em. You rule the proverbial “school”. Even if our responses to this interview make you want to gauge your eyes out and our music makes your ears itch and burn like an STI, we will always love you.
Thanks so much to Bella Clava. We hope that you can see them live. They are playing The Bovine on Wednesday June 13 at 1 am and The Hideout on Friday June 15 at 1 amfor NXNE. The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime here is a video of the band from YouTube.