June 13 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 Ohio named Black Owls. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Black Owls NXNE description reads:
Mennonite Glam Rock powered by 70s Americana gas and 60s British Invasion power.
Here is what they had to say to us:
1. Hey Black Owls, 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?
David: David Butler on Vocals. Ed Shuttleworth on lead guitar. Alan Beavers on Bass. Brian Kitzmiller on Drums & Brandon Losacker on Guitar & keys.
2. How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
David: We formed 5 years ago on a lark. Ed, myself and our friend Mike Brewer discussing our music influences at a new year’s eve party, realized that we should probably start mucking about together. I was on drums and singing for the first 4 years after that, Mike moved to Brooklyn, and now we’re a 5 piece to round out that Owl sound.
3. Who are some of your musical influences?
Ed: Quite a few! Guided by Voices, Rolling Stones, Clash, Mott the Hoople, Iggy, TRex, Bowie, Gang of Four, the Who, Sabbath, Zepplin. The usual suspects there eh?
4. 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?
David: Entertainment. We’re not a shoe-gazer band. We’re a proper rock outfit. Really, it’s personal taste. If you’ve ever wished you’d seen the Clash live, or Talking Heads, or Who, you might appease at least some sense of your vintage club fantasy with us. Those bands all played small rooms, so you never know.
5. What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?
Ed: “When I’m cremated, you’ll smoke my ashes.” – Cracks me up everytime. Dave writes all the lyrics, and there’s some very oblique storytelling that is captivating as hell.
6. What does the rest of 2012 and 2013 hold for you?
David: We’re touring up the east coast right after we play the Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati in July. Europe in Spring of ’13. Several other festivals and clubs to be trod upon before then. Our new double album is almost done at print, it’s available online now.
7. 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.
Ed: Great Question! I’d say the Who.
Dave: The Clash
8. 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?
David: Well you have to be so much more than mere musician anymore. Or have your own channels and licensing properties to maintain. I would have thought to have known 10 years ago, but so much has dramatically changed, and the future looks even more volatile. Who knows what vehicles for distribution or touring will emerge? Online concerts seem viable as TV’s get bigger and crisper and cheaper. I can also see a more interactive album with video as a 3D experience of what we used to dream up staring into our gatefold record sleeves. The internet has somewhat killed the mystery of rock, but at the same time opened doors for bands like us to be heard. So we’re just riding it out! .
9. Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
David: Ha, as we speak of the internet! Yes. www.blackowls.bandcamp.com is the most extensive place with all of our albums. We’re also on itunes and the usual channels. We’ll have Free EP’s of 5 songs off the new double album at our show.
10. 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?
David: A great Ohio (originally) band. Heartless Bastards – Arrow
|Black Owls play NXNE 2012|
11. Any closing remarks for our readers?
Ed: Go see live music! If not us, anyone! Keep rock alive.