June 21 2012 – For the 18th straight year, North By Northeast (NXNE) is happened 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 Kingston named Vorasek. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Vorasek’s NXNE description reads:
“Catchy songs and high-energy stage antics: a rock and roll four-piece that you have to see perform live. From humble beginnings in Kingston, ON, Vorasek is now playing shows around Ontario as an all original rock band. The group released their debut album, “Hold On,” in 2011.”
Here is what they had to say to us:
1.Hey Vorasek, 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?
Vorasek:I’m Ted, I’ve been playing bass for 8 years. I do back-up vocals for the band, and also handle our websites and public relations. I’m Patrick, I’m the singer. I’ve been playing guitar for 9 years and I’m general manager. I’m Jeebs, I’ve played guitar for 9 years now. In the band Pat and I switch off lead and rhythm a lot so its hard to say which I do more. I also do our sound engineering, which means helping the guys get their tones and then mixing the recordings. And I’m Joe, the drummer. I learned drums from playing video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero but really started drumming when the band started. I work as the bands Graphic designer as well.
2.How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
Vorasek:We started after Ted and I [Pat] met each other online. We were looking for committed people to start a band with, and felt we had found the right fit. We then asked Joe to join when we needed a drummer. He had been my friend since kindergarten. As a three piece, we played together for about a year and we decided to take it to the next level by adding another guitarist. Jeebs was well known in Kingston’s music scene and he and I had gone to high school together, so again it was a really nice fit. From there, things have been going great. We’ve got four very committed guys doing what we love.
3.Who are some of your musical influences?
Vorasek:Zeppelin, Muse, Black Label Society, Stones, AC/DC, Jack White, Jimi, The Who. Lots of classic rock in there, but we draw influences from many areas. Both as individuals and as a band. We go to a lot of shows and try to emulate what we like about different bands that we see. We’re always growing in that sense.
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?
Vorasek:Most of all, we are fans of good music. We write songs that are accessible to listeners, not ones that lose people or drag on. Often times people say to us our songs flow the way they should, and that’s big for us. We try to maintain that. I think another big thing is that we’re fans of our own music. I think it really comes out on stage too. People say our live show is really intense, but it’s funny for us because we’re just up there rocking out to our own songs. We wouldn’t write or play stuff that we didn’t enjoy ourselves.
Vorasek at NXNE 2012
5.What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?
Vorasek:“Anchors away in a lake of glass” It’s from the title track of our album, “Hold On” and it’s about a feeling of needing to stop or slow things down but not having the ability to. You think you’ve found a calm spot to stop and drop anchor, but the ground shatters beneath you, and you fall ever deeper into the trip. The whole song was supposed to capture that feeling, but now the “Anchors away…” line has almost taken on a new meaning that kinda describes the success we’ve been experiencing since its release.
6.What does the rest of 2012 and 2013 hold for you?
Vorasek:Tons of good times with good friends. And hopefully more opportunities like NXNE. Ideally we’ll put out our next CD and get enough attention to support a large-scale tour, or get signed to a label. And we’re not just going to sit back and wait for any of that either. We want to work really hard to make it happen. We want to make music our lives.
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.
Vorasek: Any world tour would be a dream come true. I just want to do it in our life time. Stones, Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Sabbath, Alice Cooper, The Who. Getting to party with any of them backstage after the shows would be epic too.
Vorasek at NXNE
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?
Vorasek: I have some pretty strong opinions about the current economic state Canada is in. Basically the rich are saying that innovation and investment opportunity comes through high risk/benefit factors but lower taxes for the rich leaves less money for the middle class which are our main market. There’s no question the market is diminishing because the cost of living goes up every year where as wages stay the same. Bands have to work that much harder to make any kind of money. We heard a lot about “Band-trepreneurs” at Canadian Music Week and we feel that’s exactly what bands have to be to experience any kind of success today.With regards to CD’s, I don’t think they will ever die out. People like to have something physical that they can collect, and right now CDs are the best for that. They’re good for compatibility, size, and familiarity. They’re the thing that people can buy from the band and actually hang on to and be a part of. Vinyls are making a bit of a come back, but it’s basically the same idea for music lovers. It’s a part of the band they can hold on to.
There will always be a market for good music, whether it’s full albums or just songs. But now for bands it’s becoming more about being the whole package, and diversifying so that you can get the attention and stay afloat.
9.Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
Vorasek:“Hold On” is on iTunes, Amazon, and a bunch of other online retailers. We also sell copies at every show. Find out where our shows are on Facebook, Twitter, or maybe T-Mak World!
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?
Vorasek: “Electric Dust” by Gloryhound, They’re a really sick up-and-coming band. Good rock and roll.
“The Church of Rock and Roll” by Foxy Shazam is a killer record. Joe and Pat saw them open for the Darkness in Toronto.
Or maybe you’d consider our next release. :)
Vorasek at NXNE 2012
11.Any closing remarks for our readers?
Vorasek: Don’t ever stop going to shows. See a new band you’ve never seen before. Keep live music alive in your community, and it will give so much back to you.
Thanks so much to Vorasek. We hope that you can see them live in the near future. They played The Hideout Wednesday June 13 for NXNE. The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitterand Facebook. In the meantime check out their video below from YouTube.