Self-pronounced “sloppy pop” indie punks Parlovr hosted the opening night of Les Vendredis Nocturnes this past Friday, September 3. Beginning in September, Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MACM) features musical productions alongside video footage and contemporary displays, with variations in performance, on the first Friday of each month. From September through December, Koudiam, Le Husky, and Courtney Wing will be playing similar shows as part of the series, so if you missed out on Parlovr, no need to throw up your arms in nostalgia.
Longevity is never without its ups and down however and DEP has certainly experienced its fair share; from numerous lineup changes to, most recently, label drama. But thanks to their ever-evolving nature and standout extremism, the band has proven that they really are unstoppable. March saw the release of their fourth full-length studio album, Option Paralysis, which is (arguably, I suppose) their best record to date.
In June, DEP hit the road as part of this year’s Vans Warped Tour and, following their Montreal date, singer Greg Puciato took time to talk about his personal attachment to Option Paralysis, on-stage injuries, and oh so much more.
Q: You’re currently on the Warped Tour, how’s it been treating you so far?
A: It’s been great. Anyone that complains on any tour when they make their living playing rock n’ roll is an asshole, so the only acceptable answer to this question EVER is “great.”
Last week I had the opportunity to be at Canadian Music Week 2010 and to scope out some of the showcases that took place from Wednesday to Saturday. One of the nights I was anticipating the most was the Metal Blade & Exclaim! Magazine showcase being held at the The Bovine (rumour has it that it may close down soon, what a shame!) The lineup announced for this night was just incredible and when I heard one of my favorite Toronto metal bands, Titan, was closing the night; I made a deal with the devil and had to be there!
The Fast Romantics are a band who seem to have everything going for them. The foursome from Calgary, Alberta, Canada have had their current members in place since late 2007 – Matthew Angus (Vocals), Matthew Kliewer (Guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (Bass), Alan Reain (Drums) – and have been enjoying a very successful streak, with no signs of slowing down. Their self-titled debut album is overflowing with their signature quirky sound and has had people talking and instilling constant praise on the band since its release.
Their standout sound even caught the ears of some industry bigwigs and The Fast Romantics were named one of the four finalists in the SPIN Earth/John Varvatos Contest in search of the world’s next great rock and roll band. As one of the four finalists they performed at the old CBGB’s in New York City last September, where they absorbed as much as they possibly could from the rocking judges panel, which included: John Varvatos, Perry Farrell and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.
The Rock and Roll Report caught up with the two Matthews the day after their big New York City gig, just as they were getting set to rock Montreal, Quebec.
[…Continued from August 27th]
Taking a look at things from a musician’s perspective Asher advises bands looking for a PR rep to ensure that whomever they choose, they “believe in the band first. The PR guy should be your number one fan. If he’s not your number one fan, in your corner, you’re screwed ‘cause then he’s not pitching the story right, or the band right.” It also doesn’t hurt to do some research and find out, “who has he worked with? A PR rep’s roster can say things to you. Check the press coverage he got for those bands […] simple Google nowadays, or you can always ask the PR guy for his portfolio.” As for a final, and practical piece of advice, he adds that, “you have to find the right PR person that fits your budget. I’ve always believed the more expensive a PR guy is, usually it’s because he’s that good.” Pausing he points out that whether dealing with a PR rep, a manager or anyone else in the business, if as a band you want to prove you’re serious and committed, be prepared to show “what have you done before I’m even in the picture? […] What have you done as a band by yourselves ‘cause that’s going to say these guys will work hard, they’ve worked hard on their own and now they’re on a level that they need help.”
If a band is uncertain if they should be searching for a PR rep Asher’s advice is simple: “If you don’t know what a PR rep is, you don’t need one,” he says and continues, “It is mostly bands who are touring […] and have an album out and are serious. If the band is going to be active, I can keep active. If a band is just going to sit on its ass and do nothing, I can’t push it.” Elaborating he adds, “What bands should know is that when they tour they get the most press coverage ‘cause media guys want to see a live show […] they need the visual, you know, it’s a product [and] bands forget they’re a product.”
A job offer that fell through, an unattainable and dull corporate PR world, and a move from Montréal to Toronto, and back again are what pushed Jon Asher to found Asher Media Relations and step onto the path to becoming a Music PR extraordinaire. As the company’s slogan states, AMR offers “Creative Publicity for Creative People” and helps talented indie acts make a name for themselves in the industry, gain a following and achieve success.
“I graduated from Corporate PR at McGill College […] and I moved to Toronto on a lead well, on a confirmation of a job in PR, but it didn’t go as planned. I found myself there for a while, I stayed there after the job fell through, looked for jobs in PR but that didn’t work,” he recounts. Unable to find what he was looking for he opted to return home to Montréal on the basis that “I was already in the music scene [in Montréal] and I was in PR but I didn’t really like corporate, so I used what I had here and I started from scratch. Hustling, hustling, hustling, and found my guinea pigs pretty much,” he explains.
The first band to have faith in him was local collective Special Ops, with whom he works to this day, and signing them in 2007 he soon left his daytime job to officially start Asher Media Relations in September of that year. Then came Forty Birds, a local metal band, and since then Asher has been hard at work building his repertoire.
Recounting his beginnings in the industry he recalls, “When I started, what I knew from the get-go, what they drill in your head [in school], is research, research, research! That’s what I did, I researched all the media: a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails to introduce myself as a new player. I even set up personal meetings with editors and I’d be like “I’m doing this now so I want to meet you ‘cause I want to develop a business relationship.”” As he soon reveals, personal relationships have been a key to his success. “The real key is to be down to earth, be real with people and build relationships […] the whole music industry is based on relationships. It’s basically who you know, what you know […] A lot of favors back and forth. You don’t think about it but favors for this person relates to favors down the road for you,” he explains.