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Artists and Bands

N x N + E = BBQs & Networking

Over the last few years I’ve been traveling down the 401, from Montreal to Toronto, to experience one of Canada’s biggest music industry conferences and festivals: NXNE. But this year’s NXNE really broke down into a clever, and almost mathematical, formula that I’ve discovered. When you take N x N + E, it equals something really special called, networking galore!

Arriving in Toronto on a Thursday, I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. This was the first year I told myself that I would play it by ear and word of mouth, and I sure am glad that I trusted my gut feeling because the rewards were just priceless. What I discovered at this year’s NXNE was tons of rooftop parties and backyard BBQs. All these were the right spots to be, whether you were an industry-type or a musician. The first rooftop party I ended up at was hosted by the XM Verge radio show. Arriving to the rooftop with industry friends from Liberty Music Traxx and BreakingTomorrow.com out of Montreal, we hit the party and it was crammed! Tons of people squashed like sardines, and super loud due to both people chattering and bands playing in the background. I met a few people that I knew there, but my rating on this bash was so-so, compared to the others I attended. I can’t do places where you can’t even talk to the person next to you because you can’t hear each other. But overall, just sitting on a rooftop in the sun and having fun with friends can never be a bad thing.

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Artists and Bands

R&RR Reviews THE Metal Night of All Metal Nights at Canadian Music Week 2010

A night of talent; a night of metal; a night of being a sardine with booze!

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!

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Features

Glasgow’s El Dog on On-Stage Nudity, Flute-Playing Sound Guys, Hostels and More

El Dog 2El Dog is an excellent four-piece band from Glasgow, Scotland, UK whose style is Alternative, Ambient Rock. They are gently arousing, yet soothing to the ears, and all while having the drive and power to exhilarate and entice.

Their new album, The Lamps of Terrahead, is justly getting great reviews from all over the UK, ranging from BBC Radio 1 to the national news press.

If your tastes include bands such as Muse, Led Zeppelin, Idlewild, Radiohead, Mogwai and Biffy Clyro, then El Dog should be in your collection. The Lamps of Terrahead is the band’s stunning debut and is sure to get them noticed and loved by all. It is out on October 19th, 2009 on Lo – Five Records and will be available through Itunes and all major download sites. I would recommend pre-ordering a copy to avoid disappointment.

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Features

Canadian Music PR Prodigy, Jon Asher, Recounts His Rise From a Glum Corporate World to the Founding of Asher Media Relations – Part 2 of 2

[…Continued from August 27th]Asher Media Relations

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.”

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Features

Canadian Music PR Prodigy, Jon Asher, Recounts His Rise From a Glum Corporate World to the Founding of Asher Media Relations – Part 1 of 2

Asher Media Relations 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.