The 29th annual Canadian Music Festival hit the streets of Toronto last week to showcase some of Canada’s unexplored musical talents. Every year continues to deliver an extraordinary array of promising independent musicians, eager to be discovered and destined to redefine Canada’s contemporary music scene. This new legacy is unfolding with the stylings of artists such as Rob Moir, Hands and Teeth, Five Alarm Funk, and Charlotte Cornfield. The Toronto Quarterly was fortunate enough to sit down with these four astounding talents at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, who had welcomed hundreds of music aficionados and industry names from all over the globe under one roof.
After five years of fronting an accomplished Toronto-based indie-punk band, the Dead Letter Dept, Rob Moir embarked upon a solo project which inevitably led him to the release of his successful debut album, The Is the Lie. When asked about his musical influences, Moir notes Paul Westerberg, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan as some of the artists that have inspired the simplicity in his new sound. “It’s really interesting to see what you could do with so little” says Moir. “I’m not necessarily a good guitar player, but I have gotten so much better at it just from forcing myself to be two things: a vocalist and a guitarist. It’s definitely a lot more challenging than hiding mistakes behind loud guitars and drums”.
Charlotte Cornfield, a Montreal-based song-writer and musician, also expressed another upside to flying solo. After travelling with several bands throughout the spring of 2010, Cornfield decided to dedicate four months to producing Two Horses, her first full-length endeavour as a solo artist. “It’s a different mindset, you know” says Cornfield. “My music is a lot more auto-biographical, so it requires more inner thought. In a band, it’s all about collaborations”. Compared to the lyrical likings of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, her work exposes honest reflections of her most personal, raw emotions.
Although some bands have seen their demise as ‘creative differences’ put a halt on their journey to the limelight, many thrive on fusing together the diverse talents that are whipped together on the table. Take Hands and Teeth, a dynamic five member group whose sounds clearly exhibit the harmonious unison of each member’s musical past. Drummer Adam Kolubinski says, “From the band’s inception, we have always said that we were like the demented love child of Fleetwood Mac and Roxy music”. Enjoy Your Lifestyle, the band’s 5-track debut EP, is multifaceted with high energy pop rock tracks and impressive dream-pop ballads demonstrating the band’s versatility.
Five Alarm Funk, a ten-man band from Vancouver, also can’t be pinned down to a single genre. “Five Alarm Funk is omni-musical and multi-sensical” says saxophone player Dameian Walsh. “We play many genres: funk, afrobeat, gypsy music, and rock. Basically, the only rule we have is that it has to sound good. That usually equates to a big dance party with people getting down and making that funk happen in the air”. With ten members of varying musical backgrounds to accommodate to, the band has developed a democratic stance on creating music. After six years of delivering high-energy performances and the successful release of their third album, Anything is Possible, Five Alarm Funk is nowhere near calling it a day.
Check out each artists’ Myspace website and be sure to catch them at their upcoming shows!
Rob Moir: http://www.myspace.com/rdmoir
Charlotte Cornfield: http://www.myspace.com/charlottecornfield
Hands and Teeth: http://www.myspace.com/handsandteethmusic
Five Alarm Funk: http://www.myspace.com/fivealarmfunkmusic