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Though the thick beats and snapshot lyrics may seem to paint the portrait of a modern day romance, the majority of the lyrics on the forthcoming Geist began as adaptations of 1980s horror movie plots.
Ricq explains, “The fly isn’t about Jeff Goldblum turning into a Fly and becoming a murderer, no it’s about Gena Davis’ character trying to love a madman, posing the question “What do I do when the one I love is a murderous monster?”"
Not to suggest that Gang Signs is a novelty horror act. This is just one component of an exercise in limitation, a contrast to Ricq’s work in Humans which is built organically as grooves are discovered and developed from he and co-Human Robbie Slade’s sound safaris. “Gang Signs songs are musically conceived on guitar, written and demoed within four hours,” says Ricq. They are purposefully written as more traditional verse, chorus, verse, form and to really make the cut they must make you want to move. While the structure obviously works, how does it translate to the band? Does the soft spoken Ricq rule over drummer Adam Fink, and keyboard/vocalist Matea Sarenac with an iron fist?
“Yes and no,” Ricq laughs. “Adam is this amazing human drum machine that can reproduce all of my sequenced beats to life, but for the album we minimized the hits which has actually made it more difficult to perform and we got to record each element separately, so all of the kicks, snares and crashes, were played one at a time. On the other hand, Matea really wanted to try and write her own lyrics and melody on one of the songs, so we gave it a shot and got ‘Tonight’.” One of the stand out tracks on the album that has nothing to do with cult classics.
So rules are made to be broken? “Yeah of course. Gang Signs was originally going to be my surf rock band.”
It’s a good thing too. As Gang Signs dances between self control/defiance, they have won over fans in hometown Vancouver. Since the debut of their independent releases, every summer has belonged to Gang Signs as they snag the best opening gigs in the city with the likes of No Joy, Operators, Tanlines and Owen Pallet.
Now with Geist, their first label release with File Under: Music, Gang Signs are ready to show the world how the best way to exorcise the demons is on the dance floor. The album is an experience in cinematic new wave, taken as a whole each song builds and flows into the next carried along by Fink’s percussion, punctuated by Matea’s melodies and Ricq’s almost spoken narration. Separated the songs stand tall; “Tonight” channels the call to action of a 90’s dance song over a 2025 holographic club floor, “Mate”’s sampled hand claps morph into the singularities dance party, and “LA On A Monday” is the soundtrack for summers neon lit night drive. You’ll have the chance to invite Geist into your home when the album is released October 2, after which Gang Signs will tour throughout North America.
Gang Signs is:
The Academy presents...
TORONTO - Capping off a year of showcasing talented independent music from Toronto (Keita Juma, Adria Kain, The Extremities, Above Top Secret & many more) and abroad (Little Simz, Post Malone, Waldo, denitia and sene, Tiffany Gouché, Ms. Charm Taylor & others), The Academy presents the 11th Edition of #TheHustle with an all-Toronto lineup showcasing a diverse range of emcees putting on for the 416.
Watch: OSIYM - B.O.M.B.
OSIYM have been heavy in the game, with group members Charlie Black and Nova having released several projects as solo emcees prior to joining forces as ratchet-condoning duo OSIYM. Since the collaboration began, they've released two EPs including 2015's Spirits, and performed at international music festivals A3C, Pop Montreal, CMW and NXNE.
SeT, representing CReW and the SmashMouth Music Group, is an up-and-coming emcee specializing in spitting rapidfire flows while balancing head-spinning metaphors. Since the release of his debut LP AuRA in 2014, he's been delivering a consistent stream of videos, key features, singles and performances. Get familiar with the young grinder at The Hustle.
Johnny Active was active on YouTube before even releasing his debut single. He had amassed over 150,000 views with strategic covers and remixes before dropping the eye candy laden lyric video for his turn up banger "Guest List." Just don't take advantage of his liberal use of the guest list.
Haviah Mighty does it all - rapping, producing, DJing, multi-instrumentalizing, singing, awesoming. With a tendency to touch on real topics while boasting a tight flow over heavy bass, Haviah's versatility is evident all over her debut LP Bass Loud, which was released earlier this year.
DJ Ken L Jones is a familiar face to regulars of The Academy events, having spun at a couple previous events including Chicago group The Palmer Squares' concert at Revival Bar last month. With an ability to play classics, turn up bangers and rare gems, he's a safe bet to make his name known in many Toronto party and DJ circles in the coming years.
Dedicated to creating a new groove-based music, THE DIGS embody the unique perspective of diversity that could only come from Canada's multicultural melting pot, Toronto. To dig is to extract from the ground by breaking up earth, and The Digs are a band reaching down into the roots of American pop music and pulling up a vibrant sound that is an organically constructed embarrassment of riches.
Ultimately, The Digs consist of close friendships built upon the love of music, and the love for one another, and it is this dedication which gives them a consistently renewed energy with each jam-packed gig, each infectious groove, each funky beat. Catch The Digs while you can!
Evening Hymns is the ever-evolving musical project of Jonas Bonnetta, a musician/artist/sawyer who lives in rural Eastern Ontario. Evening Hymns is a musical reflecting pool. The currents of his emotional poetry evoke collective memories and experiences we somehow all share. The band’s last record, Spectral Dusk (2012), covered deeply personal issues and took Evening Hymns to the next level, musically and lyrically, from their début record‚ Spirit Guides (2009). A study of loss, pain, hope and a pathway drawn out of the dark into the light, Spectral Dusk found Jonas dealing with the loss of his father three years previous. The record spilled its guts out on the floor, and yet so softly allowed the listener to reflect on their own mortality. Their new album, Quiet Energies, is less personal in nature. It’s a record made for listening with the windows rolled down like the classic road records of the 1970’s. It’s due out the summer of 2015. The album was made in his home studio, Port William Sound, a cabin outside his rustic home. Heated by an antique wood stove, and with a panoramic view of the fields surrounding, its peaceful environment inspired and bolstered the recording experience. Jonas assembled a familiar group of friends to make the album, including longtime band mates Sylvie Smith and Jon Hynes, as well as friends from Timber Timbre and The Wooden Sky.
Beat Connection is Reed Juenger, Tom Eddy & Jarred Katz joined live by Mark Hunter. Formed in 2010, Beat Connection has undergone numerous changes, finally stabilizing in its current form. The band has already shared the stage with Jungle, Toro y Moi, STRFKR, Washed Out, Holy Ghost! & ODESZA; and has garnered positive looks from Pitchfork, The Fader and The Guardian. With performances scheduled this year at ACL & CHBP, Beat Connection now looks to the future to focus on constantly bringing something new to their audience by bridging the gap between the mundane and the transcendent, the pop and the avant-garde. Expect something new at every turn.
The St. Royals are the new kings of the motown/funk/soul scene. Recently featured on Slice TV, they're an army of Toronto's most talented young players who always pack the dance floor. The St. Royals ooze style and swagger, while bringing authenticity and excitement to the soul era. Most of all, they bring the funk!
Joseph Arthur (born September 28, 1971) is an American contemporary singer-songwriter from Akron, Ohio. He is known for his melodic compositions combined with swirling choruses. He was discovered by Peter Gabriel in the mid-'90s and signed to Gabriel's Real World label in 1996. Arthur's first album, Big City Secrets, was released in 1997 to critical acclaim.
In 2006, Arthur's song "In the Sun" was covered by Michael Stipe (of R.E.M.) and Coldplay singer Chris Martin. Released for a Hurricane Katrina Relief program, the EP includes six versions of the cover, one of which has Arthur himself singing with Stipe.
Arthur established his own record label, Lonely Astronaut Records, in 2006, and released two studio albums, Let's Just Be (2007) and Temporary People (2008) with backing band The Lonely Astronauts. Arthur subsequently returned to performing and recording as a solo artist, releasing The Graduation Ceremony in 2011 and the double album, Redemption City in 2012.
Arthur is also an acclaimed painter and designer. His artwork has graced the sleeves of his entire discography; the sleeve design for his 1999 album entitled Vacancy was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package.
JOIN US FOR A NIGHT OF LIVE MUSIC AND MINGLING IN THE DRAKE UNDERGROUND
Doors at 8PM / 19+ Event / $5 or Free w Non-Perishable Donation
Keep Shelly In Athens are a chillwave duo from Athens, Greece. They formed in 2010, and were quickly signed to the vinyl imprint label of independent music blog Gorilla vs. Bear, Forest Family Records. In November of that year, they released their debut 12" EP, In Love with Dusk, which quickly sold out due to much internet hype. They are currently signed to Cascine Records, who released their debut full-length album in 2013.