Chasing Satellites Inteview – TEA Volume 13

Phillip Hong
15 April, 2009

chasing-1Remember those long, boring history classes we were all forced to attend back in secondary school? If you remember correctly, Anik, which was Canada’s first satellite, was launched for the purpose of communication. Considering this context, I have never heard of a better name for a band like Chasing Satellites before.

This four man band is made up of a group of men who are destined to “bring back rock the way it’s supposed to be”. After listening to their music, I believe that you may very well agree.

PHIL: How did all of you get into music? How did you meet and form the band?

DAN: I have always been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember. It probably started when I’d rock out to Guns n Roses while playing solos on a broom stick. Then when I was 13 I got a guitar and started figuring out chords and learning on my own…

The band formed when I got a call from my old (and present producer) Rick Salt saying there was a guitar player I should meet. I’d recently had a bad brake up with my previous band that had had a good thing going on. At first I wasn’t too sure about getting back into the whole music thing, but now I would say its one of the best things that has happened to me.

AARON: I’ve always loved music. I grew up around my grandfather who played piano for 80 years. He started giving me lessons when I was four. By the time I was 7 I couldn’t stand being told I had to practice so I decided to stop playing the piano. Instead I found my step-dad’s old guitar and started trying to figure out how to use it… it only had 4 strings when I got it and after months (maybe longer) I got two more strings. No one told me to practice and in fact I was usually told to stop… 20 years later and I’m still playing the instrument everyday! There’s something soothing about even just having the instrument in my hand….

One day I got a call from my producer (now one of my best friends) who had recently finished recording a project I had started which hadn’t ended that well. He knew I wasn’t about to stop playing music, so he told me about this guy who had a great voice and could sing all night. He figured we should meet and maybe get something going on. He gave me Dan’s number and I called the guy up, about a week later we were jamming at his house. We jammed for about a aaronyear and started looking for other guys to form the band, he called some of his buddies and I called some of mine. Dan auditioned my school buddy Zack and we jammed out. Before Zack officially joined the band we probably played with about another 5 drummers. Zack’s the man and we’ll never have another drummer, great live and great in the studio! Carl was an old friend of Dan’s who had been a front man and guitar player in his own band around town. He and Dan had always gotten complemented on each others voices and how well they went together. Carl picked up the bass and has never put it down since. I think we tried out two guys before Carl… but he’s been there since day one even when it was just me and Dan jamming and he’d come over for a beer! I gotta say a huge thanks to Rick Salt for introducing me to Dan, my brother from another mother, and for consequently forming this band of brothers, best friends, called Chasing Satellites!

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Kelita Interview – TEA Volume 13

Kelita Interview – Phillip Hong – 2 April, 2009

kelita-picMusic can be as heartless as a boy group selling merchandise to prepubescent girls around the world with millions of dollars and dinara thrown around in the process. Sometimes, we all tend to forget the point of this art form in general; music is a form of human communication, a passion that is way too unique to translate into riches galore.

With that in mind, Kelita debunks the capitalism that is seen in today’s society when it comes to recording tracks and releasing music. With heart and soul in hand, Kelita’s duty in life is seen clear from helping fellow humans here and abroad. Performing on the same stage as Reba probably doesn’t hurt either.

A wonderfully composed track from Kelita, “Naked Soul”, can be found in TEA Volume 13, the latest compilation album from the indie label with Hogtown in mind.

PHIL: How did music come into your life?

KELITA: Ever since I could speak I loved to sing. After finding a very old piano (1847) in an abandoned farm house in Alberta where I grew up, I was drawn to the instrument. I started writing songs when I was eleven after my father took his own life. Music was a way for me to express the pain and heartache I experienced. I consider the ability to create music and sing a special gift from God. I am a deliverer of songs about real life – which in turn have been a source of healing for others, including myself.

PHIL: You have performed alongside names like Reba McEntire and Randy Travis. What do you think got you so far into the limelight?

kelita-and-jim-cuddy-300x2282KELITA: I have been fortunate to have shared some stages with some big names in music. It takes hard work, good timing and artistry to step into the limelight. Marketing and promotion are key. You can have the greatest talent but people have to know about you. Creating positive relationships is extremely important in any business because when there’s an opportunity that opens up with those who like and respect you, they will call upon you to do the job.

I once heard it said that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. It couldn’t be any truer.

PHIL: Are you one of the kind that puts your heart on your hand? How do you romance the human soul with your music?

KELITA: Yes I am one of those who bears her soul for all to see. For years I lived behind a mask, protecting myself from the shame and wounds from my past. After I reached a turning point of facing the real me and allowing myself the freedom to be vulnerable, I learned that people are attracted to honesty. My music then became very autobiographical. In a sense my music has allowed me to be the voice for the voiceless.

I sing about things that people experience but can never find a way of expressing. That is the beauty of music. It is universal and speaks to the inner most part of our being.

PHIL: Toronto Experimental Artists features a track from you called “Naked Soul”. What inspired you to write this track?

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Sugarbeach Interview – TEA Volume 13

Phillip Hong – 22 April, 2009

sugarbeachIt’s a very romantic feeling whenever I go abroad, and I continue to feed this complete addiction with the silliest of experiences. But you have to wonder, if you suddenly fell in love in such a faraway place, what will keep that flame burning?

Strong feelings and a constant bond are the answer for the dandy indie pop with dance duo Sugarbeach, comprised of Marlee and Tully, two women who fell in love in Sydney, Australia. As much as I want to assume that music was the factor that brought them together, that’d be the most incorrect statement one could assume. You could say their relationship enriches the music they produce, which will probably explain the eclectic mish-mash of normally separate genres.

So, what do I know about Australia from my adventures? Well, “XXXX” is a beer, you could commute by ferry to work in Brisbane and Sydney, and… well, this stuff is for another time.

PHIL: You’re an Australian/Canadian duo. How did you two meet with the Pacific Ocean in the middle of everything?

MARLEE: I moved to Sydney, Australia to be in another relationship. Tully and her husband were among some of the first people I met there. I felt an instant connection with her and five years later when our respective relationships had ended we realized we had strong feelings for each other. Within a year we’d moved back to my hometown, Vancouver, wrote “I Just Love Girls”, started Sugarbeach and then got married.

PHIL: What got you into music in general?

MARLEE: My brother and sister were already in the music business in a big way… albums, a TV series in Canada and touring, so when I was 14, I joined them. They were also great songwriters so while we were performing I learned what made songs work by watching the crowds reactions. Our house was always filled with musicians. I have great memories of David Foster sitting at our old upright playing something new he’d written. I wrote my first song at about 8 years old… I think I borrowed the chord progression to “MacArthur Park” and made up some “love” lyrics about a relationship I was at least ten years too young to experience.

TULLY: My family are all musicians and we loved to jam. My dad preferred to entertain at parties on the piano rather than socialize. I wanted to play as well as him so I taught myself the music he was playing by practicing three hours a day after class… picking up one piece of music after the other, struggling through it and then moving on through the pile.

PHIL: What kind of obstacles have you encountered in your career so far?

MARLEE: In the early part of my career my biggest obstacle was myself and my decision to pretend that I was straight. The fear of being found out to be gay held me back from taking many opportunities that may have placed me and my personal life under scrutiny.

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Katelyn Dawn Interview – TEA Volume 10

Phillip Hong
8 February, 2008

katelyn-148caIt can be a really frustrating time trying to realise one’s potential in this world. As some, probably daft, few may delve into gambling terms, the odds can definitely be against you.

However, it seems that there is at least one artist featured here that may have that independent spirit that’ll crush whatever prerequisite the critical few may assume. Though she may not use such a confusing and somewhat sinful vocabulary such as the words featured here, former Canadian Idol contestant Katelyn Dawn knows what purpose she fills at this moment in time.

Furthermore, if you’re wondering what purpose that is spoken of: You’re in the wrong column now, aren’t you?

PHIL: How did you get into music? Was it a way to express yourself?

KATELYN: I think that it all just came together naturally. I come from a very creative and musical family. I’ve been singing, taking voice lessons and participating in choirs since I was five or so. I have also been writing poetry since the 1st grade, I won some writing competitions and things like that, so when I learnt how to play the guitar, it all just happened organically.

I think music has definitely been an outlet for me, emotionally and creatively. It’s something that I can put 100% of myself into and it will always be there for me to fall back on.

I recently graduated from high school, and believe me it wasn’t an easy time. My peers didn’t seem to accept the fact that music is what I was doing and I didn’t really care if they liked that or not. I had confidence in myself and the direction I chose for my life.

Music has always been there for me, even when my friends weren’t. I have to say, to all young musicians out there, keep trucking along even if your friends don’t accept it. It’s all about what makes you happy!

PHIL: Has the road to stardom been a tedious one for you?

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Combine the Victorious

combine-4TEA Volume 10 compilation artists Combine the Victorious are an exciting new indie duo fronted by Isabelle Dunlop and Mark Henning. Isabelle is a well known fashion designer while Mark is a record producer and former member of the Canadian alternative group Pure. Together they wrote their first album (The World Over) in an attempt to fill a void in their record collections: music that was danceable, fun, anthemic and emotional. Their new EP “Disagreements” is now available and has been selected by SPIN magazine as one of its new music recommendations for 2009. Combine the Victorious have been lucky enough to have placed four of their songs into the CTV (the television network) series Whistler for the 07/08 season. CTV have chosen the songs Blue Kitchen, Dafty, and Embrace to feature in one episode, and instrumental Churchgoer is being used in another one.

Their second release, a seven song ep titled Disagreements is now completed and scheduled for release November 11th, 2008. Jordy Birch and Todd Simko, both former Pure bandmates, assist on guitar and Kevin Jones (The February March)provides his expertise behind the kit. The song Please also features UK artists Ingrid Schroeder and Barry Flynn on vocals. Videos are being conceived for at least two songs from the new ep, and arrangements to perform outside of Vancouver are being made for the new year. It took combine-the-vicus a little longer than expected to finish Disagreements because we decided to start over on a lot of the recordings: they weren’t sounding the way we wanted so we ditched them. This batch of material is a bit of a departure from our debut album; the subject matter and tone are both a bit darker. It’s a story of disappointment, betrayal, broken promises and ultimately hope and resolve. Disagreements is also our first release under the Boutique Empire label. Look for their music on iTunes as well as all other popular online streaming and download sites.

Listen to Combine the Victorious