Port Lands

NXNE 2017 Port Lands: Caveboy Q&A

I first met Caveboy during CMW 2015 and I have to say I immediately took to them. They’re warm and genuine, open and funny. Fast forward to Saturday’s NXNE Port Lands in 2017 and Caveboy is up on the Canal Stage winning over new fans with their music and their energy.

Caveboy is Michelle Bensimon (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Synth), Isabelle Banos (Synth, Bass, Backing Vocals) and Lana Cooney (Drums, Backing Vocals). The three-piece out of Montreal have been playing music together for some time and started with the name Diamond Bones. After feeling like the name didn’t best represent them, they made the change to Caveboy. The new name represents their wild, barefoot, tomboyish, feral, getting their hands dirty childhood and how they use that to come together on stage.

They’ve been slugging away, playing shows including CMW, NXNE, SXSW, POP Montreal, Osheaga, Hillside, Pride, JunoFest, working on music and perfecting their stage show. By the way, they charmed the pants off the crowd at NXNE. If you haven’t seen them live, put them on your must see list.

So, with thanks to Caveboy for taking the time to chat with us, here’s a Q&A we put together.

Let’s go!

Caveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port LandsCaveboy - Michelle Bensimon - NXNE 2017 - Port LandsQ. Let’s talk about the new music. You’re playing it, when is it coming?

A. Well, we just recorded it, maybe like a month ago. We were very, very, very fortunate and we won a contest called recording festival. Which is where they take bands to Ireland for two weeks to record for free at this incredible, incredible festival. It’s a magical experience. It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. It was our first time in Ireland and it was so beautiful.

There was really great equipment and animals all over the place, there were two other bands with us. It was amazing. Usually, when you’re recording in the studio you have certain restraints or constraints like time and money and you’re thinking about how you can make this happen in this much time but there. We had total freedom to be completely creative from morning to night. Unbelievable.

So we just recorded those songs in May. Right now we’re in the process of getting everything mixed and tying everything together and making sure that everything is really ready to go. We want to do something that we’re really proud of and take the time that it takes. Hopefully coming soon. We’re really excited for people to hear it.

No set release date but the fall.

Q. You played the Silver Dollar Room during CMW and now it’s closed. Are music venues closing in Montreal?

A. No. There’s actually been a couple that have opened which is great. There are definitely more and more bands playing in Montreal. It’s nice to see that venues are still getting by. There’s a lot going on in the DIY front in Montreal so maybe Toronto’s trying to catch up. Montreal is smaller but I think people go out to shows in Montreal and the venues are staying alive and rent is so cheap. It makes it possible for us to have spaces where we can have bands play.

Q. Do you have a band best friend?

A. You know what, this might sound really weird but there’s not a lot of people out there that we don’t get along with so we’re so lucky that we’ve had the chance to play with bands where we just mesh with. Like Dear Rouge, REPARTEE, Rah Rah, the bands we’ve got to tour with and play with, there’s been such camaraderie.

Q. Who are you listening to?

A. Isabelle – Well we discovered that we’re [gestures to Michelle] listening to the same things right now. We’ve kinda got these three albums on repeat – LP, the new Lorde album and Bleachers who are playing today.

A. Lana – I’m listening to some Grizzly Bear, the album’s not out yet but there are a couple of tracks.

A. Isabelle – I’m also obsessed with Portugal the Man. I’m so excited for new things that are coming out. The first single is out and we want more.

Q. Could you tell us something that we couldn’t find out with a Google search.

A. Isabelle – Ours dads are the same. Okay [laughs] we don’t have the same dad. All our dads are very similar, they’re all the same cartoon character.

Michelle – I’ll be quite honest with you. I’m going to speak candidly right now. My absolute favourite show is Survivor. I’m a huge Survivor fan. It is so good. I’m quite the addict. Huge fan.

Lana – I just got married. Like a week ago.

Trish – Wow, congrats!

Q. What were your first tattoos?

Isabelle – Oh… this one here, the giant peacock feather with some music notes. I think I was 22 when I got it.

Michelle – I was 16 and I went to a tattoo convention and I got a treble clef in a place that I can’t show you and it’s charming some might say.

Lana – Mine is this weird triangular shape which is one-third of our logo.
Michelle – I have this one [shows tattoo]
Isabelle – I have this one [shows tattoo]
Lana – So this is my one and only tattoo.

A. We can’t actually form it but we’ve tried. We’ve tried.

Caveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port Lands
Q. What do you do for fun, when you’re not working.

A. We work a lot but…

Isabelle – I’m a total geek. I’m about board games nights and escape rooms
Trish – Favourite board game?
Isabelle – One Night World is classic. Apparently, I’m a really good liar.

Lana – She’s a trickster. What do I like to do for fun… damn? I like taking pictures. I like to shoot anything, like nature, some portraits, whatever.

Michelle – I’m kind of into astrology. I just love discovering how that all works and how that kinda of plays into relationships and stuff. I love tarot cards and all of that.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

A. We huddle and we joke and we make each other laugh. We tell each other we love each other and she always ask us, what’s your favourite show. And so we always have to say, “it’s this one that we’re about the play”. We get pumped up and it’s really about that we have to connect with each other before no matter what, even if we’re rushing we’ll take the time to go into a huddle and feel the love with each other because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what happens we have each other.

Trish – There was a handshake thing that happened up there?

A. [laughs] I don’t know what that was. It was random. We were like, let’s improvise a handshake. [laughs] I don’t know what was. It was problematic but hopefully, it made people laugh.

Trish – It was awesome.

MORE PHOTOS OF CAVEBOYCaveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port Lands

VIDEO BY THE KWEEN @shauna.pigeon

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You can find Caveboy all over the internet.

Website: caveboymusic.com
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Spotify: Caveboy

NXNE 2017 Port Lands: Ferraro Q&A

Friday was the first day of the NXNE Port Lands shows and we were there for the first band of the day, Ferraro.

Ferraro is Cosmo Ferraro on guitar and vocals, Tally Ferraro on bass and vocals, Gianni Ferraro on drums and vocals and Tom Ionescu on guitar and vocals. They are a band of three brothers, plus Tom. The brothers Ferraro come from a very musical background and if you’ve ever been to The Cameron House one of the guys may have served you a drink or two. The Cameron House is the family business and it’s no surprise that music is in their blood.

We took in their set and then sat down for a Q&A.

The band took the NXNE Skyline Stage at 4:45 PM and the audience continued to grow throughout the set. The music is fun and catchy. They have great harmonies and the music makes you want to dance. The guys looked right at home on the big stage and it’s no wonder, they’ve played with the likes of Sam Roberts and The Strumbellas and have been honing their skills for 10+ years. We heard songs from the Losing Sleep album including the title track, On the Ropes and Shake It Off.

The 50’s inspired music is modern and fresh and I woke up Sunday morning with Shake It Off in my head. Let’s get started with the Q&A.
Q. What are your earliest musical memories?

Ferraro: Way back. We all started on piano. We all took piano lessons. None of us accomplished very much on that instrument. I think we got a little appreciation for music and then when we chose our own instruments and we started playing together in the basement and that was the first thing, to learn your instrument well enough to be able to play with another instrument. That was the first milestone, it was the first thing to check off. That happened in the basement, making a lot of noise in our parents’ house.

Q. What’s the best thing about playing with your brothers?

Ferraro: The best thing… hmm… I’m looking for something positive to say here [laughing]. I think they’re pretty good musicians. You can say things that you might not say to someone else. It’s a very open and honest experience.Q. And for Tom – What’s the worst thing about playing with 3 brothers?

Tom: They keep pretty chill. I’ve been told I’m the pacifier.

Ferraro: You know, when you have a guest you try to behave.

Tom: I’ve heard that when I’m not around things get crazy so I kinda wanna see… actually maybe I don’t.

Q. Have you come to blows?

Ferraro: It’s been a while since we’ve physically hit each other. That’s not true, it’s been less than a year. It’s more verbal than physical. We argue. That comes again to being a brother. You’d probably say more to your brothers than to people who aren’t related to you. I think it gets more heated quickly and then forgiven more quickly as well. It’s just like hockey. You just fight out and then you go to the penalty box for five minutes.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Ferraro: [Laughing]

Q: Why are you laughing, that sounds like a yes?

Ferraro: Well today we were very short on beer. Today we were desperate to get some beer so we chugged a beer and went on. For a big a show we normally get together right before we go on stage and say “let’s have a good show guys” [laughing]. On a regular basis Tally does the whole School of Rock thing. I would answer with a no [laughing].Q. Do you have a favourite place to play?

Ferraro: The Cameron House baby! It’s our home base. It’s where we’re comfortable. We’re on tonight from 10 to 4. It should be a good show. We’ve learned a lot there, good bad and otherwise. We’ve had shows of all kinds.

Q. “Losing Sleep” was released last year. How has the album been received?

Ferraro: It did as well as we expected. It was our first full-length record and that was a big accomplishment. It took more work than expected to get it out and be happy with the final product, which we were. But it felt good to have our first full-length record out.

Q. Are you working on new music?

Ferraro: We’ve been working on new music. The new stuff is coming. There are some new songs coming. And we’re hoping it’s sooner rather than later before we have some new music out.Q. I love the “Shake it Off” video, tell me about the concept and getting The Strumbellas involved?

Ferraro: That was very largely Kat Webber‘s brainchild. She was the director, she’s a friend of ours. We talked to her casually about making a video, that’s what she does. She looked at us, saw we’re brothers, we’re family. We use mannequins in some of our promotions and we have a bit of 50’s influence in our sound. So she took those 3 things and started mulling them over in her head and remembered this history class she had of the atomic bomb testings.  And they would make model homes with mannequins and see how everything reacted. That’s where it began and it was very, very much her brainchild and we were just, whatever you need us to do. Tell us where to be, tell us what to do. She came to us with the idea and I think expected some input. She told us the whole story and we were like. It’s awesome let’s go with it. We were like, we love it, just tell us what to do.

What also worked out was that we didn’t have a budget to make that video but what was very serendipitous was that our grandmother had this 1950’s looking house. That was our grandparents’ house that we grew up in. They passed away a few years ago and the house has just been empty. It was exactly what we were looking for. We wouldn’t have been able to shoot it off the budget we had without that.

Trish: That scene in the room after the explosion with is amazing! It was so fun to watch.

Ferraro: We did that and she was like okay, really go over the top and rock out here. And we did it and it was amazing. We went for it and we were like, that was fucking amazing and we like, DONE. And they said, that was great, let’s do it again. [Laughing} And we were like “I can’t, that’s the one, we’re just doing one. We were exhausted. It was pretty fun to shoot. That was the last scene of the day and we were ready to let loose a little bit.

And the question about The Strumbellas was that they came up through The Cameron House. So we met them very early on in their career at The Cameron and Kat asked if there was a band or someone famous or a big name you could add in for a little cameo to help. So I called them and they were very, very gracious with their time. They went straight from that shoot to the airport to fly to Australia for their tour.

They used to do a Monday night residency and the first time I saw them it was just me and the bartender. It was just me and him in the room watching The Strumbellas. They have not forgotten any of the people in their past. They’re very gracious that way.

Q. Who are you listening to?

Ferraro 1: They’re a bit old but I’m just getting into The Growlers.

Ferraro 2:
Fast Romantics are friends of ours and they just put out a new record that I’m digging into.

Ferraro 3
: Radiohead just got put on Spotify and I’ve been a longtime Radiohead fan. I used to get all the rare records and now that they’re on Spotify I can get all the crazy stuff on there too.

Ferraro 4: Dan Auerbach. I liked his last solo album better than any of his Black Keys stuff. Also Michael Rault. He’s very underrated. He’s not a really that well known. We tried to befriend him. We had one amazing hang. A great late night. We spent the whole night talking and never saw him again. Maybe we came on too strong. [Laughing]

Q. What do you do for fun when you’re not making music?

Ferraro(Tally): Work at The Cameron House. I’m a bartender there, Cosmo’s the manager there, Gianni’s a bartender…

Trish: What do you do when you’re not working.

Ferraro: Play hockey, we all play hockey. Baseball. There’s a Cameron House baseball team. There’s a Queen Street baseball league. We play The Horseshoe. Softball. Yeah, Sunday softball. I take it maybe too seriously.

Trish to Tom: You look like you’re thinking really hard.

Tom: Yeah I’m really bad at sports, I’m ok at baseball and I’ve played one game.

Ferraro: Tom is very, very talented. There’s nothing this guy can’t do until I saw him attempt sports. And I thought, okay he’s got an Achilles heel, there’s something he can’t do.

Tom: A big Achilles heel. My one softball game was good but then I was like, Peace I’m out of here.

I do a lot of the graphic design and artwork for album covers.

Ferraro: He’s made a lot of our posters and Cameron posters. He’s quite a talented artist.

Thanks for Ferraro for hanging out with us and spilling some great stories. Don’t let the handsome faces distract you, these guys are educated, smart, funny and talented. Keep your eye on them.

Check out the video for Shake It Off and watch for a cameo from The Strumbellas.

MORE PHOTOS OF FERRAROWhitney Rose with Ferraro The Cameron HouseWe pulled this one out of the archives! Ferraro backing up Whitney Rose at The Cameron House in 2014.

NXNE 2017 – Where We’ll Be

North by Northeast has revealed the final pieces of their schedule and it includes the one-day Future Land conference. They’ve got some cool sessions on Wednesday, June 21st, the price is a very reasonable $29 and you can get them here.

Want to know all about the festival? Visit our previous post – NXNE 2017 – Round 1 Artist Announcement.

With all the pieces in place, we’re ready to let you know who we’ll be checking out. The Club Land Shows lead into the weekend Port Lands shows and we’re happy to be hitting up some of our favourite venues to see a couple of our favourites bands, The Lazys and Crown Lands, as some that are new to us, too.

To start with, let’s talk about our favourites. The Lazys have just started a tour of Ontario and not only are they playing on the 22nd at The Horseshoe, they’ve also announced a free listening party on June 21st at The Bovine, doors are at 5:00 pm. If you’re around, it’s a great chance to hear the new album. If you’re not going to be in Toronto next week head to their website for tour details.
The Lazys CNE 2016Not to be outdone, Crown Lands have been up to some pretty amazing stuff. They’ve been working on a new album which they recorded at the legendary Chalet Recording Studio and Friday night they competed in the finals of the 97.7 HTZ FM Rock Search Contest.

The guys are already winners in our books but on Friday night, they took home the big prize! $2,500 in cash from 97.7 HTZ-FM and the opportunity to play four 97.7 HTZ-FM events over the year. They’ve also won an in-person consultation session with the artist development team at Dine Alone Records, $1500 in custom merchandise from Presstime Design & Screenprint, a recording package from Iguana Studios,  and last, but not least, a $1500 gift card to spend at Long and McQuade Musical Instruments.

Congratulations to the guys! Previous winners of this competition include Finger Eleven, The Trews, The Standstills and The Glorious Sons, that’s a pretty great list. In addition to playing the Ian D’Sza (Billy Talent) Curated Showcase on Friday the 22nd, you can also see them at Cherry Cola’s on June 17th.


Now, let’s move on to our show/band choices!

 Date About the event venue
 June  19Rural Alberta Advantage Curated Showcase
Altameda
The Northern Coast
Jordan Normal and the Wisdom Teeth
Alex Vissa
The Dakota Tavern
 June  20Nick Rose (Dwayne Gretzky, Teen Ravine
Curated Showcase
Vast Asleep
Forces
Twin Within
Evan James Redsky
 Rivoli
 June  21The Dirty Nil
Curated Showcase

Dead Soft
Secret Satanists
Big School
New Love
 The Garrison
 June  22Ian D’Sza (Billy Talent)
Curated Showcase

The Lazys
Crown Lands
The Anti-Queens
Sweatshop Kids
Horseshoe Tavern
 June  23    4:45 FerraroPort Lands – Skyline Stage
 June  24    3:00 CaveboyPort Lands – Canal Stage
 June  25    6:45 Yukon BlondePort Lands – Canal Stage

We know there are no headliners on our Port Lands list. But we’ll see what the days bring, we might see some Post Malone, Kaytranada or Passion Pit.

We’re stoked to see Ferraro, Caveboy, and Yukon Blonde. Shockingly, we’ve never seen any of these bands live. What?! Yes, we need to fix that! Stay tuned for pictures, interviews and reviews from NXNE 2017!

Tickets are still available and you can get them here!

NXNE 2017 – Round 1 Artist Announcement

North by Northeast has released their first 2017 artist announcement and it’s a good start. Now entering its 22nd year,  the annual Toronto music festival returns to the Port Lands with Passion Pit, Tyler, the Creator and Post Malone in the headlining position for fthis venue. Also included in today’s announcement, Bleachers, Sleigh Bells, The Soul Rebels Ft. Talib Kweli, Twin Peaks, Cold Specks, Muna, and Son Little and a promise of 20+ artists to come.

Festival dates are June 23 to 25th, early bird pricing is up and tickets are on sale! NXNE is using RFID wristbands and we’re serious when we say you should really consider the VIP package. There’s nothing like front row access and VIP bathrooms.

Other highlights of this festival, the Club Land venues, Game Land featuring video gaming and E-Sports, the comedy tent, art installations, midway rides and of course food vendors.

NXNE is one of our favourite festivals, partly because it’s on home turf and partly because it includes free shows that all of you can see. Stay tuned for more artist announcements.

nxne pricing portlands combined 2

EDIT -Tyler the Creator has dropped out and been replaced by Kaytranada.

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