Meet the TIMA 2012 Nominees

up-TIMAIn just a few hours, the Toronto Independent Music Awards will open at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Toronto. The proceeds from the event – which comprises several years’ worth of planning and mini-events – go to MusiCounts, a wonderful charity that works to keep music programs alive in schools. This year, the TIMAs are hosting an online auction, which will also support MusiCounts.

The show features performances from Dilly Dally, Rich Kidd, HOTCHA!, River Junction Band, and a bunch more. The ceremony part of the evening, originally masterminded by Daniela Oliva, will crown winners from a slew of categories. We asked the nominees a few questions about what their music, and music in general, means to them.

Take a read below. . . .

And good luck to all nominees!

 

Best USA

Mercurius FM

Members:  Bo

Location: Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California

Further Reading: http://MercuriusFM.com

About the nominated track/album:

I actually submitted a mini-mix of my EP, For Those About To Techno. . . . I chose it because I felt it would give the listener a good sampling of my current sounds. It basically takes you on a trip through five of the roughest techno tracks I’ve ever made. Making the EP took about five months, only working on it part-time. Most of it was finished in the last month. Funny enough, the track ‘909 In My Spine’ was originally going to be a remix for a contest, but I thought the beat was too good to waste on a contest. . .

What makes good music?

That’s a tough question. I think that varies from person to person and also it’s application. I’m very critical of new music, so when I get demos and listen to new releases on sites like Beatport, I’m really critical. I’m listening to them and thinking of what kind of mood they’ll create in a club. Pretty much if it sounds like something on the Top 10 list in Beatport, I probably would never play that track live. I’m always seeking new and exciting tracks. I feel the same way about non-electronic music. I’m more interested in hearing a genuine emotional vibe or something new and creative rather than amazing production. These days, anyone can find a friend who can produce music or buy a producer. . . but not everyone has great creative ideas.

Future plans:

I’m working on my next EP called, Dead Or Alive. It’s going to have two or three new techno tracks with the goal of being rougher than the last EP. You can hear the title track in my latest promo mix on Soundcloud. I will announce the release date of Dead Or Alive soon. I’m also working on bringing new artists to my label Broken Synth (http://BrokenSynth.com). It’s like a home for the disregarded and unheard electronic artists. I’m not looking to release people based on their name, simply if I like the music they send me.

Last words:

Well, I’m going to Toronto for the Toronto Independent Music Awards. I was nominated in the USA category which is pretty cool. I’m working on a collaboration with the former drummer of a pretty big electronic band in Europe, but I can’t say much about that yet. Other than that, people can expect more and more music out of Mercurius FM.

 

Jenny Dinh

Location: Lake in the Hills, Illinois

Further Reading: www.jennydmusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

The track I submitted is called ‘Manhattan’. The process of writing this song was like the process of most of my other songs; the words and melody just come to my head. It wasn’t based off of one exact moment, it’s more of a combination of experiences and stories from my friends and movie scenes. I wanted the song to represent a moment in your life that seems so unrealistic that you feel like you’re in a movie scene. I chose to submit ‘Manhattan’ because I was very proud of the outcome of the track and how it portrays the emotion and scenery I was aiming for.

What makes good music? 

Good music is something that most of the audience can relate to, and putting your feelings in your music so that the people listening can also feel that emotion. It also comes from the heart; if you really have the passion for music, you will improve to become a better musician and make good music.

Future plans:

I’m hoping to study at Berklee College of Music, and writing songs in my free time. I don’t have a definite plan of my future right now, but hopefully studying at a music school will help me decide what I want to do most with my music career.

 

The Ooo La Las

Members: Yma Ronsi, Emmie Jones

Location: Sacramento, California.

Further Reading: www.sonicbids.com/theooolalas

About the nominated track/album:

The Ooo La Las’ sound is fresh and new, but delivered in retro packaging. We are influenced by all forms of music from Pop to Rock, French Vaudeville to Spanish Bolero, from sailor’s jigs to Siren’s songs. We call it Theatrical Pop and feel there is a certain soundtrack vibe to what we do. Our music is about the seduction of life and the beauty of both its sides – the light and the dark – love, addiction, hope, rejection, passion, frailty, and honesty.

What makes good music?

Passion, honesty, and chops! We love talent in all forms regardless of genre, and we think that shows in our music.

Future plans:

This couldn’t have come at a better time! We just finished recording the last song for our six-song EP. We’re planning to release it this spring.

Last words:

Thank you so much for the nomination. As cliché as it sounds, it really is an honour to be nominated.

 

Best Out-of-Province

ROBY

Information Not Available

 

Stef Lang

Information Not Available

 

Young-n-Fabulous

Members: Roshique , X-Quizit and Emdee

Location: Montreal, Que.

Further reading: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGudEdit

About the nominated track/album:

Talk about the recorded track/album you submitted: What was the process like? What does the track/album mean to you? Why did you choose that one for submission?

Our Manager was the one who picked ‘’ Your Love ‘’, but we wouldn’t have picked another song. Your Love was our first official song and single. We did it with a lot of heart and it will always be among our first selections.

What makes good music?

We believe any music done with passion and heart that expresses something strong could be qualify as good music.

Future plans: 

The universe is our limit ..:) , which mean we still have a lot to do and a lots of goals to reach. Next year will be mostly more live performances and studio time for an upcoming album.

Last words:

We are glad to be nominees at the TIMA this year, we hope to win , if not that will be next year . : )

 

GLO

Member(s): Eddie Mazzola (Guitar), Rick Cordi (Vocals) and Pat Rowan (Drums)

Location: Montreal, Que.

Further Reading: www.glo-music.com

About the nominated track/album:

We went into the studio with basic ideas of songs and we’re ready to challenge ourselves musically on the spot. Something we’ve never done in the past. We managed to record five great songs in six days pretty much from scratch.

‘No One Hears Me’ and ‘Into My Arms’ show the full spectrum of Glo.

What makes good music?

Honesty

Future plans:

Release our second single ‘Come Around’ to video. Record another EP in 2013.

 

Best Young Songwriter

Emily Madronich

Location: Port Colborne, Ont.

Further Reading: http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Emily-Madronich

About the nominated track/album:

I submitted two songs for the category of Young Songwriter. The first song, ‘Take it Away’ is an acoustic song that has a jazzy folk feeling that I composed on a Uke. The song is about going with your gut and doing your own thing. The second song, ‘Rocket’ is a totally different feel featuring piano and drums. In this song, I was experimenting with an edgier topic and trying to get across more emotion in the vocals.

What makes good music?

I love all different genres of music but I think good music always has a great melody. The lyrics need to enhance this melody but at the same time be interesting.

Future plans:

I am still a high school student but I definitely would like to make music part of my future. For the short term, I am working on my first album at RedSonic Studios in Port Colborne. I hope to complete the album by next spring. I would also like to perform more and see if I could make that into a summer job. I really enjoy songwriting and would like to continue and collaborate with other song writers.

Last words:

I feel very honoured to be nominated for the TIMAs.

 

Lindsay Alward

Location: Port Colborne, Ont.
Further Reading: http://www.reverbnation.com/lindsayalward

About the nominated track/album:

The two songs submitted are, ‘Sail Away’ and ‘Rest Your Heart. ‘Sail Away’ was a song I wrote shortly after I learned to play the guitar, the song is a metaphor about the tough times in life as well as the good times, and learning how to notice  the beauty in both. I recorded the song at Pearson’s Studios with David and Nate! We recorded it all over the process of approximately two days. I was so excited to have put so many different new elements in the song during the recording process. I  loved how it turned out. ‘Rest Your Heart’ is a very bittersweet song written about a person that I will always care about very much. It’s about patiently loving someone even when things aren’t exactly the easiest. It’s about being there for someone and desperately wanting to help them, but first they need to let go of their past and help themselves. ‘Rest Your Heart’ is one of my most treasured songs because it is by far my most personal piece of writing.

What makes good music? 

In one word, I could some up what I think makes good music, honesty. More descriptively good music is when you create something that has heart and soul, that has a sense of sincerity. Music that isn’t made just for the purpose of sales but has the ability to touch someone’s life. Music someone can connect to, where they have the opportunity to feel a part of something greater then themselves.

Future plans:

I plan on writing, and writing a lot. Hopefully in the summer I will have to opportunity to put out my first official EP. There may or may not be a change of style, as I am getting older, my musical style is changing into something more defined. I also plan on regularly recording YouTube videos and when I find the time between my school work play some shows in my new beautiful city of Ottawa.

 

Kaylan Mackinnon

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.kaylanmackinnon.com

About the nominated track/album:

The song I submitted is called ‘Remember Me’. I wrote this song about two years ago. I was visiting my grandma at the time, and I decided to take advantage of the peace and quiet and write a song. It probably took me two hours or so to write, but when I was finally done with it I knew I had written what needed to come out. The whole process was exciting because it was my first heartfelt song I had ever really written and it just involved my notebook, a pen and my guitar. This song and the others I wrote for my EP all mean a lot to me because they came from experiences I have encountered over the years. The song is about two people who are meant to be together but life gets in the way of their relationship because one of them has to move away. I chose this song because I believe that most people will be able to relate to the lyrics seeing as everyone has had to deal with heartbreak and hard situations. Memories are so important which is why the song is also about remembering the important and happy events that have happened with the loved ones we’ve shared them with.

What makes good music?

Great music comes from the heart, as cliché as that sounds. A good song involves a lot of creativity and trips down memory lane. Writing from personal experiences is always a great way to write a great song.

Future plans:

Soon I’ll be out west in Vancouver studying to be an Earth and Oceans science major. I’m so fascinated with storms and oceans. However, I’m hoping to one day have a career in music and acting. I honestly love performing and being able to entertain anyone. It’s a real passion of mine and if I’m able to pursue it eventually I’ll be so grateful!

Last words:

It’s still so surreal to me that I’ve been nominated for Best Young Songwriter in the Toronto Independent Music Awards! I’m so thankful and happy to have been chosen out of so many people across Canada and the USA. I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for me. I love my fans for all their support. They’re the ones who can help make it happen.

 

Maddy Rodiguez

Location: Toronto, Ont.
Further Reading: http://www.maddyrodriguez.com/my-story/

About the nominated track/album:

Recording ‘Tahiti’ was a blast. I knew I wanted to have an island influence on the track but keep it country/pop. It wasn’t a difficult challenge – it was just good fun. We hired an amazing percussionist, Mario Allende, to add some of that island flavour and it totally brought the song to life in the studio! I loved working with Mario and musicians Alan Kulka, Mark Ganetakos, Lyle Molzan, John Dymond and with my producer Greig Nori, mixer Adam King and master engineer Phil Demetro – they’re all great pros. ‘Tahiti’ is a song for anyone and everyone who’s ever had a bad day and wished they could just forget their problems. Personally, I still can’t afford to go to my dream paradise, Tahiti. . . . And I know many people can’t afford their dream vacations either. But the point of the song, is to put yourself in that tropical, happy place, for at least four minutes. I wanted this song to make people smile and dance and pretend they’re looking at a bright blue ocean! If I can help people do that with this song, that’s a beautiful thing.

‘All The Wasted Time’ was an emotional song to work on. I remember getting chills several times in the studio while recording it with my musicians and producer. Recording the vocals was even more chilling – I remember singing the chorus a bunch of times, and my voice felt so free, I felt like I was Carrie Underwood. It was a good feeling. But at the same time, because of the lyrics, I wanted to cry. . . . I had written ‘All The Wasted Time’ for my best friend who grew up without her Dad around. In fact, quite a few people close to me, have experienced the absence of their fathers. It’s such a sad thing for someone to spend their childhood waiting for a parent to be there and constantly be disappointed. I can’t imagine how hard it really is. But this song is my attempt at understanding.

What makes good music?

. . . Pleasing melodies, and infectious rhythms. . . . But above all: musical and lyrical honesty.

Future plans:

My plans for the future are to keep on writing songs, and to strive to make each song better than the last. I hope to pitch some songs to other artists and have them cut those songs on their records. . . . In the short term, I’m working on the release of my first Christmas Single. It’s called ‘Mama Made Christmas (http://vimeo.com/maddyrodriguez/mamamadechristmas). And next year I plan to go to Nashville (for the third time) to co-write and also showcase. If we can put together some funds, we may record a new single down there. Basically, I just want to keep going, and grow my career!

Last words:

Thank you so much Toronto Independent Music Awards for nominating me, and supporting me as a new artist! It means a lot to he recognized by the industry pros involved. Wish I was 19 so I could be at the event! If y’all had waited two months, I would have been of age, gosh darn it! Lol. And thank you to you Raz Mataz Magazine for this feature and your support.

 

Ivy James

Location: Oakville, Ont.
Further reading links: www.ivyjamesmusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

The songs I submitted were ‘Thunder’ and ‘Your Escape (Nate’s Song)’. They are the first two songs from my debut, self-titled EP, which I released in June.

These were two of the first songs that I wrote for the EP. These two songs will always be important to me because not only did the writing process help me through a tough situation, they were the first step towards the EP, which was something I had been thinking about for a long time. I choose these songs for submission because I was trying to pick the songs I thought were the strongest and which meant the most to me while at the same time trying to showcase what I’m about as an artist.

What makes good music?

Good music is a mix between a lot of things. The best songs are always the hardest to write because you have to tap into emotions that you don’t necessarily understand yourself. Though catchy melodies and hooks are important, good music makes you feel something that you couldn’t have felt otherwise.

 

Best Electronic

Eli T.

Information Not Available

 

Amber Long

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://soundcloud.com/amberlong

About the nominated track/album:

I submitted my own remix of an original from one of my projects, Beauty & The Breakdown. I submitted it because it felt like a double take on something I’d been working on, creatively. I wrote and recorded the vocals and co-produced the Original of Incandescence and then, for the remix, took only my vocals and reconstructed a whole new song out of it. Why did I submit my remix instead of the original? Because I wanted to see if a track I created on my own, could stand up against those I’ve worked on with other producers. I’m very pleased that it did!

What makes good music?

Good music is made from soul. Plain and simple. If you love the music you are making, it will exude in every note.

Future plans:

My plans for the future are to keep making music to make people dance. All that I do in my every day life is done with the goal of continually making music. I’ll get diplomas and work great jobs, but the real thing that matters is creating a huge library of works that can rip a dancefloor apart. Hopefully I’ll be able to tour internationally to personally deliver my music to the masses too!

Last words:

Just please tell the world I said, “Stay passionate!” That’s all.

 

Dafusia

Information Not Available

 

Abstract Random

Member(s): Jamilah Malika, SUN SUN, Ayo Leilani

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.abstractrandom3.com

About the nominated track/album:

We created Siren Songs, our second album, its 18 tracks with interludes. Ontario Arts Council gave us funding for this album (which we are so very grateful for); we won the Ontario Arts Council Popular Music Grant in 2011. We call our sound electro dub hop – meaning it kinda sounds like electronic/dub/hip hop/ and dubstep music infused with feminist political thought provoking lyrics. We are self produced by SUN SUN and make all our own videos and are part of a music collective based out of Toronto – 88 Days Of Fortune.

What makes good music? 

good bass

good content

good rhythm

good creation

Future plans:

To keep building songs, tours, videos etc. . . . We wish to get signed with SUBPOP Records. That is our dream.

Last words:

SHOUT OUT 88 Days Of Fortune, Shi Wisdom, Ontario Arts Council, BKLYN BOIHOOD, L.A., LAL, Zahra Siddiqui, YesYesYa’ll, THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, DJ SOUL ON ICE(SEAN SAX), DJ Murr, Nik and SY.

 

The Rabid Whole

Member(s): Andreas Weiss (Singer), George Radutu (Guitarist), Chalsey Noelle (Keys), Oscar Anesetti (Bass), JJ Tartaglia (Drums)

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.therabidwhole.com

About the nominated track/album:

‘Future’ is the first track and single off of our recently released album Refuge. The couple of years leading up to this album, I was going through a lot of personal changes in my life and Refuge is basically a direct reflection of all this. Refuge is about change and all the emotions and experiences that an individual

the process and ultimately the search for personal peace of mind at the end of it all. I worked at our personal studio TRWHQ here in Toronto for about two months non-stop – from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. . . the times I actually got to sleep. . . I may have left the place three times in that entire period. . . . This track specifically represents a breaking point for me, when I made the choice to leave my day job as an engineer in the oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan to pursue my dreams. I moved to Toronto, reformed/redesigned the band and felt invincible. ‘Future’ is a track about taking control of your destiny and recognizing that we all have the power to do it.

(Andreas Weiss)

What makes good music?

I believe what makes a good song is its ability to connect with others on a deeper level. . . how genuine it is and how well it conveys the artist’s emotional passion to the listener. . . something that connects people, something the audience can relate to. . . . It can be extremely complex or extremely simple. . . it just has to be appropriate. . . .

Future Plans:

In the immediate future, The Rabid Whole will be performing in the Ontario/Quebec area including the Indie Week Festival on October 11th, we have a music video

coming out for ‘Future’ and another videoshoot soon after. In 2013, are plans for more extensive touring through the U.S./Canada and possibly Europe, a few festivals, a couple more videos and then back to the writing/recording process . . . rinse and repeat!

Last words:

This past year has been an incredible experience for us, we’ve played several shows, festivals (CMW, SXSW, Indie Week, NXNE), and garnered an unbelievable

amount of positive attention for our efforts. We are extremely proud and excited to be nominated for a 2012 TIMAs award! Thanks to everyone who has supported us until this point . . . we will not let you down!!!

 

FRAZER

Member(s): Frazer Mac

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.frazermac.com

About the nominated track/album:

I submitted a track called ‘Blackout’ from my album SMOKESHOW. I wrote the song on piano in my basement, then recorded it at Canterbury Studios in Toronto. I’ve been writing songs for close to 20 years – so the writing process came easy. Waiting for the production, mixing, mastering, and manufacturing process was the harder part.

The album is my first studio album and I’m very proud of the songs I wrote. It hasn’t even been a year since SMOKESHOW was released and, so far, three of the songs, ‘Green Light‘, ‘Goodbye’, and ‘Walk of Shame’, have all placed in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Being recognized by the TIMAs for yet another one of my songs, ‘Blackout’, which I originally wrote with Britney Spears in mind, really means a lot! I recorded the album to show off my songwriting ability, however, because I am a recording artist as well, I recorded the vocals myself.

I chose to submit ‘Blackout’ because it’s upbeat, relevant in the 2012 electronic-pop music landscape, and one of my personal favourites off of the album.

What makes good music?

A good songwriter makes good music. . . talented musicians and producers help too. . . but, in my eyes, it starts with the song!

Future plans:

I plan on being the Canadian Bonnie McKee – writing hits for some of the biggest names in the biz.

Last words:

I currently have two songs, ‘Addicted’ and ‘Walk of Shame’, charting nationally on the Canadian Hot AC and Top 40 charts. I’m also presently the Featured Member on the Songwriters Association of Canada’s website! I also have a B.A. in Pop Music Studies from the University of Western Ontario.

 

Best Blues

Susan Wylde

Information Not Available

 

The Distillery

Member(s): Jordan Safer (harmonica, piano), Neil Hendry (guitar), Myrrhine Faller (vocal)
Location: Toronto, Ont.
Further Reading: www.thedistilleryblues.com

About the nominated track/album:

Recording our EP, What You Told Me, was a beautiful, off the cuff learning experience. It was recorded in one day at the Music Mansion by the capable hands of Steve Major. ‘Glory’ is about the give and take in relationships and how it can either sit in a beautiful place or at a useless standstill. Either way it’s a temporary thing in which good is always, eventually, followed by not-so-good. ‘Get Back to Love’ is about losing track of priorities and, without meaning to, putting love on the back burner to more “urgent” errands. At the end of the day, one hopes to return to love instead of various deadlines.  Why did you choose that one for submission? We chose both of these tunes for submission because they represent a good sampling of our varied style within the blues and we believe in the songs.

What makes good music?  

Whatever speaks to you. However it speaks to you.

Future plans:

We plan to invoke the spirit of the sabre-toothed tiger and take over the world, one living room at a time.

Last word:

Thanks very much for this opportunity. You’re doing good. All the best. Love and respect.

 

Keith Rich and the Po Boys

Information Not Available

 

The Joyful Sinners

Member(s): Adam Beer-Colacino, Alan Zemaitis, Jesse Boxer-Meyrowitz, Justin Ruppel

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.thejoyfulsinners.com

About the nominated track/album:

The tracks we actually submitted are rough mixes of songs from our upcoming album that is going to be released in December. To put it short, it was a long process and we learned the hard way how not to do an album, but surprisingly everything came together in the end and the final product is sounding better and better every day. This album was a long time coming and captured the band at a really great time in the process. We are looking forward to giving our fans something to take home with them that is not just eight tracks thrown together in a studio, but a sonic picture of a hot pot of greasy roots/rock/soul/blues/gospel gumbo!

What makes good music?

Soul. If it ain’t got that, its crap.

Future plans:

Taken ‘er one month at a time. We are the Dakota Tavern on October 19th and it’s looking like the album release party with be in early December (follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates). We are looking to get on the road sometime in the first half of 2013. Until then, we will be slugging it our here in T.O. and playing our arses off for every minute of it.

Last words:

Keep it greasy!

 

Best Jazz

Ori Dagan

Member(s): Ori Dagan, vocals; Mark Kieswetter, piano; Jordan O’Connor, bass; Nick Fraser, drums; Chris Gale, saxophone

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.oridagan.com

About the nominated track/album:

The tracks I submitted, ‘Googleable’ and ‘Nu Az Ma?’ both come from my second album, Less Than Three (<3), which was released in April. Aside from both tracks being original compositions, they have very little else in common. ‘Googleable’ is a fun ode to the modern search for meaning, the 21st century phenomenon of googling, whereas ‘Nu Az Ma?’ (translated into “Well, So What?”) is a blues in Hebrew which questions why we discriminate against one another, “screaming but not listening,” simply because of our different beliefs. I chose these two songs for the TIMA submissions because I feel they are the most universal lyrics I have written to this point.

What makes good music?

Talent. Discipline. Honesty. Integrity. Passion. Originality. And the courage to take risks.

Future plans:

I’m currently planning a cross-Canada tour and working on new songs. In the future I’d love to tour Europe and Asia.

Last words:

Just released my latest music video, a scat version of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTZTChTMe8o

 

Susie McLean

Member(s): Roy Oommen, Brad Toews, Mark Kelso, Patrick Kilbride, Corey Lacey, Mike Payne

Location: Mississauga, Ont.

Further Reading: www.susiemclean.com

About the nominated track/album:

Recording this album, ‘Til The Morning Comes, was such a great experience. Being able to have such talented musicians who wanted to take part in it was truly an honour.

The song I submitted, ”Til The Morning Comes’, was co- written by my producer and another songwriter by the name of Laura Woodley. Although I, too, am a songwriter, I loved Laura’s style of writing and knew that her gift could add an original hopeful song to this project. My producer brought it to me and asked me what I thought. I instantly fell in love with it. It reminded me so much of my relationship with my husband and I connected with the lyrics so much! To me it spoke of a promise that no matter what life may bring we could get through it together. I also saw how others could relate to it. Overall, each song on the album had a message of hope and the title of that song summed up the message I wanted to convey throughout the album which was to never give up.

What makes good music?

I think “good music” will always vary on personal opinion cause everyone is so different. But for me what makes a good song is great storytelling and vulnerability. When the audience feels as though their story is being told through you and they can relate. I strongly believe that where there are stories there’s heart and where there’s heart, people are moved.

Future Plans:

Well…I’ve already started writing new material for my second album and it will be all original songs! I’m really excited about it and enjoying the songwriting process! I plan on venturing out of Toronto a bit more and doing more live shows in places like Montreal, New York and Chicago.

Last words:

Being nominated for Best Jazz Artist is such an honour. I am so thankful and humbled by it all! I have high hopes for the future and so grateful for all the support from my family and friends.

 

Brownman Electryc Trio

Member(s): Brownman Ali – electric trumpet, Ben Miller – 6-string electric bass, Colin Kingsmore – drums

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://Brownman.com

BIO:

http://brownman.com/Images/BrownBio-english.pdf

 

Homzy/Kesler Duo

Members: Aline Homzy (violin), Andrew Kesler (piano)

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://homzykeslerduo.bandcamp.com

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted the track ‘Dragon’s Dream from our soon to be released album Dragon Suite. Early in 2011, Aline approached me with the idea of writing a song together not exactly like traditional jazz, but more-so in the vein of classical crossover meets avant garde meets soundtrack music. . . which is my way of saying that we just wanted to play whatever ideas came to our head. She was really into the concept of dragons at the time so we used that as our inspiration. We performed the song at Aline’s recital a few weeks later and people came up to us and said how much they enjoyed it, and how the song told a story. We then decided to record a whole album of dragon inspired music aptly called, Dragon Suite. This suite of original songs means a great deal to both of us, as our goal was to make music true to ourselves. It is very exposed being only two instruments with transparent production, but it means that the listener is hearing our genuine musical statement as we intended.

What makes good music?

Good music is, simply put, sincere.

Future plans:

We have recently finished filming a music video for one of the movements from the suite. It involved taking a piano into the forest and wearing some beautiful and elegant costumes! We plan to release that in the coming weeks, as well as to finish up the album artwork so as to release our music as soon as possible. We filmed all of the recording sessions with high quality cameras so we hope to put a couple videos of the actual recording process as promotional material. I always enjoy when groups share footage of the studio experience, it’s inspiring to see how the magic happens! We plan to continue writing music as a duo, and have already started doing some film scoring here in Canada. Apart from writing we are both regular performers and session musicians in Toronto so we can always be found supporting other artists as well as playing our own original music. Perhaps we will orchestrate the Dragon Suite for a chamber ensemble in the future? Who knows!

 

Best World

Lenka Lichtenber & Fray

Location: Toronto

Further Reading: www.lenkalichtenberg.com

About the nominated track/album:

I submitted my latest world music album called Fray, as well as two separate tracks. I am not sure which of those got us nominated! The album is a special one for me – my fourth solo album, yet one that feels like the first. It got me onto a new path somehow. I really love the sound of it! In all truth, it is sound that I was always looking for and it has certainly taken me quite some time to find it! My band mates are responsible for that – they understand my music probably better than I do! It is this particular combination of instruments, and their talents, that makes it happen for me. I clearly have a thing for tabla, Middle Eastern instruments, oud. . . I really don’t know why! I am Czech – brought up on European folk, opera, classical and theatre music. . . I listen to them play and I am flying. In heaven! Sometimes I get so carried away by listening to them playing that I forget I am in the show myself! It was the recording of the Fray CD that created this band. I started recording it in Europe – in Prague, with local musicians there. But I didn’t have time to finish it. . . so I took the remaining tracks to Toronto and was looking for the right people to get that sound. At that point, I heard of of the Indo-Canadian world jazz band Tasa but never heard them play live. It was Eric Stein who told me, go check them out! I went to hear them at the Trane Studio and knew, yes, those are the guys! Eventually, all the original members of Tasa  came to be in the Fray band. This Fray project  is about. . . freedom for me and for my music (fray = free in Yiddish). I have been a more traditional Yiddish singer for some time, and through this project I am discovering new grounds for myself, with Yiddish culture. This is quite hard to accept for some traditionalists, but this is where I feel I must go with what I do.

What makes good music?

What makes good music. . . oh, no. . . that can be so personal! There are so many kinds of tastes – thankfully – so this question can get a million different answers, all subjective, I think. For me, it has to wake something inside me. If it is just entertaining, if I can have it on without it really  demanding my full attention, it is just fun but not really “good” in my ears. Music feels like food to me. I really eat it! Devour it, in fact. If it can just fly over my head, it’s fluff. Not good. Sound is really important to me. It can be just one long note playing on an instrument that stirs me, like sitar, or a haunting cane flute, and I feel it resonates with my soul, and that is “good music” to me. In terms of composition, or songs, “good” to me is something that’s interesting. Not predictable. Almost always in minor keys. But there are also just simpler songs that I hear a million times that have that special “something”, a combination of (mostly minor) chords and voices that I never tire of, and those are not good – they are great! Many like that in classic rock. . . . Or, stirring-the-soul classical pieces, like Beethoven’s Allegretto. . . can’t beat it. What all these have in common is that they make my stomach twist, in a pleasant way. . . I feel good music so strongly.

Future plans:

I am just between the first and second edition/release of my newest project Songs for the Breathing Walls (sacred music). It will be launched November 3rd. So I have been working hard with my graphic artist/ friend Lumir Hladik to get it ready for manufacturing. We finished the work today! I am not good in multi-tasking. . . when projects overlap, I go a bit insane. It happens a lot! But as of today, I can better focus on the upcoming showcases at the OCFF October 12th to 13th, including our first official showcase there ever, for which i am very thankful! This will involve the Fray group but also my colleague, Roula Said, with whom I’ve created a project called Bridges – of Jewish and Arabic music intertwined and in dialogue. It’s actually a real fun music, party time! Huge amounts of percussion, lots of energy, and Roula is a master belly-dancer. . .  I think people will love it. In November, to Israel for another recording project, I said I was a bit insane. . . this one with Yair Dalal, another mixing of traditions. . . Yiddish and Iraqi. . . however, that particular project (Lullabies in Exile) is more sublime, really sweet, deep, intimate music, mostly traditional. And in the next few months, continue with Fray! There will be Fray 2 in the spring 2013. . . . And after all that recording, I hope we get to play it all in front of people, too. Actually, I have some concerts lined-up already, we’ll see.

Last words:

I feel I am the luckiest person on Earth. Canada is the best country! I have a wonderful family. I get to do what I love and work with people I love. I’ve been to poor, rough places in the world. I never take anything  for granted. Life is truly amazing. I count my blessings every day.

 

Takatsu

Information Not Available

 

Quique Escamilla

Information Not Available

 

Métis Fiddler Quartet

Member(s): Siblings Alyssa, Conlin, Nicholas and Danton Delbaere-Sawchuk

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.metisfiddlerquartet.com

About the nominated track/album:

The Métis Fiddler Quartet members recorded their first full-length audio CD recording called North West Voyage Nord Ouest. This CD recording was produced and mixed by Don Ross and mastered by David Travers-Smith.  All the recordings were made at Canterbury Music Company with sound engineer Jeremy Darby during July 2010 and September 2011. This CD recording is a compilation of unique arrangements of Aboriginal fiddle tunes using both classical and world music influences. This album reflects the beauty and diversity of the Aboriginal fiddle tradition in Canada, honouring the music of elders: Lawrence ‘Teddy Boy’ Houle, James Flett, and John Arcand.

This recording was funded and supported by: Canada Council for the Arts Specialized Music Sound Recording, Ontario Arts Council Popular Music program, Metis Nation of Ontario’s Economic Development Grant program, FACTOR Juried Sound Recording Loan Program, and Aboriginal Business Canada.

What makes good music?

Good music can evoke positive feelings, and emotions, while the groove moves you to dance.

Future plans:

Métis Fiddler Quartet plans to continue to reach out to new audiences, sharing our eclectic repertoire of old canadian Métis fiddle music to people of all ages and walks of life.

This album is the first Métis Fiddler Quartet album, featuring the four group members performing original arrangements of traditional tunes. Each member of the group comes from a classical background in music training. Our future projects will certainly include fusions between the genres of classical, folk music, and beyond, in order to reflect our love for a wide variety of music.

Last words:

Our group, Métis Fiddler Quartet, is made up of four siblings: Alyssa (Viola), Conlin (Guitar), Nicholas (violin), and Danton (cello). Together we bring Canadian Métis fiddle music to the world through entertaining educational presentations, workshops, and performances.

The music we play comes to us from Métis fiddlers, who know many tunes which are not widely heard, known, or played. By using elements of these old traditions, and by integrating new influences, we hope to keep the essence of the traditional music alive, while allowing our own distinct creative personalities to rise to the surface.

Inspired by our Métis heritage, we have created new arrangements by integrating various influences, such as bluegrass, jazz, klezmer, and rock ‘n roll with elements of old Métis fiddle tunes, taking a fresh approach to this unique and eccentric fiddle music of the old Northwest.

 

Prita Chhabra

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://www.pritamusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

I am an Indian girl singing English pop music. When I came out into the industry, I got a lot of gigs doing things for the Indian community and I wanted to make tracks that represented my community as well, so I recorded ‘Roots’ and did a desi mix of my song called ‘Dance’. I wanted to make music that my Indian community could relate to, being born and raised in Canada. Yet having these roots, sometimes people think we are having an identity crisis, but the real crisis is that we’re told that we’re either not “Indian” enough for our community or that we’re “too Indian” for western audiences. I wanted to make tracks to demonstrate a fusion of both worlds as my truth as a person is that I am both Eastern and Western. There is a place for me in this world, even if I have to make that place myself. To me, the fusion of sounds totally rocks! I had an awesome time working on both tracks and working with amazing people. Bunny Panesar plays the dhol on ‘Roots’ and he totally gives the song the Punjabi party energy it needs! Navin Kundra adds the perfect touch of romantic bollywood to ‘Dance’ and I’ve been so blessed to get to work with both these individuals.

What makes good music?

Music that moves you. Whether it be emotionally or physically, if a song can literally move you and change you after listening to it, then it’s good music. That’s my motto for when I create my music.

Future plans:

To rock the world. Haha! I plan on releasing more fusion music and more pure pop music that will move people and inspire them, and open their minds and hearts.

Last words:

Thank you to all my fans for their support. If you can get anything out of listening to my music or reading these words, it’s this: follow you dreams. Life is short and it’s a gift. We are all here for a purpose and it’s our responsibility to live our lives, not let life live us. Making music is my passion and I’m so happy living out my purpose. If I can do it, so can you! Trust me, you’ll be fine!

 

Best Punk

CJ Sleez

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.CJSLEEZ.com

About the nominated track/album:

The track I submitted is called ‘Back To Nowhere’, a single from my latest album Valley of the Shadow.

The song is about overcoming a debilitating addiction, reaching the other side, tasting freedom and then refusing to relapse by making daily commitments to never allow yourself to return to the nothingness. It’s based on my own personal experiences of facing and prevailing over my weaknesses.

I hope that by sharing it, I can encourage others to stay strong and enthusiastic about having a better life.

What makes good music?

Great music comes from the heart and connects with the listener’s soul. It’s an indestructible force forged by passion that breaks all language barriers,

Future plans:

I’m currently working on my forth album and my second non-fiction novel.

 

Sumo Cyco

Members: Sever, MD, Thor, Legs
Location: Hamilton, Ont./Toronto
Further Reading: www.sumocyco.com

About the nominated track/album:

Pretty sure our track ‘Interceptor’ was submitted. We chose it because it’s straight down the middle as far as what our sound is. It represents us as a band really well.

What makes good music?

Passion and creativity.

Future plans:

Our new single ‘Where Do We Go?’ just came out and the self made music video is to follow at the end of the month. We have two shows in Toronto this October, one of them being for Indie Week. On top of that, we’ve just got the funding to start a full length album. So far we have released seven singles, taking a different approach to getting our music out there. I know fans have been waiting for a full length.

Last words:

We’re super stoked to be part of the Toronto Independent Music awards and really appreciate the acknowledgement.

 

The Lucky Ones

Member(s): Steve Stumble (Vocals), Robbie Knuckles (Bass), Chris “The Doctor” Nowicki (Guitar), Eric Hutt (Drums)

Location: St. Catharines, Ont.

Further Reading: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lucky-Ones/121729077861287

About the nominated track/album:

I believe we submitted ‘St. Paul & Queen’, a song about the bars we frequent in downtown St. Catharines. We recorded this song with producer Steve Rizun who did a great job at capturing the feel of this tune! We basically chose this song because it was the first single/video off of our new record Heartbreak, Hangovers & Punk Rock.

What makes good music?

I’m sure this is different for a lot of people, but we try to keep it very simple. No need for long intros and boring wanky solos! Don’t bore us get to the chorus is our theory!

Future plans:

We’ll be doing a run of Ontario dates in November/December. Likely do some recording in the new year and some where in March/April we’ll be touring Australia

Last words:

Old punks never die! They just stand at the back!

 

Best Rap

Sikadime

Location: Welland, Ont.

Further Reading: www.sikadime.com

About the nominated track/album:

Honestly, I can’t remember which track I submitted because it was around the time I was doing promo for when my new album They Missing Out When They Not Here came out.

The process was cool because like other independent artists I use all means, like SonicBids, for example. I was living and working in Toronto at the time and saw the posting about the TIMAs.

The album They Missing Out When They Not Here means just that! I finally let go of all the people that were negative in my life, copped the motto “good meals, good company, good sleep” and started applying it to everyday life. Now those negative people are well. . . just missing out.

I chose the album because its a coming of age with some feel good music. The singles granted me a chance with my first promotional headlining North American tour (Night of Your Life Tour) this past February/March 2012.

What makes good music?

I always say it like this: honesty, vulnerability with a big splash of feel good rhythms and lyrics that everyday folk can relate to. Think about it, everybody on the face of the planet has one song that speaks to them like it is their own personal theme music. Example: Gotye nailed it with a song like ‘Somebody I Use To Know’.

Future plans:

Well, I recently got married, so my wife and I are still planning our honeymoon. I’m getting back in the studio soon to work on a new mix tape and album. Been writing a lot and looking to get back into doing shows – not full out tours like I have done, just some fun smaller crowd shows for an intimate meeting with fans.

Last words:

Big shout out to Raz Mataz Magazine for the interview and a big shout out to the Toronto Independent Music Awards. Shout out to all the nominees, I look forward to meeting all of you, network and see live performances.

Follow your dreams and all the success you can achieve small or big.

 

SVDP

Information Not Available

 

Philly Moves

About the nominated track/album:

Our most recent record, the moderately offensively titled, How to Drink Yourself Famous was written over a period of five months while singer/songwriter Jonny “Rockwell” and I (MC/lyricist Tynan “Tragic”) were living in different cities. Jonny was in Atlanta finishing up a diploma in audio engineering and I was holding down the fort in our hometown of Ottawa. While this wasn’t an ideal situation we made it work, exchanging ideas through online and telephone chats, recording the pre-production in a home studio and, finally, the culmination of the hard work when I travelled to Atlanta for a five-day recording session in the multi-million dollar environment of SAE studios in ATL. We are really proud of how the album flows from beginning to end, the traditional hits transitioning into our more eclectic stuff showcasing the range of both Jon and I’s many influences. We truly took the care to produce something that could be listened to from beginning to end many times over and pride ourselves on the replay value of everything we put out.

What makes good music?

In my opinion, songs that connect with people are ultimately the best songs. Lyrics, music, rhyme schemes, topics – whatever it is that touches someone is what makes music special, regardless of the talent or ability it took to produce that music. It doesn’t have to be happy and it doesn’t have to make you feel good, but if a song reaches you that is what you’ll remember and that is what will make you listen to it again.

Future plans:

Philly Moves has always separated itself from the rest of the cluttered indie music scene with a combination of God-given talent and a dedication to hard work. We firmly believe that you are only as successful as your work ethic. In addition to the TIMA nomination, we are playing several dates in Toronto over the next few months, dropping a new music video in a couple weeks, showcasing at Toronto Indie Week 2012, playing two shows in New York City in mid-October, working on new new material for a release in 2013, curating a monthly hip-hop night at new venue 3030 in Toronto’s Junction neighoubrhood and are in the process of booking a Canadian tour for November/December.

Last words:

Philly Moves makes real life music, no gimmicks, no fluff, no bullsh*t; we make the music that we like and that we believe in and It is our goal to bring about positive change through hip-hop locally, in our country and also around the world. We are always interested in hearing from fans on the friendship tip or other cats in the business on the network tip so don’t hesitate to get in contact with Jonny, myself or our management team through our website at http://phillymoves.net, find Philly Moves on Facebook, iTunes, YouTube, Twitter and hopefully rolling through your city this fall!

 

Blackboltt

Location: The Moon via Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://store.my1812.com

About the nominated track/album:

‘The Critic’ is my statement on arm-chair commentaries in music. Especially here in Toronto, I feel that there are a lot of people in the industry (fans, artists, labels, etc.) are either quick to criticize an artists work or conversely, treat it like it’s the flavour of the week. This song and the rest of the tracks on Leader of the Opposition have been crafted and workshopped with a team of creators: Rich Kidd, Muneshine, Fresh Kils, Relic, pHoenix Pagliacci, Es, and many more Canadian hip-hop powerhouses. In short, I am humbled to have them all down for the cause, and I am grateful to have the music recognized by the TIMAs this year. ‘The Critic’ has been getting a lot of attention from radio stations across the country, so it felt like the logical choice: although I have another personal favourite from the album that will be getting a video treatment shortly.

What makes good music?

Personality makes great music. Good music is made with the right tools and a good ear. I aspire to make great music, because the hip-hop scene deserves so much more than “good”. If the music can touch one person and affect their mind state, their emotions, or even their behaviour, then it is truly great. Likes and follows are nice and all, but remember, the most popular kids in school weren’t always the ones with the most real friends. If artists can bring their personality and story into a song, paired with the technical resources to make it sound good – you’ve got something special there.

Future plans:

Currently, my company and I are in the process of shooting a short film to accompany the Leader of the Opposition album. Similar to Kanye West’s Runaway short-film, Leader of the Opposition is a visual story that enriches the music by telling the narrative of community action, the role of art, and self-discovery. I’m a playwright and story-teller by nature and film/video was the next logical step for me and my music. Also, I’m working on two new releases: one called ‘Electric Chairmen’ with trumpeter Martin Matuszczak and producer Fresh Kils, and my next release with DJ AJ called ‘Black Planet’, which is a play on the classic Public Enemy record, Fear of a Black Planet. With this collection of songs, I am narrating the history of hip-hop music from the fictitious Black Planet. Being a caucasian musician with a name like Blackboltt, the idea of reflecting on race and colour in music is a hot topic here in Toronto – and I intend to open up that conversation with this EP.

Last words:

Big ups to the TIMAs for a solid list of nominees in every category. Canada is primarily known for the indie-rock bands that are exported stateside, and for the Awards to recognize the city’s hip hop scene. Shout outs to my 1812 Entertainment family: Che Ruben, EGR, DJ AJ, Mike Wait, Kp, ZuluFlow, Rony Toro. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the fans, so ALL love to them, always.

 

Logik Dat Lad

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.logikdatlad.com

About the nominated track/album:

The album that was submitted is my first EP, New School Cool. It took me a year and a half to write and record the album that was done mainly in a makeshift studio we set up in my friend and former engineer’s cellar. It means the world to me because I had a lot going on in my personal life and I didn’t think I would be able to finish it or not have it completed the way I envisioned. To be honest, up to this day I do not know who submitted my work for the award, but I’m glad they did.

What makes good music?

I think good music must have an element people can identify with. Every record I have loved growing up had something in it that made me feel like it was made for what I was going through at the moment, in the past or could see myself doing in the future.

Future plans:

I’m currently working on a new EP that hasn’t been titled yet, as well as doing features with my Cut Throat Collective and other artist outside of my team. Listeners can look forward to the same level of dope records accompanied by production of some of Toronto’s and the worlds top hip hop producers.

 

Best Urban

Triple Or Nothing

Information Not Available

 

Neno Rockwell

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.nenorocwell.com

About the nominated track/album:

The process for this record (If the Party Stops) was a bit different. We really didn’t try to make any particular kind of record. We had come to the end of the process and were just playing around with different beats and when that one came through the speakers, the hook just jumped out at me. I wanted to return to the bounce kind of sound that we used to hear from the early 2000s. Something that was hard enough to ride around to, but you could also move in the club with. Just an all around fun record. That’s the reason why I chose to submit this record. I felt that it gave something to a variety of people.

What makes good music?

For me it’s a feeling. When a record makes you feel something, that’s it. When everything just comes together and flows right. When I gotta do more than three takes, that’s not it. We pack it up and move on. A song that takes too much to put together isn’t music, its noise.

Future plans:

I gotta say I’m not really thinking all that far ahead. I’m from an environment where I wasn’t supposed to amount to shit. I’m lucky as hell to be here, so I’m just enjoying it every day. If I can wake up every day and speak for a few people that don’t have a voice, or tell ‘em, “Forget what they doing over there; You gotta get yours. . . .” You know, really just be the spark that get people in the right mind space to take life by the horns . . . or just get people to wild out and have a good time, then I’m good.

Last words:

Thanks, and good luck!

 

The Mighty Rhino

Member(s): Just myself, Noah Aaron Goodbaum, aka the Rashomon Bandit aka the Royal Falcon aka Mr. motherfuckin’ Mighty Rhino! None other, at your service, baby. 21-gun salute to my executive producer Measuring Man and to the beatmakers — Digs, Remot, Fresh Kils, Abstract Artform, Emperor Bohe and DJ Kong — who contributed such phenomenal work to my album, He Whom The Beat Sets Free Is Free Indeed.

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.themightyrhino.bandcamp.com

About the nominated track/album:

Love is the most important thing in my life, and to me it’s indisputably the most important thing in the entire world. It’s the highlight of the human condition, and romantic love in particular is the brightest-sparkling gem in that crown, so to speak. My song ‘Company Policy’ is about that love, specifically about how it felt to fall in love for the first time and how I responded after the one I loved and I broke up. She used to ask me, “Noah, why do you love the aspects of my character for which others have judged me? Why do you respond with love to everything all the time?” And I would say, “It’s company policy, it’s just how I do things, that’s how I was raised and that’s who I am.” So that’s what the title means. Unconditional love is my “company policy”. And that’s true now as it was then, ’cause love never really dies, so I still uphold that. Like the homie Brother Ali says, once you love someone the love you had for them lives in you. And company policy just means you love someone according to their needs, the way in which they want to be loved, rather than expecting a situation to conform to your desires or always trying to look out for your own interests in a relationship. So I don’t talk to her no more. But it also means that that unconditional love lives on. So it was just an opportunity to express my understanding of the way love works or should work – which I see as the defining issue for my emotional life, the central human question pretty much – and that’s more precious to me than virtually anything else, so that’s why I love it so much. And that turned out to be the song more folks cottoned to on the album than any other, they liked my chorus and shit, and they saw that what I was saying had come from my heart and that I’d really loved that girl. So it resonated with folks, and once we realized that, we had to get it out there. The second one I submitted, ‘Slow Rollin”, had been well-liked too. We got a lot of love for both songs, so we figured, “Ah hell, let’s toss these out there and see where they go.”

What makes good music?
Honesty, as far as possible, even if you have to be honest about ugly or unedifying things. But at the same time I feel a songwriter has a duty to tell engaging stories and use vivid images to their maximum potential – you want it to be both honest and artful. And for me as a rapper, you gotta bring the wordplay. You gotta be fuckin’ sick with it. And there are a million ways to do that. People rag on cats like Young Dro and Gucci Mane for rapping about nothing, clothes and jewelry and whatever, with tons of style but little substance. Them cats are dope! They’ve got something! They’ve got more style, and they use words in more interesting ways, than plenty of cats with a lot on their minds who don’t put it together, who don’t deal in vivid imagery or make clever word choices or what have you. I like it when cats rep both sides. Style AND content. That’s the goal to shoot for. Most of the greats have had both. The intelligence AND the flyness. Those are the five things you need, ideally – honesty, artfulness, intelligence, emotional potency, and for rappers you need a touch of the flyness. You got those three things to spare, you’re in business. And it’s plenty of rappers out who do, just in this city we got Shad, Adam Bomb,  Knamelis, my man Blackboltt, Che Ruben, Phoenix Pagliacci, Large Live N Direct, More Or Les, D-Sisive, Tona, MisterE, Theology 3, and that’s just some folks from the Dot and the surrounding areas alone, not even the full list let alone a list of all the others in the States and around the world who are making great rap music in 2012. More rappers are picking up on the importance of all three qualities combined, and that’s a great thing.

Future plans:
I’m trying to finish this political science degree, figure out what I might be able to pull off as a long-term career – but I’m also going hard in the studio working on a second album, and I wanna rap ’til I can’t anymore. I wanna continue to make music I’m proud of, music I would identify as great, which has the three qualities I listed above in great abundance. I’d like to try to raise the shrap so that I can make songs with more of my heroes and favourites, after doing a song with Rittz on the last record. We’re trying to get some dope guests on the next one so inshallah that’ll go down. And I’m featured on some cool projects myself as well. My blood brother Digs is in the midst of crafting his producer album, I’ll be featured on that. My uncle More Or Les and I got a bullet in with Chip Fu on Les’ new album Mastication. I’m on Abstract Artform’s Living Proof project with Doodlebug of Digable Planets. I just wanna get better and better as a rapper, performer, singer and songwriter, and make bangin’-ass, magnificent rap music.

Last words:

Preshate cha for getting at me and asking these questions. Thank you kindly to anyone who rides for The Mighty Rhino, good lookin’ out y’all! Shouts and good luck to the homie Blackboltt and to Angela Saini, two good friends who are fellow TIMA nominees! Much warmth and plenty blessings and goodwill to anyone who enjoys my music, won’t be nothing but great music coming from me baby, you know I gotchu. And FREE FRESCO P! We miss you dawg! Hold on be strong!

 

Zoo Legacy

About the nominated track/album:

LKUT’ is our single for our latest EP. It was exciting for us because we got to introduce people to our new and fully developed sound. Generally speaking, when we record new songs they take some time for all of our ideas to mesh together, but for ‘LKUT’, the song was done pretty much right away. ‘LKUT’ is a party track that people can relate to, the chorus especially. ‘Shockwave’ is a song from our first EP that brought a ton of energy, when we were putting the finishing touches on the song we had a gang of people over in the basement we used to record at and we were able to capture the vibe of the room in a song. We choose these two songs for submission because they do a good job of giving our listeners high energy music with substance.

What makes good music?

Making good music is a combination of a number of things, firstly honesty, giving music that people feel is genuinely representative of who you are is important. Also being able to make catchy music that is unique, you shouldn’t be falling into clichés or be afraid to experiment. And the last thing I would say makes good music is having real people in your circle who can give you real opinions and give you constructive criticisms.

Future plans:

Our plans for the future are to play as many shows as we can, we’ve had some great shows lately and we’re going to continue building on that!

Last words: 

Take a listen to our new EP titled City, Light, Glow and give our video ‘LKUT’ a watch on YouTube. Find us on a stage near you.

 

MAGNOLIUS

Information Not Available

 

Best Metal

Thirdrite

Member(s): Charles Laciste, Jason Demonteverde, Ram Castillo
Location: Toronto, Ont.
Further Reading: https://www.facebook.com/thirdrite

About the nominated track/album:

The track we submitted is the song ‘Make or Break’. We chose this song because it’s our first single. It’s about doing something to make your dreams happen. It’s also about never stop trying despite of adversities. A lot of people whine and complain about their situation without doing something. We were like that once, and we decided to put an end to it. So we came up with this song. This song has some personal significance to us because it tells about what we’ve been through as individuals. It’s an up-tempo song that reflects our musical influences from the 70s and 90s hard rock and is very guitar driven.

We sent our application through SonicBids a few months ago. We didn’t really expect to be nominated knowing there are tons of great bands out there. Then one day we got an email saying we’ve been selected. We are selected out of hundreds of applications and survived three panels of judging. Being nominated is such a big accomplishment for us and we’re very grateful.

What makes good music?

For us, all music is good depending on who is listening. People have diverse opinions and tastes. But we’re leaning towards the heavy side of rock and roll.

Future plans:

We would really like to break into the scene if we get a crack. We are very realistic on our approach and still learning the ins and outs of the industry. We are currently hosting our own shows or sometimes teaming-up with other bands to put a show together. We are planning to release our three-song mini EP before the end of the year and would love to go back in the studio to finish a full EP.

Last words:

Thanks for this opportunity and if you wanna see us live, check our Facebook page for gig updates: www.facebook.com/thirdrite.

 

Blind Race

Members: Tommy Geraldes (Vocals), Costas Kentros (Guitars), Stelios Kentros (Drums), Mike Ferraro (Bass), Joannie Cotten (Keys)
Location: Toronto, Ont.

About the nominated track/album:

We chose the track ‘You’ because it best displays what the band is all about.

What makes good music?

Feeling and depth. No matter what style of music, if it lacks the artist’s emotional input doesn’t matter how much work and thought you put into a song it will not have that depth and colour you need to write a god song.

Last words:

To get to know what we are about check out this interview I did for Metal Examiner, it should paint our picture.
http://www.examiner.com/article/costas-kentros-explains-new-blind-race-release

 

The Marked

Member(s): Jared Wiesner (lead vox/guitar), Steve Dubecki (guitar), Seth Dyck (bass), Dan Veber (drums),

Location: Brantford, Ont.

Further Reading: www.themarkedmusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted two tracks for the TIMAs: ‘Exhale’ and ‘Down’. They are both tracks that will be on our upcoming debut album. The tracks as they are are really just demos. We are currently working the album with Juno award winning engineer and producer Dan Brodbeck. For us the process was really homegrown. The music was recorded at home in its entirety. Myself (Jared) and Steve are both graduates of the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College. So, recording and producing is not really new to us. I tend to like to write songs on my own and bring them to the table only once they are ready. I throw out at least 75 percent of what I write before I ever complete it. I don’t really see the point in taking it to completion if it’s not going to be used. I remember demoing both songs for Steve on an acoustic guitar and both of us having a similar vision in our heads as we heard the simple arrangement transformed into something to be played by a whole band. For me, everything I write has to connect on a personal level. So all of the songs come from a very personal place. Usually what gets my creativity really flowing is times of intense struggle and thats what really a lot of the songs are about. I think its something that everyone can relate to on a deep level as even the happiest person only knows happiness as the opposite of darkness. I think its very healthy to express this emotion and while I love to listen to very easy going music (I love all types of music). The stuff I tend to write comes out as my deeper darker thoughts and experiences. We chose the ones we did for submission simply because they are the demos we had done at that point. We have now brought a whole album worth of material to our producer (Dan Brodbeck) and are so excited to be working with him to finish our debut release.

What makes good music?

Good music has to connect with the listener on an emotional level. If it can’t do this, it isn’t good music. Music has to make the listener feel something to be worth listening to. I don’t care whether that feeling is joy, despair, comfort, or anger… its got to translate from the writers scribbles to the listeners ears. Beyond that, I believe that what people want to hear is influenced very strongly by the culture that they live in. In the west, most of us have grown up with a very well defined resolutions and common musical phrases throughout all the pop music that we listen to. This means that we hear ear candy or something we like when it draws on a part of something we liked before. There really is nothing spectacularly new or ground breaking about any music. And I don’t think that there should be. I really believe that when your writing a great song it shouldn’t feel like you had to struggle to piece it together. Instead, it should feel like you found the song. It was there all along and it was given to you.

Future plans:

We really want to take this band as far as it will go. Right now that means getting our album done and touring as much as possible. My wife just gave birth to our first baby, an amazing little boy named Reiner. It also means that I have to maximize any spare time I find to work on the the band. We are all working outside of music and have busy lives. That being said, we all want to make a career out of music and are pushing as hard as we can to make that dream a reality. Time will only tell what the future has for us. Right now, I’d like a single getting strong rotation on the radio.

Last words:

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us and cover the great event that is the Toronto Independent Music Awards. We wish the best to all the nominees.

 

Sumo Cyco

Members: Sever, MD, Thor, Legs
Location: Hamilton, Ont.
Further Reading: www.sumocyco.com

About the nominated track/album:

Pretty sure our track ‘Interceptor’ was submitted. We chose it because it’s straight down the middle as far as what our sound is. It represents us as a band really well.

What makes good music?

Passion and creativity.

Future plans:

Our new single ‘Where Do We Go?’ just came out and the self made music video is to follow at the end of the month. We have two shows in Toronto this October, one of them being for Indie Week. On top of that, we’ve just got the funding to start a full length album. So far we have released seven singles, taking a different approach to getting our music out there. I know fans have been waiting for a full length.

Last words:

We’re super stoked to be part of the Toronto Independent Music awards and really appreciate the acknowledgement.

 

Nephelium

Member(s): Devlin Anderson (Vocals), Alex Zubair (Guitars), Florian Ravet (Bass), Alan Madhavan (Drums)

Location: Toronto

Further Reading: www.reverbnation.com/nephelium

About the nominated track/album:

In its entirety, Coils of Entropy was the combined effort of a few musicians back in Dubai and the majority, here at home. ‘Merciless Annihilation’ and ‘Malediction’ are songs that were written in and around 2003 but were slightly re-worked to be included in this record along with more recent material, which somewhat maintained an element of consistency with our roots throughout the album. This album signifies a lot to us in various aspects. Lyrically, how we feel about the world and its demise yet know that not all is lost when the naked eye thinks it is. Musically, a whirlwind of controlled chaos that pushes the boundaries of versatility, technicality and brutality and most importantly, the blood, sweat and beers (Machine Head rocks!) that made us the musicians we are today. Recording this album was a humbling and informative experience. I speak for us all in saying that what we learned in the process, we will take with us to our graves! We chose this record as it is our first full length and really shows who we are down to the last note.

What makes good music?

To me, good music is original. In saying this, I mean a healthy collaboration of every band members’ ideas and input to create something different and unique. If we were speaking of a solo artist, the collaboration would be more of what he/she is influenced by and listens to. This is in opposition to bands and solo artists who say, “We sound like this band,” or, “I want to sound like this guy.” No! Have YOUR own sound, sound like YOU!

Future plans:

We have a few loose ends to tie up before hitting the road, however, after pre-production for the new record in December/January we want to be in the studio for Mar/Apr and touring by the summer of 2013.

Last words:

To up and coming musicians and to all artists for that matter, especially independent ones. . . never EVER give up! I would also like to take this opportunity for thanking TIMA for considering us. It is an absolute honour and we are thrilled to say the least!

 

Best Folk/Roots

A Yellow Field

Members: Dave Pike, Neil Kostecki, Joey Bell, Sara Rose Hebert

Location: Waterloo, Ont.

Further Reading: www.ayellowfield.com

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted to the TIMAs through SonicBids, which we only started using a couple of months ago, and while I was trying to figure out how the site worked, we were submitting to all kinds of things all over the place. For the Toronto Independent Music Awards, I submitted two of our strongest, most A Yellow Field-flavoured songs; ‘The Ocean’ and ‘Cinders’. We open most of our shows with ‘The Ocean’ because we all agree it’s a great introduction to our music; it’s got a little taste of everything, and it features guitar, banjo and mandolin (performed by our friend Uncle Dan Henshall) on the recording, so we can work listeners and the crowd into our fairly broad range of instruments. It’s got great three-part harmonies and an upbeat foot tappin’ drive that you can’t get out of your head. ‘Cinders’ was the other song we picked because it’s the most memorable song we play; it’s fun, lots of good harmonies, and has a tendency to get the crowd yelling “Water!” along with us. The process was pretty simple on our side; we’re still pretty new to SonicBids, but all we had to do was submit and hope. Honestly, we don’t have a big following in Toronto, so we were surprised and elated when we heard we were on the short list, and then shortly after we got word that we’d been nominated! It’s a huge, huge honour just to be nominated, a small band out of Waterloo picked out of who-knows-how-many submissions for this award, and with our debut album we ended up nominated in the Best Folk or Roots category. It’s awesome, overwhelming and we’re all going to be super excited at the awards ceremony on the 6th! There is some great competition, and I can’t wait to see the show!

What makes good music?

I think what makes good music is people putting their passion, honest emotion, and good ol’ fashioned blood, sweat and tears into their music. I have always believed the best music is what speaks to you, and I fear that the big money music industry today is cheapening that honesty and communication by trying to mass produce, cross market, and cross pollinate music into a purchasable product. We’re fighting against that by taking things back old school – at least musically. We recorded our whole album live off the floor in two days of recording with a friend at The Admiral in Kitchener. We wanted it to be raw, honest and genuine and we felt the best way to accomplish that was to record like we play a show – live, fun and sounding good. Good music doesn’t need producers, big fancy studios and a marketing team of 30 plus a line of cologne and shoes in order to be successful – it just needs to be heard.

Future plans:

The near future for us has us playing more often in Toronto, trying to build a fan base there, the nomination for the TIMA award has done wonders so far to make it easier to book around the big city. We’ll be playing as many shows as we can, wherever we can. I’d like to hit some new towns this year as well, try to spread A Yellow Field around Ontario as much as possible. Next summer we plan on heading eastward on a tour, hoping to get into a festival somewhere on the way out East, that’ll make for a great weekend in the middle of maritime goodness! There are also some rumblings of a new EP to be released early 2013.

Last words:

We’re really excited about the awards ceremony, there’s a lot of great competition and we’re really excited for the show.

 

The Marrieds

Member(s): Jane Carmichael (vocals/ukulele/glockenspiel/kazoo), Kevin Kennedy (vocals/guitar/bass pedals/percussion)

Location: London, Ont.

Further Reading: www.themarrieds.ca

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted two songs that are on our debut record – ‘Back To You’ and ‘Take Me To California’. It was important to us to make a record that sounded organic and not over produced, so we recorded to tape on a vintage OTARI MTR 90 with a SONY MXP3036 desk, performed as much as possible live off the floor, and refrained from auto-tuning and cutting and pasting. The process was great because all of the people involved in making the record are good friends of ours and that made it all-the-more meaningful.

We chose to submit ‘Back To You’ because it was the first take live off the floor and it has this raw energy that you can only get from a first taker. It is also a special track for us because it was the first song that we co-wrote together.

‘Take Me To California’ is just a fun, upbeat track that we were hoping would get stuck in the heads of all who gave it a listen. I (Jane) wrote it while swiffering the floor one day as I was trying to think of how I would convince Kevin to take me to California for our honeymoon. The song was enough to convince him and to California we went.

What makes good music?

I gravitate towards a strong melody and Kevin gravitates towards a great guitar lick, so I suppose it’s subjective. We try to write music that tells a story, creates an emotional impact, and is memorable.

Future plans:

We are currently writing songs for our second record and will record it in the new year. I am sure babies are in the future and that’s when we will release a record called, The Marrieds with Children.

Last words:

We are honoured to be nominated for a TIMA and appreciate the recognition.

 

HOTCHA!

Member(s): Beverly Kreller, Howard Druckman
Location: Toronto, Ont.
Further Reading:  www.HOTCHA.ca

About the nominated track/album:

We actually won through our live performance at Clinton’s Tavern last year. What a great night of music that was. Everyone who played was amazing! But the music we performed was all from our debut CD, Dust Bowl Roots: Songs for the New Depression and we released that album right at the height of the economic downturn in 2009. It was a total fluke really, but the timing was right for this kind of album, very much in the vibe of the Depression Era and upbeat enough to be a true tonic for the difficult times we were/are in together globally. Audiences are usually very receptive to our music because it addresses difficult situations and subjects in the lyrics, but with lively melodies and arrangement. The music hearkens back to the dirty thirties when our grandparents and parents lived through the Great Depression. The music of the day was creative, simple songs like those of Woody Guthrie and complex like those of the early jazz bands and later the likes of Slim Gaillard and Duke Ellington. We like to mix it up and do it all. We had gotten tired of being in a band that wanted to jam all the time. We wanted to play songs that had a beginning, middle and an end . . . short and sweet. So now our songs are really tight and some are as short as one-and-a-half minutes. All in all, it’s really fun to write, play and record this kind of music. We hope to engage and give joy to the audiences we encounter.

What makes good music?

Anything that one or more persons can enjoy for many different reasons. Music that can touch and inspire people at soul level. Or like ours, music that makes ya wanna dance!

Future plans:

We are planning to record another album within the next year and to tour out west again . . . hopefully without breaking limbs and/or family members dying . . . long, weird and slightly funny, mostly sad story.

Last word:

We are thrilled to be a TIMA recipient and want to congratulate all the other nominees and winners. And we want to thank the organizers for their dedication to our thriving music community and the many extraordinarily talented artists right here in our own backyard.

 

Scarlett Jane

Member(s): Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.scarlettjane.com

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted the first track off our debut album Stranger.  The song is called ‘Wildfire’ and tells the story of a tragic fire that destroyed Andrea’s grandmother’s home and farm land, as well as her neighbours’, in the mountains of south central Italy. The song truly embodies the Scarlett Jane sound. . . harmonious and haunting folk noir.

The entire album, including this track, was recorded at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio in Toronto by producer extraordinaire, Stew Crookes (Hawksley Workman, Doug Paisley, 100 Dollars). We are lucky enough to have amazingly talented friends play on the album, and the likes of Ryan Weber, Greg Cockerill, and Gary Craig truly brought the track to life.

The album was conceived during a period of simultaneous heartbreak for both of us. Ten years of friendship and musical collaboration organically evolved into Scarlett Jane. We are proud of this album; of the songs and the sound we honed in on.  The musical landscape is inspiring, and touring with your best friend is loads of fun.

What makes good music?

Our dear friend and publicist Richard Flohil once said that there is music that exists to stimulate the mind, the heart, the feet, and the groin. We tend to enjoy music that stimulates all of these. A strong story is key and honesty and emotion is engaging and inviting.

Future plans:

Well. . .  we’d warmly welcome a Juno nomination this year but we will be busy nonetheless. We are currently on a Home Routes house concert tour of rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan, rocking out in people’s living rooms and kitchens. We have an upcoming five-country European tour in October and November. There’s also a beautiful little welcome-home acoustic concert we are playing on November 18th in downtown Toronto at the historical Campbell House Museum. And then there’s the exciting Great Hall Black Box Theatre show December 5th with The Weber Brothers. . . one of our favourite bands.

Last words:

Get our album! Play it loud! Cry if you need to. But don’t forget to dance.  😉

 

Beyond the Mountain

Information Not Available

 

Best Country

Drew Leith and the Foundation

Member(s): Drew Leith (Vocals, Guitar, Songwriting), Ryan Leith (Bass), Daryl Ralph (Percussion), Azur Rock (Lead guitar)

Location: Cambridge, Ont.

Further Reading: www.drewleith.com

About the nominated track/album:

Recording the second EP was a great experience. It was a different experience than when we did the first album, since we knew our way around the studio, and our sound, much better. Everything fell into place nicely, and, we are all really happy with the end result. It’s reminiscent of the first EP, but, with a lot more grit. . . overall it’s just a little popier, but with a harder edge than the first album.

‘With You’ is a song that really tries to capture the essence of sharing that special place with someone. We all have those people in our lives that just make us feel at ease. And that’s what this song is about. Finding Zen with someone. We chose ‘With You’ as the first single off the new (as-of-yet released) EP because we really liked the energy that we felt back through the song after listening to the recording. It is a song we often use as our show-stopper and it’s one that always gets people out of their seat and clapping their hands. We really feel we captured that energy on the CD, and hope that those who listen to it feel the same.

What makes good music? 

Good music means SO many things to so many people. To some, music is about the notes and syncopations. . . the nuances. To others, it’s all about the feel, and how the song impacted their emotions. Other times, we relate a specific time and place to music and that gives it further meaning to us. I can honestly say that there is no magic combination. . . from the simplest nursery rhyme to the most complex symphonies it is the melodies that stand above the complexity.

Maybe that is it. It is the ability to walk away and, after only hearing it once, be able to whistle it under your breath. No matter how complex the arrangement is, a simple melody will always carry a song.

Future plans:

Touring and recording new songs for a full-length album.

Last words:

We love what we do, and look forward to sharing our music with the rest of this great country!

 

Elyse Saunders

Member(s): Dustin Olyan, Richard Henderson, Don Hart, Phil Michael

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.myspace.com/elysesaunders

About the nominated track/album:

The process of the track I submitted was from my first experience recording an album. I worked with some of the greatest people in country music and was lucky to be able to get an amazing start to my career. I recorded the songs in Nashville, TN. which was another huge moment for me because I was surrounded by only the best people who were all working with me to create great music and I was in Music City, it was surreal. The material I recorded made such an impact on my growth as a vocalist and songwriter, as well. I continue to grow from everyone else good that are still coming into my life but that process was my first experience at moving to a professional level and will always be exciting for me. I chose that song for submission because it had such a professional and fun quality to it that I was confident the listener would appreciate.

What makes good music?

I think good music is when the listener believes what the song is telling them and how genuine the singer is. A listener will connect to a song that is genuine and coming from a real emotional place that touches their heart in some way. It has to be pleasant to the ear, unique, fresh and relatable. Everything that goes into the song to back up the vocalist and words must also be professional, smooth and finely tuned so that everything flows to create that perfect moment.

Future plans:

My plans for the future are to continue to grow as an artist, performer and writer. I am currently writing new material with great people in Nashville and Toronto to create a new EP or album. I also plan to do a lot more performing to get my music heard. I want to be able to work with more awesome people who will all be a part of helping me to grow and hopefully be a part of my team in some way. I want to also do some music related video projects as it’s always been something of interest to me and I think it helps a listener to connect to what I’m doing even further. At some point I’d also like to do some more radio releases and radio tours.

Last words:

I appreciate everyone who has been a part of my journey so far and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. I hope I can continue to have so many positive things happening my life and thank you to all who have been so supportive in this music world of mine! And thank you to Raz Mataz Magazine for your interest in me as an one of the artists for Toronto Independent Music Awards.

 

Kate Todd

Location: Innisfil, Ont.

Further Reading: www.katetodd.com

About the nominated track/album:

Let me begin by saying it is an honour for me to be nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Country and I am very excited and thrilled by the acknowledgment. ‘Drive’, ‘Footprints On The Moon’ and ‘Hands Off Jack’ are all part of my debut album Finding My Way.

The whole process of writing, recording, funding, directing and performing was really a labour of love and one that I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to do. My producer, Mladen and I recorded the album during the frigid Toronto winter (as always seems the case when I’ve recorded anything I’ve released) and we spent many nights by the fire with smoking incense, listening to my demo recordings of the early workings of the songs that are now fully realized on the album. Mladen did an amazing job of capturing and cultivating the vision I had of walking the line between ‘country’ and ‘rock’ and what that meant to me as a performer. I wanted it to be cross over. I wanted it to be country music, what the Eagles are to country music.

The song ‘Drive’ was written about a road trip I took from California to Toronto via Route 66. ‘Footprints On The Moon’ is really about a young girls journey and following her dream and never giving up. I wanted this album to be uplifting and inspirational and I really feel we nailed that sentiment with this song. ‘Hands Off Jack’ is a fun alt/country rocker for the ladies, about a past love that has never really grown up or changed from his high school days. Just for fun but perhaps can be relatable to some!

What makes good music?

On a fundamental level, I suppose there are studies to support and promote that certain vibrational frequencies are most pleasing to the human ear, but ‘good music’ is, in my opinion, extremely subjective. Music should make you feel something inside and arouse your emotions on a cellular level. For me, it’s about finding authenticity in all the instruments and capturing their purest voice, syncing them together and having an engaging listen in your basement.

Future plans:

Like I always say, ”it’s just one gig at a time with no expectations.” I’m happy, whether playing solo acoustic sets or performing with my band, presenting songs from my debut album Finding My Way. Life is indeed a highway and I do hope that road leads me to Nashville some day soon. In the meantime, I continue to practice my craft by writing and co-writing songs and honing my guitar while collecting material and working toward another potential CD release.

Last words:

Thank you for your interest and adding me to your site! To be nominated for the 2012 Toronto Independent Awards is an incredible honour and I’d like to wish the nominees in all categories the best of luck, it’s bound to be an exciting evening of song and celebration! You can find my debut CD on iTunes at www.itunes.com/katetodd. Thank you for the support!

 

Ty Baynton

Location: Waterdown, Ont.

Further Reading: www.tybaynton.com

About the nominated track/album:

The album submitted is my self titled EP and contains four tracks that I wrote and co-produced. The tracks give listeners a glimpse at my life and what I am about. The process for submission was done through SonicBids, which made things easy for me as I merely had to follow their prompts. I chose to submit this album as to date it is the best representation of me as an artist and is something I am very proud of.

What makes good music? 

Good music or a good song is anything that invokes an emotional response in the listener. It can make you happy, sad, bring back memories, make you want to dance or any number of things. There is no real template for good music as it is all a matter of personal preference. I just try and make music that moves me and that makes me happy and the fact it does the same for others is an amazing bonus for me.

Future plans:

I have a new single and music video in the works due out January 8th, 2013. The track is titled ‘Canadian Country Boy’. I also have a cross-Canada tour set to start November 2, 2012 with co-performer Steve Rivers.

Last words:

Just want to thank TIMA for everything they do in supporting independent music, thank my friends, family and fans for their undying support and wish my fellow nominees the best of luck!

 

Sarah Cripps

Information Not Available

 

Best Alternative Rock

Weekend Riot Club

Member(s): Mike, Melissa, Paul

Location: Hamilton, Ont

Further Reading: www.weekendriotclub.com

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted ‘Again and Again’, the first single off our album. Earlier this year, we recorded our first full length at Jukasa Studios in Ohsweken, Ont., with Nick Blagona and Darren Magierowski. The experience of making the record taught us a lot about ourselves as people and as musicians and solidified our bond as a band. We knew we were in the right place with the right people and we came out with something we’re really proud of.

What makes good music? 

Truth and love.

Future plans:

Keep on keepin’ on. . . . We’re gonna keep rockin’ shows, keep writing music, and hopefully keep makin’ records.

Last words:

Just wanna say thanks to everybody at TIMA for recognizing our stuff and supporting independent music!

 

Secret Suburbia

Information Not Available

 

The Midnite

Information Not Available

 

Atlantis Blueprint

Information Not Available

 

In My Coma

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted our track ‘Losing Sleep’ from our album Magnets & Miracles. This is our debut album and we wanted to make sure that we put together something that we’d be proud of ten years down the road. I think we accomplished that and we’ve had some great reception so far. We were also able to work with some great musicians. Mark Makoway (Moist) mixed the album for us and was a pivotal helping hand in the process, offering really good advice and a trained ear to the songs. We also got to work with Denis Tougas (Juno award winning engineer) and the album was mastered by Ted Jensen, whose accolades are too numerous to list! Our producer, Trevor Kustiak, really pushed us to be the musicians we are today. He was tough on us and constantly pushed us. His passion fuelled the recording process.

The album is our way of saying hello to the world and the song ‘Losing Sleep’ has really become the anthem for the album. It’s a fan favourite and the song really captures all of our feelings towards the album, the recording process, and what it’s like for us to be a band. The song embodies our excitement, nerves, dreams, fears, and, most importantly, our determination. We chose this song for submission because it’s the one that we use to introduce ourselves as a group. This song has been spun on 102.1 the Edge in Toronto, Y108 in Hamilton, FM96 in London, and Rock 95 in Barrie. It’s our hook connecting the rest of the world to the our album.

What makes good music?

I don’t think there is a definitive answer to this question. It’s all subjective. I think music needs to be created for the right reasons. We made our album because we love music, we love being musicians, and we love being in the studio. Other than that, everyone can decide for themselves what’s good and what’s not. As musicians, all we can do is stay true to ourselves and create the music we want to create, and who knows, maybe we’ll get some fans along the way.

Future plans:

We’re going to be touring and pushing the album for another year or so. We’re planning on hitting all the major stops in Canada in early 2013. We’ll be writing the whole time because we definitely plan to go into the studio to record our second album in a year or two.

Last words:

After playing live in Toronto for several years, it’s an honour to be nominated for this award. When you’re in a band, you’re constantly looking for excitement and momentum and this nomination was a nice boost to fuel our determination!

 

Iconoclast

Members: Marc Bourgon (Vocals), Michael Corkum (Guitars), David Di Ubaldo (Guitars), Michael Korn (Bass), Marian Dej (Drums)

Location: Ottawa, Ont.

Further Reading: www.iconoclast-band.com

About the nominated track/album:

The tracks we submitted to TIMA were ‘No Closure’ and ‘Vultures Overhead’, from our 2012 album Are We Dying, produced by Steve Foley at Audio Valley Studios in Ottawa.

The song ‘No Closure’ came from a riff Mike Korn had, a type of hammer-on riff with open notes that we all really dug. It was the last track recorded for the album, with lyrics I wrote about the breakdown of a relationship and the questions you could have after time passes. This tune is a favourite of the band, with the middle groovy-type bridge part one of the best parts of our live show. We chose to submit this tune because it’s a full-on rock tune that is straight badass.

The second song we submitted, ‘Vultures Overhead’ is one of the most emotional pieces of music we’ve ever created. It again came from a mellow groove that Korn had, written during a week off that he and I took to buckle down and finish a load of tunes and ideas we had piled up. We wrote 25 songs that week. This song came a day after I received news that a cousin had passed away. It was written from the perspective of other loved ones, those directly affected by it. It was a pretty heavy day, but this thing of beauty came out of it.

This album is the culmination of years of work and upheaval both in the band and outside it. A lot of times we wondered what was going on with this band, are things worth continuing? So many bands we came up with have broken up and yet we can’t seem to stop getting together through weddings, separations, jobs, life, etc. . . . We’ve always flown under the radar in Ottawa and haven’t really had a lot of support from the industry, so Are We Dying was an appropriate title of the record.  We are very much alive and our fans keep it that way.

We chose these two tracks for simple reasons: they have kickass riffs, groove like a mother and have great messages!

What makes good music?

It’s so subjective, what makes good music is personal to the individual. I got hooked on music at age four by listening to Loverboy. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea but basically, whatever speaks to you and moves your ass!

Future plans:

Our plans for the future are to play and record, meet people and other bands, and make it work. We can’t stay away from each other for too long!

Last words:

Finally, we’d like to thank the TIMA people for nominating us. Everybody says this, but it’s so true for us – we’re so pumped that we even are nominated, it’s great to be recognized by someone other than your mom. Thanks!

 

Best Indie Rock

The Elwins

Members: Matt, Feurd, Travis, Frankie

Location: Keswick, Ont.

Further Reading: theelwins.ca

About the nominated track/album:

We are nominated this year for our debut record, And I Thank You, produced by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) and Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead, Islands, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks), and mixed by L.Stu Young (Prince, Sum 41). The record means a lot to us because it has helped us connect with so many people and has opened up some incredible opportunities!

What makes good music?

In our opinion good music is sincere has timeless lyrics and some thoughtful production.

Future plans:

We just started writing for our next record and we are hoping to do some touring overseas in the new year!

Last words:

Keep Smiling.

 

Benhur

About the nominated track/album:

The TIMA nomination came as complete surprise to us because none of the band members applied to be considered for the award. It was the singer’s girlfriend who applied on behalf of the band without telling anyone. She submitted her personal favourite songs (‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Walk On Through’) from the collection of five that Benhur had recently recorded.

What makes good music? 

Every factor you can think of. Our ears and sensibilities have gotten desensitized and sophisticated at the same time. So it takes something special to make them happy. I don’t think that there is a common thread. I can talk about songwriting, instrumentation, innovation, and being genuine but you already know all about that. Perhaps what you don’t realize is that it’s not all up to the musician to make good music. Culture and general demand can dictate part of the outcome.

Future plans:

We are going back to the studio to polish off another two songs so we can release a seven-song album in early 2013. We are also working on a number of videos that we are very excited about!

Last words:

You can find us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/benhurband, or our website: www.benhur.ca.

 

Hisland

Members: Andrew Silvestro (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Dave Kaduk (Bass, Back-up Vocals), Rob Corrigan (Drums, Back-up Vocals), Mat Araujo (Lead Guitar, Back-up Vocals)
Location: Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.
Further Reading: http://hisland.bandcamp.com

About the nominated track/album:

The song we submitted, called ‘Too Much’, was an exciting but frustrating song to record. It was the first time we had attempted to record on our own and there was a bit of a learning process. We recorded the song and the album up at Horseshoe Island in the Thousand Islands in Kingston, Ont. We recorded the entire album in a bunkhouse we converted into a make-shift studio. We weren’t quite sure how it was going to come out but in the end it came out way better than we thought it would. The song itself means a lot to us because it was one of the first songs we were all very proud of as a band. It was also the first step into really discovering our own unique sound.

What makes good music?
Being authentic is probably the most important element of any good music across all genres. There is something unique in every genre but it is believing in the artist that makes them truly special. All great musicians are true to themselves. No one is going to make you great you have to make yourself great.

Future plans:

Like any musician we would love to do this for the rest of our lives, mainly we just want to have fun and be able to sustain ourselves. As for immediate plans we hope to continue to write songs that we are excited about and play to as many people as possible.

 

Engine Empire

Members: Ania Fritch, Adam Fritch, Heather Mueller, Greg Lewchuck, Neil Steffler

About the nominated track/album:

The main reason we chose to submit the music we did is that its the ONLY music we have right now! It’s true. Our first album is in its final stages of mixing and mastering.

We’re planning a CD release in the next few months and until then, we’re trying to be as patient as possible. It’s driving us all a little crazy though! Mixing takes forever!

What makes good music?

Thought long and hard about this and came to the conclusion that we’re in no position to say. What we think is amazing might be considered crap by someone else. Music is deeply personal and subjective to every individual. We’d feel like asses if we preached about melodic lines and lyrics and grooves. Music is simple; either you like it, or you don’t.

We’re just really happy and grateful that there are people out there who dig our stuff. . . which happens to be really good music! Ha!

Future plans:

We like to take things as they come. As soon as our album’s mixed, then a CD release party is in high order! Until then, we’ve got a few shows lined up. We play live A LOT. We seriously jump at any opportunity to play! We enjoy putting on a show and meeting new people afterwards. That’s really one of the best parts about being in a band; hanging out with new people and talking music. Oh, and the shots. Can’t forget about the shots. hehehe . . . .

 

Best Pop

GRAY

Information Not Available

 

Melissa Cameron

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.melissacameron.ca

About the nominated track/album:

‘In The Cold’ and ‘Invincible’ from the debut EP, Back To Me, were the two songs submitted for the 2012 Toronto Independent Music Awards.

‘In The Cold’ was co-written by Nate Kreiswirth and myself. This song was built on the opening lines of the first verse: “Yesterday I saw your face, / it had changed right in front of me. / As the light left your eyes you turned away.” I came into the writing session with this passage and an idea of what I wanted to write about. Once we got started everything came very quickly. It is a song written for someone who is struggling. They are going through their own battle and need to go through it alone, so I step back. I let them know that I am here if and when they are ready for me to be.

Ben Nudds and I started writing ‘Invincible’ at the Kitchen Sink, and later we continued the process with Adam King at the Fusebox. Sonically, we were unsure of the direction we wanted to take it. In the end, it was decided that less is more. I think that the space left in the verse is essential and allows for the lyrics to really sink in. ‘Invincible’ is about hiding behind something or someone that shields you from exposure, and when it leaves you, the feelings of dealing with what it is you are trying to conceal.

What makes good music?

Honesty.

Future plans:

I am in the process of writing new material for the next release. I am also currently in the studio with the Electro-Urban-Pop trio, Brooklyn Pryce, as well as collaborating with fellow indie artist, Jeremy Panda.

Last words:

I am honoured to have received this nomination. Thank you TIMA for recognizing and supporting independent music.

 

Lori Nuic

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.lorinuic.com

About the nominated track/album:

This album is all about the complexities of attraction, the ups and downs of love and it’s many forms.

I was really excited to work with the Pedalboardz (Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney & Adrian Eccleston) on this project. They are really great at what they do.

What makes good music?

I personally enjoy a good rhythm, feel, melody and lyric.

Future plans:

I will be on tour with Men Without Hats for their Western Canadian dates at the end of October/beginning of November.

 

Jeffery Straker

Location:  Toronto, Ont., and Regina, Sask.

Further Reading: www.jeffstraker.com

About the nominated track/album:

‘Gone’ is from my 2011 album, Under the Soles of my Shoes. The song borrows a little hook or riff that was penned by Tchaikovsky for the Nutcracker ballet (1892). It opens the song and comes back as the tune progresses. The song started out as a bluegrass piece, but while I was writing it, the Nutcracker was on my Holiday playlist on my iPod. It soaked into me and helped morph the tune into what it ended up as. My music is folk-pop with a cabaret influence and I was a student of classical piano so I guess some of these old classical melodies are something I might migrate to. When I recorded it in Nashville with Dave Thomson we used a string orchestra to play the hook and I really like what that lent to the song. It’s a tune about someone stealing your heart and you wanting it back. I think everyone has been in that place at least once so hopefully that might lend to connecting with it. The song got some radio play in Canada and we shot a music video for it as well:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsZ0O3IuQIQ

What makes good music?

Honesty, well thought out lyrics that approach a subject in a new way, and a good sense of melody.

Future plans:

I tour about 100 shows a year across Canada with a few international shows in the mix as well. I have a new album coming out in October 2012 and will tour that through October and November. I did my debut with an orchestra last year and have a few more orchestra shows being booked for the coming year. I’m also looking forward to a good chunk of time being blocked off for more writing this winter.

Last words:

I just completed a new album with Canadian producer-musical-wiz Danny Michel, which launches October 2, 2012. Check out a few tunes from it on my website,  www.jeffstraker.com. I’m excited to start touring this across Canada in October-November 2012. Thanks to the TIMAs for the nomination!

 

Hilary Weaver

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.hilaryweaver.com

About the nominated track/album:

The process for my album Heart Breakout was a lot of fun. I wrote some of the songs in Toronto and some out in Vancouver, B.C., with some great co-writers.  Recording Heart Breakout was definitely a fun experience as we did most of the recording in Los Angeles. Kind of the best of both worlds, doing something I love, while travelling as well to new places. Most of it was recorded in an old old ballroom that was converted to a studio called, not surprisingly, The Ballroom Studio. The engineer was Mark Needham who has worked with Hedley, These Kids Wear Crowns, Shakira, and many other well-known musicians, including Stevie Nicks from the legendary Fleetwood Mac!  It had a cool vocal booth that I loved because no one could see me and I could just sing away!  Also the producer was Robin DiMaggio, who is also a world-class drummer and percussionist. He played all the drums but also brought in many well-known musicians to play on the album, including Michael Bearden, who was Michael Jackson’s music director for the tour that didn’t happen.

I actually submitted multiple tracks from my Heart Breakout album. The songs were ‘Heart Breakout’, ‘Alive’, ‘Shame on You’ and ‘Never Made It Home’. All the songs on the album are based on real life experiences that I have gone through. The album name comes from one of the new songs on the album, Heart Breakout. As a young innocent girl, you fall in love for the first time – it is all exciting and new!  However for me the person that I was in love with cheated on me with my best friend. It was really hard for me, not only to get over it but also to accept it. For a long time, I was still unsure whether I wanted to get back into a relationship and felt that worry of not being able to trust guys. However, eventually you realize that you are strong inside and you just have to go for it and let your ‘Heart Breakout’. That song is about getting over your fear of losing yourself, gaining back your confidence, and opening yourself up to love again. That’s where I am now! The album basically shows the progress and growth of me as an artist. Sounding a bit more mature, as well as getting to know myself a bit better as well. I chose the tracks I submitted as I felt they were a good representation of who I am as an artist and the diversity I have as well.

But my ballad ‘Never Made It Home’ also has a special place in my heart. When you first listen to it, you probably think it is about a couple where the guy leaves her and doesn’t come back home. But I’ll let you in on a secret – it has a special different meaning to me. It’s about my grandfather who loved to sing and always encouraged me. He got sick and was in the hospital and so desperately wanted to come home. My mother and I were visiting with him one night and laughing and joking and then got a call the next morning – he never made it home. Miss you, Papa!

When I sing a song I have to be able to relate to it – and then I can put all my feelings and emotions into my singing. For me it is extremely impossible to sing a song if it doesn’t mean something for me on a personal level.

What makes good music?

For me, the thing that makes music good is a perfect story, something people can connect to or change someone’s life, with a great melodic chorus to support the song. For me, I personally connect a lot more with songs when I can connect to the lyrics first. Then it makes you feel connected to the artist that they actually feel the same way you do. That’s how fans start – they relate to your music and they don’t feel alone. You need to bring people into your life and songs and allow them to connect with you. It’s the evolution of music, it’s what it’s all about!

Future plans:

I am continuing to work on my music career and develop as an artist – this is my passion and what I want to do with my life! I am already working on my third album, and particularly focussing currently on songwriting, songwriting and songwriting! I hope at some point in my career I will be on radio, have a record deal and be an successful international recording pop artist.

Last words:

I am very excited to be nominated as Best Pop Artist and thank the judges and organizers for this recognition!!

 

Best Singer-Songwriter

Kevin Myles Wilson

About the nominated track/album:

The two tracks that I submitted for the TIMA awards that helped get me nominated in the best singer/songwriter category were two songs of my latest EP called ‘The Wasted Years’ and ‘Meet Me Half Way’. These songs are both very personal to me, as is everything I write, but I chose these two because I feel like they have the best balance of quality lyrics, story, song structure, melodies and harmonies and instrumentation. I just felt overall they were the strongest songs to put forward to demonstrate my songwriter capabilities. The song ‘The Wasted Years’ tackles what it is like to be in your early twenties or any age where you are lost emotionally and professionally and just wish that somehow you could wake up and magically know all the answers but how that would take away from the journey and struggle which makes you who you are. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ is a song I wrote containing a few different stories which one common theme. It is about people and relationships and how problems escalate and things get out of our hands because we are too afraid or to proud to just talk to each other face to face.

What makes good music?

Ah, that is a tough question. I could probably go on for hours of what makes a good song and everyone would have their own opinion on what they think makes a good song but basically, honesty. If you can feel that the lyrics and voice and instruments are coming from an honest place in the songwriter and performers, it doesn’t matter what they are singing about, you can connect with it and be effected by it and touched by it. That’s what a good song should do.

Future plans:

I don’t often think too far ahead in the future but after the TIMA awards on Saturday night, I will be starting to record a new EP which I am really excited about. It will be recorded live off the floor with my friends and producer Davey James. As well, I will be continuing to play shows and then hopefully starting to book dates to support the new EP for early next year.

Last words:

I just want to give a big thanks to everyone at the Toronto Independent Music Awards for nominating me. I am super excited and thrilled to be apart of the event!

 

Holy Toledo!

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: holytoledo.ca

About the nominated track/album:

We submitted two tracks from our first full length titled In Revolt. The tracks we submitted for the awards were ‘Carry On’ and ‘Amidst The Chaos’. One took a year to finish, the other took 20 minutes. . . go figure!

The process of creating our first album allowed us to discover our true sound as a group. It shaped our identity and how we write the music we plan to create moving forward.

We submitted those tracks to the TIMAs because they were our favourite out of all our children. . . and yes, we told that to our other songs.

What makes good music?

Honesty and musicianship in whatever form or genre. You can never fake good music. . . unless your name is Skrillex.

Future plans:

That’s a little broad. . . but since you’re asking; in the short term, we plan on winning a TIMA award then releasing this album. In the long term, we plan on making sound investments in our RRSPs and retiring comfortably.

Last words:

O’Doyle Rules!!!

 

Daniel McKenzie

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Website:  www.danielmckenziemusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

The two tracks I submitted to TIMA were recorded by Jory Berger at Upstairs Music Studio back in March. He’s a best bud of mine and does great work. Both tunes were actually recorded as demos. We did one take for each track, very organic. I had gone through a tough year and these two songs, ‘The Road I’m On, and ‘Until Then’, were sort of the soundtracks to my life as I was writing them. I wanted to lay them down because I was moving to Nashville in April and wanted recordings I could play for contacts down there. As it turns out, I ended up moving back to Toronto six months later and those two demos ended up getting me nominated for a TIMA back here! Funny how things work.

What makes good music?

Good music for me usually encompasses three things: Lyrics that have something to say, melodies that I can’t stop humming and, in a perfect world, a voice that gives me goosebumps. Then again, sometime a song comes along and I can’t understand any of the words, the melody doesn’t do much, and the voice isn’t great, but it still blows me away. So, I guess good music is just something that moves me in that moment.

Future plans:

My plans for the near future are to spend this Fall/Winter playing shows in and around Toronto, and work towards recording a new album early in 2013, that will include the two demos mentioned, and then look to tour next Spring/Summer and play as many shows for as many people in as many new places as I can!

Last words:

Thanks to TIMA for the nod, and to you fine folks for your support and interest of the Awards and Indie Music.

 

Beyond the Mountain

Information Not Available

 

Gibbran & Tamsynn-Lee

Member(s): Gibbran Khan Rashid and Tamsynn-Lee Isaacs

Location: Durham Region, Ont.

Further Reading: www.gibbranandtamsynn-lee.com

About the nominated track/album:

The tracks we submitted were ‘aka. The Brightest’ and ‘Naked’.  Both were recorded this past summer and are featured on our EP. We chose these tracks because they best represent what Gibbran & Tamsynn-Lee stand for; Love, energy and positive vibes. The recording process was fantastic. We worked alongside Jeff D. Elliott (an up and coming engineer/producer) who made the whole experience exciting and quite easy. The three of us work very well together as we have similar musical instincts and are we are willing to try anything. The first track ‘aka. the Brightest’ is a celebration of life and love. It features Mr. John T. Davis on the organ. John was a pleasure to work with and his seasoned soul was just what the track needed. ‘Naked’ takes us further into the realms of love and love-making. Two lovers exploration of each other and completely lost in passion.

What makes good music?

Good music stems from the soul. It feels good, it sounds good and it brings about good things. We want our music to speak beyond the words and the sounds. It’s on a whole new frequency and the vibration is what resonates.

Future plans:

We are in the process of completing our first full length album with a release date just around the 2013 corner. We then plan to tour across Canada and the USA before venturing off to Europe.

Last words:

Gibbran & Tamsynn-Lee are very honoured and exciting for this nomination. Thanks to everyone involved. Let’s continue to support indie artist and their music.

 

Future History

Member(s): Kevin Ker (Vocals/Guitar), Justin Dillon (Drums/Percussion), Chris Dawe (Keys/Percussion), Dante Berardi (Lead Guitar/Keys), Paul Mckay (Bass)

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.futurehistory.ca

About the nominated track/album:

The full length record, Loss:/self was recorded in Montreal, New York (stranded in the city for three days during Hurricane Irene) and around various places in Ontario over an eight-month span. The title, Loss:/self eludes to the human relationship; technology, social or anti-social media, fear and the growth and dominance of the false ego over the true self. All of these themes are carefully woven in an evolving uneasiness as the record unfolds. The band utilized over 40 instruments and household items, a 35-person stomp/gang vocal/drum circle orchestra, and sampled a whale that produced the wrong frequency, which consequently ostracized her from other whales because she didn’t communicate properly. The record also features guest appearances by Juno nominated artists; Todd Clark (Pilot Speed) and Jonathon Dauphinais (Beast). . . these to add to the bands previous collaboration with Human Kebab of USS and Karl Williaume of Stabilo.  The sonic foundation, mixed by Laurence Currie (Hey Rosetta, Wintersleep) worked intricately with the expressive nature of the songs, to not only reinforce the immediate emotions but to highlight the ongoing themes. Loss:/self is a record that was built with multiple listens in mind. Taking cues from Pink Floyd’s sprawling meditations, the spiralling depths of Radiohead and the sonic aesthetics of modern psychedelia, Loss:/self doesn’t shy away from the grand statements that music can inherently convey in infinite ways.

It was very difficult to select two songs from the record for submission to the TIMAs. The record is meant to be absorbed as a whole, from front to back . . . it was intended as a conceptual journey. Every song on the record has a purpose and a place . . . they all point back to the overarching theme. . . the loss of self.

What makes good music?

This is an extremely loaded question. To answer with a general blanket statement, I think good music has the ability to connect.  Whether you enjoy dancing or sitting still with your eyes closed, working out or reading a magazine. Music is an emotional stimulant. I’m sure if we had the ability to look back at the playlist of our individual existence it would read much like a graph of emotional highs and lows, life changing events, I’m sure all of the most memorable moments could likely be pinpointed. . . .

Future plans:

Plans for the third record are well under way. I’m writing some of the best material I’ve ever written. . . we plan to bunker down for a few months in an incredibly inspiring space and capture everything. . . . We have such an incredible group of musician in the band now. . . it’s very exciting to start a new record together. Like Loss:/self, we hope to make something with depth and meaning. . . . We also have a Canadian tour in the works. . . . Hopefully it will coincide with the release of the new record. In the meantime. . . look for some B-sides from Loss:/self to surface . . . we cut around five or six songs throughout various stages of making the record. . . .

Last words:

It’s incredible that we have an entity that celebrates Toronto Independent music. There are so many incredible musicians and bands in Toronto and surrounding areas . . . so many artists work so hard, most never receive recognition for the countless hours. We are so honoured to be considered for an award and be recognized for our craft. We just want to say thank you to Daniela Oliva and all of the TIMA crew and volunteers for all of their hard work.

 

Best Adult Contemporary

Angela Saini

Member(s): Angela Saini, Sarah Giles, John Britton, Vanessa James Locke

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.angelasaini.com

About the nominated track/album:

My EP, Cake and Callouses, is my debut solo record; I released five independent records previous to this one in my past band. The process was very relaxed and I took my time with it because I really didn’t want to rush myself and wanted to push the instrumentation further than just me and my guitar. Super fun to make and I am really proud of it!

What makes good music?

“Good music” is a very subjective term, and I don’t think there is a universal answer. However, I think a good rule of thumb is that good music comes from a true place, (in terms of the writing) and is delivered to the listener with conviction (in terms of performance). The worst music for me is when I hear a song and think “I don’t believe you.”

Future plans:

Take over the world one listener at a time! I am going back to the west coast and down to L.A again next month. Also recording again soon.

Last words:

If it doesn’t feel good, quit doing it.

 

Hayley Roscoe

Location: Burlington, Ont.

Further Reading: www.hayleyroscoe.com

About the nominated track/album:

We recorded the whole album live off the floor, which means we played the whole album together, rather than each instrument being recorded individually. This gave it a vintage feel, that I really love.

The two tracks I was nominated for were ‘The Illusionist’ and ‘Here We Go Again’. Those tracks were probably my two favourites off the album. They just sort of. . . wrote themselves. But not all at once. In each case, there were a lot of fragments that  just came together into songs that just ended up bearing my heart – both in very different ways.

What makes good music?

Music is such a subjective thing. To me, music makes you experience emotions. . . be that dancing and singing because you feel good, or crying because it twists your heart in ways that almost hurt. It just has to make you feel.

Future plans:

At this point, I’m trying to let my future play out. I’m a musician with classical and jazz training, so I’m going to continue with my schooling, likely onto a masters degree. I’m also going to keep writing music; it’s my favourite form of expression.

Last words:

I’m very excited and honoured to have been nominated for this TIMA. It’s an amazing experience!

 

The Jessica Stuart Few

Member(s): Jessica Stuart (koto, guitar, vocals); Dan Fortin (double bass); Tony Nesbitt-Larking (drums, back-up vocals)

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: http://www.jessicastuartmusic.com

About the nominated track/album:

Kid Dream is the first full-length record that we recorded, and a way to introduce ourselves and our sound to the world. We recorded the koto, guitar, double bass and drums live off the floor, meaning all played/recorded at the same time, to make sure to capture the live energy that we have when we perform. We added vocals and extras afterwards, with guest appearances by some great local friends/musicians on keyboards, violin, back-up vocals and more. I co-produced the album with Mischa Chillak, who works mostly with hip hop, R & B and pop music, while I fall on the other end of the spectrum, favouring organic live sounds, and we met each other half way.

Well, the band was fairly new when we recorded, so I was experimenting with the type of sound I wanted The JSFew to be all about. I had just moved from B.C. to Toronto to pursue music, so the album is made up of brand new material, as well as the last of the pre-Toronto tunes. Although I’ve played the koto since I was a child, I only started writing music on koto a few months before the album was recorded, so the very first of this new book of music is on Kid Dream.

What makes good music?  

I think good music is all about authenticity. If I hear original music that’s coming from the heart, whether it be folk, rock, modern jazz or whatever, I can get into it and appreciate it. Although I admire players with crazy technical chops, in the end, I just won’t choose to listen to original music that’s devoid of heart, or is an imitation of other musicians’ or bands’ styles.

Future plans:

We have just finished our next album, Two Sides To Every Story, which will be launching in early 2013. The new album is a awesome representation of our current sound, basically a folk-jazz power trio, and our recording sessions were like something out of a dream! We’ll be doing extensive touring next year in support of the album both throughout Canada and in Japan. We will also be making a few more videos to accompany the new album, so stay tuned. . . .

Last words:

We feel so very honoured to be nominated for two TIMAs alongside some of our favourite local folks. I have to admit that I was surprised at the category we were placed in – I have been told time and again that we are hard to classify, genre-wise, but this one’s a first!

 

Meredith Shaw

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.meredithshaw.com

About the nominated track/album:

The album is called Place Called Happy and I recorded it with Gordie Johnson at Willie Nelson’s studio in Austin, Texas. Working with a guy like Gordie in a town like Austin was a dream come true. . . soaked in good tequila. . . with a side of the best salsa and chips I’ve ever tasted. I called it Place Called Happy because the songs on the album explore what happiness is all about . . . how to make it, how to catch it, how to keep it.

What makes good music?

A good groove + a memorable melody + honest lyrics = good music.

Future plans:

I’ve organized the first annual Girls Who Believe Fest on October 10th at The Great Hall, featuring: Meredith Shaw, Robyn Dell’Unto, Melissa Cameron, Dani Nash, Jessica Mitchell, Andrea Caswell, Angela Saini & Ambre McLean (with proceeds going to the charity, Girls Inc.).

I’m releasing my music video, Directed by Ryan Nolan for ‘Girls Who Believe’ and am going on a West Coast tour in November: Vancouver & Los Angeles, and writing and recording a new record with Joel Plaskett in early 2013.

Last words:

Thank you TIMA for this lovely nomination.

 

Will Coke

Members: Will Coke, Richard Taylor

Location: Toronto, Ont.

Further Reading: www.willcoke.com

About the nominated track/album:

Our submitted songs, from our EP entitled All Unknown, were written between September 2010 and December 2011. The earliest writing process was most involved with just finding suitable riffs that could lend to vocal exploration and experimentation. This is done because, once a riff has convinced me that it carries certain hints of a feeling, or an atmosphere, the next step is to just hit record on GarageBand without any premeditated direction or lyrics. Essentially all of our earliest demo works are just recorded kinds of “rock freestyles”, with lyrics and vocal melodies only as set in stone as they are initially memorable from one recorded take to another attempt, while the pressure of trying to realize the sketching of the song begins to become very real and creep in. This method of writing allows me to be very fast and productive, and two of the songs from the work (‘Oh Hi, You Must Be Nobody’, and ‘All Unknown’) came during a time where I was writing one song a day. We decided on the submitted songs at my drummer’s suggestion, because they seemed to have the most effect on our friends.

Richard, my bandmate, is very skilled with recording and noted that some of the demos possessed characteristics that we hadn’t seen in our earlier recordings under our former band name (www.cathartic.bandcamp.com). He wanted to try and get a high-quality sound from the place where all of the music had been written. So he brought his rig of pre-amps and microphones, along with his computer, to my room, and instead of recording with the drum track as the foundation, our base track became an acoustic guitar. Using Cubase, we took four days over the December holidays to do the guitar takes, followed immediately by vocals. Once that had been completed, Richard (who I trust implicitly in both his skill and artistic sense) had full reign to do whatever he felt like with what we had done to that point. I really only had one request: that I didn’t want to hear anything until he was completely done with it. I wanted to be surprised, and Rich really, really didn’t disappoint. He had added tasteful, accentuated drum parts. He had put synthesizers that really gave a sense of a soundscape. I’d feel remiss to say that all the bells and whistles weren’t there, only, thankfully, we did skip the whistles.

By the time I had heard what was done, it was April, and we were ready to mix at Silverbirch Studio, which I highly recommend to anyone for its ability to enhance your sound. They let Rich and myself come in over the night shift to do our mixing, then Andy Krehm and Richard did a superb job at mastering in almost no time at all. After that we chose two photos my sister had taken from a plane, which we then doctored in Photoshop ourselves.

I know what I’m about to say will come off as unclear, but there’s no simpler way to communicate it from my point of view besides the EP itself. What these songs mean to me is best expressed with a nod to our EP name and title track. Conceptually, All Unknown gestures towards a happiness that comes when you consciously accept the difficult periods of your life as a natural progression in your metaphysical glimpse at life. The title track is influenced a bit by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, just the notion of Marlow telling this story on a ship and acting as a sort of guru to this remote microcosm of a planet and society on board. It’s a very different story that the subject of the title track tells, one of frozen isolation, but also of an overwhelming sublimity. He’s just sitting alone on the side of a ship, and he feels remarkably graced by the passage of time, by the stars floating above, by the sunrise gleaming from the water, by things as grand as uncertainty, and by things as miniscule as his morning coffee. I like to think that, unlike Marlow, the subject of All Unknown – as an entire piece – is telling his story, singing his songs, not to a person but to the earth itself and to the space from which it is inextricable.

If I could say why I chose these songs for submission, it would be because they offer a more nuanced reminder than the title track that things which are seemingly mundane, overwhelming, or immensely difficult can be re-examined to show their beauty. It’s definitely uncertain that this symbolism is something everybody will immediately pick up on, if ever. But, that’s sort of the point. The work ultimately becomes consistent with itself. I don’t know what the song is before hitting record. I don’t know if it passes Richard’s very sensible and precise benchmarks. I didn’t know what kind of post-production Richard would add, or what would become of the songs in their completed form. I don’t know if people will like it when we put it out there, or if we’d get nominated for something so inconceivable, especially at the time, as an award. Now I’m completely clueless if we’ll win. However, I’m absolutely thrilled, honoured, and humbled about the whole experience.

What makes good music?

I don’t think there’s really a definitive answer for what makes an objectively beautiful piece of music. For me, melody is definitely my primary interest but there are hip-hop songs that don’t need it and still totally engross me. All that anybody can really do is just stay humble, patient, and put the highest standard possible on yourself while trying to preserve your own sanity. Juggling physical performance, concept, and personal taste is something you’re really lucky if you accomplish once

Future plans:

.Our plans for the future are to play as many shows as we can, try to build our audience, and try to come to people every time with something completely different that’s worthy of their time. At the same time we don’t want to go completely off the deep end into experimentation because there just aren’t many bands that make the kind of rock music we grew up on, and it’s really disheartening to see the future of that still-untapped resource looking as sparse as it does.

Last words:

Thanks so much for your interest and time. If there is any way for us to give you music that enriches your life, we will do absolutely everything we can to see that through.

 

Best Female Fronted:

Skye Sweetnam (Sumo Cyco)

Lori Nuic (Lori Nuic)

Melissa Marchese (Weekend Riot Club)

ROBY (ROBY)

Myrrhine “Wees” Faller (The Distillery)

Carly Jean (Beyond the Mountain)

 

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