No Shoes and One Sock
Born and raised in Hamilton, Jamie Downey has travelled the country and schooled himself on classic albums and artists from the likes of Nirvana, the Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel although those influences might not be readily evident in his current project. Downey has been a part of several bands – including Fossils, Maple Creek Junction, Black Magic Johnson and even a forthcoming proto–punk project dubbed the Carpets – but with No Shoes and One Sock, Downey explores much different territory with musicians Reginald Moore, Drew Taylor, and Trevor Turple.
“NSOS in many ways sort of fell into place as I originally had the intention of it being a solo project with my electric sitar, modified banjo and tape loops but instead, I moved in with Reg the same month I started the project and he offered to help in any way he could,” recalls Downey. “Reg now plays bass/sampler and does all our projections as well under his project name Realtime Activities. Drew and I have been in a handful of projects before and Drew initially offered to help in any way he could, but he was very adamant that he was not a ‘member’, and was just ‘helping’ as this was a lot more my vision than a mutual creation. That was November 2011 and as of right now, he's still "helping out". Trevor was a bit different; he has played with us a number of times and has become a member as far as I'm concerned, by default. We met one Art Crawl and I really liked his outlook and his taste in music.”
Taking their name from a scene in Wes Anderson’s film “The Royal Tenenbaums”, No Shoes and One Sock are an atmospheric improv group bent on exploration an easterly direction.
“When Richie Tenenbaum has his breakdown playing tennis, he takes off both of his shoes and one of his socks and it cuts to a magazine cover with the headline ‘Meltdown!’, which is also the title of our first cassette release,” explains Downey. “I just really like the imagery there, and to me it really represented the idea of feeling unhinged and unstable.
“As far as the music itself however, the big three influences are Earth, Spaceman3 and Brij Bhushan Kabra with some My Bloody Valentine sprinkled over it,” adds Downey. “NSOS has an Eastern tinge to it. I use an electric sitar, Reg has played a bass I converted into a bass tambura and Drew has played the harmonium on a number of tracks and on stage. A lot of this stems from my love of Brij Bhushan Kabra. Kabra is actually a slide guitarist from India. As a child, he visited Bombay and saw someone playing a lap steel guitar and begged his father for a guitar, his father told him he could have one but only if he would play classical Indian music on it. That said, NSOS really is a pastiche of everything I'm into and I started in this direction because I felt it was relatively unexplored. I consider us a psychedelic drone band, and if we are offering anything, it's maybe a little piece of the psychedelic experience. The music itself can be quite hypnotic, for the listener and the performer it’s easy to get lost in, and create your own feelings about it. If we fit in anywhere, it's more in the garage–y/punk end of things, if only for similar ethics and attitude. We're as DIY as the next band, and in our own way can be quite confrontational which is up to you to take or leave.”
A new CD dubbed Freckles culls previous cassette releases to introduce more fans to the music while the band prepares for a studio full–length release that may be a combined audiovisual DVD. In the interim, a live performance this weekend with likeminded musical experimentalists offers an occasion to witness just what No Shoes and One Sock is about.
“We usually have things projected while we play, usually staying somewhat true to the ‘60s style psych light shows but we just play, and stop when it feels right,” offers Downey on the NSOS stage show. “We have the stage presence of a shoegaze band so the projections help. The live show also isn't very predictable. We don't really know what's going to happen until the day of, and even then, it's a loose idea and direction, I guess it's like taking the scenic route on a drive. We know where we're going, but not how we'll get there. I believe that it's more for the person to decide what they get from it. We do have an art influence, but I don't believe it's unapproachable.
“I am happy wandering around in the wilderness and figuring out the path as I go,” he adds on the future of NSOS. “I wish I could say I had some goal in mind, but it really is just wandering around with blinders on, and the path just presents itself, at best I feel I know what No Shoes is not more than what it is. I am consistently baffled by the response from people. It's a lot like having your own little perverse habit that you feel no one will understand and everyone is so supportive about it, that you almost want to ask, ‘are you sure?’ I am actually amazed that it connects with anyone at all, to be honest.”
No Shoes and One Sock plays Homegrown Hamilton this Friday February 1 with Marble Lion, ttwwrrss, Aria Ciel, and Littlegrey. Doors are at 9pm and $6 gets you in. Click on noshoesandonesock.bandcamp.com
Mike Fiorini (vocals), Cleighton Presutti (vocals), Kyle Patzalek (guitar), Danny Glover (guitar), Matt Rosic (bass) and Devin Lothian (drums) make up one of Hamilton’s newest metal contenders, Shattered Remains. While the name might be novel, the individual band members — ranging in age from 17 to 23 — have been working on it for years. Patzalek in particular has been honing the metal he wanted to hear and fashioning the perfect band to make that music happen. This weekend Shattered Remains release their debut CD, Delusions.
“I’ve been playing music for six years and about four years ago I started the basis of Shattered Remains,” recounts Patzalek. “I started it with Gordon and a couple of other guys but Gordon went to Edmonton and two of the other guys left because of musical differences. We had a bunch of different names at the time but eventually settled on Shattered Remains. I wanted to make the music I enjoy with people that I’d like to call my friends and that’s what I think we have now. Me, pushing through the member changes has made sure we got the best people for the positions.”
Shattered Remains come off as seasoned veterans on their new disc, in no small part to some of the fans they’ve attracted. Jon Howard and Threat Signal started on the local stages but have since made a name for themselves internationally without giving up producing the music in Howard’s east end home. Now he lends his talents to some newer like–minded locals.
“It’s metalcore with a bit of hardcore mixed in it, too,” offers Fiorini on the music of Shattered Remains. “As much as people might not seem like they listen to metal now, they usually do.”
“I feel we have something in our songs for everyone,” interjects Presutti. “Everyone of our songs is different. It seems to bring new people and interest every time they hear a different song and it seems to bring everyone together in that way. It’s great to be a part of it and seeing it get bigger, bigger over time just from your basement, and going to bigger and bigger shows with nothing but positive response. Threat Signal has been a big influence on us all and especially him singing on one of our songs, it means a lot to all of us.
“They were a big influence on me as a guitar player and it was a great experience recording with him,” says Patzalek. “He helped us get a lot more organized with the music and he really made us bring our best efforts in the studio.”
With Delusions set for release, Shattered Remains are preparing themselves for an exciting party to release the project and then to follow in Threat Signal’s footsteps by hitting the road with the music.
“It’s going to be very loud,” laughs Fiorini on the CD release party. “We’re going to be filming the entire set. We’ve got plenty of touring planned through the summertime but everyone should come out to this hometown show, even your grandma.”
“It’s pretty much our dream, all of us, to spread the word, the love and passion for this music for our whole life,” offers Presutti on the band’s future. “We’d like to share it with as many people as we can and I think we’d like to make a life out of that.”
Shattered Remains plays Thursday February 7 at Club Absinthe with A Sin For A Prayer, Partycat, Giants Among Men and Aftermath. Doors for the licensed all ages event open at 6:30pm and $10 gets you in. Click on facebook.com/shatteredremainsofficial
Daylight For Deadeyes
It was a year ago we were talking of Daylight For Deadeyes most recent release in homage to the winter season. Now with Spring and Autumn CDs released in 2012, Chris Gormley (lead vocals/drums), Matt Gormley (guitar/vocals) and Andy Neill (bass/vocals) return to their old stomping grounds with the new discs to showcase as well as word of a new Summer release set for the band’s tenth anniversary. While their sights have definitely leaned on an international market, the Mississauga based band still considers Hamilton the place they took shape as a band.
“For us, the Flamingo is still one of our favourite places to play,” notes Chris Gormley. “We still record in Hamilton. The city will always be a big part of our band/sound/past and future. Our latest album 'Autumn' was recorded at Westmoreland Studios in Hamilton with long time friend, producer, writing partner, and engineer Carl Jennings. Since we first met and worked with Carl, he has been a huge part of our writing and recording team. The songs on 'Autumn' definitely have an autumn feel to them, that’s why they made it on the album. All the songs on these seasonal albums kind of fit the season. Not by title or lyric – they just fit vibe wise, where we were mentally or spiritually at the time.”
Mixing the hard rock riffs of AC/DC with the melodic sensibilities of the Beatles, DFD often write anthemic songs. They’ve had great success focusing on their seasonal salutes but their reworking of Canada’s national anthem garnered national media attention. And even a four–year–old homage to the Big Apple has recently offered more international exposure.
“We have had some minor success stories outside of Southern Ontario,” notes Gormley. “Two of our songs — 'I Need Love' and 'You and I' — have been picked up my Animal Organizations from around the world with the Humane Society of the United States, SPCA in Taiwan, RSPCA in Australia and the RSPCA in Hong Kong.
“Also, our version of 'O Canada' is still slowly but surely taking over the country,” adds Gormley. “We were featured on the front cover of the Entertainment Section of the Toronto Star last Canada Day. On an online Toronto Star poll, it was voted the coolest, freshest, best version of our anthem in the whole country. Currently our anthem plays in hundreds of schools. We still get emails from teachers telling us that kids are dancing in the halls, even singing the anthem at recess. Our goal is to perform the anthem at a Toronto Maple Leafs games.”
And speaking of sporting events...
“Our song 'New York' was written out of pure inspiration for a city we genuinely love,” says Gormley. “We've always felt that somehow, someway, someone in New York would use that song for something good. Over the years, I had tried to get the song to the Yankees because I thought it would be perfect for baseball games in New York. This past summer they finally used it during two games at Yankee Stadium. I'm not a big baseball fan and if I was I would probably just cheer for the Jays but have our song played at Yankee Stadium was huge for us.
“And a few weeks ago the Rangers emailed and told me they got a hold of the song and they love it,” adds Gormley. “They played it at their home opener and the big bosses love it and they want it to be a big part of the Rangers season. It’s great for the band as fans are excited for us and we can now use that credibility to try and push other songs in other areas we couldn't go before. The band is hoping to go to a game in the next few months and if we get to hear our song in Madison Square Gardens I am going to cry.”
Celebrating ten years of making music, Gormley and Daylight for Deadeyes remain steadfast and true to simply keep making music they love and there’s no end in sight.
“This four season album thing is big for us,” smiles Gormley. “The New York thing is huge for us and I’m looking forward to see what that can lead to. Our 'O Canada' version is still going strong and I know that will be used for something big in the new future also. And, after ten years, it’s the same three guys, still rocking and we’re going to slowly but surely keep on winning over the hearts of new fans from around the world, one weekend at a time.” V
Daylight For Deadeyes play Thursday February 7 at the Lazy Flamingo and there is no cover. Click on facebook.com/ DaylightForDeadeyes