A conversation with Takis

The 26-year-old is fresh off the release of his debut project.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Peter Takis, better known by his stage name Takis, has always had a love for music. In high school, he absorbed as much knowledge about the industry as he could during his internship at a local radio station.

As many paths follow these days, Takis started off his career as a DJ before expanding into music production and songwriting. Although it came with its fair number of challenges, Takis took a leap of faith and ventured beyond his hometown.

He gained his software and production knowledge through collaborations and online tutorials.

2020 brought us his debut song, a star-studded collaboration with Tory Lanez and Goody Grace, called “Wait for Me.” The following year, he collaborated with Jamie Fine and Brandyn Burnette for the Billboard-charting hit, “All Time.” With the success of these songs, it piqued many ears and interests in what he had coming next.

On Oct. 22, via Armin van Buuren’s label, Armada Music, Takis released his anticipated debut EP, Season 1: Welcome Home.

The Concordian chatted with Takis about his musical journey and new music.

TC: Where your songs used to be a bit softer, a bit more pillowy, the newer music has a bit more grit to it, some more bottom end. How do you feel you’ve evolved musically in the last few years, and what brought that on?

PT: To me, writing honest music means creating in the moment. How do I feel when I sit down in front of my MacBook on that specific day? A bright song like “All Time” or even “Wait for Me” happens when I’m pretty optimistic or content with my personal life, and on the flip side a song like “Don’t Say I Love You” comes in moments of frustration. So I’d say beyond evolution, it’s more based on present emotion. 

TC: Being from a smaller town like Winnipeg, did you find it difficult to expand out of just being a local artist?

PT: For sure, there were many cases where I didn’t feel like I had an example of someone who “made it out” if that makes sense. Thankfully, now there are a few examples for kids back home but for years it felt like I had to be that example which led to a lot of self-doubt, but this is a feeling most upcoming artists deal with as well. 

TC: What was your first leap outside Winnipeg?

PT: My first leap was signing a record deal at age 21 and moving. It was scary but exciting. I always felt like I had to take the leap of faith to grow as a person and an artist.

TC: As someone who spent time as a radio station intern, is there a “full-circle moment” feeling when you hear your songs on those same stations?

PT: It’s surreal, to be honest. Going from interning at pop radio trying to figure out how to pay my bills, to hearing my song play every hour, was one of the coolest moments of my life. 

TC: Where were you the first time you heard your song playing on the radio?

PT: It would have been when I was younger and coming up. Thankfully my hometown radio stations were always very supportive of my music, but I remember walking into my local gym in Toronto last year hearing my song playing on the radio thinking, “Wow this is incredible.”’ 

TC: You recently released your anticipated debut EP Season 1: Welcome Home. You describe the record as being an “emotional rollercoaster.” Tell me a bit about your highs and lows of the EP, and when you felt it was ok to let go of the safety bars, throw your hands up, and enjoy the ride?

PT: Creating my debut project took my entire life to figure out. While the writing process was two years, it took all 26 years I’ve been alive to navigate just to get to the point of making a project that matters. Everything from my team to the collaborators, it was a rollercoaster to attract and build all of that.

TC: Welcome Home features collaborations with Ant Clemons, Shaun Frank, and Always Never, among others. How do you go about selecting the people that you feel comfortable enough to create with?

PT: I have to start off as a fan. Creating a song takes time and effort so I have to feel genuinely inspired — every single person who is on Welcome Home I can honestly say I’m a fan first, friend second, and collaborator third.

TC: Riding on the name of your EP, you also started a podcast called Welcome Home. What can listeners expect from the show?

PT: The podcast has been a fun little side hobby for me to learn and enjoy myself. Music is my main priority and passion but doing the weekly podcast has become a really cool side project that I enjoy. I try my best to have on interesting guests and honest conversations.

TC: What has been your highlight moment of the podcast so far?

PT: The fact that over 150,000 people have tuned in is the coolest highlight so far.


Photo by Ryan Craven


Stereos are back and better than ever

After calling it quits in 2012, the band behind hits like “Summer Girl” and “Turn It Up” is back.

The Canadian band, Stereos saw their rise to fame after appearing on the MuchMusic show, disBAND back in 2008, which ultimately won them a record deal with Universal Music Canada.

For a while, the band was truly living the dream. From releasing two albums and touring the country, to getting nominated for several JUNO awards in 2010, Stereos found early success in their work. However, after experiencing problems with their label as well as creative differences, the band decided to part ways in 2012. 

In the years that passed, the members explored different projects apart. But in 2019, the band reunited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album “Stereos”. It was their first time performing together in what seemed a different lifetime ago. This show sparked something in every member that day, and like that, Stereos were back.

Many promoters and booking agents didn’t hail the reunion show as a success, but with the help and belief of Andrew Valle, the band’s manager, they were certain they could make a genuine comeback. To critics’ surprise, they sold out a 500-person venue, proving to the doubters that they still had what it takes. With the success and the adrenaline that came out of the comeback show, the band decided that it was time to officially get back together.

The only major change from their inception comes with the departure of Daniel Johnson, who played bass, but still remains on great terms with the band. Since then, Stereos have released five new singles, and a new album is hopefully on it’s way. Lead singer Patrick Kordyback wasn’t able to release any concrete details about their future plans, but assured fans that the details will be coming out very soon.

The Concordian chatted with Kordyback about the band’s reunion and their new music.

TC: Your song “Look Good” talks about self-love and empowerment. Is this a song taken from a real life event, or written with a purposeful message in mind?

PK: It’s honestly a mix of both. The lyrics definitely reflect the place I was at personally when it was written, but it was also very much intentionally driven towards being something we hoped every person out there could benefit from. It’s not always easy to feel confident in who you are, but it’s so important to try and get there.

TC: How do you think you guys have changed the most in the last decade?

PK: I think we’re just more well-rounded people and musicians. I think we’re better at even listening to music and that has come out in how we’re able to write and record music. I think our sound is still Stereos, but it just has the added perspective that inherently comes along with growing up a bit.

TC: Off the heels of “Hands Off You,” comes a new single called “Way Back Home.” How would you compare the two?

PK: Well, one thing I love most about this band is how you honestly can’t really compare them aside from them both just sounding like us. I love “Way Back Home” because for me, it’s almost impossible to even know what genre the song is. There’s so much dynamic to it and I feel like it’s hard to tell what will happen next. It’s super fulfilling to have so much variety as an artist.

TC: After an over seven year hiatus, what was the decisive factor to get the band back together?

PK: It all came down to our 10-year reunion shows in 2019. When we were able to sell those out and feel the love of our fans even after disappearing for six-plus years, it was a no-brainer to try and get this thing going again.

TC: Back in 2019, you celebrated the 10-year anniversary show of the release of your debut album , and you performed together for the first time in a while — what happened during that show that made you guys decide to give us new music?

PK: It was just seeing the crowd react to those songs and then meeting people afterwards who told us how much we meant to them. That love and support is intoxicating and impossible to ignore.

TC: If we were to go back and think of the moment that the band broke up, is there anything you wished you would have done differently? 

PK: Oh absolutely, I really wish we would have just taken some time apart and then reconvened as opposed to just ending it all so abruptly. All we can really do with it now is learn from it, and I’m thankful for those lessons, but I do think breaking up was a mistake.

TC: As you do in your feel-good song “Glory Days,” and as we reminisce about the band’s past, what are some of your fondest offstage memories as a band?

PK: There are literally way too many to even remember. But I will say that getting to sing the anthem at the Edmonton Oilers game and having the team host us was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. The Oilers were our first love, so the fact that our band brought us to working with them was incredible.

TC: Your fans are thrilled that you are back together. What can you tell me about your future plans as a band?

PK: All I’ll really say is there will be a lot more details coming out very soon about our future plans, and we are so excited to finally be back together and stronger than ever.


Photo by Steph Montani


Tyler Shaw opens up about new music and touring

The With You singer is back with a new record and will be touring this winter

Tyler Shaw has come a long way since his “Kiss Goodnight” days. Nine years later he is now a husband and a father, and has released three studio albums. This latest record, Tyler Shaw, represents an evolution of himself, drawing inspiration from his personal experiences.

Throughout COVID-19, Shaw recorded the album in his home studio, connecting with songwriters and producers from around the world. Although some challenges presented themselves, Shaw saw this as a learning experience, and felt that a shift in perspective was exactly what he needed to perfect the sound of the album.

Shaw is set to join Canadian pop opera group The Tenors on their Santa’s Wish Tour across Canada. Excited to get back out there and perform in person, Shaw is also offering VIP experiences before each show, giving fans an opportunity to connect with him in a more traditional way. The Tenors and Shaw have also collaborated on an old holiday favorite, “O Holy Night.”

On Nov. 5, Shaw hopes to spread more holiday cheer with the release of A Tyler Shaw Christmas, a holiday album which he spent most of his summer recording. The album features covers of Christmas classics as well as originals, and Shaw even shares a heartfelt song about his daughter, Everly.

The Concordian spoke to Tyler Shaw to dig deeper into his new album and upcoming tour.


TC: With so many changes in the world and your own life, whether it be COVID or your journey through fatherhood, what are you saying on this record that you haven’t said before?

TS: I think every album I write is an evolution of myself. I pour a lot of who I am in from my personal life, my own experiences, the highs and lows all into my artistry and creative writing process. I would say that my lens certainly changed through becoming a father for the first time. I wanted to articulate myself in a way that mattered. Most of the material I wrote for my sophomore album Intuition was from a perspective of being in love and imagining what my future and what that would look like, but also the growing pains of writing a sophomore album. Now I’m living out what I had manifested just a few years ago. This new self-titled project is a lot more of speaking my truth. I didn’t want to over complicate anything and overthink lyrics, I just wrote from a vulnerable, honest place.

TC: The video for “I See You,” your new single, is filled with beautiful, colourful shots. What is your favourite visual from the video?      

TS: This video turned out so beautiful and I loved the post-VFX. I think my favourite part is the flurry of butterflies emerging from the well and then swarming around me in the open field. There’s an underlying metaphor about beauty and self-love that translates from the song into the creativity of the video. It was an interesting experience filming all of these shots and having the fate of the video in the hands of a post-VFX team I’d never met. They did an incredible job. I also loved the shot in the overgrown garden with the piano.

TC: This album has a different sound than the first two. How did you approach the songs differently this time around?

TS: The past year provided a unique challenge, in that being isolated at home didn’t allow for the traditional method of getting songwriters in the same physical space to create. I was connecting virtually with all types of songwriters and producers from around the world on this project, virtually. I think those global perspectives really contributed to the overall sound and I think the evolution you’re alluding to is really a concise choice. I wanted some of the instrumentation in the production to almost mimic emotions. I wanted the strings to evoke the warmth and sadness of some of the lyrics and I wanted big drums to stir up the energy and drive in other songs. I was creating an album that I can’t wait to tour in a live setting. Because the world came to an abrupt halt, I knew that it would take a while to get back to touring and live performances, so when the time came, I wanted to have epic and anthemic music to fill the room and be a release for my fans.

TC: What was your biggest takeaway, good or bad, from creating music throughout COVID-19?

TS: I learned a lot about patience and creating boundaries. I have a home studio where I recorded and wrote the majority of this new album. Living in such close quarters with my family, I had to create time to focus strictly on my project and move to a new environment. I was connecting virtually with songwriters and producers from around the world on different time zones and who were also complete strangers. It was like speed dating with creatives. Traditionally I would get into a physical room with other writers and there’s a period of time at the beginning of a session where you get to know each other but in these virtual sessions you’re baring your heart and feelings to complete strangers. It just accelerated the whole writing process, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but just different. It challenged me to write more directly and avoid being fluffy. Just say what you mean was the mission.

TC: With all of the holiday albums that come out every year, what makes A Tyler Shaw Christmas unique and special?

TS: I’ve taken some of my more successful Christmas covers from years past and combined them with some new covers and originals to round out the project. The way I envisioned this album is that when your family comes over for Christmas Day that you stream or play this album from front to back and it helps narrate the perfect Christmas. It has a little bit of something for everyone in the family. One of my favorite songs on the album is an original song called “Christmas In Your Eyes” that I wrote for and also features my daughter, Everly. The song is written from the perspective of me reliving the magic of Christmas and holidays through my daughter’s eyes. Everly was born just before Christmas last year so this, in theory, will be her first time really experiencing Christmas and I think it’s something special we’ll share for years to come. You’ll hear her voice in the song, and I even cut her in on the publishing.

TC: You’re hitting the road this November with The Tenors to spread some holiday joy. What are you most excited for on this tour?

TS: Honestly, performing in front of people. While I loved staying connected with fans virtually over the past two years, there’s nothing better than a live audience singing along and feeding off of their energy. The Tenors put on an incredible live show and I’m happy to be joining them. I’m also offering my VIP experience for fans as well, which looks a bit different than the traditional meet-and-greets but it’s a real opportunity to connect with my fans before the show, so I’m looking forward to that.

TC: You’ve also worked together with the Tenors to bring back an old holiday favourite, “O Holy Night.” What was it like reworking a classic?

TS: I was working on my new Christmas album most of the summer, which seems strange but that’s how far in advance you need to craft music for the holidays. When I was putting together the project, I really wanted to have some type of holiday classic and make it a collaboration. There’s something so warm about voices blending and harmonizing. I landed on “O Holy Night” as one of those staple holiday classics that I felt everyone knew would be this big moment on the album. I called on my friends The Tenors, who I had coincidentally met a few years back at a Santa Claus parade performance. We recently worked together on the ArtistsCAN cover of “Lean On Me” for COVID relief last year. I’m a pop artist and The Tenors are classically trained so that was a learning curve for all of us in the studio in terms of how we orchestrated this song and made it happen. It took a minute, but I think the final version is absolutely incredible. I remember playing it for a few people when the final mix came in and people were getting emotional. I don’t want to make people cry for the holidays but the emotion this song draws from people is really special. I feel this version is timeless.

TC: If you had to get rid of all the Christmas songs in the world, except one, which one would you keep?

TS: One of my all-time favourite Christmas songs is “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé. If he’s the king of Christmas, I want to be the prince! You can hear the magic in his voice.


Photo courtesy of Justin Wu for Sony Entertainment Canada


Meet Midsplit, EDM’s newest challenger from Montreal

Up-and-coming electronic music producer and artist Midsplit talks about his road to the Canadian music scene. 

Memories of Avril Lavigne blasting in his headphones still brings a smile to the face of Maxence Pepin. He’s come a long way from those first pivotal moments of music in his life. Now a 22-year-old music producer living in Montreal, he’s following his dream of being the Avril in someone else’s ears.

Growing up in Montreal, Pepin had a normal childhood. His life was spent in suburbia, as he took on normal tasks like working as a cook at an Italian restaurant and playing basketball with friends on a local court.

With the support and encouragement of his parents, he made the difficult choice to drop out of school and pursue his true passion: music production.

With the help of Dutch producer Steve Void, Pepin found his way through the obstacles of being an artist in the Canadian music industry. Electronic and house music maker Kayliox was Pepin’s local hero, and like Void, helped him gain the confidence he needed. Hard work and patience has paid off, as Maxence now produces and performs under his artist name, Midsplit.

After writing a song for a close friend going through a difficult time, Pepin discovered that making music had a genuine impact on those around him, and showed him why music mattered.

His first song released, “Either Way,” was a powerful, lyrically-driven song with eclectic production as he combined chill tropical house and trap for the first time. This sound made Pepin want to expand and pursue a real production career and get outside of his bedroom.

Like most people, Pepin has had his fair share of heartbreak. In tune, he channelled some of those emotions in songs.

He released his debut album For My Future Past on Oct. 19. Pepin hopes the child inside of him never dies and uses this idea as the inspiration behind the new project. Pop, punk and R&B vibes can be expected throughout the record.

While simultaneously building a start-up in the tech world, managing and owning his own record label, and working on more music, the future looks bright for Pepin. As he continues to work with artists like BRDGS, A-SHO, and Casey Cook, Pepin’s dream of one day producing for Avril Lavigne will never be far from his mind.

We sat down with Pepin to dig deeper into who he is as an artist and a person.

The Concordian: Who was the first person to tell you that you were really good at the thing you loved to do?

Maxence Pepin: The first people were my parents, they have believed in me since day one. They let me drop out of university and live with them to create a balanced financial life and have time to create my craft. I am blessed!

TC: You just released “Where U Belong,” a song with fellow Canadian artist BRDGS, how did your relationship start? 

MP: We met through a mutual friend, A-SHO! We hung out while I was on a business trip in Toronto. When I came back home to the studio, BRDGS sent me a very cool demo titled Where U Belong, and the rest is history.

TC: Heartbreak and loss can be daunting and hard to move on from, what are some techniques you use to heal? 

MP: My last heartbreak was a very long time ago… like four years ago! I closed myself up because I was extremely hurt, I am a very emotionally-driven person. I started getting over my heartbreak after I opened up to my friends and family, talking about the pain and being told that it’s okay to be hurt really took me a long way.

I also might have helped write a couple of love songs in the meantime, but those songs will probably never see the light of day.

TC: Your debut album is For My Future Past. What can you tell us about this project? 

MP: For My Future Past is my way of dealing with nostalgia. I hate becoming an adult and I hope I can continue to be the man-child that I am (in a good way!). The album is very inspired by the music of my childhood, which was mostly pop-punk and R&B. I think there is something for everyone on the album as it has a very diverse and accessible sound, even if the inspirations might seem far-fetched the end result is very modern and crisp and super easy to listen to.

TC: What was the first song you produced that you really wanted other people to hear?

MP: The first song I was beyond excited to put out was “Either Way” with Casey Cook. The production was — at that time — the most innovative I had ever made and the lyrics were so powerful. I feel like at that moment I knew I was stepping out of my shell of being a bedroom producer and that I wanted to pursue a real production career.

TC: You don’t just produce for yourself. Recently you produced “Vicious Circles” by KARLI, among others. Who else are you writing with/producing for?

MP: A-SHO and KARLI wrote [Vicious Circles] a very long time ago. A duo friend of ours, Lucky Rose, made a really good demo out of it but they could never quite finish the song. So they ended up sending me the stems of what they had and I redid most of the production on the track.

Sometimes having someone outside the track is the best person to produce it as that person is not attached to a specific sound. I do quite a lot of productions for artists on my record label, Sadboy Records but I usually don’t build the whole songs, I’m quite good at finishing tracks. I would love to work with Charlotte Cardin or Avril Lavigne. I grew up blasting Avril’s music in my headphones and Charlotte is just pure artistic perfection to my taste.

TC: Is it easier to produce for yourself or for someone else?

MP: It is MUCH easier to produce for someone else as you are often far less attached to the end product. By no means is the end product ever bad but it is never exactly on-brand for what I enjoy putting out under my Midsplit alias.

TC: Who are people in music who have helped you? What are the obstacles of being a Canadian in music?

MP: I have received a lot of help from Steve Void, who is a Dutch producer. I have permanent respect for the helping hand he gave me in the music industry. Another important figure in my career is A-SHO, who I met through another important person named Kayliox. Kayliox gave me a lot of confidence on his live streams while he was touring the world and giving producers feedback on their tracks, funnily enough, I was (and still am) a huge fan of his and today we are very good friends! A-SHO taught me a lot about songwriting and the need to perfect my craft, to a point where I am compulsive about it. A huge obstacle of being a Canadian in music is that the local industry is very tough and very closed off, it’s very hard to get any recognition, especially in dance as there are so many Canadian artists for such a small country.


Photo Credits: Samuel Bourget Photography

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