Categories
Music

Concordia-based Atsuko Chiba blends education and artistry

While riding the Montreal Metro system to and from Concordia where they are both enrolled in the electroacoustic program, Kevin McDonald and Karim Lakdhar would often discuss their love of creating music with their respective bands. It wasn’t until January 2012 that they finally got a chance to play together when they formed an impromptu band in order to play a show at a party organized by some friends from their program.

“We got together for our first show last minute – we heard about a party at Concordia and said, ‘Hey, this is our chance to play together.’

Atsuko Chiba plays Casa del Popolo on Friday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Within that week we prepped for a 15 to 20 minute set and performed it at the show,” said Lakdhar. “So I guess you can say that it was the basis for our band: it was super random but it just clicked so we stayed together.”

Since that first show, the band has strived to create music that they can proudly call their own. They enjoy the process just as much as the finished product as they each add various styles and elements to the band.

”We played that show and wrote some crazy music for it,” said McDonald. “Until then, with our individual bands, we always wrote music with a traditional formula: drums, bass, vocals. But this band has allowed us to evolve past that to something so much more.”

That first show included McDonald, Eric Shaufhauser, Lakdhar and Dave Palumbo. Months later, they would add Anthony Piazza as the permanent drummer.

In July of 2012, Atsuko Chiba released their first EP entitled Animalia: Several States of Being. Recorded live at Concordia’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall and mixed and recorded by Gemini award nominee Matthew Cerantola, the EP was a great success and a strong start for the group.

“You can say that Concordia has played a big role in our development,” said Schafhauser. “We played our first show because of Concordia, and were able to record at Oscar Peterson. The school was available to help us when we needed a space to record and had a hard time finding one.”

The guys also recognize how their education at Concordia has influenced and matured their creative process. “You can say that a lot of our music has come out of what we learned in Electroacoustic studies at Concordia, from teachers to fellow students,” said McDonald. “We’ve learned a lot and we’ve been constantly developing our creative process and style.”

Although Atsuko Chiba does not currently have a vocalist, they are not actively looking for one as this allows them to each pitch in on the vocals of any given song.

“Even though we don’t have a singer and we’re instrumental we take turns adding in vocals because our music is very visual for us and sometimes vocals can help project the entire message,” said Palumbo.

The guys describe their style as “Western Space Groove”, a genre that includes a variety of styles and sounds to produce an experimental psychedelic post-rock.

“Our styles individually are all very different – in fact, the band was almost started with the purpose of going against what we knew completely, so we definitely step outside our comfort zone,” said Lakdhar.

Atsuko Chiba is hard at work as they are currently recording their next album, which is expected in early summer. Meanwhile, the band is still refining and evolving in style and sound.

“People who have an open mind will like our music most – not to say that we’re the most far-out band ever, but we sound different and so it means something when somebody comes up to us and tells us they like our music,” said McDonald. “We really didn’t take the easy route because our sound is completely different from most music out there.”

 

Atsuko Chiba plays Casa del Popolo on Friday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

 

Categories
Student Life

There’s nothing lazy about these ConU students

Concordia student Denny Feradouros met John Capaldo in high school where they shared a dream to create video games. Years later, after studying in their respective fields at university, they came together with a group of six friends to finally create their first one.

“It started off as an attempt to build experience and showcase our talent,” said Feradouros. “But as time progressed we realized we wanted to start our own company rather than tirelessly search for a job in the field.”

The experience led the team to create their own company called Lazy Nuke, where they attempted to pursue ideas and gain the experience needed to expand into a larger market.

Each member of the Lazy Nuke team has a specific academic background, some of the members graduated from Concordia while others have technical credentials; each provides an aspect in the developing of the game and company.

“We each have a key role, some of us do animation, and others do 3D modelling, technical directing or covering the business marketing aspect,” said Feradouros.

“Our studies at Concordia definitely gave us the technical skills we needed in order to build the framework for the game – in terms of myself, it helped me from a business aspect, from marketing to resource planning.”

After working on their first project for roughly ten months, Lazy Nuke released their first game entitled 8th Wave: Abyssal Rise, on March 21. “We wanted to create a side scrolling arcade game that is enjoyable and user friendly, something we could continuously update,” said Feradouros.

The user plays the game navigating through ocean floor caverns with various submarines while facing off with enemies and collecting shells which the player needs in order to advance throughout the game. The player has the choice between four submarines, and is able to customize them as well.

“The game was developed specifically for the smartphone market, a game that can be played in short bursts while still leaving the player with a sense of progress and accomplishment after that small amount of time,” said Feradouros.

Considering how the smartphone app market is currently exploding, Feradouros and his friends truly aimed for it as they believe it is an increasingly competitive but accessible market for ambitious newcomers like themselves.

“We realized so many people were downloading smartphone and tablet games, making it an ever growing gaming market,” said Feradouros. “We figured it could serve as a solid stepping stone and somewhat low cost foundation for us to build our company.”

Although the team at Lazy Nuke worked hard for almost a year developing their first game, it wasn’t without obstacles. “Funding has been a bit difficult, even though the game is relatively low cost,” he said.  “Licensing is expensive and for students like us working part-time, it presented a considerable challenge as we needed funding to develop and launch the game.”

In order to fund their project, Feradouros and the rest of the team at Lazy Nuke presented their idea for the game and the company at the 2012 Concordia Seed Competition and finished second, receiving a grant for $3,000 to put towards the development of the game.

What started off as just a game has developed into so much more. Feradouros and his team believe they have the right chemistry and collective creativity to build a successful company on the release of 8th Wave: Abyssal Rise.

The game is available on both mobile and tablet Android platforms with plans to release it in the IOS market place in the near future, thereby making it accessible to iPad and iPhone users.

Lazy Nuke is already in the preliminary stages for their next game which they hope to release sometime in the next year.

 

For more information on the game or the company, visit www.lazynuke.com

 

Categories
Student Life

Zombie apocalypse survival kit

Photo by Mallika Guhan

With Halloween around the corner, so was a mass of zombies at the annual Montreal Zombie Walk. To my astonishment, and as if straight out of a movie, the military happened to be running an exercise out of the Old Port at the same time as the Zombie Walk. Soldiers dressed in full combat gear with assault rifles drove by on trucks as zombies marched through the streets; it would have been a perfect coincidental miracle had the zombies been real. The resulting massacre would have been magnificent as zombies were mowed down in a glorious hail of gunfire.

Unfortunately, the zombies were just people in makeup and costume with a fascination for the undead. However, this left me thinking, am I prepared for a zombie apocalypse? I have compiled the ultimate list for zombie hunting, which may come in handy should you find yourself one day shooting your way out of the city.

 

Hunting and Survival Equipment:

– M16 Assault rifle: the perfect weapon for close encounters with our flesh eating friends as well as an excellent choice for long range headshots!

– Crossbow: like an assault rifle, a crow bow provides one with the firepower necessary to take out zombies yet allows for silent kills thereby not attracting any other of our dead friends.

–  Katana Samurai Sword: if this season of the Walking Dead taught me anything about zombie survival, it’s that a samurai sword is not just bad ass but highly effective when it comes to beheading zombies.

– Full suit of medieval knight armour with a chainmail neck: post apocalyptic fashion statement? Maybe but I’ll have the last laugh when I can walk and or dance through a crowd of the walking dead without worrying about my brains being eaten and my limbs being slowly torn from my torso!

-Hummer H3: perfect for driving through crowds of the dead or a scenic drive towards the country where you can set up a compound, and rule as supreme leader.

-Water and cans of food: Hunting equipment won’t do you any good if you’re dying of dehydration and starvation.

-Zippo lighters: use to keep warm, not to put attention on yourself.

-Flashlight: not need for explanation

-First aid kit and field surgical set: if someone is bitten, don’t bother, immediately chop head off.

 

Good luck!

Categories
Student Life

Hats off to the master brewer

When walking along the streets of St. Laurent Blvd., one can easily find a place to dine, shop or party. However, every so often a spot stands out amongst all the flashy lights, restaurants and dive bars.

Next time you’re walking North on St. Laurent, try something new; take a right onto Duluth and step into Le Reservoir, a bar that stands out for its excellent house-brewed beers and its irresistible snack bar.

The two story bar offers a pub setting and ambiance that would easily fit in the trendy hipster neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both floors are equipped with their very own bar, as well as an L-shaped, non-smoking terrace which wraps around the second floor. The interior design of the place is retro with just the right amount of lighting to set the perfect mood over a pint of any one of their fine beers.

Upon being seated, my girlfriend and I ordered off their chalk-written menu hanging above the bar. I ordered their white India Pale Ale, and my girlfriend ordered the cherry beer. Both came rather fast as they were skillfully poured before our eyes.

Through the glass wall behind the bar, the clientele can easily see the room where the giant metal containers called “worts” are kept. These massive containers house the delicious beer as it ferments in all its glory.

I have been yearning to go to Le Reservoir and try their beers crafted by their master brewer Nathan McNutt—beers that I can now happily say exceeded my expectations.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people enjoy my work while at the same time fulfilling my passion for creation,” says McNutt. “Combining my skills, creativity, and toil with raw ingredients and machinery to make a delicious product that many people enjoy; I just don’t get tired of that.”

By the end the evening I had tried four of his beers and as a result, must encourage anybody who appreciates a well-rounded beer to head over there next time they want a quality pint.

I may not be a beer expert, but I can say that their white IPA was a refreshing pint filled with taste and character, and their Irish-inspired black beer was a full-bodied pint with a perfect coffee flavour finish. Even my girlfriend’s cherry beer was not just a simple, pretty coloured beer. It is fermented twice with polished cherries, resulting in a savoury beer worthy of being served along the other outstanding choices.

“Reservoir up until recently focused solely on classic styles of beer as opposed to the more fashionable aggressively hopped beers or strong exotically flavoured beers found in other brewpubs,” says McNutt.

While their beers may be filling and satisfying on their own, craving food after a few drinks is expected. Thankfully, Le Reservoir has a kitchen.

The place is well known for its weekend brunch which is supposedly superb. However, I went on a weeknight and so I got a chance to indulge in their snack menu.

I ordered the calamari platter and my girlfriend the Gruyere grilled cheese, toasted to perfection with marinated onions and apple butter. Both plates held decent portions and were creatively served. The grilled cheese was placed on a wood platter and the calamari served in a mason jar. Turns out we chose wisely as the food perfectly complimented the beer.

Overall, the place provided an ambiance and vibe that is different from many bars in Montreal. It is original and versatile in the sense that it is a cool place for a late night drink, yet perfect for an afternoon snack or weekend brunch. They offer a fine selection of beers and spirits at reasonable prices, and their food menu changes daily for a fresh and impressive experience. I love this place and I highly suggest you head on over and try it for yourself!

Categories
Student Life

Shake it up at Deville Dinerbar

For months I was told of this new hip restaurant called Deville Dinerbar. Being the sucker for hype that I am, I finally caved and decided to give the place a try. Let me tell you—I was not disappointed. Although the ’50s have been long dead, Deville Dinerbar captures that retro diner quality seen in Pleasantville and adds a little downtown urban feel to it, just so that we don’t feel too out of place!

Situated on Stanley St. between Ste-Catherine St. and De Maisonneuve blvd., Deville Dinerbar offers an immaculate decor amid a classic American diner setting with a chic twist of bright neon pink and an impressive marble bar area. Simply walking past Deville is enough to spark the interest of any passerby as its LED- lit interior inevitably catches the eye. I had no problem finding the place seeing as it is a veritable beacon amongst the surrounding buildings.

Upon entering and being seated, we were handed our menus by a very pleasant hostess. A waiter quickly filled our glasses with water and asked us what we would like to drink. We started with a couple of Red Stripe beers while we admired the interior decor. After the waiter announced the specials, we decided on the fried pickles and crispy mac ’n’ cheese stuffed wont- ons for a starter. We devoured our mouth-watering snacks, perfectly complementing our beers.

When our main dishes arrived, I was delighted to see that their portions were generous to say the least. I ordered the fish and chips on a bun and my girlfriend had their famous cirque burger. Both were reasonably priced below $20 and turned out to be just as delightful.

My fish and chips sandwich was fried to golden crispy perfection and was served com- plete with pickled onions and malt vinegar sauce on the side. I tried some of my girlfriend’s cirque burger, but found it to be a little too sweet because of the bourbon-poached pear. On the whole though—pretty good.

We finished off the evening with their R-rated shakes, a frothy blend of your choice spiked with booze, which once again brought us back to that ‘50s diner atmosphere.

Although Deville Dinerbar has a cool ambi- ance and setting, it is much more than that. The place offers gourmet American diner food with a menu that includes hamburgers, ribs, salads, and a vegan burger for your vegetarian friend. Overall, Deville Dinerbar is a wonderful place to have the diner experience and indulge in a few drinks with friends at their fully stocked bar which includes a selection of cocktails, beers and shakes. Lastly, take note that the place also has a jukebox app available via the net which allows you to request songs and, therefore, further add character to the place by personalizing the ambiance in your own little way.

Deville Dinerbar is located at 1425 Stanley, downtown.To see the menu, consult their website www.devilledinerbar.com 

 

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