Civil House’s latest release, “Shivers,” redefines the band’s sound

Civil House is an indie pop band from Montreal made up of three best friends. Dean Dadidis, lead singer/guitarist and Aris Dadidis, the bassist, are brothers both studying at Concordia. At the same time, the drummer, Paul Laventure, is a childhood friend who moved to the U.S to study.

The three formed a band shortly after discovering their passion for music while jamming out every Sunday at church. 

While the group started with a harder sound akin to alternative rock, as seen in their first few songs like “Not Holding on” and “The Moment,” they now have slowly transitioned to a softer pop sound.

Their latest song, “Shivers,” is reflective of the music they’re going to produce. The song was written and produced by Dean, toying with elements of indie pop while adding soft and sparkling guitar notes to highlight the undertones of nostalgia.

“Shivers” is not your typical cliché love song. The song is about seeing someone you love or  used to love. Even though you know you can’t go back, it’s better for you to move on. The unmistakable feeling of love is still there.

While first love and first heartbreak can be brutal, the song emphasizes the feeling of being in love and reminiscing the good and old memories. “Shivers” is about remembering and holding on to that exciting, happy, and good feeling of being in love while forgetting about the hurt that follows the breakup. 

The song is not limited to personal experience. Dean explains his goal to reach people through music. 

“When I write something, it reignites an experience through the song, and when someone listens to that, and relates to it, there’s just an invisible connection,” he explained. 

Though not everyone can relate to the experience of being in love, this song is still worth listening to. “Shivers” stuck to me because I felt that “magical feeling” and experienced many emotions while listening to the song.

Moving forward, the band hopes to make more music together. Despite the distance between them, the band is still united. 

“They’ll always be in my life. We might get together and just produce a whole album when we can,” said Dean.  

You can listen to “Shivers” and more of Civil House’s music on their Spotify page.

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It’s ME, It’s WE, it’s TEMPEST

Rookie K-Pop group TEMPEST discusses their debut

A storm’s brewing at Yuehua Entertainment and K-Pop septet TEMPEST is here with “Bad News.”

TEMPEST debuted just a month ago with their first EP It’s ME, It’s WE, but they’re an experienced group of rookies. Leader LEW (21) and vocalist Hyeongseop (22) were contestants on season 2 of Produce 101 and later debuted as a duo in 2017 while independently making appearances on variety shows and as actors.  Hanbin (24) was the leader and founder of a viral dance team in his native Vietnam before becoming a contestant on I-LAND. Hwarang (20) was a contestant on Under Nineteen and a backup dancer for KARD. Main vocalist Hyuk (21), vocalist Eunchan (21) Taerae (19) complete the group. 

TEMPEST follows popular Yuehua Entertainment acts like UNIQ, WJSN, EVERGLOW, WOODZ, and YENA (Iz*One) with their dynamic title track “Bad News.” Co-written by LEW and Hwarang, this anthem is a perfect introduction to the members’ unique talents and charisma. LEW’s confidence, Hanbin’s sunny disposition and distinct voice , Hyeongseop’s passion, Hyuk’s golden vocals, Eunchan doe-eyed elegance, Hwarang’s charisma, and Taerae’s deep vocals all make for an impressive debut song. 

Through the magic of email, The Concordian interviewed the members of TEMPEST to talk about their debut. 

THE CONCORDIAN: Describe your feelings about debuting in one word.

HANBIN: Amazing.

HYEONGSEOP: Second chapter of my life.

HYUK: Bliss.

LEW: True beginning.


EUNCHAN: Growth.

TAERAE: Emotional.


TC: Who or what inspires you?

HYUK: Recently, we’ve been watching a lot of the senior artists perform whenever we’re on standby on music programs. I’ve been learning a lot and getting inspired by just watching their performances.


TC: LEW, how did you become the leader?

LEW: I naturally became the leader. I gained my know-how through my long trainee days which made me often lead the practice sessions. Also, the members were cooperative and treated me as a leader and I was able to learn and grow through the process.


TC: How did you build teamwork?

LEW: I think teamwork builds up naturally while spending time together. I think we create our own solidarity through active communication in the process.


TC: Hyeongseop and LEW, what did you learn from Hyeongseop x Euiwoong? Will the duo ever make a comeback?

HYEONGSEOP: We are currently focused on TEMPEST’s promotions for the time being, but it would be great to make a comeback as a duo should the opportunity arise. And no matter what form, we are still TEMPEST. During the promotion, I was able to learn my strengths, stage presence, and a lot more.

LEW: If given the opportunity, I think it would be possible as a unit group within TEMPEST. I think the promotion would be a gift for the fans who liked Hyeongseop x Euiwoong.


TC: Hanbin, how has it been adjusting to living in Korea and learning the language?

HANBIN: When I first came to Korea, it was difficult for me as it was my first time with everything. But now, I’m fully adapted to everything. The experience became easier, especially after joining this group. Thanks to my members, who are always by my side and thoughtful, I’m having way more fun with everything.


TC: Pre-debut you uploaded a few covers on YouTube, what song or artist would you like to cover next?

HWARANG: Before our debut, “Horangi” (Korean for tiger) was one of the choices for my stage name. In that sense, I would like to cover SuperM’s song “Tiger Inside”


TC: A lot of you participated in survival shows pre-debut, what was the biggest lesson from your experiences?

HANBIN: I think being on an idol survival-reality show is a valuable experience that trainees cannot easily experience. Through the experience, I learned to understand myself better and realize what I am capable of. As a result, I gained more confidence.

HYEONGSEOP: Enjoying is the best thing to do. It is best to enjoy it as you please since you started it because you liked it.

LEW: Opportunity comes to those who are ready and I should be grateful and humble every moment.

HWARANG: The memories and emotions that I felt on my first stage were just the beginning.


TC: How were the preparations for your debut, what was the biggest challenge?

EUNCHAN: Before our debut, I had a challenging time because I didn’t have faith in myself. But thanks to the support and advice from the people at our company and our members, I gradually gained faith in myself. I think I have improved a lot now and I’ll continue to believe in myself and work hard.


TC: LEW and Hwarang, what’s your songwriting process like?

LEW: We spent a lot of our time and effort participating in writing the lyrics. We prepared five to six verses each time and spent hours writing the lyrics when other members went home. I’m thrilled to see that our efforts have paid off.

HWARANG: While writing the lyrics, I think I drew a mental picture from the emotions and feelings I got from the song. I would make the basic sketches of the song in my head and then continue to develop the picture by filling it with colours through my lyrics.


TC: Are the other members interested in songwriting, composing, or production?

HYUK: As the main vocalist, I help out with the details and vocalization when we practice the songs for our album. So, I would love to try composing or producing in the future.

HYEONGSEOP: I have a keen interest in writing lyrics and I’m quite emotional. So, people around me encourage me to write lyrics. I also read in my spare time to build the foundation for writing lyrics.


TC: What concept would you like to try in the future?

HYUK: I want to try various concepts that are new and fresh. For example, something like a vampire concept or a cyberpunk concept would be interesting.


TC: What’s your favourite song on the mini-album and why?

EUNCHAN: “Find Me.” I like it because I think it is a B-side track that shows TEMPEST’s powerful energy.

TAERAE: “Just a Little Bit.” I chose this song because I like songs with warm feelings.

HANBIN: “Bad At Love.” I have liked this song ever since I heard the demo version. It has a very cute and catchy melody. We had a good time practicing this song, and the lyrics and choreography are very cute as well.


TC: What are your goals for the rest of the year either as a group or personally?


Courtesy of Yuehua Entertainment



Enter Ellen Alaverdyan: young bassist extraordinaire!

Only nine years old, Ellen sheds light on juggling bass, daily life, and friends. 

While scrolling through the music corner of Instagram, you may come across Ellen Alaverdyan: a nine-year-old bass player whose music chops cut through your daily intake of social media. Born in California to Armenian parents, Alaverdyan began playing bass naught but two years ago. She’s since made quite an impression on social media, showing up on many an artist’s radars.     

In that short span of time, she has accomplished so much. Recently she opened for the Golden State Warriors game at the Chase Center, playing bass even during half-time in front of thousands of spectators, and has been a host on Steve Harvey’s show called “STEVE on Watch.” Here she met none other than Bootsy Collins and members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Alaverdyan has also met musicians like guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Richard Bona, and Victor Wooten.     

Is she small? Sure, but she packs quite the punch with her bass playing! 

The Concordian sat down with Alaverdyan to talk about her music and goals.

The Concordian: What’s your day-to-day routine like?

Ellen Alaverdyan: Usually I come back from school, then I’ll eat and watch something and then at 6 or 7 p.m. I’ll practice something if we don’t have anything to record, and then after that, I’ll play some video games if I have time and then go to sleep. 

 TC: Picture this: it’s your first time picking up the bass, how did you feel?

EA: Guess I’m going to have to flashback two years ago. At first, I thought it was a guitar but as I started playing the notes I felt that it wasn’t a low sound but more so a bigger vibration.

TC: What would be the next technique that you are going to learn on bass? 

EA: Slap. I’m learning a couple of things on slap right now. I’m working on Victor Wooten’s lesson right now. He calls it “thumping and plucking.”

TC: Do you have any hobbies when you’re not playing music?  

EA: Oh yeah, my main one is drawing. I used to go to gymnastics but not anymore. I went to gymnastics in Cali and now we moved to Vegas so we’re trying to find a gymnastics place.   

TC: How did the move change you in terms of music-making?

EA: It helped a lot because our old home was really small. Our studio back then was separate and we had to drive to it. Now in our new house, we made the studio in the garage. My dad still has his connections in LA and so we can still go back and record. 

TC: What genre of music influences you?

EA: So right now I like funk. I’ve been getting into and listening to a lot of rock songs recently, but my main genre is funk. We’re talking old-school funk with Bootsy Collins, Kool & The Gang, and P-Funk. 

TC: Speaking of Bootsy Collins. I watched you on Steve Harvey’s show, that was amazing! How did being on that show, on national TV change you?

EA: It made me feel a lot of emotions. I mainly felt surprised. I was actually kind of expecting Bootsy Collins because my parents kept telling me, “What if Bootsy Collins comes on, what are you gonna do?” but I didn’t expect Earth, Wind, & Fire would come on. I didn’t see it coming.

TC: You’ve met and spoken to a number of Influential musician figures. Who impacted you the most and why?

EA: You mean which ones made me most surprised and happy? The first one is Earth, Wind & Fire and the second is Steve Vai. I was imagining him with his long, black, curly hair in the movie Crossroads. He signed a pedal for me too, and we’re gonna keep it safe. 

TC: I saw that you played bass for the Golden State Warriors game two weeks ago. What was your first thought when you were told you were going to play in front of thousands of people? 

EA: When I got on stage my first thought was “How was everyone going to react?” I wasn’t exactly nervous, moreso excited to play the bass. Once I started playing I could see people recording me and it made me feel a lot of things, mainly that they liked what I was playing. I was worried I would play the wrong note but even if I did, it’s not that much of a difference! 

TC: What’s next for Ellen Alaverdyan?

EA: We have a couple of shows. Actually, a drummer from Japan is coming to play with me. For my band rehearsal a couple of students from the School of Rock, the singer and guitarist. We were going to go into a separate studio because my home studio can’t hold all of us. Basically in two months, we’re going to have a show and we’re playing mainly Led Zeppelin songs; “The Ocean,” “The Rover” — and “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.   


Mexico Sexi Time is finally here

The Toronto-based artist has released her latest album after three years in the vault.

Enter Chiquitamagic, a songwriter and DJ originally hailing from Bogotá, Colombia, but now based in Toronto. She just released her fifth album, Mexico Sexi Time, on Feb. 21, and boy oh boy is it Sexy Time galore. 

Chiquita Magic’s real name is Isis Giraldo – her stage name chosen “Because I’m smol,” she said. The artist has mixed Latin melodies and rhythms with electronic synth-based and drum machine hardware to create an experimental fusion of cumbia, choral, and reggaeton funk.

The Concordian spoke with Chiquitamagic about her artistic process and Mexico Sexi Time.


The Concordian: How did you come up with the name Chiquitamagic? 

Chiquitamagic: It was such a long process. I first went by Chiquita because I thought it was cute and I’m small and that’s what people would call me. It’s also intergenerational because my mom is small too. However it didn’t capture the essence of the music in any way, and the word magic is so fun. It used to be two words but now it’s one because two words seems like such a statement. It’s these minor details that only you as an artist obsess over.

TC: What instrument did you start playing on?  

CM: I was studying jazz piano when I was little, and then I started to veer off into other things, like A440 stuff and my ears were getting tired of listening to it so I wanted an instrument with a more microtonal variation. So I found synthesizers and then I went on tour with a band called the Brahja Waldman Quartet, which used to play in Montreal for a while.     

TC: Mexico Sexi Time is a very intriguing name that hooks the avid music listener in. What is the meaning behind it?

CM: I wrote the whole album in Mexico. I was going through a phase in my life where I wanted to feel detached from things and just be comfortable in my own body. I went and rented an Airbnb in the Coyoacán area in Mexico City. I was spending a lot of alone time, where I wanted to confront some of my insecurities and demons about showing my body and showing lyrics that were more explicit than some of my works. It was like an exploration phase of feeling sexy and feeling good and feeling empowered.  

TC: You said Mexico Sexi Time took you three years to produce. What were the reasons? 

CM: It took me a really long time because I did it all myself and I wanted it to be perfect, or at least perfect the way I saw it in my head. There would be like 53 versions of the mix and then [I’d] do six bounces of the masters before I felt like it was right, and then editing all of the videos. There were just a lot of phases to producing the whole thing.

TC: For your first track “A Tu Lado (up)” the acapella is wonderful. What music trick made you come up with it?

CM: I didn’t come up with it originally as the first track, but I wanted there to be some kind of choral element because I love choral music and I grew up singing in choirs and that’s always been a strong part of my music, having lots of voices and layers and stuff. In the context of the album, I would play around with where it was and it would be a good place to open up the universe (of the album).    

TC: As a synth nerd, I loved hearing the drum machine and synths behind “Ganas De Bailar.” Is there a specific period in your life that you can remember mixing Latin music with drum machines and synths?

CM: In my live shows, I was already playing around and mashing reggaeton beats and cumbia beats, even with some funk. I definitely wanted it to be a song where women and people could go out to the dance floor to have fun and dance. It just came pretty naturally and I programmed it on a drum machine called the Roland TR-09, which is modelled off of the 808 but a mini version. 

TC: Run me through the process of collaborating with other artists. Was it enjoyable collaborating with them?

CM: Oh my god, they are the most amazing musicians, I greatly admire them so it was such an honour to have them on the album. I pretty much had the tracks done by the time I asked them to come in and they all lived in the same house in LA at the time and so it was really chill to set up my interface and have them do it. The process was amazing. 

TC: What genre would you define the album as? It feels really sultry sometimes.

CM: I think that it’s kind of a mashup of Latin funk, reggaeton and jazz. That’s how I hear it. It’s definitely influenced by subgenres of rave culture, like there’s definitely techno, jungle and a little bit of dubstep sprinkled in there. I think every artist has the issue of categorizing but basically what I want it to be is fun to listen to, to put on and enjoyable dance to. Those are the adjectives I’d describe it with because the genres are so hard to label.  

TC: How long did it take to write each song on average? 

CM: It was all very different. There are 11 tracks on the album. I rented the place in Mexico for a month and I wanted to get everything done by the time I left. I wanted the album to have a specific vibe so I didn’t set any parameters for myself, I’d go on long walks and would listen to the demos and put them in different orders to see what would take shape and then on my walks I’d say, “Okay, now I’d like to hear something fast,” and would go home and write something more fast.

TC: How has writing this album changed you? 

CM: I still can’t even believe that it’s been released to be honest, because it’s been on my laptop for years and no one has seen it. Just last night I released a video for “Ganas De Bailar” and it was all ready to go but I watched it once more and had to re-edit it because I wanted it to be perfect. It’s changed me and it will continue to change me. When this whole release is done I will go back to it and still feel like it changes me because it’s forcing me to see a side of myself that I don’t feel comfortable showing. It’s kind of like this internal mirror of yourself and you keep looking into it to remind yourself of who you are.   

TC: How did COVID-19 affect you as an individual and as an artist? 

CM: I mean those are really tied together for me, because my life as an individual is reflected in my life as an artist. It was hard, it was a crazy thing to live through, that we’re probably going to see the effects for a really long time whether it be mental health or the exhaustion of people. We’re still not over it completely. For me personally a lot of things got pulled, cancelled and postponed. The whole paradigm of being a performing artist is unclear: how long it’s gonna take and if it’s gonna come back. Obviously professionally that was the whole vibe and for my business ventures it was kind of catastrophic. It’s affected me but at the same time life has its changes, so at the same while it’s something the whole world has experienced together, that’s just the natural flow of life, the uncertainty of it. In fact even with releasing this [album], it’s more of a “Let’s just do it,” because you just don’t know what’s going to be around the corner. There isn’t a perfect time to do something, you just have to do it when it feels right.  

TC: Is there anything else coming up in the works for Chiquitamagic? 

CM: Honestly I’m kind of focused on releasing the rest of this rollout. I have two more videos that are coming out and supporting the visual element of the album. Also just touring, I’m going to be in the States, trying to hit LA, San Diego, New York City, and also I want to come through Montreal and Toronto. 


Visual from Chiquitamagic


Keep your eyes on LUMINOUS

 Rookie K-Pop Group LUMINOUS talk about their first comeback “All eyes down (advance)”

K-pop quartet LUMINOUS shine bright — wear sunglasses if you need to.

Youngbin (23) is the leader, lead vocalist, and a dancer. He was a contestant on the popular reality survival competition show Produce X 101 . Suil (22) is a rapper, dancer, and sub-vocal in the group. Steven (22) is Korean but hails from Sydney, Australia. He’s a rapper and sub-vocal, and like Youngbin, he was a contestant on Produce X 101 . Woobin (21) is the main vocalist and “maknae” (youngest) of the group. 

During our nearly 40-minute talk, the guys seemed genuinely close, they laughed, interrupted each other and fit on a single couch. Actions speak louder than words though, or an interview with a journalist. LUMINOUS was once known by a different name and they were meant to debut under a different company. While the details aren’t clear, whatever happened, they left and stayed together to end up at WIP Company, run by Kim Sung-eun who has been a vocal coach for acts like BTS and TWICE.

Finally, after their years as trainees, reality show stints, a few company changes, and a case of COVID-19, they debuted with their first EP YOUTH and the lead single “RUN” in September 2021.

They’re back now with their new project Between Light and Darkness (Self n Ego) which, as the title suggests, echoes Jungian concepts of persona, self, and ego through confusion, loneliness, and anxiety, to represent youth struggling with some of the big questions in life. 

With help from a lovely translator, The Concordian sat down with LUMINOUS to talk about their comeback, debut, and hopes for the future.

TC:  I read that originally you were going to debut in 2019 and you, of course, debuted in 2021. There was a two-year period, what was that time like for you guys?

Woobin: So although we were supposed to debut in 2019, because it got pushed back we were disappointed and wondered ‘When are we going to debut?’ When we finally did debut it was almost like a relief. It was like turning over a new leaf so that was really exciting.

TC: How did you all originally become trainees? Did you audition? Were you scouted?

Youngbin: I auditioned.

Suil: I received a DM asking me to come in.

Woobin: I went to an arts school so I was doing a lot of auditions so I got contacted by the previous company. The current one, I met with the CEO.

Steven: I first got casted on Facebook. They just DMed me like, “Oh, we’re in Australia, we’re nearby, do you want to try to audition?” So I thought it was a scam [at] first. So I was like “Okay yes, let’s meet up here,” and then I was scared so I brought all my friends to be with me in case I got kidnapped [laughs] but yes, I realized it was actually real. So I took the audition, I somehow passed and then later on… connections with the company right now and the CEO.

TC: Does anyone remember what song they auditioned with?

Steven: This company I don’t think I did an actual audition or anything, but then my previous company I think I sent a Taylor Swift song [everyone laughs]. I didn’t know how to sing or anything so “I like this music, I’m just gonna sing it,” and yes, I sang it spoken. I don’t know what the song was, it was Taylor Swift… “Star Struck”? “Star…” I’m not sure, I forgot.

TC: It might have been “Starlight”?

Suil: Tom Odell.

Youngbin: Maroon 5.

TC: And who are your biggest musical or performance role models?

Youngbin: Baekhyun (of EXO). He’s so bright, can always capture the stage, and he’s cool. I really respect him.

Steven: For me singing wise it’s IU “sunbaenim” (Korean honorific for someone older or with more seniority in school or the workplace). And then for rap, Eminem got me started rapping. And then I think I got more interested in rapping with Logic and Joyner Lucas, and Tory Lanez.

Woobin: Kang Seung-Yoon (of Winner) has great melodies and songs that are really my style. 

Suil: I don’t have a specific role model, I respect so many artists and I look at what they’re good at, kinda digest that, and try to put it in my own music and style.

TC: As a group, what do you hope to do with your music?

Suil: As artists, we’d really like to bring comfort and good vibes to everyone who listens. If you’re in a bad mood or you want to cheer up we hope you listen to LUMINOUS. But at the same time, the members want to have fun, this isn’t just a job but something we really enjoy.

TC: This is your first comeback, congratulations by the way! It’s been a few months since your debut now, how have you guys changed and grown since then?

Youngbin: We’ve become a little more mature and our… aura has become cooler.

TC: The new EP is called Between Darkness and Life (Self n Ego). What’s the concept?

Suil: In the album, we’re looking at the fake self versus who you really are. And LUMINOUS fighting through going through those motions to really figure out “Who am I?”

TC: I read that “Joker” inspired the performance, how does he fit the concept?

Steven: We kind of tried to get that beastly vibe from the Joker. Like a werewolf kind of vibe. So that’s what we tried to put into our choreo. And then for our concept, I think the Joker has two sides, and he’s just struggling to be himself. 

TC: The first song on the EP is “MATRYOSHKA.” Steven, you co-wrote that song, do you want to talk about it a little?

Steven: It was one of the songs that I wrote quickly because I was short in time so I couldn’t really, you know, spend time on it and be like, “Oh, I think this will be better and then try to improve these parts.” It went by really quickly.

TC: What’s your favourite song on the EP?

Steven: Mine is “Want it more?” When I hear that song it just gets me motivated, it makes me wanna work harder for the things I want.

Woobin: I like “MATRYOSHKA.” I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, I feel a bit more hip when I listen to it. One of the fans said it would be a good song for a bride to walk down the aisle at a wedding [collective laughter].

Suil: I really enjoy “Trouble.” When we were recording I thought it was so great it could be a title track if we didn’t have “All eyes down (advance).” 

Youngbin: “Scintillation” really brings an innocent unique feel to the EP. 

TC: As individual artists and as a group, what are your goals for the rest of the year? 

Steven: For me as a group and personally I think my goal is to stay healthy, not get hurt. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. If we’re sick or hurt we can’t make music.

Youngbin: I hope everyone listens to LUMINOUS and looks to us for healing. And like Steven said I hope all the members and staff stay safe and healthy.

Suil: As LUMINOUS since we’ve received more of the fans’ love, we hope we can become deserving of all the love the fans give us and really show our best side as artists. Personally, I’d like to participate in writing one of our songs. 

Woobin: We’d love to have a world tour, perform in front of everybody, if we can do it we’d love to. My personal goal is to be the best. 

TC: To finish off, do you have a message for your fans? 

Youngbin: Thank you so much for all your love and support, we’ll work towards becoming a better LUMINOUS. 


Editorial Note: Youngbin, Suil, and Woobin’s answers have been translated from Korean to English with help from a translator. Editorial liberties were taken not to change what they said but to account for translation. Unfortunately certain details and nuances have likely been lost in translation. Global PR & Marketing by MJTONZ.


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Musicians in the wake of COVID

 Three artists from different walks of life speak on the the effects of COVID

William Cote-Monroe treads carefully around his studio apartment filled with amplifiers and music gear. His multi-holding guitar stand shares a space with his refrigerator in the kitchen. Where you would normally find the television, you see a home studio where he spends his free time recording and practicing music. His KRK speakers stand in place of house plants. 

This is the after-effect of COVID’s wake that Cote-Monroe and so many other musicians are left in. The pandemic left many stranded without a job, livelihood, passion, and in extreme cases, a place to call home.   

When Montreal went into lock down in March 2020, starting on March 20, 2020 to be exact, Cote-Monroe was in Ontario playing as a guitar player for a group called Chinsee and the Eclipse. They had just played in London, Ontario the night before and their Toronto gig was then cancelled with their Montreal show following suit. To add the cherry on top, schools were also cancelled for two weeks.   

 “I had a feeling that it was gonna be much longer than two weeks. It just didn’t seem feasible. The two weeks was probably just to comfort us,” said Cote-Monroe. 

Faced with having quite a bit of work suddenly disappear as an artist, and the severe reduction of income, and loss of momentum that came with it, Cote-Monroe had to shift certain priorities in his life. “All these festival gigs that I was going to have during the summer which were supposed to launch my career just dried up,” he said.

Cote-Monroe plays very few shows, and the majority of them happen to be solo shows, which entail just a guitar and vocals. That’s easy. However, playing with others now chalks up to more of a task as vaccine passport limitations fell into place.  

“You have to acquire your QR code to play and it became quite frustrating to play with other people because others didn’t have their QR codes and neither did members of the audience,” Cote-Monroe said.

These audience members then get kicked out and if there were three to four bands playing at the event they all end up going home with nothing.

“It’s more worth it to bring your friends over to watch you jam,” he said.       

Cote-Monroe hopes to add a full-time drummer and bassist into his ensemble, as well as get a driving license and a van for the band in order to be on the road every other week around Quebec and Ontario. The struggle will soon reveal itself as Cote-Monroe will have to start on a clean slate when it comes to networking with other artists and finding new jobs to help him sustain his goals as a full-time musician. 

Fortunately, the pandemic led to him centralizing himself and his creative outlook. He picked up drawing for his album artwork. “I’m not some trained sketcher and I’m just drawing art that I vibe with,” Cote-Monroe said. He is currently also learning the ropes in mixing and mastering so that he can ideally release a song per week because he can write like that now. “I’m just trying to bring it back to that level of which I can release music that I like and people care about.”  

What affects artists, naturally stems from what affects venues. There has been a collective called Growve MTL which organises music shows in the form of live sessions at several locations but mainly on the Saint Laurent and Saint Denis streets, including Turbo Haüs and Blue Dog. The event’s cofounder is none other than Shayne Assouline, a jazz studies student at Concordia, alongside professional beatmaker Shem G and Marcus Dillon, a silvertongue lyricist. According to Dillon, a member of the Dust Gang community, they are both members of a band named The Many which congregated in 2018 at a pub called Urban Science, which offers jam sessions under their “Le Cypher” event. Growve MTL’s main act is The Many, who are linked with the Dust Gang community. 

Dust Gang’s goal with Growve MTL is to have musicians who are at ease with their musical skills come together, so that they always contribute something new each time. Even if they play the same song at many events, they make each show fresh in this way. For example, because of their diverse influences and past experiences, a new musician with a violin will perform differently than the other stringed musician, like a bassist. They are set to return to the local scene on March 2 according to Assouline.      

Joseph Mascis (J) is the frontrunner of the Americana suburban alternative rock band known as Dinosaur Junior. As a band, they have been active since the late ‘80s, spanning almost four decades. Before COVID, the band only stopped playing live shows once in the 90s due to conflict between members. However, the pandemic has put a new stress on the group, causing them to stop twice in total. 

“People always come up to me and say ‘COVID must’ve been great for you,’” Mascis said. “Um, well actually no, I haven’t liked it at all, I mean.” 

Emmett Jefferson Murphy, Dinosaur Jr. drummer, stated at one point that he didn’t even have a family to go back home to. He would be holed up in the house alone with nobody to converse and interact with during COVID. “It’s not easy, far from it in fact,” said Mascis.

Mascis’ famous wall of Marshall 4×12 amps crowded his living room, while the Jazzmaster and Telecaster lay pell-mell over the couch. His living space was in disarray and one can tell he is not used to it. “It was horrible, I mean, I just haven’t been home that much ever since I was a kid or something, it’s just not how I usually live my life, I’m always going places and touring, so it was tough.” 

Cote-Monroe says that “everything is temporary,” and maybe it is, as Assouline and Mascis share his sentiment on the whole COVID ordeal. As the artists wait to go back out on tour again to exercise their passion, they’ll have to overcome the main COVID hurdle just like they hurdle over the smorgasbord of equipment in their houses.  


Graphic by James Fay


Music’s own Metaverse: SoundCloud’s influence with artist Kwame Djoss

Since its founding in 2007, SoundCloud has evolved from an underground streaming service to one of the worlds most notable audio distribution platforms

We’ve all heard of the terms SoundCloud rapper and SoundCloud artist before. The success stories to the likes of Post Malone, XXXTentacion, and Kehlani are just a few examples that propagate this image. But while you and I might picture bleached pink-blonde hair, face tattoos, and edgy teenage rock stars, most local artists who use the app say SoundCloud is about so much more. 

During the day, Kouami Djossou, also known as Kwame Djoss, is a fourth-year Concordia psychology student — but after class, they are a local artist sharing their music on SoundCloud. 

“I got my start in music when my dad saw one of the Stromae music tutorials on YouTube. He said ‘Oh, making music is easy,’ and downloaded a music software on the computer called Linux MultiMedia Studio. When I was 12, a friend introduced me to FL Studio.”

By the end of high school and the beginning of CEGEP, Djoss started sharing their music online, but stopped from 2017 to 2019 due to internal pressure. 

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was listening to people who were way better than I was like Kaytranada, High Klassified. I thought ‘Yo I’m not that good, what’s the point of making music if it’s not gonna be good?’”

Djoss makes most of their songs and beats all by themself, playing all the instruments solo. By using bass, electric guitar, and a Native Instruments Maschine MK3, they sample sounds off Youtube and remix them into their beats.

When asked about describing their path, Djoss says that they just make music that they themself like to listen to.

“Usually the path that people give to musicians is like selling beats. Especially if you’re a Black musician, people will assume that you make hip hop beats and stuff. But the market for selling beats is kind of saturated. What I’m interested in is incorporating my music into film.” 

Like many other artists on the platform, Djoss views SoundCloud as one of the best music sharing platforms out there for up and coming artists. You may discover niche genres you’ve never heard of like “Phonk music” and “Memphis Rap.” SoundCloud gives you the opportunity to discover great artists with a few thousand plays. 

“The SoundCloud algorithm is really not like the Spotify one where it will guess what you like based on what’s popular and which popular artist you might like. SoundCloud will be like ‘If you like this small artist, you might like this other small artist,’ and you get hella inspiration. With Spotify, you’ll eventually end up with all the same top artists like Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish. For sharing and discovering, SoundCloud is the best for sure,” said Djoss.

“Back in 2015 when I was getting started, Spotify wasn’t really a thing. On Spotify, you can’t upload with samples and you have to pay like $20 a year to post content. I know SoundCloud doesn’t get you paid but for lowkey artists, it’s perfect. It’s free up until a certain time limit. Plus, since it’s so easy to share music on SoundCloud we have all different types of artists doing whatever.”

There’s also such a unique community within SoundCloud. Djoss recommends local artists like Magi Merlin and her producer FunkyWhat. Songs such as “Elephant Woman” by Blonde Redhead, “Fall Down” by Crumb, “Human” by Sevdaliza and “blisters” by Serpentwithfeet are also recommended. 

“I’m really inspired by the SadBois 2001 era of Yung Lean, Yung Gud too. The universe they created on the platform is just so amazing to me. It feels like a joke but then it’s so well built. A whole galaxy to get into.”

Djoss will be giving a workshop on synthesizers for the technology sandbox at Concordia when everything reopens. No dates are announced but be sure to follow them on instagram for updates on future projects.. For now, feel free to check out their works: the short film Mango Couple along with singles “Faith” and “SAGEWAVE.” 

“At the end of the day, what’s important is that you enjoy what you’re doing and stay optimistic. Inspiration can come from anywhere.”


Photo by Kwame Djoss


J Mascis discusses Dinosaur Jr. and the Freakscene documentary

Godfather of grunge J Mascis talks about the release of his band’s latest documentary Freakscene

Off the recent premiere of Freakscene, Dinosaur Jr.’s legacy has come to light. The documentary was played in a number of festivals last year including Film Festival Cologne, Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and the Munich International Documentary Film Festival. Freakscene is meant to give more insight into the band’s history and how they operate as a “dysfunctional family.”

Dinosaur Jr, an Americana suburban alternative rock band from Amherst Massachusetts, was formed in 1984 following the transition from J Mascis’ previous band Deep Wound. It featured Dinosaur Jr.’s initial members, J Mascis and Lou Barlow. Later, Emmett Jefferson Murphy (Murph) took the mantle of drummer and thus completed the trio. Mascis plays guitar and sings lead vocals while Barlow is the bassist and supports Mascis in vocals.

Mascis’ efforts resulted in the band releasing their debut self-titled album within the first year of the band forming. Since then, the group has amassed a discography spanning over ten studio records and nine other records featuring live shows and extended editions. Known to be the godfather of grunge music, Dinosaur Jr. happens to be the precursor to bands such as Mudhoney, as well as the “Big Four” of grunge: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Nirvana.

Freakscene showcases never-before-seen footage of the band in their element, whether on stage or in their day-to-day tour lifestyle. Prominent figures in the music industry like Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), and Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) make appearances throughout the documentary, shedding light on the hardships Dinosaur Jr. faced while on tour, from facing hippies from their hometown to struggling with internal conflict.


The Concordian chatted with J Mascis about the band’s history and the new documentary.

TC: I read something almost a decade ago that your initial concept of Dinosaur Jr. was “ear-bleeding country.” What sparked the idea of that concept? 

JM: I was just looking for a different form of music. I guess I thought I’d never heard anybody do that so it would be cool. By our second album, we had developed our sound, when during the first album we were just looking for that sound.

TC: Using that sound, did you take anything from your previous band Deep Wound to apply to Dino or did you start with a blank slate?

JM: While learning the guitar, I was trying to incorporate the drums, trying to transpose it to guitar. I played drums in Deep Wound. The guitar felt a lot different than the drums. I was playing [guitar] loud so I had room to have dynamics and use effects to try and get different textures too. Drumming is a lot more expressive with the dynamics and power of it, the guitar didn’t feel as powerful as the drums. I didn’t know much about guitar but I liked the distorted guitar and I said “guess I’ll get a fuzzbox” and I learnt to use the effects and playing the guitar at the same time.

TC: The wall of sound that you, Lou and Murph created, did it remind you of past bands? If so, which ones? 

JM: I remember seeing Motörhead and being impressed, it felt like the sound could hold you up. It was this all-encompassing kind of sound. That was definitely inspirational. [Lemmy] was shorter than we expected, I saw him walking around the club playing pinball.

TC: In the documentary, you were regarded as a “straight edge punk” by Murph who called himself a “hippie punk.” What were both of your influences and how did they differ in regard to you being straight edge? 

JM: Murph liked a lot of jazz fusion, like Allan Holdsworth, he really liked Frank Zappa [and] Billy Cobham. A little bit of punk mixed in like the Dead Kennedys. But I was more fully into punk and hardcore. We were in this hippie town and I saw a lot of acid tragedies and I was sick of hippies so not taking drugs was kind of a rebellion in my town. I then met other guys like Minor Threat who were also at the same conclusion on drugs. That was another level of relating to punk rock cause I thought that it was all junkies from England so discovering there were other people who were sick of drugs was a revelation. I liked the music of Sex Pistols but I couldn’t relate to Sex Pistols, I couldn’t relate to somebody shooting heroin.

TC: How were you able to gain traction despite being banned from venues in West Massachusetts?

JM: Playing in New York and Europe, and people from our town then liked us better cause they’d see we played in England. I guess that’s what happened to Hendrix, he went to England to sell it back to America.

TC: How do you feel when Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon calls Dino Jr. “the perfect band”? 

JM: That’s of course flattering to hear that. I guess we both have a certain sound together which I guess we all realize is valuable, we’re just trying to preserve, ‘cause we grew up playing together and worked hard at it we realized we got something cool so we’re just trying to stick with it.

TC: I remember watching the “Little Furry Things” music video when I was six and it freaked me out with all the transitions. What was your goal with it? 

JM: Oh, our friends made it. They were film students at the college we hung out at. That was them experimenting with film and we were just kinda, you know, their subjects. Yeah, this college, Hampshire, there’s five colleges in our town but that’s the one that didn’t have grades and had a lot of crazy people and hippies and rich kids whose parents wanted them to go to school but couldn’t fit into regular school. So especially in high school, it was more fun to hang out there.

TC: Picture your favourite tour and walk me through an average tour day, from a budding musician to another, what was it like?

JM: Our best tour was when we opened for Sonic Youth. We were in Lou’s parent’s car with our stuff crammed in there and followed Sonic Youth down the road. We had never been anywhere and we were going to Detroit and other midwestern towns. It was good to just get out of our town and see a little bit of the world and get to play and somehow that was the best time we’d had.

TC: Could you tell me how you could define your relationship with The Cure?

JM: I guess I liked them more on their earlier albums before they got as poppy. When we covered the song [“Just Like Heaven”] it had recently come out. That was a thing that bands would do in the ‘60s where they would cover recent hits and it hadn’t seemed like people had done that lately. I guess it was kind of a nod to that.

TC: In the documentary, you said that Dinosaur Jr. luckily was not “a Nirvana success.” What do you mean by that? 

JM: I guess the main thing is we’re not dead. I don’t know if we could handle it, they [Nirvana] couldn’t handle it. We’re just not built like these old rock stars who think Kurt Cobain’s a pussy like Ted Nugent or Keith Richards who don’t understand where we were at. They were all like, “Yeah we wanna be huge and big big big and it’s great, we’re coming out of the war!” We were all not thinking in those terms. We wanted to make great music but never thought about playing stadiums and stuff so I can see how it’s a bit much. I know how people can’t understand that. “If you got into music if you didn’t want to be huge, why are you playing at all?” It’s just frustrating not to be understood by this [older] generation.

TC: What was the song that you considered most fun to write?

JM: The song “Budge” from Bug, it’s two parts and before that, I was obsessed with having twenty parts in a song. To have a song with just two parts was revolutionary in my mind that could hold my interest; that was somehow fun to me.

TC: With Freakscene being released, what is your goal for the audience to experience? More insight into the story of Dinosaur Jr.?

JM: Just to have people see where we’re coming from, see a band from a different perspective. We definitely feel misunderstood half of the time and I feel that now I can now just show that movie and they’ll have a better understanding of where I was coming from. ‘Cause yeah a lot of people don’t get it.

I’ve heard people I know say “If you’d only talk between songs, you’d be huge,” that was kinda annoying and baffling to me. Just cause I feel too nervous on stage to just talk, I realize that’s an impressive skill but I didn’t really hone that skill.

Some interviewer in France I remember, the guy was like “I hear you’re boring and difficult so I bought some crayons I thought maybe you could draw a picture,” what an intro, oh geez, I’m really psyched to talk to him now. He literally brought magic markers and paper.

TC: Is there anything new in the works?

I finished a Heavy Blanket record which is my instrumental band… I’ve been recording a Witch album recently where I play drums. I’m also working on a new solo album!


Graphic by Miao


Erin Marcellina is ready to take off

The second-year Concordia student is truly musically gifted

After a short conversation with her, it’s apparent that Erin Marcellina has proved a master of her craft. Her love and passion for the art is undeniable and her knowledge about the subject is truly impressive.

Originally from Ottawa, Marcellina moved to Montreal two months ago to study in the music department after one year of online classes. She is excited to face new challenges in a more arts-oriented city like Montreal, something that was lacking in Ottawa.

“There is not really anywhere that a musician could really go in Ottawa. There are not a lot of opportunities, but in Montreal, there are musicians everywhere and there are opportunities everywhere so that’s mostly why I’m here,” she said.

The 19-year-old has been submerged in the world of music since the age of three. Her mother taught her piano, an instrument she has been practicing ever since. She took a two-year break from music when she was 15 because she felt overwhelmed with how serious and competitive it was becoming. Later, she fell in love with it again. She taught herself the guitar, and began singing, writing, and composing. She comes from a musical family where both her parents are accomplished musicians: one in classical music, and the other in rock and metal.

“I was really lucky because I got introduced to both sides of the spectrum of music, literally like choral music and then heavy metal so then I was kind of able to explore within those genres and I am really grateful for what my parents showed me and I am super lucky that my family is so musically oriented,” said Marcellina.

Marcellina takes a singer-songwriter and folk approach to her music, and draws inspiration from artists such as Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Men I Trust and Daniel Caesar. While she shares similarities with all of these artists in terms of style, she is also influenced by a multitude of different genres, from funk, to soul, to even metal. 

Whenever she is composing, she will approach it in a music theory kind of way where whatever genre she is listening to, she will try to identify certain notes and chord progressions. She becomes inspired by these and writes them down to play and interpret them in her own style.

“My inspiration for my music isn’t just within the genre that I listen to. As a musician you can kind of pick out things, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Like, I can listen to a super metal song and then through that find elements that I can put into a folk piece,” she said.

Marcellina released an EP in 2020, Wait for You, which was all independently produced, mixed, and mastered. It borrowed singer-songwriter elements with touches of folk and indie music. Her music can be described as emotional with her gentle piano and guitar lead ballads, personal lyricism and mellow vocal lines. It all makes for an appealing listen that captivates the listener into the world she creates with her songs. It can also be quite sad with tones of nostalgia spread throughout, a sentiment she likes to incorporate into her music and play with. 

“I cry a lot when writing music. Composing is a very emotional process especially with the lyricism and the things that I write about. Everything that I write about and put out there is very important to me. […] Everything has an important backstory to it. It can be quite the emotional toll to write, especially an entire EP,” she said.

The Ontarian singer was supposed to release an album last year, but she felt differently about the love themes it explored. She then decided not to release it. 

However, she hasn’t ditched the album completely because even though she doesn’t feel that way anymore, it’s still something to hold on to and is a possibility for her to change some aspects of it in order to maybe release another version someday.

“I have been trying to revisit the album but it’s one of those things that when you put so much emotional value into your music or into your work it’s kind of hard to go back and revisit it. It’s kind of like when you smell a perfume that you used to wear years ago,” she said.

In the meantime, Marcellina is set to drop a single in the near future, which she hasn’t done in almost two years. The song is called “Couple Years,” and while it is a folk tune, it is inspired by Radiohead’s “Let Down.” The song doesn’t have a release date yet but while waiting for it to come out, you can always listen to her first EP Wait for You.


Photo by Juliette Carpi


Meet Zack Sarkissian

The 33-year-old producer just released a collaborative debut album, The Art Of Vibe

Zack Sarkissian is an Armenian-Canadian music producer living in Laval and making his living in the music industry, notably sound engineering for artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, and Foghat, and festivals such as Osheaga and Jazzfest.

He frequents Marsonic Studios where he has a studio to write, record, and jam in. Zack doesn’t happen to be his first name, however. He said “Zack is my artist and brand name. Zohrab is my given name.”

Growing up in an Armenian household, one would find a smorgasbord of genres emanating from the speaker. The influence of traditional Greek, Armenian, and Arabic features only one side of the coin. The radio would introduce Sarkissian to a variety of pop artists such as Cher with “Believe,” and the phenomenon that was The Spice Girls. Rap, hip hop and R&B were other genres that made themselves known in his world in the shapes of Tupac, Biggie, and Nas, to name a few.

Over time, he started to notice patterns in the songs, igniting his interest to understand and develop music.“I’d hear the [musical] scales that they were using and I understood and started to speak the language more because these genres are all based on the blues.”

Metallica is the band that got him to pick up the guitar for the second time — his first time being by his parents, before Sarkissian declined their offer to pay for guitar lessons. “For eight years I never had the intention of picking up an instrument and playing, till I felt the instrument woke me up. I heard that initial ‘DUN, DUN DUN DUUUN’ of the guitar,” Sarkissian said, referring to the recognizable opening to one of Metallica’s fan-favourites.”

At 16, Sarkissian did not envision himself becoming a producer or a mixing engineer, or even working as a live soundman — that’s definitely not what he had in mind. Yet growing as a musician means evolving into something one would not have thought of before. “Being a guitarist is what I wanted, being on a big stage, playing in front of a hundred thousand people, touring the world, that’s definitely what called to me.”

As the internet became more prominent, Sarkissian quickly discovered that metal was just one thing that called to him. What drew him to metal was, “the sound and the freedom of expression to be able to talk to the guitar.” From metal, he changed his sights to classic rock and hard rock, inspired by guitarists like Joe Perry from Aerosmith to Saul Hudson (Slash) from Guns N’ Roses.

Through these genres he noticed that they all held a common thread: the blues. B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton all entranced him, but nobody did it better than Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“It was like thunder hit me. As a kid, I remember watching wrestling with my grandparents and I distinctly remember Hulk Hogan’s intro had SRV’s cover of ‘Voodoo Chile,’ and so when I heard it again all those years later it floored me.”

With this newfound passion for multiple genres of music, Sarkissian found himself in a five-piece band called Monroe. They released a five-song EP called “The Art of Marvelous” which was recorded at Wild Studios outside of Montreal.

Eventually though, he had tapped out Montreal in terms of the musicians that he worked with and the venues that he was playing at and wanted a change. The Sunset Strip called to him, just like it called the members of Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses and The Doors. But he didn’t just want to go there as a musician; more so as a sound engineer. 

While there were schools in Montreal that taught with the same music curriculum, they didn’t interest him for a number of reasons. “I can go to L.A., go to school there, not too far from the Sunset Strip, with amazing weather and the beach, or stay in Montreal and pay a little bit less but learn from last year’s students who have no credibility per se,” said Sarkissian. Instead, he described how it was fulfilling to work and learn from acclaimed sound engineers in L.A. like Barry Rudolf (Lynyrd Skynyrd), David Isaac (Michael Jackson), Jerry Christy who worked on a number of Chaka Khan albums, and Jim Morgan (Eddie Kramer’s understudy).

Since his graduation at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Sarkissian has done sound engineering for artists like The Winery Dogs (featuring Billy Sheehan from Mr. Big and Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater) and Gilby Clarke. Additionally, he has done sets at Ironman and Blues Festival.

Sarkissian advises upcoming bands and artists on the harsh realities of the music industry and how oversaturated it is. He added, “Learn social media. It’s your best tool. And learn the business, because you can easily get screwed.”

When asked about the longevity of bands nowadays compared to 20th-century groups and artists, he said, “It’s disheartening, not because the band is not good enough, it’s more of how the industry has made it out to be.” Nowadays anybody can make a single on a laptop, it’s easy, and the market itself wanting a specific sound and look has made the industry oversaturated.

Sarkissian and his old friend Jay, known by his stage name Jaay Noir, would dabble in their own genres; the former with rock and roll, and the latter with hip hop. In 2019 it clicked that they should mesh their styles and put out an album together after a series of successful singles. The style of music on the album ranges from country, R&B, reggae – with rock and hip hop being the predominant genres.

Sarkissian and Noir would learn to write songs together. Some songs were written within a week, while others would be spread out over months. The initial tracks took longer because they had to learn to collaborate, however, according to Sarkissian, “It all came naturally, an organic process.”

Sarkissian released the album in October this year, christening it The Art of Vibe, featuring songs like “Unde The Vermillion Sun,” and “Poison Ivy.” It is now available on all streaming platforms including YouTube and Spotify.

For now, he is keeping his future collaborations under wraps, but in the meantime, Sarkissian hopes to network with more musicians and continue to explore new horizons in the music industry.


Photo by Saro Hartounian


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

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