Tag Archives: music

Beauty &Taxes

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These are two things I have been working on this month and BOTH are surprisingly foreign to me.

The band spent all of the Winter months writing, rehearsing, performing and recording the Strength EP, which is due out May 2012.  The songs are hard, aggressive, thick, dynamic and lyrically pretty clearly about strength – my interpretation of strength – there were some ups+downs writing the material but no un-scalable brick walls.

Now Spring has come and I’m in the midst of writing some new material for the second EP titled Beauty.  I have come to realize, that I have NEVER written from a conceptual space like Beauty before.

It’s disorienting. Most of the material I have written is heavy and generally deals with issues we don’t wish to speak about (living beyond trauma, anger, depression, etc…).  But Beauty – well that’s something we seemingly engage with every day, and can’t stop talking about, particularly in a time of heavy media saturation – billboards, tv ads, magazine pull outs, facebook, etc…

The facebook element really intrigues me – in past we would look to magazines and other external media to draw comparisons and build our sense of Beauty worthiness and attractiveness – I feel that now we do this more so by stalking our friend’s pages and the pages of totally random seemingly happy + seemingly beautiful strangers.  We are very willing to take on the role of the advertiser by posting what we believe to be beautiful photos of ourselves to broadcast a particular notion we’d like to persuade an audience to believe. Simultaneously, we play role of  an audience who is willing to accept the potential deception of the seemingly wonderful scenarios portrayed in the photographs/posts of others.  We should recognize that with any medium there will be an inherent bias in the message – facebook photos are self-selected for us to look our best and to meet some standard (a standard that is quantified by the number of Likes). It’s an instantaneous model for the pursuit of crowd-sourcing a standard of our own Beauty.

But we all know that Beauty is far more than aesthetic. Many times when I think of Beauty I immediately think of love, or truth or justice or good or some other highly conceptual positive element. But I’m not entirely comfortable with that – again that’s too self-selecting, and things like being good or engaging with truth can be painful and difficult actions, but entirely necessary – can’t a painful truth be Beauty?

Can broken hearts be beautiful?

I’m trying to work from neither the aesthetic nor the emotional elements of Beauty. The definition that has really made the largest impact has been the phrase being in one’s hour.”  It’s the only one that’s really rung true in my mind as a place to start writing new material.  It I have LITTLE IDEA what this EP is going to sound like in the end….it’s a grand experiment this Beauty.

And as for Taxes.….well you see I was supposed to be doing that this afternoon – but decided to write to you instead…..if ever you feel really down and out about your Beauty (whatever that means to you), know that you are always and forever more beautiful than taxes will ever be.

To Begin Again – Marco was sweating, Rustom was smiling, and I was singing my little heart out

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WOW Simply WOW! I can’t wipe this smile off my face....(<—that’s literally what I looked like while writing this post!)

The past two weeks have been an absolutely ridiculously phenomenally challenging and yet a remarkably enjoyable start to the new year!

3 shows in 4 weeks! People reaching out to us for future shows! Last minute EVERYTHING – my little heart’s all worked up!

Our kickass end of 2011 show at the legendary Velvet Underground….AMAZING…..it even got us another gig! I needn’t say more.

First show of 2012 was Jan 7th with our dear friends Dead Shyre at The Central! They sounded amazing with a tight new lineup – this was one of my favourite shows they’ve done!  Maha Kamal, amazing lady who pushes for social justice through her profession as a lawyer, AND is a phenomenal photographer was at the show too! (She is also the wife of Dead Shyre’s rocking lead singer Ali Rizvi). You need to check out Maha’s photography – it’s amazing. I kinda wish she also had a blog, I’d follow that in an instant (just putting it out there Maha!).

And then Jeez louise!….

I’m still in awe of our show on Friday Jan 13th at Hart House for UofT’s Student Union’s Week of Welcome!

OMG SBS is on the marquee line!!

We opened for The Elwins + The Arkells. This was the biggest show we’ve done to date – about 250-300 super excited energetic university kids and the energy flowing through the room was IMMENSE!  Marco was sweating, Rustom was smiling, and I was singing my little heart out. The audience JUMPED, DANCED + MOSHED with our tunes! I mean they had never even heard of us before and to get that kind of response was

fucking gold.

Hart House a+ UTSU totally spoiled us with our own green room, with food, and booze! Gah! It was one of the most vindicating moments of our professional artistic lives – we were actually being treated like artists! 🙂 We would have been happy with some water and a push onto the stage!  Hart House, Vita Carlino, The Elwins  -these guys all gave us simply amazing love.  The Elwins even let us borrow their bass player + tuner for sound check – totally awesome guys.  Keep your eyes out for their upcoming CD (releasing in Feb!).   We didn’t have a chance to meet The Arkells in person – but god damn they rocked out that night!   SBS was also joined on stage that night by Karim Rizkallah and his gorgeous Halo (– it’s SUCH a COOL instrument – see video below).  He joined us with only 2 days notice – totally rock’n roll).  Karim & his halo will hopefully also be making an appearance on the album.

Oh yeah – that’s right – We are recording an album in February!  Gah! Crazy how quickly that came up!

This is a year of cutting out the bullshit – and it feels great!!  Cutting out crap (from a diet, relationships, work, etc), has really let the most important things take precedence and receive the attention they deserve.  It feels sooooo good to have put so much hard work into something and to see the energy reflected in your audience.  !!! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN !!!

Let’s do it again!

 

(We’re going to do it again on Feb 17th at The Drake Hotel! You should come and do it with us 😉 – keep your eyes out for more deets!)

The End is Nigh

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The calendar year is coming to a close. I love how people do end of year posts and they are always so supper sappy – as much as I love unicorns – I do have a special place in my heart for Unicorn Meat.  So this is going to be realistic yet magical…..

Although we have made plans, I’m not certain what’s in store for the band, the label, or even just little ol’ me in the year to come, but for everything that has been the past year:

Thank you

to all the amazing people who have been working alongside the band, the label, the community to continue to work against the random factors of Life through creating art! Thank you for fighting the good fight.  Your support and love and sheer wild bewildering believing has provided our little band with a beautiful community, a stunning audience at our shows, and the joy of performing.

To have you come to a show, post your thoughts on our Facebook page, hangout with us on Twitter, send us an email (see below), talk to us about your thoughts on music, life, love, community, change – we have been very privileged to engage with you.  Thank you for sharing in our music!

Our last show of the year is Friday Dec 16th at the legendary Velvet Underground in Toronto – it will be loud and lovely.  If you are at the show we would love to have your thoughts on the new songs!!! We will definitely need your feed back on songs!!!  (see below)!  SBS + Friends are then heading away to the Hart House Farm to write, and record demos for the upcoming album due out Spring 2012.  We will be sharing demos in late December an early January.

Every day is a new year – not in a shmultzy kind of way – but in the way that love, joy, merriment, peace and resolutions can be had at any time! Don’t sweat the insanity that is supposed to be “The Holidays.”  Besides – The End is Nigh! Which means we get to begin again.

Much love,  your band always,

SBS

We will be releasing new tracks very soon – if you’re interested in being a part of our listening panel – please provide your info below! In the comment section – you can write Listening Panel! THANKS!
 

Works in Progress!

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Hi Friends,

First month down – 17 to go……September is a new year for many students – but really aren’t we all students of in the school of life?  (hahahaha)….September has always felt way more like the beginning of a New Year to me than Jan 1st- and in that regard here are some of our new school year resolutions……

New songs, New shows, New website.….NEW FULL LENGTH ALBUM!!!!

Check out the “vlog” (video blog) below for details!  VIDEO DISCLAIMER:  I am almost always in “muppet mode” when on any kind of film based medium – photos, videos, etc… it’s a known fact.  You will notice many a “muppet moment” throughout the video.  Enjoy! (This is the first one – so it’s fairly ranty/rambling…but it’s full of rainbows and unicorns with a low dose of marshmallow bananas).

It’s been 1 month since we’ve have moved into project mode.  I had an amazing chat with Marco Adamovic (our fantastic drummer) – and he’s also on board to help build the label – how very very exciting!!! He’s simply an amazing dude with a great history in youth facilitation and artistic programming.  So we are soooo stoked.

We’ve finally come up with some real launch dates for our upcoming works!

  • Sept – New Band Photography!
  • Oct 1  – New Website!
  • Sept/Oct – Questions and Answers (we have tons of questions about how you interact with music and really would love to get your thoughts and ideas on distribution, shows, videos – details coming in the next post)
  • Nov – Shows in the US!
  • Mar 13 2012 – New Album Release Date! (Hazah!)

We’ve got a lot of stuff going on and it’s all being brought to you by the letter W.  Well no, it’s actually being brought to you by a set of helping hands (Christine, Tanuja, Daniel, Chris, Nik!).  Live events, websites, grants…this team is going to rock some socks this fall.

Oct 1st will be the launch of a new website as well as Marco’s  turn to do a Vlog – his Vlog will be soooooooo much more together because he’s a pro! 🙂

The El Mocambo and Me

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What a lovely break I had over the holidays – a whole week off from the 9-5pm.  It was simply fantastic!In that time I ate, drank, danced and booked a show!

Thursday Jan 13th at the El Mocambo in Toronto – It seems to be a very enigmatic place.

I always like doing shows/events in unusual places – now El Mo (as it is lovingly called in Toronto) is not an unusual place per say – it is a licensed bar that hosts live music.  BUT – it’s been around FOREVER! It was the first bar to get a liquor license in Toronto!

The history of the building goes back to 1850!  This is crazy for a city that is infamous for having very few historic buildings. Oh – and you know a little band called The Rolling Stones played and recorded Love You Live at the El Mocambo back in 1977.  No biggie. 🙂

But what I find most intriguing is the current owner.

Now – I’m getting all of this information from the El Mocambo website, Wikipedia and newspaper articles – so take it as you will.  Abbas Jahangiri, the owner of the El Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has taken a vow of poverty.   His previous professional history includes leading an engineering team, CEO of a real estate development company as well as being a principal for a national dance company  (when you are on the El Mo site – click on History and Owner).  In 2003 he took a vow of poverty and has dedicated his life to helping the most vulnerable in society.  Including daily 2am-6am service and distribution of food and survival needs for hundreds of Toronto’s homeless. Very intriguing no?

I’m most intrigued by his conviction in his change of lifestyle.

Rock n’Roll isn’t a selfless industry – it is fueled by narcissism and vanity……..

Shameless Self Promotion

 

…..so it’s super interesting to come across people who try to find balance with the rock n’roll attitude and the gravest societal needs around them.  These are two extremes and Mr. Jahangiri seems to live at both ends.

I wonder if he will be at the show?  It would be awesome to grab a conversation with him – what couldn’t you talk about?!

Music is about great stories – I have a feeling that the El Mo has more than a few good tales to tell.

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Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto).  Performance at 7:30pm  $10.  19+.
Music: http://myspace.com/singbandanasingh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandbandana
A Heroic Entertainment Production.
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Discipline, Determination and other dreadful words that start with the letter D

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Art is exhausting.

Let me tell you – art is exhausting.

 

 

To be an artist you need to think and feel with intense emotion and dedication and then translate your heart and soul to the average non-artist who is too preoccupied with why your art doesn’t make sense – they think about the works instead of experiencing the works.

Do you know why, so many people fantasize but never actually become artists? Because it’s damn scary that’s why! We don’t idolize cocaine fueled rockstars,  famously suicidal painters or happily hedonistic hip hop artists because of their celebrity and scandalous lifestyles (at least not in the beginning); we idolize them because they have balls.  They get up there and they command, not demand respect.  They have presence, they have sexual charm, they have courage.

But without discipline and drive and determination (oh my!) artists can implode and ironically by being so open, so giving, so vulnerable – by being the very things they need to be in order to fulfill the sense of esteem and meaning in their lives – they lose themselves.

Artists need incredible discipline and self restraint balanced with freedom of self expression and experimentation.  This is no easy task.  To make things more interesting, many artists have supplementary jobs (what the non-artist would refer to as a “day job” although we artists do work, in the afternoon, mid morning, evenings and even wee morning hours as well).  Attempt to do all of this mentally and emotionally fulfilling/draining work and work a full time job at the same time – it can be an energy sucker.

Quil4 has done a lovely job of having a single post every month – I’m trying to get back on the 1 post every 2 weeks band wagon.  It’s not the frequency of the activity – it’s the persistence and doggedness of seeing something through.

I’ve been working on a 5 song – a  5 song EP for 2 years now – I’m almost done….so close! But the closer you get to completing it you start to wonder – what the hell am I doing?!  Why has this taken so long? What is the point again?  That’s when determination kicks in and the questions morph into: Why have I pushed through for so long? What compels me to continue forward? What is the next step?  Artists – we need to have that discipline, that determination, that drive:  whether a project takes two days, or twenty years as long as you complete it and do so with some intention – you will find success.  Now granted – there is of course the little business voice in the background also saying – so….2 years eh….at some point you’ll want to see a return on your investment and possibly start generating some revenue from your works specifically in the hopes of becoming independent of your supplementary job. Well – duh – of course silly.  Seeing a project through to completion also means being flexible – it’s taken me 2 years to get to where I am because I didn’t want to be sitting in a pool of debt to see my works come to life.  A rational decision – balanced by the experimentation and freedom of the works themselves.

Everyone is working hard these days regardless of what they do.  But if you think your artist friends are just dreaming madly into the night sky – hopefully you’ll think twice about that and possibly offer them a cupcake and some tea. Be kind to your artist friends! And Artists – be kind to yourselves! Remember – every little step helps -every blurry photo – every wrong note – every writer’s block – with every mistake, you learn –  with every mistake you are moving forward.

I Want One….

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I’m a musician who loves “organic” instruments (anything that doesn’t require an electronic power source).

Synthesizers aren’t always people friendly – with tons of knobs and dials, and modulators and it’s usually a hopeless task to really make good use of a synthesizer unless you have an understanding of frequencies. But increasingly the new synthesizers are becoming way more interesting for us to use – I mean to be able to make music from the visual is just so awesome.

I remember seeing one of these many years ago – but now I’m kinda leaning towards having one around – not to make music per say – but maybe more as a muse.

It seems like an awesome way to clear the mind after a long day of songwriting. There’s a random factor that I’m totally appreciating.

The Fear of Learning

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One of the aspects of being an artist is being open to time where nothing structured is going on.  Artists need time and space to think (and not think),  and to explore their surroundings and to be inspired.

So I’ve taken the month of May to live on the Toronto Islands – specifically at the Artscape Gibraltor Point Artist Retreat. It’s an amazing space – it’s a 100 year old school house!  There are several long term tenants, and then spaces for short term rental.  There’s also a cat whom I’ve yet to meet.

I’ve been taking a business planning for the arts course through the CCCO (Cultural Careers Council Ontario) and yesterday we had an awesome session about marketing.  Jyotika Malhotra (Social Media Week Toronto + exshoesme.com ) and Catherine Hernandez (Sulong Theatre Collective) gave us some awesome ideas for putting ourselves ‘out there.’

So in that vain – I decided to do a vlog – you can see the space I’m working in:

It’s soooooo hard to spend good chunks of your time without visible or seemingly tangible goals everyday (going to work, cooking, running to meetings).

BUT the GLORY of unstructured time and living is you run into opportunities you wouldn’t even have been able to imagine.  My meeting this amazing doctor, and THE STORIES SHE CARRIES WITH HER would not have happened unless I was taking that ferry back to the island. (More on that story later!)

Let me know what you’ve been up to this month! And more importantly – go out and try to give yourself even just 15 minutes of nothingness time.  It’s so important.