Manic Focus is the beat-bumpin’ project of John “JmaC” McCarten, a Chicago-based electronicmusic producer hailing from the Twin Cities. A multi-dimensional artist with a rowdy styleunbound to any one genre, Manic Focus transcends sound waves by fusing soulful blues withheavy-hitting bass, creating a resonating tone that’s entirely his own. Over the last 6 years, JmaChas released five full-length albums, each one a new evolution in sound and approach. He hasalso completed a slew of official remixes for artists such as GRiZ, The Floozies, Lettuce,Minnesota and Pretty Lights, and released several works with Pretty Lights Music veteransBreak Science.
On the road, JmaC has been steadily building his live performance to include additionalmusicians and elements of production. Jacob Barinholtz is now a mainstay on the drums, andother musical co-conspirators join the two on select dates around the country. He’s also beenknown to incorporate surprise guests such as Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli, GRiZ, The Floozies’Matt Hill, and Russ Liquid, to name a few. Occasionally, fans are treated to the rare live fusionof Break Science and Manic Focus, taking the stage as Manic Science. Recent live highlightsinclude performances at The Gorge Amphitheater in WA and Red Rocks Amphitheater in CO,both dates as support for Pretty Lights. Summer 2017 has seen performances from Manic Focusat Summer Camp Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Camp Bisco, and Summer SetMusic Festival, to name a few.
In the studio, JmaC continues to push himself to new musical limits by incorporating original,
sample-free recordings of many up-and- coming musical allies. This is especially apparent in the
material from his most recent album, Minds Rising. Released in April 2017, Minds Rising is an
infectious encapsulation of Manic Focus' roots in funk, soul, new-era hip hop, and electronic music. The album is an artful curation of the burgeoning Chicago music landscape and beyond, featuring appearances from cutting-edge hip hop artists, vocalists, producers, and musicians from across the country. Collaborators include Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band, Adam Deitch of Lettuce/Break Science, Russ Liquid, ProbCause, and Late Night Radio, to name a few.
Minds Rising is an opus two years in the making, and paints an aural illustration of Manic Focus’ shift from producer to composer — one beat, instrument and verse at a time.
Whether it’s at a small-town venue or a world-renowned music festival on his nationwideheadlining tour, you won’t want to miss a Manic Focus throw-down.
Reuben and the Dark
Calgary's Reuben and the Dark is a collection of five multi- instrumentalists and vocalists led by Reuben Bullock. The group makes chilling, emotive folk and soul driven by dark, introspective lyrics that explore the duality of misery and joy.
Boasting a rare chemistry between all members across western Canada, Reuben and the Dark has emerged organically from Canada's stellar independent scene on the strength of often anthemic compositions that translate the language of emotion into song with haunting clarity.
Their debut album is produced by the UK's Chris Hayden (Florence & the Machine) and Canada's Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and The Game feat Kanye West) and is being mixed by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele).
Too Many Zooz
Too Many Zooz is a music group based in New York City, New York, United States, formed by Leo Pellegrino (baritone saxophone), Matt Doe (trumpet) and David "King of Sludge" Parks (drums). Pellegrino and Doe met at the Manhattan School of Music where they were attending and, having teamed up with Parks from the band Drumadics, the trio started busking at various stations in the New York City Subway in their self-defined genre brass house. They gained fame when a video of one of their subway performances, recorded by a passer-by at Union Square station, went viral on YouTube in March 2014. The band is acclaimed for their originality, the members' playing abilities and Pellegrino's characteristic dance moves while playing the sax.
Having rocked the bar many times, Skratch Bastid is now ready to raise it. The Bastid has become one of Canada’s most in-demand DJs and respected producers, but don’t think it happened overnight. From his humble beginnings a decade ago as a teenager in Halifax- pumping out mixtapes from his bedroom and earning a loyal following already back then- he slowly spread his skills first at DJ competitions like DMC, ITF, and Scribble Jam and now around Canada and the world as a widely recognized go-to guy for party-rocking. The illest redhead on turntables has since gone viral. Seriously, youtube that shit. Since he is increasingly recognized for his comfort and versatility in different styles – hip hop, funk, disco, club, rock, and just about every other genre that will make you dance – more and more people are getting hip to his style. That’s what keeps this Bastid working so hard. Touring city-to-city with a relentless drive, he’s wowed crowds from coast to coast in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and all over Europe as he averages close to 200 shows a year. For Skratch Bastid, all that energy is brought back to the studio and heard in his music. As a producer, he takes that experience from the stage and lays it down on hard-hitting original music with a wide range of sounds. The formula earned him a Juno Nomination as Producer of the Year for his work on Buck 65’s Situation album, which he lost to Joni Mitchell. You can hear his own music often elevate his live sets along with yesterday and today’s best. In the past few years, the young lad landed in Toronto- after five fruitful years as a Montreal resident- bringing new flavor to the city and making his first mark with a big bang. His Skratch Bastid Presents quarterly event kicked off with a blockbuster collaboration including DJ Starting from Scratch and world-renowned beatboxer Scratch formerly from the Roots. The inspiring first party was a huge success as it breathed new life into Toronto’s night scene. The three noisemakers took the show across Canada. If the next decade is anything like the previous one, you’ll be hearing a lot more about Skratch Bastid. As he continues to find new fans worldwide, his catalog of sounds, styles and tricks will leave a lasting impression. What’s next? Just like in his electric sets, that’s the exciting part! Get down with the sound.
HUMANS is a Canadian indie-electronic duo made up of musicians Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq.
Since coming together in, HUMANS have establ ished themselves by creating sounds that successful ly fuse experimental electronic elements with catchy indie-pop hooks. Focusing on performance and production styles of both the past and present, HUMANS have consistently impressed upon audiophiles with their technical and compositional ski l ls. Using a combination of synthesizers and instruments, the sound has a certain way of being very unique, whi le not tied down to one specific genre.
The duo’s self-released EP Avec Mes Mecs captured the bl ind, wi ld, captivating joy of unrestrained youth, and seminal lyrics l ike “Who knew al l we had to do was party” quickly made the EP a house party staple. The follow up EP, Traps was released with Hybridity Music. The release saw critical acclaim and college radio success, holding the #1 position for 6 weeks on the earshot electronic charts, and ranking in the top ten on BPM. Traps received a 4/5 on Resident Advisor, and the record was featured on XLR8R, Prefix, Indie Shuffle, Spinner, Interview Magazine, Rcrd Lbl, and scored the cover of Beatroute Magazine. Remixes included acclaimed producers Nauti luss and Max Ul is.
The EP lead HUMANS on a North American tour including slots at Osheaga, Squamish Valley Music Fest, Bass Coast, SXSW, Shambhala, and CMJ. Their music has been featured in placements with Red Bul l, Entourage, CSI, and MTV. When not making music, Slade works on a number of projects including Bass Coast Festival , while Ricq is a wel l respected indie director and illustrative visual artist.
Their debut LP, Noontide is an evolution of HUMANS carefully constructed, innovative mix of heavy electronics and modern pop sensibil ities. The album is a synthesis of time and space, and a testament to the many influences that make up the band’s core. Noontide was released February 24th 2015 via Hybridity Music, one of Canada’s leading independent electronic labels. The album captured the attention of fans and industry al ike earning them nominations at Canada’s Junos and Western Canadian Music Awards for “Electronic Album of the Year”.
The artwork for Noontide was designed by Peter himself. Besides performing and writing with HUMANS, Ricq is an acclaimed visual artist having developed animated television shows including “The League of Super Evil” which aired on YTV and Nickelodeon and has artwork exhibited throughout Canada. He is also the director and driving force behind HUMANS’ videos including the latest video from Water Water. The duo also amped up the l ive show by working with Tangible Productions and creating what they cal l “The Blob” An amorphous inflatable white structure that houses LED l ights and sensors. Robbie describes the inspiration behind it, “For our l ive show, we wanted to make a truly unique experience. We were hoping to create something that was real ly out of this world. For us, a giant, inflatable mutant cow with led l ight behaviours inside throughout was just that! I t 's also extremely fun to romp around inside of when the show is over.. But only i f you help us tear down all the gear!”
BassBus Big Top Host
Raw, timeless and dynamic, Erica Dee offers playful melodies over energetic rhythms with a magnetic presence. Having Funk and Soul ingrained in her roots, Dee brings a captivating performance honoring the world’s best old and new hip-hop and electronic music. This Vancouver based vocalist, DJ, writer and producer has been carving out her own path in the music industry for over a decade. Having supported and toured with Artists such as: Mos Def, Quest Love, LiL Kim, DJ Shadow and Beats Antique, while holding a residency at Canada’s Top Electronic Festival, Shambhala Music Festival.
Erica’s diversity and musical capabilities have taken her all over the world, From Brazil to Israel to Europe. She has an infectiously warm personality, which can be felt by the way she lives through her heart and centers her passion for authenticity in her music. Dee has had the opportunity to collaborate with and be mentored by Renowned Grammy Award Winner Jerry Wonder (The Fugee’s), electronic producer Lorin Bassnectar and multi instrumentalist Mr. Carmack. Her first release in 2011, “ Golden Mixtape ” is a mix of remixes and original, focusing around 90’s R&B, classic Hip Hop and house. She also released her Debut Album New Skies in 2016 with Berlin’s homegrown label Long Lost Relatives. New Skies is a raw broken down delivery of Erica’s songwriting and voice and has evolved into a series of club remixes.
Throughout her career, Dee has performed in an array of musical roles; supporting other artists as their DJ and vocalist, as well as in her own solo performances. More recently Erica has begun facilitating voice workshops and youth music camps, combining all of her experience and training to inspire humans all over the world to express their own unique voice. You could find Erica Dee with a trio singing jazz standards in New York, or at an electronic underground club in Berlin. Wherever you find her you will not be disappointed.
Calgary-born Matt Dauncey aka Neighbour – co-founder of Homebreakin Recordsand one of Canada’s top deep house producers – combines the raw ecstasy ofthe early days of disco with razor-sharp futuristic production.
He toured extensively this past year, culminating in an incredible series of festival dates. Brazil’s Universo Paralello, Tribaltech 2012, and D-Edge Sao Paulo were highlights of his South American tour, while stateside he tore up Burning Man 2012 and a series of gigs in California. Back in Canada, he played nine festivals, including Shambhala, Astral Harvest, Bass Coast, Sync, Bushwacked, Kootenanny, Tall Tree Music Festival, and The Kulth. In addition to playing primarily original productions, remixes, and edits, Neighbour has been known to play live synthesizer and electric guitar alongside his legendary DJ sets, which range from no-nonsense electric funk bangers to gorgeous technicolor remixes of classic garage, disco, and house music.
Recent projects include producing and mastering an album for Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, a new round of tunes with longtime collaborator MC Thinktank, a full length album with his band Red Light Quadrant, and a series of dubs produced for East Vancouver afrobeat band Miami Device.
Ever evolving and deeply committed to the science of good sound, Neighbour’s approach to dance music has universal appeal.
Dj and Producer Sabo is an essential artist in the global dance music community. His sound is inspired by his extensive World travels, and will take you on a mystical journey that crosses several musical borders. His innovative approach to each DJ set makes him a consistent stand out at festivals and gatherings around the Globe, and as the creator of Sol Selectas Records, he is known for his dynamic vision and refined taste.
Goldcap (aka Berge Sahakian) has roots in music based in an eclectic pool of genres since his earliest ages. Having grown up listening to all different kinds of music like psychedelic rock, orchestra, armenian, arabic, traditional indian, west-african, rap, instrumental, and many others, he eventually found inspiration and a deep appreciation for traditional & folk music from around the world. Eventually he was introduced to electronic music in 2008 and decided to explore the possibilities of fusing traditional sounds with modern beats.
Having picked up instruments like the electric/acoustic guitar, bass guitar, classical piano, drums and various different percussive instruments; Goldcap's vision is to deliver an organic sound throughout his sets and productions in hopes of connecting people to the cultures and knowledge of music past. Also being a fan of poetry, films, ambient sounds, traditional instruments, and the spoken word, you will often hear him incorporating an eclectic array of samples in his sets.
Andrew's Pale Horses
Andrew Ellergodt has spent the better part of his adult life reclusively writing and recording music. His sound is an eclectic mix of post-rock, alternative rock, folk and psychedelic. For live performance, Andrew's good friends Graham, Scott and Ethan join him on stage. Andrew's debut EP 'Early Medicine' hit the shelves on February 24th, 2017.
The Boom Booms
The Boom Booms are an alt-soul band from Vancouver, BC. Their live show is highly energetic, honest and original, resulting in them headlining slots at the province’s top music festivals. No other band in British Columbia blends strong story telling with high-energy danceable music the way The Boom Booms do. They spent three months in Brazil, shooting and funding their socially charged documentary, Boom Boom Brazil. They were awarded $75K in BC’s prestigious Peak Performance Project and The Georgia Straight readers voted them Best Unsigned Band in Vancouver four years in a row. Their new album, to be released in Summer 2017, tells stories of personal truth. It is a collection of songs to engage people on an emotional and personal level. The album delves deep into songwriter Aaron Ross's soul and is our most cathartic, layered work to date.
The past two years have seen Calgary-based dance music artist BB Mars become a focal point in the city’s underground dance music scene thanks to her dark, brazen DJ sets and streetshaking releases.
A regular performer at local cultural institution the Hifi Club, Mars has marked the recent past with a string of openings for international headliners like Rezz, Breach, Eli & Fur, Nadastrom, and Kill Frenzy.
Rather than confine herself to one genre or musical region, Mars sees her music as a reflection of her personality. Her aesthetic is dark, street-influenced, and enigmatic. These are the same characteristics found on 444, her debut EP released earlier this year, and her two recent singles “Gyaldem” and “Keeping It Casual”. There’s elements of southern trap, dubstep, IDM, and house.
The outcome of this genre patchwork is an unparalleled sense of togetherness on the dancefloor combined with untameable high energy. BB Mars had initially hoped that her music would attract people from across the musical spectrum and bring them together under one roof, and her continued rise is a sign that so far it’s working
Close Talker is the exalted indie rock trio from Saskatoon, Canada. Formed in 2012, the band has made great strides in a short period of time: two releases, numerous tours throughout North America, Europe, and the UK, and international attention from revered and critically acclaimed blogs and publications. Close Talker is a band born and raised in the Canadian prairies, made up of childhood friends Will Quiring, Matthew Kopperud, and Christopher Morien. Since becoming a trio in the summer of 2015, the band has now honed their craft, creating a more vast and iconic sound that is turning heads and drawing crowds around the world.
Close Talker is set to release their latest recording Lens April 21, 2017 through Nevado Music (worldwide) and DevilDuck Records (Europe). The 10 song LP showcases the band’s maturity and poise, while entering new realms of pop sensibility. Produced by Matt Peters (Royal Canoe, Waking Eyes) and mixed by Marcus Paquin (The National, Arcade Fire, Local Natives), Lens unleashes musical talent and precision without sacrificing the raw energy, homegrown feel, and vulnerability of the band’s acclaimed live show. The more subtle track ‘Afterthought’ received high praise and regular rotation on NPR’s World Cafe, stating the song is “as intimate as it is earnest... it's expansive and as a result, an invitation to lean right in.” While Lens remains an energetic and urgent blend of rhythmically driven grooves and spacious indie rock, the band continues to evolve as one of Canada’s most innovative and, according to Q Magazine, most exciting exports.
Over the course of the band's existence, Close Talker has constantly refined their approach to music, composition, and poetry, focusing more on content that pries while still remaining accessible. Writing and recording Lens during the harsh desolate prairie winter lead the band to new depths of creativity while still trusting instincts and simplicity. Lens is to be experienced in a linear, introspective light, as the lyrics illustrate the sober bias (lens) towards one's social life. Loaded with heavy drums, thick keys, and always-special guitars, rivalled only by sincere vocals, the band has now entered a state that forges an earnest expression from every vantage point. For Close Talker, Lens marks a new chapter: creating music more authentic than ever before.
Earl Stevenson grew up on Acreage outside of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. He was born with a soul for music and came to discover His Love of singing and performing early in the game. Whether he was singing Elvis tunes for his sisters, or entertaining school mates on the bus with his favourite Country jams, it became clear that Earl was a natural performer and had fun doing it.
He spent his teens immersed in the skate and snowboard culture, cultivating the way of a free thinker, and learning how to push his own boundaries. He used the momentum of that time to write music when he picked up the guitar in his early twenties.
Today Earl still loves to write his own music and play his guitar, but has also expanded his musical circle in order to keep learning and growing as an artist. He keeps things fresh by collaborating with different people and exploring new genres, whether it be in a band setting or experimenting with the electronic world of music. In any case, his love for it all shines through in his soulful voice which has a way of drawing in a crowd. He always keeps things fun and is enjoying the creative journey at every turn, happy to share of that with an audience any time he can.
Long before Jessica Jalbert began recording under the solo moniker Faith Healer, she fostered a tight collaborative friendship with fellow Edmonton-bred polymath Renny Wilson. They’ve made boppy garage rock in Tee-Tahs, kicked up a racket in Punk Explosion, and even played in a scattering of cover bands. So when Jalbert set about creating her new solo album under the name Faith Healer, she naturally called on her old buddy to help out on production and instrumental duties. The result of these sessions is the debut LP Cosmic Troubles.
Jalbert wrote this material while absorbing a steady diet of psychedelic rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s. This fixation translates into inventive songs that combine the sun-kissed sparkle of classic pop harmonies with head-swimming trippiness and a few forays into thundering fuzz. Cosmic Troubles has received generous acclaim from various online and print publications including Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Spin, and FaithHealer has performed across North America in support of the release. Faith Healer's follow-up to Cosmic Troubles is slated for release in fall 2017.
A city girl who’s a little bit country, a little bit blues, and a whole lot of soul. Jess Knights delivers an eclectic fusion of sounds, with lyrics that sink into your heart. While living overseas, Jess bought a ukulele for the sole reason it could fit in her dirty traveller’s backpack. Jess began writing songs that combined the happy simplicity of the ukulele strum with some of her darker melancholic lyrics. With a contrast of sounds, Jess’ soulful voice makes for easy and thought-provoking listening.
Jess is currently working with Josh Gwilliam on an EP to be released in 2018.
"Buckley's clear vocals shine with honesty and a touch of darkness, establishing her as an original and confident voice on the alt-country scene."
- Anna Alger, Exclaim!
Few performers combine the lyrical heartfelt authenticity of classic country music with a steely eyed intensity that compels an audience’s attention like Calgary, Alberta’s Mariel Buckley. Amidst a sea of neon-Nashville superstars, Buckley offers a crunchy, roots alternative.
An emerging live performer, with an appearance at the Calgary Folk Music Festival and its winter subsidiary, Block Heater, to her credit, Buckley deftly matches her stark and haunting narratives of real-life struggle with a brassy wit that sets her apart from her contemporaries in its fearlessness. Her strengths as a songwriter are exemplified by her self-titled EP and full-length debut "Motorhome".
She's been hailed by No Depression as, “a new Loretta Lynn, speaking her mind, joking, flirting, ruminating, like Loretta did on some of her classic songs. Throw in a little Townes Van Zandt and you've got an artist who's going to grab a lot of listeners who are disillusioned with country’s offerings as of late.”
Currently post-production with producer Leeroy Stagger for her sophomore recording "Driving In The Dark", Mariel Buckley’s skills as a songwriter and performer continue to impress new listeners while her long-time supporters look on with an assured understanding that they knew the depth of her talents from the beginning.
Some notable highlights for Mariel Buckley over the last two years include:
- Opening for Hayes Carll, Block Heater Festival, February 11th, 2017
- Showcasing artist for international conferences: Folk Alliance International 2016, 2017
- Performing an impromptu two-song set with Luke Doucet of Whitehorse, January 12th, 2017
- JunoFest 2016: billed alongside Del Barber, Daniel Romano, Oscar Lopez
- Showcasing artist for provincial conferences: AB Focus 2016, SoundOFF 2016
- Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition: Winner, 2016
- Calgary Folk Music Festival workshop and showcase performer, 2015
The Northern Coast
The Northern Coast is a folk rock / alt rock, vocal driven band, formed in the early spring of 2014, and started as the brain child of Arron Crook. A year later with the partnership of the fuzz laden guitar of Hunter Hansen, the sound became what it is today. The songs are inspired by personal tales of love, lust, and loss set to the backdrop of the harsh Canadian climate.
After releasing the "Revelry" EP in February 2017, they were invited to support Canadian heavyweights The Rural Alberta Advantage for two sold out shows in Vancouver and Calgary.
"Leading off with the sauntering “Georgia Moon,” the band shows an affinity for classic sounds, a bit of a “20th Century Boy” heel-toe, and nicely placed lady harmonies mingling with the subtle crooning of vocalist Arron Crook. “Trouble” is another swaggering number laced with bad boy grittiness, more dangerous than pining, but perhaps a little concerned with the appearance of danger than actual recklessness. “Rusted Love” gets closer to the bone, it’s inevitable hard Sunday feelings of a Saturday night well spent, to a jangling Interpol-esque guitar line from Hunter Hansen that sits nicely among the other cuts, as tonal left turns tend to do." -Mike Dunn, Beatroute, May 2017 Issue
Unafraid of both straight-up hooks and experimental song structure, RALEIGH is a band carving their own space in new music. Thoughtful refrains are woven by vocals, cello, and guitar, with drums and bass treading the groove together. It is indie rock, damaged by art, delicate and exposed but intimately pointed, connectivity through song. RALEIGH’s sophomore record, ‘Sun Grenades & Grenadine Skies’ was cited as “a sophisticated and seemingly infinite journey of musical exploration,” (Rokline Mag). As the Toronto Star put it, “there's no denying the poise and discipline with which RALEIGH struts its mysterious stuff.”
Co-owner of Substation Recordings, Western Canada's favourite boutique House & Techno label. Having held multi-year residencies at some of Calgary's most influential night clubs, plus yearly festival circuit tours with appearances at Bass Coast, Motion Notion, and Burning Man to name a few... Rusty Meeks is a household name in the Western Canadian 4x4 scene.
Known for their deeply immersive and sonically enthralling live performances Summering is an amalgam of psychedelic and post-rock influences, whose unusual combination of poetic folk-inspired vocals, and tightly-wound yet gradually unravelling heavy rock instrumentals, have over the last few years won them a place in their local musical community of Vancouver, BC. The band consists of Paul Stewart(vocals,guitar), Matt Durie (guitar), Evan Hardy (guitar), Ryan Bekolay (bass), and Justin Devries (drums).
"Perfectly balances down tempo slow-core with triumphant post-rock explosions." -EXCLAIM!
"Its the ideal shoe-gaze soundtrack for any wine-drunk stumble home." -VICE NOISEY