My summer in Toronto was pure magic!
I spent my days and nights wandering the city, soaking in my surroundings, and writing constantly. Among independent coffee shops, the rumbling sound of a thousand street cars, and the vibrance of the big city, Ben and I worked away in a humble studio tucked between a bar and a Jamaican Rasta shop in Kensington Market. There was an incredible energy, a constant rush that pushed me to remove any limitations I could impose on myself.
All I wanted was to make music, to make the best record I possibly could.
On my days off, I would commute back and forth to Ottawa to rehearse with my band The Other Side, which I had formed the previous year. Although progress on the record felt slow at times, the songs and sounds that were coming out of the sessions were far beyond what I could have ever expected. Once most of the songs had been fleshed out, Josh Macintosh, an accomplished local musician, came into the studio to record drum tracks.
Being a drummer myself, I already had grooves and fills in mind, but I wanted a fresh perspective to bring the songs to the next level. Josh pulled off an incredible feat that day, playing through and recording seven tracks in a single session without any prior rehearsal. His performance gave the songs a whole new feel and musical identity; one that I am very grateful for.
Ben and I had discussed making a dance tune for the record.On a particularly inspiring night at the studio, we set off on what began purely as an experiment. I programmed a short drum loop, Ben picked up the bass, and in a matter of minutes, he had whipped out one of the grooviest baselines I had ever heard! The rest of the song came together after that, and two weeks later I performed it for the first time with The Other Side in the context of a radio music contest.
We managed to get into the top fifteen bands that year!
The money we got from our win helped us go on a small tour, buy merchandise, and shoot a music video for the first single, the dance tune ‘Dirtier’.
As the summer drew to a close, it became increasingly clear that this now fifteen song album would not be finished any time soon. I decided to finish three of the songs Ben and I had been working on, and release them to give everyone a taste of what we were doing.
This would become the Last Man EP.
My time in Toronto was truly a thrill. I felt that, for the first time, I could give in to all of my creative instincts and just go with the flow. Everyday brought something new; ideas floated all around me just waiting to be snatched up and turned into musical form.
It was truly one of the most beautiful and inspiring times of my life.
Read part III on 02/08/2018
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