With band members hailing from Calgary to Australia – and a few spots between – GROUNDERS brings in influences from all corners of the earth. While their hometowns are scattered, the quintet is now based in Toronto, where they have been cultivating their psychedelic sound for the past four and a half years.
GROUNDERS shares its name with a blindfolded playground game and an orchard term for apples that fall off the trees and become applesauce, among other things. Even though the band’s name isn’t one-of-a-kind and lacks a unified backstory, its members don’t mask their annoyance with their pop culture namesakes.
“There’s a show on Netflix – The 100 – with [characters] named Grounders, so they stole our Google things,” says Evan Lewis, GROUNDERS’ guitarist. “We used to be at the top but now the top is The 100.”
Their last EP, Wreck of a Smile, was released in 2013, and they’ve been delicately crafting their first self-titled album, which was finally released in May of this year. It took the band four years to get their LP together, but the time was well-spent.
“We’re all very critical people, for better or worse,” says Daniel Busheikin, keyboardist. “And we’re all critical about certain things. After we made this record, it ended up being a good thing that we kept pushing ourselves to make something that would constantly excite us, would impress us, that we felt really good and confident about. We wanted our first record to be a statement of our band.”
The critical nature of the band members definitely slowed the creation of their debut. However, Busheikin credits the self-criticism to their ever-present musical innovation.
“We squashed a lot of ideas and threw stuff out and we kept moving forward,” he says.
And a statement it is. Their earlier sounds are represented in the track “Bloor Street and Pressure”, which the band says is an iteration of one of their oldest songs written together. Newer sonic experiences are obviously on the album as well, but the inclusion of some of their older influences helped to keep some of the charm from their first EP, which was made at a time when they approached their music very differently.
GROUNDERShas a definite gritty overlay to the psychedelic, ethereal nature of the album, which was not always the vibe that the band was aiming to create with their music. In their early stages, they played with a more complex sound, complete with intricate time changes and minimal rhythm. Lewis reminisces, “When we put out our EP we didn’t have drums.” After playing these songs to audiences who had a hard time dancing to their set, they decided to finally find a drummer and simplify the music. In dropping some of their complex production styles, GROUNDERS became simpler, but also gained timelessness.
Pulling away from complexity, GROUNDERS instead created a sound that is more accessible and relatable. Stripping down their music gave it a more special quality, but not in a way that the band members can even pin down.
“I think part of what makes it interesting is that you can’t put your finger on what makes it special [with that style of production],” Busheikin says. “There definitely is something. And that’s one of the most exciting things about that production style. Just having it resonate with you for a reason that you can’t exactly lock down.”
As for the band’s goals going forward, they are keeping them simple. “[We want to] put out a record every year and do it a lot quicker,” says vocalist and guitarist Andrew Davis. “We’re going to be in Calgary for a bit and we’re gonna start there.”
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and