Month: August 2014

Back to Basics: Forging the Connection using Music with Matthew Johnston

Northern Ontario native Matthew Johnston is well versed in the music industry. Gaining an impressive and early start, he started out as a drummer who’s passion for music evolved into a talented multi-instrumentalist singer and producer.

Matthew’s dedication and commitment to his craft is shown through his self-taught musical ability, attention to detail and driven passion has paved the way for an exciting journey.

Music is a vocation that is taken up by many, but is not for the faint of heart. Matthew proves this as his writing has evolved with him and grown though his experiences of adulthood. Drawing from Emo classified bands such as Mineral, Glory Record and evolving into listening to more pop influenced artists. Matthew Johnston has found his own positive voice on There Will Be Miracles, his debut EP.

Not limiting himself to a certain genre Matthew spent many years honing his skills in bands, including drumming for his friend and Canadian Hip-Hop artist Shad, Matthew has since wanted to produce and publish his own music.

Opening the discussion with song writing , whether it be collaborative or solitary Matthew expanded on his personal approach, ” I think when you write songs for yourself it has to come from a place of experience. When you write with other people your trying to get into their head. I had a recent conversation with my wife about this. People will either give 100% of their opinion or you can do it yourself and I can be a part of it. ”

But some collaborative song writing is different; Matthew takes the approach of helping others. “its about how I can help them bring something of themselves out, that they may not have been able to bring out themselves”. The focus is more on process and what the artist is trying to say. “There is such value in what someone’s trying to articulate and helping them understand and get to that.” Also adding that there are challenges in, “Its hard and not always easily done and you don’t always succeed, but its fun and always changing”.

The theme of miracles resonates on the album because “It all started as this idea that everything we do is a miracle, life itself is a miracle”. During the recording process my wife and I found out we were expecting a baby, a bit later we found out there was going to be twins. I explored the idea that even the unexpected is a miracle, and it’s up to us to find the miracles in life.

Shifting perspectives from a producer to performer has not changed how driven Matthew is, ” You can have one without the other, I really enjoy producing. Watching the song come to life, often in the studio I am alone. As humans we connect with people. But performing live it’s about connecting with the crowd. If you write a song and connect to it, watching it connect with other people is a great experience.

Keeping things light, we discussed superpowers. “I wouldn’t want to pick something that would get me in trouble”, Mathew laughs. Settling on flying because of past dreams of flight made sense for this up beat artist.

On touring Matthew had this to say; “I love touring, Canada can be really hard to tour. There are long drives in between venues. But its also fantastic! The people out east are embracing and loving. Not many artists get out east so the response is amazing. Out West has a vibrant music scene and its just awesome to get out there to play music”.

Matthew let us in on a cool moment during a past European tour (two years ago) he experienced while playing drums for Shad. I have been friends with Shad even before the music and I was super proud of him and it was amazing to see the response to his music. while over and Europe, I think in Germany it was really awesome- and one of my favorite experiences- to see lines outside of every venue and people knew the words to the songs. That tour will also stand out for me because at the end of it my girlfriend at the time and I took some time to travel a bit and I proposed. (She said Yes!)

Matthew Johnston has presented listeners with his honest take on reconnecting with pop music. Six tracks that talk about relatable subjects with an overall positive theme mixed with excellent producing. There will be Miracles is an exhilarating positive breath that hopes to reconnect listeners with honest emotion within their musical experience.

The EP is out TODAY! And is talking with his label about touring it . Hopefully in either the fall or early next year. Adding a heartfelt, “Thank you to those who have supported me already. To those wanting to check out the album, There Will Be Miracles” its on iTunes now”

Matthew can’t wait to get out on tour and play live for more people. Until he stops in our city. We will be spinning Miracles. Don’t forget to keep up with the muli-talented musician Matthew Johnston here by clicking the links below:

Twitter

Facebook

iTunes

Interview with Walk off The Earth’s Sarah Blackwood

Author’s note: This article is appearing on my blog Canadian Tapped Promotions as a Throw Back Thursday to Canada Music Week in May 2014. Special thanks go out to Sarah Blackwood and The Kingston-Whig Standard.

Being a musician has been the reality for vocalist and instrumentalist, Sarah Blackwood. Since 2008 a band of friends who had been previously involved with other musical projects created Walk off The Earth originally from Burlington Ontario.

Speaking with me via phone after a scheduling difficulty was vocalist and instrumentalist, Sarah Blackwood. She also had a very vocal and happy Giorgio Michael, her son with fellow band member Gianni Luminati who had just woken up from his nap.

Performing at the Radio Music Awards at Canadian Music Week on May 7th in Toronto, Sarah described their stage show has two distinct varieties; “For us we try and make it not differ and have a production show where we can. We go all out and make each performance as exciting and intense as we can to make even more of an impact!”

Talking about Canadian Music Week, Sarah expressed excitement for performing in Toronto and said it “it’s the duty of fans to come and support the music that is surrounding them. Canada is on the radar more and more, and with more support we can only get bigger.”

Talking on the balancing act of mother hood and touring musician, Sarah described it as, “amazing!” it’s definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, being a mom and in a touring band. But we always have a positive attitude about everything and are happy. It all turns out.”

When asked about Walk off The Earth’s unique sound that seems to be under constant evolution, Sarah explained, “No our sound is never solid, it’s always changing, we wish people would do it more often with their music.”

Expanding further on how she feels that some bands limit themselves by not experimenting with different elements of music or playing with the bands’ sound. She outlined that Walk off The Earth is very open to experimentation. “We try to touch every avenue, and sometimes our label loves us and hates us for it.”

Writing process is starts with a collaborative effort between Johnny, Marshall and Sarah. “We are very open to bringing people in”. Sarah said, “We usually have multiple people writing on the songs and we want to work with many people because there are many creative people out there and we want to make the best songs ever!”

Musing about dream collaborations Sarah was quick to answer, “Freddy Mercury if he was still here, there are many people we would love to work with. Tim Armstrong is a great inspiration and we almost connected with him on our last trip to L.A. Lady Gaga. There are a lot of talented writers out there, you have to research who is out there”.

Keeping things light on tour can sometimes be a challenge as all musicians spend countless hours on the road traveling, Sarah let us in on how Walk Off The Earth likes to keep fit and have fun on tour. “We are very health conscious, we play soccer, play sports, go for jogs, do yoga and crazy aerobics while back stage so we can stay healthy to keep doing what we love to do.”

They understand that in order to keep up the demanding schedules and sometimes unpredictable “we want to do this for a living meaning, we want to live while doing it”

Talking about Walk off The Earth’s current album R.E.V.O, released October 29th, 2012, Sarah shared a story behind the title track. “it’s about the whirlwind experience of signing with a major label and wondering if we made the right choice, and all the emotions of that song came from our hearts”.

Closing out the interview with a fun question, musing about what superpower would help her out as a musician. Laughing Sarah said if she had the ability to read minds would be awesome, but would love the ability to fly as it would be very useful.

My Canadian Music Week round up can be found here.

Music at the ‘Bux for August 20-21

On Thurs, Aug 21st, we’re very pleased to welcome back Kieran L’Abbe.

Kieran L’Abbe, a young musician, has been playing guitar for several years. He’s performed in various venues around Kingston both alone and with a band, but most frequently on the street as a busker. He also plays banjo, piano and occasionally electric bass. He feels that playing music is the most meaningful thing in his life, and appreciates every opportunity that is presented to share that with those around him.

Upcoming Shows

Denyse VanRhyn and Garth Amey-Aug 20
Kieran L’Abbe-Aug 21
Josi Hunter-Aug 27
Phyllis Scully and Brielle LeBlanc-Aug 28
Tim Murphy- Sept 3
A Town in Caves- Sept 4
Doug O’Handley- Sept 10
Double feature – Inna/Evan Jackson – Sept 11
Fiddlehead- Sept 17
Landon Chatterton/Jon McLurg- Sept 18

THIS IS A FREE EVENT. All events are pre-booked. Interested in playing, or know someone who is:- contact Bruce Kauffman, series host, in the store on nights of the event, or at 613-545-0775, or bruce.kauffman@hotmail.com

Music at The ‘Bux for August 6-7, 2014

music at the bux, downtown Starbucks on the corner of Princess & Sydenham Streets.
Located at 251 Princess, Kingston
Every wed/Thurs night from 7-9pm
Always a free event

On Wed, Aug 6th, we’re very happy to welcome back Derek Horemans 🙂

Derek Horemans is a local Kingston singer/songwriter and composer who is just starting to get his music career underway. The local folk scene is well-known to him, and he can sometimes be found around town at various open mics and song circles. His style is sometimes quiet and mellow, yet other times powerful and full of heart; his beautiful voice suits both these styles well. He is a recent graduate of St Lawrence College in the Music and Digital Media program, and is moving on to study music at the University of Ottawa in the fall.

On Thurs, Aug 7th, we’re very pleased to welcome Christian Whelan 🙂


Christian Whelan has been a musician for more than 20 years and has played tunes from several genres including rock, country, and folk. His unique approach to his music has made an impression on many who have heard him play. Spending some years touring with bands which covered all types of music, Christian has grown to produce his tunes in a solo style over the last few years lending his style to those who enjoy listening to the intricacies of the song. Always looking to re-discover the music, he recently began listening to finger-style guitar which has had an influence on his more recent endeavours. Christian has played his music in Canada, the US and several international venues which included playing for the troops in Afghanistan.

Check back here, next Tuesday for another update in this music series.
This is a free event. All events are pre-booked.
Interested or know someone who is – contact Bruce Kauffman at 613-545-0775, or bruce.kauffman@hotmail.com with the word “music” in the subject line
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Written by Bruce Kauffman