This Blog is

"Fuck Kevin Durant" - Lil' B.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Interview With Small Town Lungs

Seeing people you grew up with succeed is always a gratifying thing. While Small Town Lungs aren't a household name quite yet, these Whitby boys have all the talent and bravado to become one of the "next big things" in Canadian indie rock. I recently sat down with the band (and about 15 other drunken revelers) on the patio of Biermarket in Toronto to talk about the "Next Big Thing" experience, making a music video, and hearing themselves on the radio. Enjoy.

Introduce yourselves and say what you do in the band
Tom: I'm Tom, I'm lead vocals, guitar, and some keyboard.
Zach: I'm Zach, I play drums and do vocals.
Rowan: I'm Rowan, I play guitar, I do vocals, and I play synth.
Kory: I'm Kory, I play guitar and keys, and percussion.
Jason: I'm Jason, I play bass and synth, and I do vocals.

You've been played on the radio, you sold out a show in your home town, and you're about to play the Phoenix tomorrow to a capacity crowd. You've done a lot of things in a year and a half of being a band that most bands never get to do. How does it feel?

[Note: the band was set to play in the Edge's “Next Big Thing” concert the following day, at the Phoenix Concert Theatre]
Tom: I guess it's just that, we're all motivated to the point where those things feel like the next step for us. Like obviously this Phoenix Show and stuff, it's all crazy. But we're trying to put as much work into it as we can, and whatever comes along with that, we'll take it.
Rowan: Like, people keep saying “oh, aren't you excited for this, this is crazy right?” and it's like, of course, but I have bigger plans for us, you know? I want us to play a bunch of big shows. It's really cool that we're in this contest, but I want it to be a regular thing.
Jason: Even if we don't win, the amount of exposure we've gotten from this alone, and like the people we've met – we got to sit down with people from Dine Alone records – no matter what, it's been an incredible experience.

And you guys got to be on the radio.
Zach: It was funny; we were on our way to WayHome when they played “Scavenger”, and we ended up getting lost. They ran our segment right as we were in the part of the trip where you have to do a lot of turns and stuff, and as soon as it came on we were like, “forget directions, we're just gonna bask in this.” Right as the song ended, we're like “okay, we're waaay out of the way now.” (laughs)

Do you feel overwhelmed at all, being a newer band and having all this crazy stuff happen to you?
Kory: Absolutely...
Zach: But we do everything we can to like, not be overwhelmed. We put a lot of time in and do everything we can to be mentally prepared, but it's all going pretty quick.
Jason: It's probably the only time in our lives where all of us can say that we've been overwhelmed, but in the way that it's a positive experience.

How did you guys meet each other?
Tom: Zach and I knew each other for quite a while, we've been friends for a long time. We met Rowan in high school, and we knew of Jay and Kory though the Durham music scene. We were all in metal bands, except for Rowan.

Like, tech metal or like, throwing your fists around metal?
Kory: We were like, metalcore...
Tom: Yeah, you guys were throwing your fists, we were more a little bit more death metal.

Yeah, I seen you tapping on stage...
Tom: That's where it comes from, man (laughs).

So, you guys all go to Fanshawe College in London?
Rowan: Except for Zach.
Jason: We're all in different graduating classes of the same program.
Tom: We're taking music industry arts.
Kory: I think, like, music industry arts at Fanshawe is the place to be for aspiring musicians and engineers and such. We all kind of had that direction, so it was the best place to end up.
Tom: It helps a lot, because we all have the same knowledge base. I think that's why we're so technically oriented. Like, you saw it tonight; our set up on stage is pretty complicated, and I don't think we'd be able to do that if we all hadn't had the same experience, collectively. We can always look to each other for fixing technical problems which means we're able to take on those challenges.

[At this point my friend Tanner, who is also a friend of the band, and was with us that night, had a question he wanted to ask]
Tanner: What do you think your biggest challenge is as a band to overcome? Like, not in terms of arguing, but just like, challenges in terms of co-ordinating for the next big show, or recording, or whatever.
Kory: I think we're all like, pretty opinionated in terms of being songwriters. So if there's even just a single bar in a song that someone really enjoys and everyone else is like “naaah...”, it can be a bit of a fight to figure out what that fight is gonna be.
Rowan: We always end up figuring it out though. Like the first song, “Golden Thread”, I really wanted this one drumbeat, and Zach wanted this other drumbeat, so we went to eat food and we were all like, pissed at each other. But eventually we all just cooled down.

I saw from another interview that you guys approach songwriting like you're writing a movie almost. Is that something they taught you at Fanshawe, or did you get it from another band, or did you come up with it yourselves?
Zach: We're all just pretty big into film. It's sort of an unspoken thing, we don't ever talk about it when we're writing, it just sort of happens.
Tom: It's got a lot to do with trying to add the cinematic element to the live show. So when we write songs it's not really like “okay, we have a verse, let's add a chorus”, you know what I mean? When we're doing the live show, we want it to be an experience. Like how when you're watching a film, it takes you through different emotions and explores different areas of the human consciousness. With some bands, the live show is all about coming out to dance. That's a lot of fun, and there's a place for it, but as a band, our goal is to have people come out and take something from it.

I've noticed from watching you play a couple times that you're quite a technically proficient band. How hard is it to balance the progressive elements of your music with the actual songwriting?
Zach: I don't think we really think about that, actually.
Rowan: There's no real boundary to it. It's like, “why can't we use tapping here? Who's stopping us?” There aren't any rules, really.
Kory: As long as it serves the song. If you can do something crazy and it sounds good, it's all good.

I saw you put out a video the other day, wanna talk about that for a little bit?
Kory: That was a very fun experience, actually. Our buddies Kyle Marchen and Van Wickiam directed it.

What was your favourite part about doing it?
Rowan: It was so neat being around there. There were like 30 people in this place with ladders, doing a bunch of random stuff, and we were like “wow, this is for us?” It made me think about when [either Tom or Kory] started showing me Small Town Lungs stuff and said “we should make a band out of this,” and I was like, yeah that's kinda cool. Now there's like 30 people making a video of it. It's kinda messed up to think about how it far it's come.

So to close it out, is there anyone you guys wanna shout out?
(a whole bunch of indiscernible yelling and laughter)
Tom: Just generally, I wanna thank everybody who's been supportive through this whole thing. Even you guys [referring to the band's high school friends in attendance], I haven't seen you guys in so long, and for you guys to be so enthusiastic, it's really cool to see. All the support we've gotten has been fantastic.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sportsology: Get me ACanadian Summer, 'cause it's hotter than balls

See what I did there? I'm a genius.

ANYWHO, time to talk about some sports and shit. Surprisingly, this summer wasn't too horrible. Someone won something here, someone won something there; it was aight, as the youngsters say. Amongst it all, if I had to say there was 1 true winner in the sports world during the dog days, it had to be Canada. Now I don't know how to hockey, but I do know good shit when it makes itself apparent. Let's dive in, shall we?

1. Toronto Raptors off-season

Let's face it, if DeMar DeRozan starts ballin' next season, the Raptors are gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the East next year. So what did they do in the off-season? They built the shit out of there bench to make it injured-DeMar-DeRozan proof. Y'all picked up Cory Joseph from my San Antonio Spurs. I know it doesn't sound glamorous, but think of it like this: you just added a young talented basketball player *ahem* born it Toronto, has two years of NBA Finals experience, and gets a decent length contract, setting him up to become a star. You basically get four years to decide which of these two youngsters gets to be the face of your city:


                  C h o o s e
                   W i s e l y

2. Pan American Games

Taking a break from the major sports, the Pan Am Games were held in Toronto this summer. To be honest, there were some days this summer that I had nothing to do and even worse, nothing to watch on television. Thank God for the Pan Am Games, for without them, infinite boredom. Which was good for Canada, seeing as they came in 2nd place in the overall medal count (Fun Fact: One of the US medalist is also currently a wide reciever on the Buffalo Bills, which is basically Canada's NFL team). Lots of good gold medals, too: Swimming, Basketball, Martial Arts Disciplines, Biking, Rowing. In honor of Canada's success, I'd like to show you the best Canadian athlete alive right now, running in the outside lane :

3. Women's World Cup

Congratulations on successfully hosting not one, but two international sporting events, Canada. Due to me being an American, and having bias about how awesome the outcome of the Women's world cup was, I just wanna leave a fun stat dug up by the lovely writing squad at NPR:
The final drew "a prodigious 15.2/27 metered market household rating/share" from 7-9 p.m. ET, Fox says, citing data from the Nielsen ratings service. The network adds that the audience "peaked at 18.3/31 from 8:45-9:00 p.m. ET," as more Americans tuned in to watch the celebrations in Vancouver.
As a comparison, consider that the Golden State Warriors' recent title-clinching Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals earned a 15.9 overnight rating. That figure was hailed as a Game 6 record for ABC in a Finals series that drew the highest average numbers since the Michael Jordan era.

4. David Price to the Blue Jays

When you have a team that has a chance to win it all, and you still have time to improve that team, you do it. That's why the Blue Jays won big when they traded for saved David Price from Detroit. Since baseball is as interesting as watching paint dry, I'll try to make it somewhat bearable: Price is an ACE pitcher, but not just some guy who wins a lot of games. David Price is actually fun to watch, especially when he has games like his Blue Jay Debut. Letting up one run in eight innings while striking out eleven batters is definitely something that's going to put butts in those seats, which I assume were paid for by taxpaying citizens.

Bonus Music Points: The Weeknd

If you told me in 2010 that a twentysomething from Toronto was going to be the one of the largest recording artist in 2015, most of us would have guessed it was Drake. I'm starting the believe that the general population is figuring out Drake is nothing more than a goddamn fool. Most, if not all, of my approval for The Weeknd stems from my hatred of Drake. Or maybe it's kinda like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. I fucking hate Pepsi because Coke is better. I fucking hate Drake because The Weeknd is better. Makes sense, right?

Needless to say, Canada stepped it up this summer. Kudos.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Celebrity Mindreader, Vol. 2

Hardy har har, ye scaliwangs. It's time to round up and get your summer dose of Celebrity Mindreader. Today, we've got a real nice collection, I tell you what; classics, currents, and a whole bunch of pollacks as usual. Without further ado, let the games begin!

1. Taylor Swift

"Hater Alert on Aisle YOU!"

2. Bobby Moynihan

"I wonder how long it'll take everybody to realize I'm not Artie Lang?"

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, circa 1997

"Hey girl, I just swan-na get close to you."

4. Hope Solo


5. Dave Grohl

"Damnit, I should have made this throne a toilet."

And of course, there is the one whom which we call Ryan, and his take on love:

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Check Out My Dank Memes

I know the "Starter Pack" meme has come and gone, but since it went viral (puke) about a year or so ago, I've noticed a couple of distinct fashion types in my day to day that I think deserve the "starter pack" treatment:

Natural habitat: Toronto's "entertainment district", various TTC/Go Transit platforms around the GTA.
Not pictured: Drunk boyfriend, replica Jose Bautista  Josh Donaldson jersey, more baseball knowledge than most dudes, $150 Drinking in Public ticket.

Natural habitat: Hamilton, ON and the cultural wasteland that surrounds it.
Not pictured: Lifted pickup truck, Metal Mulisha/Rockstar Energy t-shirt with holes in it, wallet chain, crack pipe.

Natural habitat: Off Campus student housing, backyard BBQs, bar patios, at their relatively well paying entry-level job.
Not pictured: Red Solo cup full of "sangria", iPhone, B.A. from a well known Canadian university.

Natural habitat: Lazy boy recliners, basements, the gym.
Not pictured: Bose headphones, Zig Zag Cutcorners, random amounts of lose change.

So there you have it; four new starter pack memes for you to ogle. If you have any dank starter packs of your own, feel free to send them to me.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

(PSA) Acoustic vs Electric: What are YOU listening to this summer?

NOW that summer is upon us, music festival season is here and in full bloom. Across the world, thousands of artist from all walks of life are playing on some form of stage for people willing to give a listening ear, and in some cases, a hefty price tag. Regardless, music and summer time go hand in hand, and that's a fact Jack. But what kind of music is right for the dog days? I not here to tell you to listen to music, nor am I telling you what music to avoid. Just don't go off being a dingus and not knowing what type of music to play at whatever event you venture off to this summer. So listen up folks, this is a guide for getting you're party set no matter where you may be under the sun.


The cool of the cool, the chill of the chill. Acoustic music is basically your "I don't have to work today, so I'm going to the river" type of music. Remember: Just because a song makes use of an electric instrument, that's not what determines what makes that song acoustic or electric by my definition. What makes a true acoustic song is it's tempo. It can be slow, but still upbeat; fast, but relaxing. If a song can get an uptight person to sit back and worry solely about chillin', you've got yourself a good acoustic song. The only draw back to acoustic songs is that one should not expect to show it off to his or her friends. We're not here to try and interpret the struggle an artists has faced conveyed through their lyrical and songwriting ability. Acoustic music is like that old late-night TV infomercial that had the tag line "Set it and Forget it!" I'd recommend sifting through some Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Dave Matthew, Daft Punk, Prince, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, or any type of classic surf music and pick out some of the more melodic and harmonious pieces. Don't try to stray into your deep cuts collection unless you are certain they fit the acoustic mold. Here's a personal favorite that I use as a marker in a lot of my acoustic playlists:


Alright, new scenario: you've worked all week. Once you get home late Friday afternoon, you start to get a second wind. You're still in a funk though, and you need a small boost to get you into Crunkmode. Trust me, we've all been there. Have no fear, electric music is here!
Make sure to put on a something that sounds good loud. No one ever successfully pregames to a Taylor Swift break up song, 'cause quite frankly, ain't no body got time fo' dat. Everyone likes to turn up a little bit differently, and I respect that, but if you're gonna party with me, you gotta bring the funky fresh beats. Always be looking for songs that are a constant build up; the last thing you need is a dreary down beat to ruin your good mood. Like acoustic music, there are some cons. The biggest problem is police. Sometimes, I and others have been known to get a little too hyped, resulting in various noise violations in both car and house forms. Electric music is VERY distracting, so make sure you're in an area specifically designated for hardcore swerving and maximum air guitar space. My recommendation is podcast, premade playlists, album mixes and remixes, or anything else specially made to flow. Creating an electric playlist can be very tough if you don't know the ins and outs of rhythmic structure and BPM. In need of a quick pick-me-up right now? I got you, son:

As mentioned in the intro, I didn't write today to say this artist is shit or this song is dope. I wrote this article to help out people in need of the age old question "What kind of music should we play?" Don't be the guy or gal in your circle of friends who gets banned from being DJ at get-togethers. Know your surroundings and get a good feel for the vibes. Don't blast the new Skrillex banger at a church barbecue and don't try to turn up to a Simon and Garfunkel ballad (I'm looking at you, Taylor). The best advice I can give is to always play it by ear.


Monday, 15 June 2015

Kat Fish: a Tinderella Story

Ray explains how to use Tinder.
If you're in your 20's, chances are you're familiar with the speed judging dating app Tinder. Tinder is great in theory, but kind of painful if you're actually trying to meet people, not just boosting your ego for 15 minutes a week. For guys, the Tinder process goes something like this:
  • Swipe "yes" to 50 girls.
  • Match with five of them.
  • Message four of them.
  • Recieve only one message in return: it is a one word message.
  • Get angry, swear you're going to delete the app off your phone.
  • Don't actually delete the app. 
  • Forget Tinder exists until roughly a week later.
  • Repeat.
Being an average dude, I've always wondered what it would be like to be a beautiful woman on a dating app. I figured seeing how fellow guys approach the Tinder game would give me some insight into what to do (or not to do) when messaging girls on dating apps. So last night, I created a fake Tinder profile of a beautiful woman and swiped until my 100 free "likes" were up. What I found out is that guys are really, really fucking boring.

My profile. Accidentally misspelled Sapiophile lol.
Having discussed Tinder with female acquaintances, I was expecting to be bombarded with a lot of attention, and I was. I swiped "yes" to about 75 per cent of the profiles I saw, and I would say that out of the 100 dudes I swiped "yes" to, 85 of them were instant matches. The sheer volume of matches was a bit startling, but the big surprise came once the messages started rolling in. It wasn't the amount of messages that overwhelmed me, it was the amount of boring, uninspired stock messages I was getting that really made my time as a woman on Tinder a nightmare. With maybe ten exceptions, every single message I received fell into one of the following four categories: 

1. Hey/Hi/How was your weekend?

I'm like "Hey, what's up? Helloooo..."
About 30 per cent of the messages I received started and ended with some variation of "Hi." A couple dudes spiced the pot up a little bit by asking me softball small-talk initiators like "how are you doing tonight?", but for the most part, one word greetings were the best these guys could do. Guys, if you're thinking of sending "hey" without following it up, don't even bother. There are 50 dudes in every woman's inbox who have sent her the exact same thing, and unless you look like Brad Pitt, you're not getting a response back.


Zohaib has no chill.
This seemed to be the de facto conversation starter for Arab bros/sketchbags; and unsurprisingly it was often followed with a message that conveyed a strong tone of thirst/creepiness. One guy was the exception and actually pulled it off, but he was good looking, flattered me, didn't use emoticons, and obviously understood spelling/punctuation. This approach might work for you, but if you're gonna try it, make sure it's a genuine compliment and not the digital equivalent of yelling catcalls from a moving car.

3: Are you a bot lol?

I can't tell if this guy was curving me or if he didn't get the joke.
These dudes were all self-effacing nerds, and when I tried joking with them they seemed to be genuinely clueless. Unless you want to belong to a sub-species of human jellyfish, don't send messages like this.

4: Really uninspired question about my profile

Your mom must be proud.
The only information I put on my profile was my height, the fact that I was Australian, and that I was a sapiophile. As a result, I received the questions "what are you doing in Canada?" and "what's a sapiophile lol?" about six or seven times each. At first I thought they were good questions, because they gave me an opportunity to reply with a snappy, catchall comeback. Eventually, however, the repetition, coupled by the inability of the dudes who asked me the questions to hold any sort of interesting conversation became too much, and I stopped responding to these messages. Guys: if you're gonna ask a question about a girl's profile, put a little bit of thought into it. Girls: put more than six words in your profile description and you'll probably get some more interesting messages.

What I learned:

I think this guy was on to me.
Look, I'm not a woman, so I can't tell you what really works or doesn't work, but I can tell you that I got bored of the four questions I just discussed really quickly. Bored =/= sexy. I'm assuming a strong picture game more than compensates for effortless messages, but if you're matching and not getting responses, it's probably because -- like 80 per cent of the guys who messaged me on Tinder last night -- you're sending boring ass messages. 

It wasn't all bad though, these dudes had some serious game:

I thought this guy was pretty funny; I was playing hard to get, but would've more than likely tossed him the drawers eventually.

... and of course, this dapper young man impressed me a lot. 

So there you go. I hope this piece sheds some light into the complex world of being a woman on Tinder, and gave you some good pointers to sharpen your game up. Happy swiping!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sportsology: X-Games Edition

Oh my lordy lord lord. What a superb weekend for sports this has been; the horse racing triple crown drought is finally over, NHL and NBA finals are shaping up to be great, UEFA Champions finals, Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his career, French Open upsets and milestones, the list goes on and on. But after watching nothing but sports the past 70 hours, I have to say the X-Games were by far the most interesting and intriguing. I'll be honest, I know nothing of the Super Truck Competitive Race Series or whatever it's called. But I do know that I like 600+ horsepower engines and high speed hi-jinks, so of course it was the greatest thing of all time. So it got me thinking, "What were the top X-Games moments that I remember growing up?" And then I remembered I haven't wrote something in a while. That's how we got here. Just watch the videos, trust me.

Tony's 900 was cool, but...

Let's be honest, things have changed since Tony Hawk did the first 900 back in the day. I'd like to post an old school video though, and this is just absolutely surgical:

Metal Militia Represent

Mike Metzger is the man, hands down. How to win silver: do something that changes the sport of freestyle motorcross forever. How to win gold: do it again, twice as big.

Snap Back to Reality

Want to talk about the world's toughest man? Jake Brown gets a look for sure. Spoiler Alert: he ends up winning gold later in his career.

Legends. That is all.

Colin McRae.

If the X-Games ever taught me one thing, it was that the medal counts and the winning wasn't what really mattered. The X-Games are about pushing the boundaries and putting everything you got on display for one night only. These are not athletes. These are some of the craziest lunatics walking the planet right now. But come on, would you rather go to some silly Cirque du Soleil show, or experience true feats of danger and peril, and quite possibly even history? On that note, I'd like to leave you with not a legend, but more of a godly figure in the extreme sports world, one who really shows what X-Games is all about: