Written by: Robert Latham
Photo by: Branden Dunbar
Kelowna-based rock trio We Are The City believe exciting times are just around the corner for the emerging Vancouver and British Columbia music scene and judging by their fledgling musical offerings they could be one of the bands to help lead the charge.
The young rockers, all just 19-years-old, are impressively down to earth and excited about their music when I meet them in a busy Vancouver bar the day before they performed a stunning set at The Cellar Nightclub, on Granville Street, on Thursday night (October 22) as part of the Peak Performance Project showcase.
The trio, who released their debut album In A Quiet World earlier this year, accept there is a lack of music making it big out of Vancouver but explain they are excited about a wealth of young musical talent ready to explode into the big time.
Drummer Andy Huculiak said, “I’d say there’s some pretty exciting bands coming out of Vancouver, especially now with the Peak Performance we’re in, so in like five or six years I think Vancouver will be seen as a very thriving place.
“At the moment Vancouver isn’t seen as a big place in the grand scheme of things but I think it’s pretty big, when you add in the rest of British Columbia, and I’m really excited about lots of emerging bands coming out of the area right now – and it’s awesome to be friends with some of them.”
The band has come from extremely varied musical backgrounds to form their intoxicating rock-indie based alternative sound. Andy’s drumming life began playing along to Christian rockers P.O.D, before getting into a jazz band at school and then joining a screamo band during a black hair, tight pants-wearing period during his teen years in the Okanagan.
Meanwhile, vocals/keyboard player Cayne McKenzie and guitarist David Menzel have been friends since the age of eight, began jamming at school and formed a band that fused the sounds of P.O.D and U2, an interesting sound no doubt.
The result of this mixture is an engaging, progressive sound which switches between beautiful melodic passages and good old head-banging, foot-tapping rock, with an interesting lack of a bass guitar that the band explains was never an intentional omission.
David said, “We didn’t start out thinking ‘let’s not have bass.’ In the beginning we wanted to be like Coldplay but now to add another member just to add the bass would be like uncharted territory, it’s not all about the music it’s more about he brotherhood and now we really love our music.”
The trio remains unsigned out of their own choice, rather than going out shopping for a major label, and the are keen to stay that way for the time being as it gives them the freedom to own their music, choose their own management team and, most importantly, know exactly where their money is.
As Andy puts it, “Signing onto a big label is sometimes almost the kiss of death rather than the jump-start to your career.”
Upon forming three years ago perhaps the band’s biggest challenge was coming up with a name. Originally beginning life as The City, as reference to the bible verse “a city on a hill cannot be hidden,” they soon discovered a surge of bands on MySpace under the same name, hence the switch to We Are the City. And the switch seems to have been a success, much to the band’s relief.
Andy explains, “Names are tough – it’s the worst thing as it can be the make and break because if people can say they don’t like the name and won’t listen to you.”
We Are the City are currently touring throughout British Columbia until mid-December and plan to be out on tour for at least the next two years. Speaking to them it is obvious that they live for life on the road and the thrill of being away from home, playing gigs and enjoying spending time together.
Andy says, “We were home for one day recently and I woke up the next morning really ready to go, I was almost bored. It’s nice to always be on the road, it is kind of trying for relationships but we were already good friends before the band so we already knew what pushes each others’ buttons and being together every hour of the day is also a good lesson in what not to do.”
To check out We Are The City and see their upcoming tour dates visit their MySpace page.
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