By: Angie Valente
The Stogies are a band who would maybe probably rather burn out than fade away, but knowing their penchant for all things raucous and unbridled, they’d just light another one up anyways. I had the esteemed pleasure of hosting these 5 boys in my small apartment for two days during CMF. And what pleasurable chaps they were. What really blew me away about this rock ‘n’roll band with heavy classic rock and jam band elements, was that these quiet, and somewhat shy Halifax, N.S. boys really ripped on stage. A sweaty, psychedelic assault, if you will.
No matter how you slice it, Blake Johnston, Sean Carver, David Driscoll, Dave Lidstone and Jason Keddy all agree that playing festivals like CMF are a valuable way to create buzz about your music. “Music festivals help artists reach a larger audience than one might normally be able to reach and can be a great stepping stone to a plethora of industry contacts and new fans. Most labels want to see an artist grow and make money on their own before they invest too much time and money into them,” says guitarist Driscoll.
The Stogies seem to have the right mentality. They built a whole tour around their festival dates, all while applying for grants to ease the financial burden while simultaneously creating a general buzz around Southern Ontario. “The main goal should be gaining new fans, press and other connections that will create enough buzz to eventually draw or catch the attention of a label.”
After playing NXNe last summer, The Stogies relentlessly returned to Indie Week in the Fall and played four showcases, three of which were either sold out or damn close to it. Without even realizing, they had become one of the buzz bands at this smaller scaled festival, and took complete advantage of that, broadening their contacts and fan base. They even went on to place second overall among 9 other finalists in the East Coast Showcase during Indie Week. “We’ve built a nice army of Torontonian fans that welcomed our set with open arms (and ears). We’ve made lots of headway in the Big Smoke. Now the key is to follow up and keep them interested.”
Of course, keeping the rock machine rolling and the interest levels peaked is vital to any band or artist looking to progress and better themselves, no matter the genre. And what better way to stay relevant than to feverishly continue to turn out those tunes. The Stogies are half finished a new record and plan for its release this Summer. But sonically will it stray from their last EP? Only in the best possible way. “Our feet will always be planted in rock n’ roll,” says the band. “We’ve added a full time piano/organ player to fill out the sound and are exploring some slower tunes as well. Lyrically, the songs are more about what we’ve experienced on and off the road in our attempts to mature as a band and human beings.”
Though The Stogies expect their tour van to either break down (again) or be towed, and the highly likely (and predictable) consumption of double cheeseburgers, they’re also gearing up for a tour of the East Coast this coming June.
Photo: Scott Blackburn
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