Interview: Who Do You Love? (Part Two) – More Victoria Indie Musicians Talk About Their Influences (by Mark Anthony Brennan)


Who do you love 2Article by: Mark Anthony Brennan


I’m influenced pretty heavily by dudes like Tom Petty and Dylan. Neil Young. I love how their music is still so relevant and even their newer, more contemporary songs still rule. They basically wrote the book on what I’m doing.

AARON ST. ARNAULT (Spaceport Union):
The band that has been the greatest influence for me is The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love funk music and the Chili’s were a big part in the developing of that love. Flea in particular is my main bass guitar influence. I love his aggressive yet beautiful playing style and I have tried to incorporate some of his style into my own.

PETER GARDNER (Hawk & Steel):
Musical influences is a question I always try to answer without just getting through the obvious. While I wear many of my influences heavy on my sleeve–like that of Ryan Adams, Leeroy Stagger and Jeff Tweedy, for example–there are some musical acts that have influenced me greatly that I don’t really push to the forefront. To name a couple: The first time I heard Talk Talk’s “Laughing Stock” my whole idea of how a song could be structured was changed. That record, which is one of the most interesting SOUNDING records I’ve ever come across, is a weird mix of structure, ad-lib, and exploration in a way that is so beautiful and captivating. I still listen to that album all the time and still get lost in it. The first time I heard Sonic Youth it opened me to the idea that sometimes the best way to express the emotion you want through music isn’t to hit the right notes but to jam a drum stick inside your guitars strings. A tactic I still like to use regularly. Both those bands have been a gateway for me to sort of get into some more improvised, totally fucked up music. It’s not something I play, and sometimes it’s not something I understand, but people pushing the boundaries of what is “music” and “proper” is something I find to be a total inspiration, even if I don’t follow its footsteps completely.

Hmmm, that’s a tough one for me. Answer is really it’s the song. Songs that move my heart and soul, ones that bring in love, heartbreak, angst. If I fall in love with the song then I go and find the artist who sings it with the most passion (from my estimation). But singers that I enjoy are Carmen McRae and Anita O’Day. Those were two singers who sang songs in their own way and added amazing flair. Of course I love all the singers from the past, but those are my favourites!

MARSHALL WILDMAN (222, Hawk & Steel):
Good question! Favourite artists right now: Dawes, Norah Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Half Moon Run, The Shouting Matches. Favourite drummers: Mick Fleetwood, Max Weinberg, Jason McGerr, Joey Waronker, Aaron Spears.

Bonnie Raitt for sure (it was an ultimate highlight to be front row centre to see her this summer at Musicfest!!) k.d. lang. My dad, Brent Dawson (I thankfully inherited his powerful and soulful vocal style). My cousin Carolyn Renouf (she taught me to harmonize).

Musical influences? Compulsion, melancholy. Constantly absorbing new and old music; it is a compulsion that runs most of my time.

The Band: Deep musical roots, great song writing combined with talented musicianship, three lead singers, killer harmony. Ultimate synthesis of country, blues, rock and folk. One of the Greatest — Townes Van Zandt: He, more then any other writer I’ve heard, wore his songs so true on his sleeve. Deep lyrical content, combined with incredible acoustic guitar skills. So honest and true and raw, a very moving artist. Neil Young: I would be lying if he was not mentioned. Such an original who has kept his music relevant throughout the decades, from Buffalo Springfield to CSNY to Crazy Horse. His music carries with it the human spirit and essence of history. From folk to rock to noise jams he represents a complete package of musical growth. He is a mentor to any musician as he represents all the good things that making music are about. And those are some of my biggest influences! Cheers!

Influences: Subject-wise it is real life – finding ways to tell stories that hold value and actually mean something, rather than writing phonetically appeasing lyrics. Sonically I would say things that retain organic qualities to them but find a way to push the boundaries – that’s a tough balance.

Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182, 30 Seconds To Mars, AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Primus, Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Silverchair

I was raised on music and listened to everything I could get my hands on from classical to power pop to metal. I was pretty wide open when it came to who influenced me but I actually love the ’50’s and ’60’s in general, no real idea why. It feels like I had lived then. I watched Happy Days every week and movies like American Graffiti and Stand By Me. The music from those films really hit it home with tunes like “Yakety Yak”, “Lollipop” and “Get a Job”. I joke with my wife now and again that I need to figure out how to get back there in a DeLorean. Aside from the heavy racism and sexism, I believe I would have been just fine in my rodded-out truck listening to Little Richard’s ‘Keep a Knockin”, going to pick up my gal for the sock hop.

I am a catalytic writer. When something grabs me I start writing. Emotions provoke a lot of my music. It’s an outlet for me. When I need to let go of something I’ll write it loosely into a song.

JOHNNY FEELINGS (Tower of Dudes):
I’ve always listened to all kinds of music. Metal, rap. I like rap — I mean, I would never sing it or anything, but I LIKE it. When I was growing up it was a lot of local punk rock because I could afford the $5 to go to the shows. You could get up close to the stage and have a lot of fun. Now I buy records from the ’60’s and ’70’s. But I also download a lot of newer bands.

ADAM BASTERFIELD (Spaceport Union):
If we’re just picking one, Pink Floyd would be at the crux of it all for me. They got me into music when I was in my young teens Their music pushed me to learn electric guitar. They were a great early education into what music is truly capable of on a sonic level, but also on a lyrical and philosophical level. To this day, Pink Floyd are still a constant source of inspiration to me. Beyond the Floyd, artists that have found a way to move me include King Crimson, Genesis (both Gabriel and Collins eras), Supertramp, The Band, Yes, Radiohead, The Beatles, Phish, Steely Dan, Kate Bush, Gentle Giant, Explosions in the Sky, Talking Heads and Rush.

John Frusciante, Kurt Cobain, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Neutral Milk Hotel, Waxahatchee, The Microphones, Bon Iver.

DAN BALL (Acres of Lions):
My musical influences have been many since I was a young man. The first time I was moved by bands was when I still a young pup and going to local small punk rock shows. It really showed me that you didn’t need to be huge and playing stadiums to really get out there. Bands like Moneen and Belvedere. These days what I’m really influenced by is passion in music. When I see a band on stage having fun and giving it everything they got I get such a smile. On my turntable right now is Northcote (self titled). Songwriting on this album is so prime. Matt could sing me to sleep. Other bands that will never leave me are: Freedom Pony, Carpenter and The Hold Steady. At the end of the day, the why is I enjoy rocking, thoughtful music. People who have the passion and aren’t chasing anything other than the love of music and playing live.

Our influences range from jazz to classic rock to post-rock, punk…we like a huge variety of sounds and try to bring them together in a way that makes sense to us and hopefully to those who enjoy our songs.

SAM ROLFE (High Noon to Midnight);
Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Black Keys, Half Moon Run, Arkells.

Here at Zoo Riots we incorporate an eclectic mix of musical genres; from blues, soul, psychedelic, spoken word, indie, R&B, and progressive. Artists we are influenced and impassioned by include Radiohead, Grizzly Bear, Pink Floyd, Matthew Good, Beatles, Local Natives, The Mars Volta, Arctic Monkeys, Mother Mother, Led Zeppelin, and an increasingly long list of others! The variety of musical influences that can be found within our unique sound are the result of the varying mix of musical interests between band members. Each one of us incorporates our own musical interests and subtleties into the songwriting process. Basically we love music (and lots of it) and it shows!

ROB ANDERSON (Bloody Wilma):
In car: Sabbath
In boat: King Tubby
At home: Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

Here’s a kinda top 5 musical influence list of specific songs:
“Don’t Give Up” (Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush): one of the best songs lyrically and heaviest progression to a bridge I have ever heard.
“Ghost” (Neutral Milk Hotel): I had already been overdriving my acoustic with a broken Boss TS9 pedal but this song/record confirmed it was really OK to keep doing it no matter how shitty it sounded. Now there are 3 drive stages on my pedal board:)
“First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (Roberta Flack): For me, the most beautiful song ever made… one of those ‘sappy’ tunes that is anything but that and made me want to write deeper.
“The Sounds of Silence” (Simon and Garfunkel): No explanation needed. It reminds me of my father who influenced me by simply playing guitar and singing songs like this every weekend.
“The Wall” (Pink Floyd): I sat in my room and learned the whole record on guitar over the course of about a month.

Right now I would say that Beck is my main influence in terms of tone and texture – his last CD is reverb heaven.

ADAM BASTERFIELD (Spaceport Union):
I don’t really TRY to emulate anyone per se. I’m always in search of my own distinctive voice and, while I might take cues from some of my influences, I’ve found myself in a place where I want to warp them into something that’s mine. Guitar-wise, for example, you might hear hints of Gilmour, Hackett, Fripp or whoever, but I’d like to think that it’s my own statement and my own voice coming through.

One of our biggest musical influences is Andy C. He is a producer, a DJ and a record label owner. He has been doing what he loves to do since his early teenage years; he has followed his dream and kept at it. He continues to push the music he loves and always pushes the talent around him.

Weird Party has two main influences: Air’s album “Moon Safari” and St. Germain’s album “Tourist”.

DANIMAL HOUSE (Illvis Freshly, The New Groovement):
Well, as an emcee who plays with a live band obviously The Roots are a huge deal. Black Thought is such a phenomenal emcee, and stylistically he really has a cadence I strive for and a timbre and speed within my range. Atmosphere is another huge influence on me; they really changed my notion of what hip-hop could be. Eminem might have been the first major white rapper, Kanye may have been the first big rapper from the suburbs, but Atmosphere felt like the first big white rap act from the suburbs (with all due respect to the Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Slug from Atmosphere’s black father and all the other people who make that a categorically untrue statement). Canada’s own Shad is probably my other huge, huge influence; he’s just so smart and soulful in addition to being really, really good at rapping. So yeah, I guess for me, that pretty much sums it up: The Roots, Atmosphere and Shad. Along with all the classics, like Biggie, Em, Jay, etc, etc. Oh, and my mom; she’s a piano teacher and the first person who got me into music. Shout-outs to Kathy Howse!!

Probably just an unrelenting curiosity in “where are we going?”