- How did Burning Daisy come together?
I signed to a label based out of B.C. a mere week after moving to Calgary in 2011. I put up an ad to form a band and Al Pujo was the first one from the band I met. We had a pint at Local 510 and chatted about our band and performance philosophies. They were pretty much identical. Al was friends with Jonny Vincent for years. We had been rehearsing at JV's rehearsal studio with a different guitarist, Russ Edworthy , who is on our album alongside JV. JV had been listening to us jam since day one, so when we asked him to join us, he basically knew all the songs already. Jonny Blaskovich (Blasko) came highly recommended through mutual friends. Unfortunately, he fell ill right before we went on the Doomination tour last summer . We asked my friend Dustin Frick to fill in last minute. We just parted ways officially with Blasko recently and Dustin is now our permanent drummer.
- What is the music education background of your members? Are you formally trained or mostly self-taught musicians?
I've been going to a well rounded collection of vocal coaches throughout the years. I took Music for my Leaving Cert the year after I graduated from university - a completely backward way of doing it - because I had planned to apply to Berklee College of Music in Boston, but had no official grades in any instruments. I took recorder and Speech and Drama studies for six years in school and piano for a couple of years. I then taught myself bass and took a few guitar lessons.
Al played French horn in the concert band and played trumpet in his jazz band in junior high and high school. He is self taught on bass and drums.
JV took guitar lessons from Glen Willows of the band Harlequin for five years. He studied music theory at the Royal Conservatory in Calgary. He's been playing guitar since 1994 as well as multiple instruments like drums and bass. He qualified as a recording engineer from APRA (The Beach), Calgary. He also recorded with Michael Wagner at World Wide Studios in Nashville in Jan of 2009 with Marija and Shadowstalk.
Dustin learned recorder and trombone in school and took a single year of introduction lessons for drums. He's been self teaching in and out of bands since.
Doomination was an acute learning curve for us all. We were 20-30 musicians stuffed into one sweaty, stinky tour bus and shipped across half the country on a showcase. Of course the drinking helped. We hardly stopped to eat the whole time. It was fantastic for networking and making friends in other bands. You reckon "we're all stuffed in the same sardine can together, so better to make the best of it". Once we hit the stage every night, the whole thing was worth it though! We hit one snag early on when Al's mic wasn't switched on. We went into Lessons In Cutting, which he starts, but there was no sound. He ended up over-singing and blew out his voice that night due to the altitude difference between here and B.C. We couldn't do that song for the rest of the tour.
I can't count how many mornings I woke up with whiplash and bruises everywhere from jumping around supporting all our friends. The comradery was something else. The B.C. crowd were so much fun and then to get such huge welcomes in Edmonton and Calgary was mind blowing. On our final night when we were playing our home town, we had a seriously eye opening experience. Chris Vrenna had a huge blow up at the organizer of the tour. Considering the man has toured the world over countless times, it really made us realize how poorly the entire thing was run. If it was so unsatisfactory that Chris could not deal with it, we felt it wasn't something we wanted our band to be associated with. We parted ways with the company not long after. However, we still have friends in BC and other parts of AB since then, so it wasn't all bad.
- You've played in lots of different places; how do you think the music scene in Alberta varies from the scene in BC?
Alberta differs quite a lot from BC in a lot of respects. Alberta certainly is easier to negotiate when touring in winter months. In Grand Prairie, cover bands can get in the region of $5000 a night. However, while the average band may make a touch less playing in B.C, and it's quite hard to get into venues there, they do offer much better riders and general hospitality towards bands. You often get your meal and board included for a gig. It's sad to see the live venue scene dwindle in Vancouver, but Calgary's youth scene is struggling too. That's where, in my opinion, any province needs to focus its support. In the over 18s crowd there is a fantastic buzz and flourishing sense of community amongst Calgarian bands. It feels similar to Seattle in the early 90s, like we're all just waiting to burst out of our cages. The Original Music Showcase that's run at the Blind Beggar is doing a lot to encourage bands to support each other. Hopefully we'll give Edmonton a run for their money in that respect soon. In every city that we've played in BC, the crowds have been fantastic and get right into it. We love that. BC is a lot easier to book house shows in too. I'm delighted about that, it's a big thing where I'm from in Europe and I'd love Burning Daisy to start doing those in the coming months....nudge nudge ;)
- Describe your experience while filming the music video for "Kill All The Things."
Hot, sweaty and enormous fun! It was really quite spontaneous. We had no clue what we were going to do for it. We just made a date with RussMan from CJAY92, who shot it. We ran around dressing up our jam room in my basement and just went for it. It was a huge amount of fun. I'm pretty sure I clocked myself in the face with the mic a couple of times too while I was at it. One of these days I'll knock out a tooth!
- What artists would you name as your main musical influences?
Garbage, No Doubt, RHCP, Queens of The Stone Age. We love the thick, chunky, funky 90s sounds with killer melodies.
- What is your opinion of the digitalization of music? Are things like iTunes, ReverbNation, and SoundCloud hurting or helping the quality of new music?
Honestly, I really don't think it begins to hurt anyone until you're signed from where I can see, right now. It's only doing good things for unknown bands. How in the world would we have ended up making band of the month in October on Women of Metal in Insane Realm Radio, an internet based station, without it?! I love that people can just go to our website, or Soundcloud, or whatever and listen to our music and get to know us. Really, the only way most bands (now and back in the 60s/70s) make any money is through merch and touring. So if you hear us in whatever form you choose, say thank you and come to see us live and buy your girlfriend a pair of short shorts or buy your mates a round of Burning Daisy -secret recipe- shots in our custom BD shot glasses! That's what we want! Of course, we love it when people actually buy our record at shows or on iTunes too! So far as the quality, I think there is always good and bad no matter the medium of distribution. When music first became widely recorded and distributed in the early 20th century, people suddenly were able to play back a piece of music and learn it note for note - rather than trying to recall from memory how a song had gone at a performance they had been to. Digitalization is just the next logical step. It makes it more readily available to everyone, thereby pushing people to be better at what they compose and how they perform. If it's weak, it won't go anywhere anyway, no matter what the conduit is.
- What plans do you have in the coming year for gigging, touring, or promotion? Will you be back in Vancouver anytime soon?
We are hoping to be back in BC, especially Vancouver, this side of June. As soon as we solidify plans, we will post it. Right now we are getting ready for some important gigs around Calgary; The Buffet's E.P launch in The Distillery and our first headliner show at the Blind Beggar. We're excited to be once again, playing with the amazing band, The Dirrty Show from Red Deer (think female Tenacious D!). Then we head to Austin, Texas, to play at the R.A.G Showcase at SXSW in March. Following that, we come back to compete in a battle of the bands at the Original Music Showcase in the Beggar. After that, who knows? Mini tours into BC are for sure, though, so anyone who would like to have us in to play a house show along our way, please let us know!
- Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
I just made a killer paella for dinner!
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