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Event Archive - Stabilo, The Suits XL, Tomi Swick

Wed. September 27th 2006 9:00pm Element (No Minors) 9:00pm
$15.00
Tickets at: Lyles Place, Ditch Records & Cds, www.ticketweb.ca, Strathcona Hotel
Presented by: Atomique Productions
Rock is positively littered with overnight success stories, but the groups with staying power are usually the ones that honed their chops first. It's been a decade since the boys of Stabilo began rocking out at suburban B.C. barn parties, but their first major label full-length Happiness & Disaster reveals the slow-burning band is finally ready to blow up. Like the album title itself, Stabilo is defined by dichotomy, by the distinct but complimentary songwriting styles of Jesse Dryfhout and Christopher John, who combine acoustic and electric guitars while taking turns on lead vocals and keyboards. "We both tackle darker subjects," says Chris, "but my songs might be infused with a little bit more hope. Musically my songs are more in major keys so come across as happier, but I wouldn't describe my general lyrical style as happy or positive." But the band comes by their moodiness honestly-they are from the "wet coast," after all. "Rain has a good effect on the psyche," says Jesse. "It keeps you depressed, it keeps you inside and it keeps you writing. It totally affects your mood and that's what creates your songs. Happiness is a distraction." Stabilo's roots go back to their high school days, when Chris and Jesse bonded over their love of Dave Matthews' guitar skills. Being the mid-90s, Chris was already in a grunge band called Molly and Jesse was brought in to drum. Then he played them the first song he ever wrote-"Everybody"-which would eventually become Stabilo's breakthrough hit (and was re-recorded as a bonus track on the new record for those who may have missed out). Needless to say, the band's reaction was "oh shit, we gotta get a new drummer." Jesse joined Chris upfront and their current drummer Nathan Wylie, childhood friends with both lead singers, came aboard with a jazz-rock aesthetic that added rhythmic depth to the dual-guitar sound. Eventually, their high school band morphed into Stabilo Boss-after the highlighter pen they were using to jot down possible band names, though the latter half was later dropped. In 2000, the line-up was cemented when soul and funk-inspired bassist Karl Willaume, a university classmate, joined a few months prior to their self-titled DIY debut album. Stabilo began developing a solid fanbase in and around Vancouver but remained a self-described "loner band" willing to play wherever and with whomever. Stabilo's early success came not from ad campaigns or media hype, but a listener-voted radio competition on XFM that saw "Everybody" become that station's most-requested song for nearly a month. You could practically hear the doorways swinging open as the track, already years old at this point, worked its way into radio rotation across Canada and helped move 5000 copies of their self-released CD. In 2003, Stabilo became the only indie act nominated for the Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Rock Group. Though they didn't win, the unlikely nod did not go unnoticed.Labels began sniffing around as the group maintained their momentum by working with Marcy Playground's John Wozniak at his Mushroom Studios in Vancouver. Within a few months they signed to EMI and those recording provided the bulk of their 2004 introductory EP Cupid? Since then, the band's logged countless hours on the road bringing their vaunted live shows to capacity crowds across the country, working rock-friendly day jobs (Nathan and Karl taught music lessons while Chris was a temp and landscaper and Jesse tried not to lose a finger as a carpenter) and patiently preparing the new album. Produced by alt-rock stalwart Brad Wood-whose portfolio includes early Liz Phair, Tortoise, Smashing Pumpkins and Chris' personal favorites Sunny Day Real Estate-and recorded down in Los Angeles, Happiness & Disaster is the culmination of years of effort. Balancing its rainy-day angst with hook-filled melodies and addictive riffs, they've delivered a timeless album that sounds singular despite its two-pronged singer-songwriter team. "There's definitely a reason why a lot of other bands don't have two lead singers. It can sometimes come across as two different bands. But I think we've done a pretty good job of making a cohesive record and having our stuff work together rather than conflict," Chris says. "The benefit is a broader scope of influences and ideas." Indeed, H&D smoothly incorporates the rhythm sections' subtle jazz, soul and funk proclivities while the frontmen add in elements of 50s pop, 70s folk and 90s alternative to their straightforward acoustic rock. "It's not about selling millions of records to us," Karl says, "it's more about reaching millions of people with our music." But even if the scruffy-looking working-class band is refreshingly more concerned with making music than becoming rock stars, once the record reaches the masses they may not have a choice.

More Info: http://www.atomiqueproductions.com

Stabilo

Juno-nominated, Vancouver based Stabilo began rocking out at suburban B.C. barn parties, but their first major label full-length Happiness & Disaster reveals the slow burning band is finally ready to blow up. Like the album title itself, Stabilo is defined by dichotomy, by the distinct but complimentary songwriting styles of Jesse Dryfhout and ... more info

Tomi Swick

Honesty is an ongoing theme with Tomi Swick. The thirteen songs on his debut album, Stalled Out In The Doorway, tell honest tales of some of the harsh realities of relationships. Tomi’s beautiful voice and lilting melodies sometimes belay the dark subject matter in many of the songs. In the fall of 2006 Tomi came to the offices of Warner Musi... more info
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