Several of London’s artists are getting pumped for JUNOfest

Whether you listen to folk, metal, or hip hop, there’s a JUNOfest concert for everyone. Find out what some London artists had to say about why they love the music scene, being part of the JUNOs, the significance of promoting the local scene, and which Canadian artists inspire them.

Be sure to read Part 1 as well!

Kavara

Metal band Kavara at 765 Old East Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of Kavara

Metal band Kavara met in 2015 during their time at Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts (MIA) program. They will be performing at Old East 765 on March 15. Vocalist Serena Dorton and guitarist Chris Strange took the time to collectively answer.

What do you love about London’s music scene?

We love how the London music scene is a tightly-knit community with talented artists in a plethora of genres. There’s always new artists and bands emerging and they never disappoint. The London music scene has always been very supportive of us from the time we started Kavara to now. Lots of love to our Forest City metal family!

Marty Kolls

Marty Kolls London Ontario
Photo via martykolls.com

Marty Kolls had the CD release party for her debut album “This Life” at none other than the beloved Aeolian Hall. She’ll return to the Aeolian on March 16.

What do you love about London’s music scene?

I love that London has strong musical talent. It often goes dismissed, but those who are engaged continue to create a strong community.

The Marrieds

Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy of The Marrieds.
Photo courtesy of Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy.

Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy, also known as The Marrieds, became involved with the local music scene with three songs about Snowmaggedon 2010. Catch them at the London Music Hall of Fame’s Rosewood Room on March 15. 

Why is it important to promote London’s music scene, both regionally and nationally?

Jane: If we don’t promote, then no one will know about all of the amazing music that is being created in our city.

Kevin: I think everything starts with promoting your scene locally first.

If we as artists are supporting each other and creating something worth national attention, then it will come. As artists, it’s important to support each other but also to push each other’s creativity so we become better as a scene and then create music that we’re proud of.

After that, if the attention comes then that’s great.

The Pairs

The band the Pairs in London, ON
Photo courtesy of The Pairs

The Pairs is comprised of a former punk rock drummer and three classically trained vocalists, two of them twins. They will play at the London Brewing Co-Operative on March 16. Noelle Coughlin spoke of the music scene fondly.

What do you love about London’s music scene?

The scene here is incredible. Every step we’ve taken so far has been supported and encouraged by groups outside of ourselves. Richard and Jamie at Forest City Records played a huge role in helping us get our feet off the ground with our first EP.

They’ve connected us with many other people and helped to teach us some fundamentals of the industry. Other local acts, Averages, Charlie Weber, Marty Kolls, and so many more, and venues have brought us in and shared the stage and to grow as performers and musicians.

We feel safe to step into the unknown because we know we will be supported. We are forever grateful for that!

Victor Quinlan

Victor Quinlan
Photo courtesy of Victor Quinlan

Folk-rock singer-songwriter Victor Quinlan‘s cover of Mumford and Sons’ “Without Haste,” a duet with his pre-transition self, gained plenty of traction in 2018. Quinlan will be at the Rosewood Room at the London Music Hall of Fame on March 15.

Why is it important to promote London’s music scene, both regionally and nationally?

We have a ton of amazing talent here that people might not realize. You don’t have to pay $200 and cram into a huge stadium to be wowed, or travel to a city like Toronto. We have a lot of musical genius here, and you can show some solid support to the musicians who might be working other jobs, raising families, just trying to make ends meet. I’m grateful for each and every face I see in the crowd.

Ivan Rivers

Celebrated Folk Icon Ivan Rivers.
Photo courtesy of Ivan Rivers

Celebrated Folk Icon Ivan Rivers is a Canadian singer/songwriter who founded Eternal Bummer Records in Clinton, Ontario. He’ll be playing at Fitzray’s Restaurant and Lounge on March 15.

How do you feel about being part of JUNOfest?

It’s a wicked honour. I’ve promised myself that in order to fully unlock my inner celebrated folk icon, I need at least one JUNO nomination, so playing JUNOfest is basically an invitation to retire and rest on my threadbare laurels.

’63 Monroe

Band photo of '63 Monroe
Photo courtesy of Steven R. Stunning

’63 Monroe, formerly known as NFG, is a  punk rock band that has been active since the ’80s. They will be playing at the Richmond Tavern on March 15. Steven R. Stunning spoke on behalf of the band.

Why is it important to promote London’s music scene, both regionally and nationally?

Why wouldn’t we? It’s who we are.

I’ve been involved in this scene for over 40 years, as a performer, booker, and a club owner, even a politician, it gets in your blood. By saying that I’ve been involved for 40 years may make it look like I’m a little ‘long in the tooth’ and should just maybe hang it up and move on, leave it to the kids, but I don’t, they can’t have all the fun can they? Cause I just can’t shake it!

If one band can make it out people will come to find that ‘magic water’ that we all drink from and start pulling talent out and up, sort of like what happened with other scenes, such as Seattle, LA, Athens, etc. It can happen there. It can happen anywhere obviously, but we’re putting down the foundation to sustain a movement.

Sum-01

Sum-01
Photo courtesy of Sum-01

Sum-01 is a hip hop musician who was first involved in the music scene in 2008 with her “2 Dolla Holla.” The sequel, “2 Dolla Holla 2.0” was released a decade later. The Queen of the Forest City will perform at Old East 765 on March 16.

If someone is visiting London for the first time, what should they do to check out the music scene?

I would say follow the hashtags #ldnont and #ldnevents. Also, search around on sites such as LondonFuse, and London Music Office. But it is still hard to find some truly underground shows.

I also recommend heading to record stores like Grooves and just asking around, word of mouth is very powerful and the venues wherein you will find local music are few and far between so even scouting these venues, you are sure to find something!

Thesis Sahib

A black and white photo of James Kirkpatrick, also known as Thesis Sahib
Photo courtesy of The Grit of It

Who knew you could create music with modified game boys? Thesis Sahib uses the classic Nintendo devices in his performances, along with circuit-bent toys and video synthesizers. He’ll be at 765 Old East on March 16.

Who is a Canadian musician you admire, and why?

There is an amazing underground hip hop scene in Canada that gets more attention in Europe or the U.S. It’s been happening for 20 plus years right now. I feel that the majority of these acts in this scene originate from Halifax area, Saskatoon and London.

Check out anyone from the Backburner Crew or any of the acts associated with Animal Street Records.

Shad and Chad Van Gallen are great also. U.S. Girls are great also.

Carly Thomas

Carly Thomas
Photo courtesy of Carly Thomas

Singer-songwriter Carly Thomas has lived in various parts of North America, Thailand, France, and Argentina. She also won the 2015 Jack Richardson London Music Award for Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. She’ll be at Fitzray’s on March 16.

What do you love about London’s music scene?

As someone who didn’t grow up here, I was surprised by how warmly I was welcomed in the scene. There are a lot of people working hard to promote art they believe in and enjoy, and being close to that community has been a game changer for me. The encouragement and support is inspiring.

Twin-Fin

Twin-Fin
Photo courtesy of Twin-Fin

Swing band Twin-Fin held sold-out shows across London’s venues like the London Music Hall and Nite Owl. They were also fan favourites at the Home County Music and Art Festival in 2016. They will play at the London Music Club on March 16. Guitarist Paul Wickerson spoke on behalf of the band.

Why is it important to promote London’s music scene, both regionally and nationally?

Paul: It is important because artists need to grow and bring their music to a wider audience. Artists need a team to move their career forward: recording companies, booking agencies, promotion, tour budgets, road managers, sound and road crews. The only way to achieve this is to expose London’s talent base to the world. London needs to stay connected with the larger picture.

Charlie Weber

Charlie Weber and the Glorious Failures.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Weber

Charlie Weber, who will be playing at JUNOfest with the Glorious Failures, also performs with Averages. Weber and the Glorious Failures will play at Fitzray’s on March 15.

Who is a Canadian musician you admire, and why?

Neil Young, he’s a badass. Dude just plays by his own rules, stands up for what he believes in and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s not afraid to give the middle finger to anyone. Also, he writes great songs. Also, he has a song about a t-bone steak and mashed potatoes and it’s mildly confusing, and why it exists and why it’s 6 minutes long I’ll never know.

Wolf Saga

Wolf Saga
Photo courtesy of Wolf Saga

Wolf Saga is an Indigenous musician whose song “Walls” is about equality and tells the story of a woman raising a young boy to teach him about such values. He will be at LAVISH on March 16.

Why is it important to promote London’s music scene, both regionally and nationally?

Regionally, I think having smaller awards shows like the Jacks or now the FCLMA really boosts the momentum of artists. Having that recognition is always an inspiration to keep going. I know winning 2x Jack Richardson Awards had kept me going and thinking “I’m doing something important here”.

Nationally, our city has facilitated a lot of amazing artists and actors and more. I think people in the industry know how good the programs and efforts are in London.

Submissions have been edited for length and clarity

Featured photo by Emily Stewart

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