More than 100 bands will play across the Forest City this weekend!

Many local musicians will be playing across over 17 venues on March 15 and 16 as part of JUNOfest.

Several of the musicians from the London area took the time to do a Q&A about JUNOfest and London as a music city. Find out what they have to say about the local music scene, their inspirations, and how they would introduce those new to the Forest City.

Don’t forget to check out Part 2 for more artist answers!

Aaron Allen

Behind the scenes at Live at Fuse HQ. Aaron Allen. Photo by Thomas Sayers.
Aaron Allen. Photo by Thomas Sayers.

Aaron Allen and the Small City Saints are a country/folk blue grass band. Allen has performed as a solo artist since the mid-2000s and the band came into the picture with the release of “Aaron Allen and the Small City Saints.” Allen will be playing at The Bull and Barrell on March 16.

What do you love about London’s music scene?

My favourite part of the London music scene is the supporters. There are a lot of people in this town that really care about music and they have been extremely loyal and supportive of my music for very long time. It’s a great time right now as things ramp up for me I can feel the excitement and support now more than ever.

Nathan Ali

Nathan Ali.
Photo courtesy of Chrissy Newton

No stranger to large Canadian music events, R&B Nathan Ali performed at We Day Montreal and the Yonge and Dundas Square for the Grey Cup. You can find him at The Rec Room Masonville on Saturday, March 16.

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

Places like London Music Hall [and] Budweiser Gardens etc. for bigger events but also check out the smaller venues, pubs, bars etc. all around London. There [are] many talented artists in those places as well and check out LondonFuse.

Genevieve Fisher

Genevieve Fisher, a country music artist from London, Ontario
Photo courtesy of Remo Di Cesare

Country artist Genevieve Fisher performed for the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in 2012 as part of the New Artist Showcase. She’ll be at the Bull and Barrel on March 15.

Who is a Canadian musician you admire, and why?
As an Indigenous woman from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, I’ve always admired Buffy Sainte-Marie for her strength, words of wisdom and of course her music. I’ve always loved how she incorporates traditional Indigenous instrumentation/singing into her songs. She is beautiful in every way.
Shania has always been someone I’ve admired; she’s a legend. However, after reading her book, I had a whole new level of respect for her. Everything she overcame, truly inspired me. Also, her songs will never get old, which says a lot about her as an artist. I would seriously fan-girl if I ever got to meet Shania!

Julia Haggarty

Thank You Ilderton. Julia Haggarty performing at Thank You Ilderton in Ilderton, Ontario. Photo by Emily Stewart.
Julia Haggarty at Thank You Ilderton. Photo by Emily Stewart.

Before her solo country music career, Julia Haggarty was one of the founding members of Six Vocal Ensemble, an acapella group well regarded around the world. She will be performing at The Bull And Barrel on March 16.

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

It is a natural, organic hub for music. Many of my colleagues have gone through Fanshawe’s MIA program, and myself a DWFoM grad, I’ve met people from all over Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia who come to London, Ontario to study music.

We have performance halls, music clubs, Budweiser Gardens, bands and artists of every genre, multiple high-quality professional recording studios, theatre programs and theatre shows, private music schools, publicly funded music schools in both the LDCSB and TVDSB, [and] choirs.

The list goes on and I’m certain I’m forgetting a lot in this list right now. It’s important to promote London’s music scene because frankly, it’s huge.

Heart Attack Kids

The Heart Attack Kids
Photo courtesy of The Heart Attack Kids

Heart Attack Kids played at festivals like Pouzza Fest, Halifax POP, and London’s own Rock the Park, now called Start.ca Rocks the Park. The band will be at The Richmond Tavern on March 16. Drummer Nathan Stock talked about the music scene.

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

For someone visiting London for the first time I would point them to a show at Call the Office, the Richmond Tavern, or Rumrunners. All three of these venues are hot spots for local talent.

I’d also tell them to listen to 94.9 CHRW while they’re driving around this great city. CHRW is our local university radio station; they are always playing local artists and bands.

Hiroshima Hearts

Hiroshima Hearts lead vocalist Jenn Marino.
Hiroshima Hearts lead vocalist Jenn Marino. Photo by Jason Plant.

Hiroshima Hearts blends together everything from punk and metal to jazz to alternative rock to and country. Check them out at Norma Jean’s on March 15.  Lead vocalist Jenn Marino spoke on behalf of the band.

Who is a Canadian musician you admire, and why?

As a woman in the Canadian Rock scene, I really admire Sass Jordan. Her range is one that cannot be battled. I just saw her recently and she rocks just as hard today as she ever has. I admire her tenacity and her power, as well as her range.

If it wasn’t for women like Sass belting it out and showing something more than just a “pretty voice,” I wouldn’t be as far as I am today with my grit and attitude on stage!

HOWZAT

Howzat, a band from London, ON
Photo courtesy of Kevin Rudy

HOWZAT, a five-piece rock band, had JUNO Award winning producer Siegfried Meier record and co-produce their track “Luv Dust.” Check them out at Toboggan Brewing Co. on Saturday March 16. Vocalist Kevin Rudy spoke on behalf of the band.

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

To us, promoting the London music scene outside of London is very important. Wherever we play across the country we are always saying, “Hey you should come tour to London and see what we have to offer, great acts and great venues to support live music.”

Ivory Hours

Ivory Hours
Photo courtesy of Luke Roes

Ivory Hours, a fusion of modern pop and alternative rock, won 102.1 The Edge’s Next Big Thing Contest in 2015. Stop by Toboggan Brewing Co. on Friday March 15 to see Ivory Hours. In the meantime, read what vocalist Luke Roes has to say.

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

Hit London Music Hall or Rum Runners for an early show then rip over to Call The Office and crush as many Labatt 50s as your body can handle. If you have two nights you could maybe separate that, or just do the whole thing twice.

Submissions have been edited for length and clarity

Featured image by Emily Stewart

1 COMMENT

  1. Howzat Rocks! Just love this band to death and the nicest guys you would ever want to meet Always sending my best wishes!

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