The Backseat Lovers // Commodore Ballroom


On Wednesday August 10th, the electric indie rock band The Backseat Lovers played in Vancouver for the first time since 2019. Only having heard a few songs on Spotify, such as “Sinking Ship” and of course, their viral Tik Tok hit “Kilby Girl,” I was looking forward to an upbeat indie performance. What I got was a full-on rock show.

Set in the historic Commodore Ballroom, I was surprised at how well the acoustics filled the large open space. As I entered the packed venue, I could tell I was in the presence of hard-core fans. Every conversation around me was about what album/EP they preferred or what song they hoped they were going to hear. The energy was all anticipation, I knew I was in for a rowdy time.


The Backseat Lovers entered like a burst of fire. The lead singer Joshua Harmon ran onto the stage shirtless, red lights beaming on him as he promptly led the band into a 3 and a half minute instrumental jam, showing off their powerful electric guitar skills that carry their signature sound. No intro, no lyrics; just head-banging guitar shredding.  Not at all the opening I expected from this Utah-based indie band.

The crowd swarmed the stage screaming; instantly there was a mosh pit of vintage t-shirts, mom jeans and cowboy boots dancing across the beer-soaked floor. They finished their instrumentals, looked out at their audience with massive grins, and jumped into their single “Pool House,” to which every person sang along to. The Backseat Lovers had their audience entranced, and they knew it.


The stage was minimalistic, with three long rectangles of painted glass windows framing the drum kit. There wasn’t any need for eccentric effects or dramatic lights when you have lead guitarist Jonas Swanson and Joshua Harmon sprinting back and forth across the stage, flipping their hair, and sweating all over their guitars. The band gave everything they had into their performance.

They played a 13 song set consisting mostly of songs from their well-known 2019 album, “When We Were Friends,” along with singles such as “Out of Tune,” “Just a Boy,” as well as a sneaky little acoustic rendition of “Address Your Letters.” They went on to play a couple soon-to-be released tunes such as “Growing and Dying,” which made the night even more special. The song was carried with a heavy acoustic guitar, accompanied by light Beatles-like vocals from Harmon. This feel-good tune was supplemented by a crew member throwing sunflowers into the crowd. Quite a vibe change from the heavy metal entrance. The audience didn’t mind, we were all swaying together, eyes glued to the stage, absorbed by the music.


The band was ecstatic to be back in Vancouver, addressing the crowd with grateful smiles. They reminisced about Vancouver being their first show outside of the United States back in 2019, which they had played in a skateboard shop, and now, 3 years later, to a nearly sold-out show at the Commodore Ballroom.


They closed the show with “Maple Syrup,” but the crowd was not ready for the show to end. The moment the four band members took their exit, every soul in the venue chanted for an encore. The Backseat Lovers did not need much convincing; after about thirty seconds (and a couple of bras tossed on stage), the boys were back with the same fire they entered with. The crowd turned into a roaring cheer as the band hopped on their instruments to play “Sinking Ship.” Joshua Harmon and bass guitarist KJ Ward came together, singing face to face, as Jonas Swanson jumped up beside drummer Juice Welch, shredding his guitar and flipping his hair so hard his hat went flying off the stage.

The boys closed the show with an unforgettable encore, leaving the stage with adoring fans chanting “Backseat! Backseat!” as the lights dimmed.



Review: Sophia Niewerth

Photos: Michaela De Ciantis-Wong

Bob Moses – Malkin Bowl


The finale of an international headlining tour, Bob Moses joined their family and friends in Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl on Saturday May 21st. The duo took a risk that paid off, as the Vancouver weather gods shone through with sunshine and cloudless skies.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Malkin Bowl, it sits nestled between the tall trees in Stanley Park and is a truly a beautiful stage for bands to play on. Front man Tom Howie spoke about how it was their first time at the Bowl, playing – or otherwise, and that “It feels so good to be home with our Vancouver family.


The set was an undulating ebb and flow of rock and electronic music..slow and fast. Howie‘s voice proved to be beautifully mellow and sweet, ringing out over the entire crowd in crystal clear clarity.

Spotted around the park grounds, were several parents/family members of the band. Their delight at the sold out show and very friendly crowd was evident as they walked through. At one point during the show, an audience member came and cleared all the discarded cups off the grass, showing just how considerate Bob Moses fans are.

While there wasn’t much talking throughout the concert, Jim Vallance spoke about their new album “The Silence In Between” and how their latest single “Love Brand New” just went number one in the US alternative charts, creating a special moment to find out about it in their hometown amongst family, fans and friends.


Powering into each song, Howie‘s vocals stayed on point the entire performance, receiving great backup vocals from their touring bassist Julio and powerful drum performance from Joe.

During their grammy-nominated song “Tearing Me Up”, Howie invoked audience participation by getting the crowd to sing the final chorus along with him.

While this was an all ages concert, there were only a handful of parents with young children, the majority of audience members being an eclectic mix of “hiking vancouverites” and the subset of “ravers and party goers”.


As the sun set and the park was shrouded in night, the visuals on the LED screens shone through. While simple in design, they were effective and well designed to suit each song. The lighting crew did a great job in basking the band in a warm glow that flashed and danced with each track.

Overall the entire set was an exploration of Prog rock, 80’s synth pop and electronic music. With nods to both Vallance‘s history in trance and techno music as well as Howie‘s rock background.

The final few songs included a cover of Australian band INXS “Need You Tonight” and a shout out to their entire crew and band members that have helped keep them safe while touring.


If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Bob Moses live, we highly recommend it. There was a lot of hometown pride seeing one of our own up on stage and having achieved so much. The support for this duo was obvious from the sold out crowd, and the eagerness to sing along to the songs.


Review: Melissa Riemer

Photos: Louis Lay

Fruit Bats – Hollywood Theatre


Been a minute since we’ve seen live music in a busy venue and Fruit Bats were the perfect act back. They took down Hollywood Theatre on March 18th, 2022, a mere couple weeks after BC’s mask mandate ended. There were folks aplenty ready to move to their new and older stuff. 

Fruit Bats brought their Illinois folk-rock sound up and over to Vancouver. Their albums have grown and shifted as band members have come and gone, with lead singer, Eric D. Johnson, the North Star along the way. Given the various travel complications of the last couple years, this tour could be showcasing their 2022 release Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits and Lost Songs, their 2021 releases Siamese Dream AND The Pet Parade, 2020’s The Glory of Fruit Bats, or their 2019 album Gold Past Life. And, functionally, Sometimes a Cloud serves as a retrospective across two decades of their music, and perhaps that is what this tour is as well. 


Fruit Bats came out to a sold out Hollywood Theatre on an ethereal stage of clouds and suns. Opening with The Bottom of It, the opener off Gold Past Life before moving into My Sweet Midwest off Absolute Loser. Eric said this was actually an internet request. 

A few songs following this, including Cazaderawere shouted out as their Canadian debut. They then moved through their catalogue, from older to new and back again. The packed crowd swayed with them. People were dancing, making out (I haven’t seen that in a while), and back at live music. It was a delightful show. 


Much as Sometimes a Cloud moves back and forwards through their discography, this show did too. Eric himself said part of the album is the “collection that you buy for your friend that’s Fruit Bats curious” and that part of the album is for longtime fans. I would say the show did that as well, reminding everyone at the Hollywood Theatre what the Fruit Bats can do. 

They left they stage for one of the most telegraphed encores we’ve ever seen, which would have been demanded by this crowd no matter what. They saved one of their biggest, Humbug Mountain Song, for the encore and, in more of a surprise, came back again for a second encore. Everybody left satisfied and wanting more. 


Going in, I was familiar with their bigger songs, but not the whole catalogue and was quickly drawn in. Will definitely be back next time they are in town.


Photos: Mikhail Din

Review: Alex Jardine

Phillips Backyard – Glitterbomber

Glitterbomber 2022_03_01_01

It’s been a little while since we’ve been to a Phillips Backyard event, and this year they’re not only bringing it back…they’re it back three times!

First up, The Glitterbomber. Named after the Phillips Hazy Pale Ale, Glitterbomb, this weekend of great beer, great music, and great vibes is taking place Saturday May 14th and Sunday May 15th 2022.


The trio of festivals is starting off strong with headliners Future Islands (a Maryland-based synth pop group – May 14) and Bryce Vine (a California-based hip hop artist – May 15).

Among the many talented musical acts on The Glitterbomber bill are the BC indie rock legends, The Zolas, who’s newest album has been on repeat at the 987 HQ since its release in 2021.


Tickets are available here! See you on the dance floor 🙂

Day In Day Out Returns!

After a successful inaugural weekend in 2021, Day In Day Out returns for its second edition this August! Taking place at the Fisher Green Pavilion, in the heart of Seattle, this year’s festival features a wide range of acts with genres spanning across the board.

The headliners include: Mitski, Mac DeMarco, and The National; playing Friday, Saturday, Sunday respectively.

As well as some other heavy hitters such as: Soccer Mommy, JPEGMAFIA, Cherry Glazerr, Shabazz Palaces, Japanese Breakfast, and Animal Collective.

We can’t wait!

Tickets available here.


Ritt Momney – Fox Cabaret


Ritt Momney was my first concert since covid hit. I had been starving for a solid night out with some kickass live music in an intimate venue. This Gen Z band of thrift shop t-shirts and pencil moustaches was just what the doctor ordered.

Set in the ever-iconic Fox Cabaret, the acoustics played out well in the venue. When it was time for Ritt Momney’s set, there were no dimming lights, and no stage changes (other than adding a few instruments). Using the same blue mood lighting and red velvet curtain backdrop as their openers, Ritt Momney and his touring band walked on stage, greeted by a mass cheer and without an introduction got to it, opening with “Paper News” from his 2019 album, Her And All of My Friends.


If you’re unfamiliar with Ritt Momney (aka Jack Rutter); he’s a Salt Lake City-based artist with a lofi-meets-indie-pop/rock sound. Ritt Momney had a major rise in popularity after his sleeper hit cover of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” went viral on TikTok.

Ritt Momney started the night slow and chilled, silencing the crowd with soft, pull-on-your-heartstrings tunes such as “Not Around”, “Show Runner 99” and “Command V”. Everyone had their hands to their chest swaying in unison as if under a trance. That trance was broken when Jack Rutter brought on a crowd favourite “Escalator”. The intro beat started, Rutter jumped from the keys sending the audience into a frenzy.


Rutter bounced around the stage changing instruments; from piano to lead guitar and just straight vocals. He got the crowd dancing, and incorporated the two opening acts into the set; performing his single “Sometime” ft. Shane T and “Set The Table” with Hannah Jadagu. The band’s chemistry on stage was fun-loving and comfortable. Their energy was contagious, you could feel the comradery and love for performing.

With a decently bare stage set up, a relatively small crowd and the familiarity in which Jack Rutter addressed his audience, it felt like you were at a bumping house party. The energy was high and it appeared nearly every person there was a loving fan, dancing and singing along, giving their full selves to the experience of the show. Even Rutter’s stage banter about losing his bag at the skate park and breaking into private rooftops to get a better view of the mountains was told as if he was chatting right to you.


At the end of the show, Rutter apologized as there was not enough time for an encore. This didn’t seem to bother the crowd, not because one wasn’t wanted, but because they had heard everything they desired.

Ritt Momney was very open and cordial with the audience. When the set was over Jack Rutter took the time to take pictures and chat with fans. Beer in hand, Rutter stayed behind for an hour or two answering questions and shooting the shit with his admirers… me being one of them.

I had heard a few songs by Ritt Momney and wasn’t sure what to expect from him and his band in a live performance, but they blew me away. With an electric stage presence, top tier talent and respect for his fan base, Ritt Momney gives it his all. It’s not a show to be missed.


Photos: Michaela De Ciantis-Wong

Review: Sophia Niewerth


Primavera Sound 2022 – Barcelona


Primavera Sound (Barcelona), a music festival that has been around for over two decades, is BACK baby!

This event will be taking place at Parc del Forum, a public park in the south-east part of the Poblenou neighbourhood on the Mediterranean seafront.


Since its inception in 2001, Primavera has boasted some of the world’s top musical talents, and this year’s edition is no exception.

There will be two weekends to choose from (June 2-4 and 9-11, with virtually identical lineups), and events every day in between.


The headliners this year include: The Strokes, Pavement (W1), Massive Attack, Tame Impala, Beck, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (W2), Gorillaz, Phoenix (W2), Jorja Smith, Dua Lipa (W2), The National (W1), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tyler, The Creator, Interpol (W2), Lorde (W2), Megan Thee Stallion (W2)


The action doesn’t stop in between the two weekends. Primavera a la Ciutat will be running from June 5th to 8th; access is included with either of the weekend passes.

There will be live acts at different venues across the city. You’ll find some of the headliners such as Jorja Smith, Interpol, Megan Thee Stallion and Phoenix listed as a part of these events, as well as some acts not featured on either weekend bill, like Disclosure and Jamie XX.


Both weekends are officially sold out, but those hoping to get on the waitlist can do so by clicking here.


Photos taken on behalf of 987:

The Strokes (Rogers Arena): Anil Sharma

Tyler, The Creator (Pacific Coliseum): Darrole Palmer

Interpol (Queen Elizabeth Theatre): Darrole Palmer

Jorja Smith (PNE Forum): Darrole Palmer

A Few Words w/ Paper Idol



Hey Matan, Mikhail and Torben from 987 here. And boy do we have questions…

How did you come up with the name Paper Idol?

The name comes from a song I wrote – it’s about worshiping a person or a thing that turns out to be weaker or more flawed than you originally thought. In our culture, founded on market capitalism, people primarily worship things. You know when you impulse buy a sweet button-down Hawaiian t-shirt from an Instagram ad, but when it arrives all the buttons fall off and it looks less cool than the picture? That’s a paper idol. Or maybe I just have bad luck shopping on Instagram.

Where do you record? Basement? Professional studio?

I mostly record in my small production studio in East LA. It’s in a studio complex near the Mariachi District, so there’s tons of good food and cool music stuff happening around there. My bandmate Adam has a studio only a few minutes away, so sometimes we’ll work at his place. But given that everything happens on my laptop, I can really produce anywhere. Most of “Seen This All Before” was produced at a Starbucks in New York City. Right now, I’m at my childhood home sitting on a picnic-table-turned-music-studio where I’ll be producing material for the next EP.  

What instruments do you play, and which digital audio workstations do you use?

I play guitar, bass, drumset, and sing. Adam’s got the synth and piano chops. We both use Ableton Live.


What brings you more joy, writing the lyrics or the music?

The music. It’s what comes naturally. Writing lyrics can be extremely difficult. Sometimes I’ll flow with it and come up with cool lyrics… other times I’m tearing my hair out. If I sit with the song long enough, the words come eventually. Usually. 

Regarding “Seen This All Before,” were you trying to recreate the feeling of boredom with your tone and lyrics? Can you say a bit about repetition and boredom?

I’m really glad you caught onto that – most people ask about the anger of the song. The song isn’t angry, it’s lethargic and jaded. Clearly, the character in the song can’t reckon with his emotions and puts on this bored, confident front to protect himself. Or maybe his perspective is warranted? I wrote the song during a relatively bad nervous breakdown; I was feeling things very strongly at the time. But my anxiety is repetitive in nature, there’s an obsessional component that makes it all seems familiar and boring after a while. On top of that, the rest of the world is experiencing the same problems as me, and so have my ancestors, and so will my decedents. The result: my problems are just not that interesting. That’s the absurdity of “Seen This All Before”.

What emotion do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?

That feeling when you’re at a party and have a random epiphany about aliens, or a new business idea, which then makes you have way more fun at the party.

And also, how do you feel, or want to feel, when you’re making it?

When I’m deep in a production, I’m meditating. My mind is turned off, I’m not thinking about the time or my headache or my rent payments – I’m focused on the specific track I’m working on. Ableton and I have a great relationship. It took us six long years to get there, but I’m at the point where my ideas can translate pretty fluidly into music. It feels good to make stuff. And Adam is basically a musical extension of myself, we have the same deep understanding of where we want this project to go and what it should sound like. Luckily, we don’t have the exact same taste in music, so he brings some jazz chops and a jam-band mentality to the table. Overall, we’re a happy team.


Regarding the song “Clouds,” is it a love song, a breakup song, or neither?

Clouds” is about a relationship where my girlfriend broke up with me, then insisted on getting back together, then left me again three weeks later. It’s a love song and a breakup song! 

Are you eager to get back to live concerts, or have you been happy doing live streams in the digital space? Do you foresee hybrid concerts in your future, such as your recent EP release party?

Adam and I can’t wait to play live again. We had a few local LA shows in October and are looking to tour soon. I think the hybrid concert model would be great to continue, especially with everything going on. In addition, our fanbase is international, so until our world tour it’s cool to stream the shows online!

What inspired the switch in direction from med school to musician?

Medicine is a family business – both my parents and my sister are doctors, my grandfather was a pharmacist, and my aunts and uncles are in medicine. Growing up, I figured I’d join them. I used to dress up as a doctor for Halloween. I went so far as finishing a pre-med curriculum at Wesleyan University and taking a medical technology job following graduation. Sitting at my desk job, I kept hearing this inner voice that said, “Go!” I ignored it for many months. Then I spent a weekend in LA on business, and met up with buddies from Wesleyan who encouraged me to move there and make music. I figured that’s where “Go!” was telling me to go. So, like many Midwestern hopefuls before me, I quit my job and drove down to LA with lots of music gear and no plan whatsoever.

You describe your music as “Delusional Pop” – did you coin that or was it already established industry jargon?

Adam actually came up with that one! Sums it up good huh?


Does the colour yellow mean something to you, or does it just happen to be your fave?

Neither, actually. After writing “Clouds,” I spent some time thinking about the visual aesthetic, and the first thing that popped in my head was the yellow umbrella. From there, I came up with the album art, and Mania Days became the yellow EP. Something about yellow is dreamy and “open,” it was the perfect color for Mania Days. Paper Idol has always stuck to the three primary colors for the art, so we might choose a new one for the next project…

Will your new Bond movie be called:

James Bond: Paper Never Dies

James Bond: Octopaper


James Bond: GoldenEyedol?

Oh my goodness these are great – I vote Octopaper.

Bud Light Limes or craft beer?

Craft beer. Too many bad high-school hangovers with Bud Light. 

Thanks for chatting!

Interview: Mikhail Din + Torben Robertson

Photos provided by: Paper Idol

COIN // The Rio

The Rio Theatre was absolutely rocked on November 9th by COIN. With the absence of the opening act, Valley, who were unable to get across the border, Chase Lawrence (lead vocals/synths), Ryan Winnen (drums), Joe Memmel (lead guitar/backing vocals), and Matt Martin (bass) came out to a somewhat cool crowd, murmuring with excitement.
The first live sounds of the night came from Memmel‘s Fender Mustang for their song Chapstick, a single they released in early October. The tone of his opening riff cut like a knife through the anticipation of what the night had in store. There were no more questions at this point; we were in for a show.
As the night went on, it became more and more apparent why COIN has experienced the success they have; not only were they all incredible musicians, but they each had a distinct knack for showmanship. Whether it was Lawrence jumping on top of his keyboard mid solo or Memmel becoming a human extension of his guitar and falling to his knees at the strum of a chord, there was always something going on up there that caught your eye. The passion they have for their music was evident and contagious.
I was able to get my hands on their setlist after the show, and this was the order of the songs they played.
Into My Arms
I Want It All
Simple Romance
Growing Pains
Nobody’s Baby
Babe Ruth
Let It All Out
Malibu 1992
You Are The Traffic
Crash My Car
Fingers Crossed
Sagittarius Superstar
Talk Too Much
Before playing You Are The Traffic, the only song they performed from their most recent album, Rainbow Mixtape, Lawrence mentioned that they wrote 26 new songs in the last year. Which, under normal circumstances, would be basically impossible for a band trying to balance a touring schedule. The feat becomes even more impressive when you consider the quality of the 26 songs that they produced. But, as we all know, time can seem endless during a lockdown; something Lawrence credited as the main reason they were able to write so much.
I was slightly disappointed they didn’t play more of their new songs from their recent albums Rainbow Mixtape and Green Blue + Indigo Violet; the night was primarily focused on their album Dreamland, which they didn’t get a chance to tour in 2020 due to COVID-19. I can’t blame them; it’s a strange position for a band to release an album, then get halted from touring due to a global pandemic, sending them into a writing frenzy that resulted in two new albums in one year. The good news, there is a lot more new music that they will be performing soon.
The night ended off with their most popular song to date, Talk Too Much. Even after seventeen songs, they were able to muster up a powerful performance that had the entire building singing along with them. Lawrence ended the night by simply saying, “see you next time,” with confident assurance in his tone that was well deserved after that performance. He knew, as well as everyone else in that crowd, that we were going to be seeing him again.
Review: Conaire Kehoe
Photos: Michaela De Ciantis-Wong


b3Sifat and Samprit are Broun, a dynamic new band out of Jakarta and Toronto, with their roots in Dhaka. After the release of their first single, “Escape the Feeling,” 987’s Mikhail and Torben sat virtually down to talk to Broun about their style, experiences, influences, what gets them outta bed in the morning, and whether they like bud light lime better than craft beer. Read below the results of the experiment. 

[Mikhail and Torben:] Hello Broun! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us… virtually. Can you talk about your musical backgrounds? Do you have any formal training? Did you teach yourselves everything you know? 

[Sifat:] My mom was a pop singer in the 80s and as kids, my sister and I were encouraged to learn eastern classical music. I respected it, but never really vibed with it. Fast forward a few years “Everybody” by Backstreet Boys came out. My sister and I were allowed to purchase the cassette and we could sing every song on the album by heart. I always knew I wanted to be a singer, but then I saw a concert by Linkin Park in 2000 on MTV and was mesmerized by Mike Shinoda playing multiple instruments whilst singing and rapping and all my teenage hormones wanted was to be in a band.

[Samprit:] I wanted to play guitar since I heard Eddie Van Halen’s [rip] solo in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” on cassette in the early 90s. In 2004, I finally got a guitar and over the years, took guitar lessons on and off from several capable guitar teachers until about 2009. After a 6 year hiatus from music, in late 2016 I took an interest in electronic music and started to teach myself producing from YouTube tutorials and forums.

[Sifat:] Samprit and I went to the same middle school and were two of the only rock n’ roll kids in a school dominated by hip-hop lovers. We bought the same Ibanez electric guitars, went to the same guitar teacher for lessons and listened to and jammed to a lot of rock and metal music.

I never learned how to sing, I always just could do it naturally. I did, however, learn a lot of breathing techniques and tips online once I started singing live. Samprit was a guitar prodigy in our teens, and while we did go to an amazing teacher for guitar lessons (Saadi Muktafi), he always had a knack for self-learning. In fact, he has learned everything about music production and sound design from Youtube and Twitch streams of famous producers.

b4[Mikhail and Torben:] You say that you came up making tunes in Dhaka. What kind of music do people make there? How have those styles influenced your music? Are there any Bangladeshi artists or bands that continue to influence you?

[Sifat:] Dhaka is one of the densest cities in the world and thus has a lot of music. Much of the mainstream music there is inspired by modern pop with eastern classical melodies and a noticeable influence from Bollywood music.

However, we started playing music during, what is commonly referred to as, the Bangladesh Underground Rock and Metal movement of the early 2000s—which was basically a group of kids who were tired of listening to what was on TV and wanted to sound edgy and different. We went to concerts in small overcrowded venues on the weekends and would be in the front row to watch bands that played covers of Metallica and Nirvana. By 2007 we had a band with the goal of sounding as different as we could from other artists in the scene, and so we would try to sound like bands like Alter Bridge, Incubus and Porcupine Tree, who at the time were new and fresh for the scene. Bands that continue to influence us from the Dhaka scene are Artcell, Black, Cryptic Fate and Nemesis to name a few. There are hundreds more.

In 2010, we released two rock singles with our band Absent Element which received a fair amount of radio play acclaim from the community, but were slowly discarded as one hit wonders as Samprit permanently moved to Canada and I was away from Dhaka for 6 years being in Canada and the UK till 2016.

The underground scene from Dhaka really influenced us not just musically, but in teaching us that kids of any age or background could come together and create something from nothing. Huh? Oh, why bud light lime of course! Anyways, the scene has now evolved far beyond just rock and metal, but continues to be a spirited generation of creators supporting each other and looking for the next unique sound. In fact more than one third of all of Broun’s listens still come from our old fans in Dhaka.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Sorry to interrupt but, do you prefer bud light lime or craft beer?

[Sifat:] Craft beer haha

b1[Mikhail and Torben:] Do you still visit Dhaka? Have things changed there since you’ve been abroad?

[Sifat:] Yes, In fact, I was living there between 2016 and 2019. Things have changed massively. The internet has only fuelled the scene’s creativity and diversity. You can find all sorts of genres and listeners there now. 

[Mikhail and Torben:] You guys have been ‘virtually’ jamming almost every weekend since May 2020 despite being halfway around the world from each other; do you have any more releases planned for the near future? Singles? EP? Album?

[Sifat:] We’ve been virtually jamming actively since May after we realized we really had nothing to do on the weekends because of Covid. But honestly, I don’t think we ever stopped nerding out on music since 2004. We still talk guitars, some crazy riff or breakdown in a song, our favourite concert videos—you should see our chats. I think Facebook once told me I have exchanged the most number of messages with Samprit amongst all of my connections. 

Yes, Broun is a long term project. It is something that we wish to pursue for many years to come. We see this as us finally pursuing our “Freedom to follow our calls” as musicians. (*coughs* teaser from second single *coughs*). We have written about 7-8 songs now that we really like, with 2 in the final stages of production now. This goal is to release one single a month till 2021. If we can get a decent following by then, a sabbatical from work and our first face to face meeting in 10 years is on the cards!

[Mikhail and Torben:] Your song blends elements from a few different genres. It’s the type of music that could really take off. Are you guys working towards the goal of Broun replacing your corporate jobs?

[Sifat:] Glad listeners are picking up on the variety of our influence.

Absolutely. Believe it or not, both of us just turned 30. We really think it’s now or never. While we will need to hold on to our jobs for now, if we can really make music at the level that we aspire to, who knows what’s possible. 

Right now, we are just trying to be time-management ninjas, and channel the kind of discipline we’ve been able to cultivate in our jobs towards our creative endeavours.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Has Covid affected how you produce music? Did you have any shows or tours that you had to cancel? Are you thinking of ways that you can adapt and continue to connect with people despite being unable to perform live?

[Sifat:] Covid has changed the game for us. It forced us to get rid of our mind-numbing weekend distractions and actually sit at home and give music one more shot. While I did play a few open mics here and there for the last few months, we didn’t even exist as an act—so covid was more of a catalyst than an inconvenience for us.

In May, Samprit randomly sent me a synth backing with a beat and in 15 minutes of our first zoom call we had the first verse and chorus of “Escape The Feeling”. Over the next few weeks, we went back and forth on the arrangement, structure and mix of the song. By June, when it was done—it was something we were really proud of and it opened our eyes to the possibilities we had as a duo. We started writing other material in full force while planning how to market ourselves as an act online.

Above everything else, we want to make good quality music that people would love to jam to—whether that be at work, the gym or a sold out stadium. However, we live in the age of digital media and thus online content is always going to be an important tool for us to reach our audience.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Did you enjoy producing the music video for “Escape the Feeling”? Would you like to do more videos in the future, and do you see them as an integral piece of modern music production?

[Sifat:] It was the most fun I have had in a very long time, and am really sad Samprit could not be part of it.

A little back story.
I was lucky enough to randomly come across Wina, a film producer in Jakarta. She liked the song instantly and agreed to assemble a team of 3—Putrisa, Adit and her brother Monty who did everything on the video, starting from concept, direction till the final cut. Along the way I asked my friend Adara to play the eccentric and mysterious girl in the video. Yousuf helped drive us around, took some photos and also featured in a little cameo. It all just came together like magic! Believe it or not, we filmed everything on a Sunday night from 5PM to 5AM. These guys were super supportive and honestly are our very first fans and believers. I have promised to get them backstage passess when we play Tomorrowland haha.

We definitely will do more videos in the future, maybe stuff that’s a little easier to shoot. We have been exploring lyric videos as an option too.

Online content is the prime way to build engagement with an audience now. I have actually been YouTubing for the past few years, and the skills I have picked up have been insanely useful so far. I even made Samprit do a photoshoot, and he’s the type who hasn’t uploaded a photo in 8 years.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Do you think that metropolitan life and corporate work stifle creativity? Is there any room for creativity in the world of work?

[Sifat:] Not at all. We feel like it gives us a chip on our shoulder to fight for our dreams harder. If we didn’t have our jobs, what would we be trying to escape from? It’s a strange paradox.

The corporate hustle also teaches you to be tough, work with tight deadlines and prioritize ruthlessly. Honestly we’re the type of people who would be lazy bums otherwise. The world of  work is extremely dynamic now. Creativity is an essential skill needed to thrive in it. In fact, our colleagues fully know about and support our music.

Life in the city exposes you to a lot of stories. These stories fuel imagination and creativity. 

etf-cover-art-2[Mikhail and Torben:] How did you two end up in Toronto and Jakarta? Are your new homes starting to influence your music in different ways?

[Sifat:] Samprit’s family emigrated to Canada in 2010. He studied at UofT, and being the perfect poster boy engineer, found his footing in the tech industry in Toronto. I was more of a confused hopper—after completing university in the UK I was part of a tech startup in Dhaka. The connections I made there brought me to my current gig in Jakarta. I really like Indonesia, and plan to stay here for the next 2 years at least.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Who would you most like to collaborate with?

[Sifat:] The priority right now is to really establish our own unique and recognizable sound. We have exchanged messages with many musicians in Toronto, Dhaka and Jakarta – but for now we’re heads down in work trying to get our craft right.

[Mikhail and Torben:] What is one message you would give to your fans?

[Sifat:] Be honest with us, tell us what you really think.

Feedback is the one thing that will help catapult us to a global stage.

You’re the architects of our dreams as much as we are.

[Mikhail and Torben:] Thanks for chatting with us, Broun!

You can listen to “Escape The Feelinghere

Broun’s second single “Tonight I’ll Waithere

Interview curated by: Mik and Torben