February 11, 2014
Victoria band Cartunes works hard to keep their content fun, fresh, and unique. Their YouTube videos focus on the duo doing something we're all guilty of - Singing as we drive around town. Lucky for us, these guys sound a fair bit better than we do wailing along to Adele at the top of our lungs. Their videos are worth a watch for the sheer musical talent alone. The fun scenery and constant location changes are just the cherry on top.
G: Starting at the beginning, where did you each start musically and how did the band come together?
CT: Allegra has been singing since age three. She's been playing the fiddle for twelve years, and has been singing in the Victoria Soul Gospel Choir for ten years. From April 2013 - July 2013, she performed at Canoe Club every thursday in a cover band called The Shattered Hearts. She also had a few gigs at the Bard & Banker in August 2013. She currently performs with local talent and Timebenders Founder Tom Watson in his "Vaguely Vegas" show. Kiaran was raised in a musical household, has been singing and playing guitar and piano since age 9, and is a graduate the Vic High R&B band, with which he played guitar, sang, and toured to Nashville and Ottawa. After graduation, Kiaran deferred from an acceptance to Berklee College of Music in Boston to go on a cross Canada Tour with the locally written, now off-broadway hit Ride the Cyclone (prod. Atomic Vaudeville) as a guitarist/pit musician. After his experience there, Kiaran has been writing, learning, and composing for some theatre on the side for local artists and companies, including True West by Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. Alongside this, Kiaran also has a passion for jazz guitar.
We met while performing in the band for Kiaran's high school dance in 2011. We stayed in touch and have been jamming ever since. Cartunes began in 2014, when we decided to make a YouTube video while hopping in a car and driving around Victoria on a nice day.
G: Who are the main musical influences for the band? Are you inspired by any local/Canadian artists in particular?
CT: Allen Stone, Tingsek, Kimbra, Stevie Wonder, and lots of other Motown artists and songwriters are big influences for us.
G: Do you have plans for an upcoming album?
CT: We hope to have an EP out by Summer 2014.
G: How do you feel the Canadian music scene is seen internationally?
CT: (Kiaran) Definitely as full of interesting, new, bright, and vivacious talent. Canadians go all over the world, and seem to spread Canadian sensibilities wherever we go. Canada definitely has influence on the global stage.
G: What do you struggle with the most as an upcoming, independent band?
CT: (Kiaran) Well, it's really difficult to be young and independent, depending on what context you see it. Sure, it's not a great source of income, but it definitely is fulfilling trying to find yourself in the music industry. So long as you're doing things, it will seem a lot less difficult. Expect nothing but what you bring to the music! I guess I'm pretty minimalist in what I expect from the industry. If you're good, you'll do well, if you aren't doing well, you probably aren't good. It's not something to get down on yourself about, but it is something to work on.
G: What do you want to improve on, as a band?
CT: (Allegra) Well, songwriting 'speed' for sure. There's a lot of applicable skills between us, but to have someone you trust to collaborate with well is an ever-going process. We like each other's styles, and are open to each other's opinions. It's a good start, but we're working on making it a simpler process. It would be nice to bust out a song every day!
G: Where is your favourite place to hangout in your hometown/town you live in now?
CT: (Kiaran) Hermann's Jazz Club… I have this weird thing for jazz. I go to jams and shows almost religiously.
G: What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
CT: (Kiaran) Oh jeez. It's got to be John Legend. Whenever he comes out with a new album, I just bash it, and then I love it mere days later, cheesy love songs and all.
G: If you could meet and interview any Canadian musician, alive or dead, who would it be?
CT: (Kiaran) It's really weird for me to say. My dad is an instrumentalist for the Canadian Folk-Rock band Spirit of the West, and their frontman, John Mann, is a heavyweight. When I think good lyrics, I think John Mann. I'd love to have a talk with him at some point soon. Otherwise, Oscar Peterson.
G: Any favourite local musicians you’d like to mention?
CT: (Allegra) Blackwood Kings are very good friends of ours, and are extremely talented musicians. I've collaborated with them on many occasions, and I can't get enough of their music. (Kiaran) The New Souls is a band I was one of the founding members of. Incredibly diverse soul-based music. Dance-y funky stuff. I'm not with them any more, but I love to hang with them and check out their shows.
G: Great, thank you so much guys! We'll be checking your YouTube page for new songs!