The Headquarters Co-op is Turning Up the Tunes
Back down on the tracks, the Smack Tattoo Studios have done it again, but this time they have been infiltrated. A band of killer musicians, code name Edgewater Hotel, were dispatched last Saturday night by the Headquarters Co-operative to capture an audience of by-standers, and hold their attention hostage. Amsterdam Brewery had the ale flowing, and with the music bumping, and the crowd moving, it seemed that Project Party Time was a mission well-accomplished.
The Headquarters Co-op
Trueblue Magazine spoke with Julian Powell, Guitarist for Edgewater Hotel, about the agency behind the plot:
The Headquarters Cooperative is a socially conscious not-for-profit organization that aims to serve both its member artists, as well as the larger arts community of Toronto. Headquarters is a transparent entity that assists bands by relieving it’s members of the responsibility in venue booking, promotion and management involved in any event. Headquarters serves the larger community by offering unique professional acts that are energetic, engaging, and diverse. Headquarters also plans to involve visual artists, as well as videographers and independent studios to incorporate other components of the broader arts community. Most importantly, Headquarters plans to keep shows at a low price so the door stays open for everyone.
Completely abandoning the pay-to-play platform, Headquarters wants to see bands within the co-operative getting paid for the hard work that goes into a live performance. Unlike a traditional promotion company that hires acts to play pre-planned events, Headquarters designs events for the acts playing that night. In short, the co-operative is devoted to facilitating the connection of Toronto’s live music audience with the bands that make up Headquarters in an exciting way that has a lasting impact on all who attend its concerts.
Find out more HERE!
The Story of Edgewater Hotel
Julian, Jordan and Hanes are three wayward rats from downtown Toronto who burrowed into the local music scene during their early days of booze and bonfires. They floated through the stagnant seas of unknown musicians and empty rooms, and began to grow hungry and restless. They began a search, looking for something more in the urban wasteland. One day, they found Gary and brought him in to run with the pack. They chased what they could together, and spent their down-time holed up in a condemned building in the east-end of the city. They began their plan in earnest, and attempted to find inspiration that was different from what they were used to.
Edgewater Hotel established their reputation for passionate, no-holds-barred performances and unconventional song forms during those tough days splitting nickels and scrambling for jam space. Despite the strength they established then, their potential wasn’t fully realized until they were joined by the voice of Rachel Vandezande. She was a friend of local artist, Tara Clews (who is known for painting psychedelic patterns on the fans), and her addition to the band brought a creativity that immediately fused with sound of the others.
When their jam space was demolished, they became refugees who sought asylum in the basement of a Dun-Bat bar called May. They began to write material which spawned what is now the For Sale EP. Each song on this release represent the struggles of a hard winter, and the challenge of understanding one’s purpose. As they battled with inner-demons, many of which are alluded to in the band’s lyrics, their thirst for original sounds and odd song structures finally quenched the band with a sound they were proud to pour from their hearts. They performed these songs for the first time during a 90-minute, sold-out performance, and now, Edgewater Hotel has begun to systematically capture each new song in the recording studio.
Currently, Edgewater Hotel is sparking their creativity, and boiling up more musical content than ever. This past summer was spent holed up in a west-end studio, where they self-produced their first single ‘Best So Far’. The style sits comfortably at the crossroads of Pixies and Supertramp, and the song explores themes of friendship, ownership, loss, and acceptance as a reflection of the band’s own existential journey towards self-awareness. As their vision became clearer, the band began to tackle another large project, which is a Pink Floyd inspired three-song EP that carries the listener through a surreal universe filled with characters who struggle with the validity of authority, religion, and personal relationships.
This past December, Edgewater Hotel teamed up with another local band, The Lifts, to co-headline The Horseshoe Tavern during the “Best So Far” release party, and they continue their restless march towards wicked creation. The For Sale EP is set to release for July, and the band soldiers on as they keep gigging relentlessly. Most recently, Edgewater Hotel has headlined The Garrison and performed during a showcase party at the legendary Smack Tattoos Studios.
Stay tuned for updates on future shows – the EP release is imminent!
Listen to some of their stuff HERE!
Mr. Circosta has been beating drums for over 7 years, and his skills include synthesizer slayer, production puppet-master, and he acts as the band’s musical encyclopedia. Jordan has contributed to the lyrics of many songs, and is usually the cherry-on-top of the sweet, sweet melodies.
- Rehearsing the band
- Organizing events
- Getting coffee
- Being late
- Smoking too many cigarettes
- Saying “don’t you eeeeeeeeeever”
- Keeping calm
- Speaking at an even and intelligible pace
Mr. Sahsuvar studied the piano from an early age, and performed experiments with a variety of instruments until he finally got stuck with the tenor saxophone. With the help of his 24″ pedal train, he strives to blend his silky smooth sound with impractical genres in unexpected ways. A guitar probably would have been an easier for Gary, but something shinier caught his attention.
- Music theory
- Infinite solos
- Video games
- Keeping calm (and Gary-ing on),
- Easily distracted
Mr. Powell is the guitarist upon which the foundation of Edgewater Hotel’s repertoire has been built. He is enthralled with the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, and brings its classic psychedelia into the more aggressive grunge of the modern day. From punk-rocker playing power chords as fast as possible to colourful guitar sounds and ambient environments, Julian uses his style and creative lyrics to challenge traditional song structures, as well as concepts of tradition, authority, and human interaction.
- Composing songs
- Writing lyrics
- Organizing events
- Rollin’ up dee ganja spliff.
- Always late
- Too loud
- Living life as a space-case 3000.
Mr. Hanes has the heart of a punk rocker, somewhere in a box under his bed. He is the bassist of Edgewater Hotel, and delivers an aggressiveness with a snarl. He is a versatile bass player, and he grooves with Jordan, but is not afraid to take his bass lines into eccentric, low-end, melodies. His lyrical contributions are playful, imaginative and address a wide range of themes depending how he feels that day.
- Lyrics and composition
- Stage performance
- Reaching high places.
- Slow speed of composition
- Explaining his thoughts in rehearsal
- Reaching low places.
Ms. Vandezande has had a voice since she was born, but she didn’t use it much at first. By the time she was thirteen, Rachel was studying voice, and had reached a grade-nine level at the Royal Conservatory of Music before joining Edgewater Hotel. Her extensive vocal range has influenced the band, and in turn, been shaped by the musical journey that they all share. Rachel also contributes lyrics, and plays a strong role in the melodic shaping of the tunes.
- Melodic ideas,
- Wide vocal range and expression,
- Being on time
- Fashion advice.
- Accepting that no one else is ever on time
Melodic and harmonic ideas