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CMW 2014, CMW 2014 Portrait Series, Music, Portraits

CMW 2014 Portrait Series: Current Swell

By: Elaisha Green (@elaishajade) and Ted Belton (photos) –

Hailing from the West coast, indie group Current Swell performed in Toronto for a Canadian Music Week showcase at the Rivoli. Members of the group Scott Stanton and Dave Lang joined Aesthetic Magazine’s Elaisha Green to talk about their distinctly Canadian experience performing around Ontario and naked after parties at a nearby Sarnia lake.

Elaisha Green: What shows are on your “must-watch” list while you’re here for Canadian Music Week?

Scott Stanton: The Paul Gourlie Tribute show on Saturday night at the Shoe—

SS: The Trews are gonna be there.

EG: Are there any Canadian artists that have been influential in your work?

DL: Just off of the top of my head, I grew up listening to Neil. It might be cliche but I just love Neil Young…

SS: There’s a lot of bands that I love. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re massively influential. I would say someone like Neil Young can really—a lot of bands can influence you but someone like Neil Young can influence your songwriting for your whole life just because it’s come-up through your entire upbringing. We were talking about it recently – we were listening to albums that we thought were good over the last few years that we wanted to draw from for tones and who was doing cool tones [and] I said yesterday that Zeus is doing a good job of bringing out some cool tones and—

DL: —and ideas—

SS:…pushing the boundaries of what’s Canadian in music. We respect that.

DL: I think that’s a good call though. Especially with their album that I recently listened to… the changes that they did with songwriting. It wasn’t necessarily ‘paint-by-numbers Canadian’.

EG: Any memorable Canadian Music Week moments?

SS:  Very rainy. I remember the one last time…it was so rainy.

DL: I do have to say that our first. The thing about CMW is that it’s sold to bands around Canada that, ‘This is a chance to like make an impression. Your big opportunity.’ And it’s going to Toronto —we couldn’t get a good gig here for years. For no good reason, we had success everywhere else. But Toronto is a tough nut to crack, just like Berlin in Germany, or LA or New York in the US, or London in the UK. It’s a big city [and] they come in late and they’re like standing still. But I remember in Toronto we played The Supermarket which is a really cool venue and that was where we had one of our first kind of…

SS: “Ah-ha” moments

DL: Ah-ha moments for Toronto for CMW, and I remember this group of guys, [out of] like 100 people there, but we were pretty stoked. And this group of guys came up and they’re like, “We book a little venue in southern Ontario. In Ridgeway” and—SS: —that’s where we met Marty?

DL: Yeah Marty and Aaron. And they’re like “We’d love to book you guys and we’d give you good money and we’ll give you fresh food and we’ll take you fishing.” And we’re like “We’ll call you.” Long story short, we did call him and we’ve since put like 300 people in their room every time we go and now, the one guy that books us there is like our Ontario roadie. It was one of those moments — it was a CMW moment and it was cool.

EG: Where do you guys really like to perform in Southern Ontario? Where are your favourite spots?

SS: I still really like Toronto….we have The Ridgeway which is fun. Sometimes instead of being in a big city, it’s really fun to get out to these secondary markets.  I think maybe they don’t get very much music, so when they do get it, they are stoked. And it’s just fun to be in the country. It’s fun to be out of the city. Like Sarnia is one that we always have a lot of —

DL: — you would never guess.

SS: I remember our first successful shows in Sarnia. And the after parties were like “Let’s go down to the lake.” And everyone is running in the lake naked and we’re like “This is awesome!”

Catch Current Swell in Burnstown, Ontario on June 29th at Neat Cafe, and in Ottawa, Ontario on July 1st, as part of Ottawa Jazz Fest.

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