Bandcamp could get indie artists recognized

Oct 25, 2013 | Arts


Photo courtesy of Travis Allison. View more at

Photo courtesy of Travis Allison. View more at

By Megan Rach

Torontonians have the chance to tell their friends they “knew that band” before they got big.

Bandcamp, Theatre Passe Muraille‘s newest addition to their program, kicks off on October 25, bringing new up-and-coming musicians of any genre to the stage the last Friday of every month until May 30th (excluding December).

Offering emerging and potentially unsigned musicians a spot to perform, TPM’s Bandcamp is a unique program aimed at keeping the experience intimate and the fees low.

Kicking off the monthly gig is Waterloo-based indie-folk band, The Sailboat and the Sea. Singer and Humber College student, Meghan Morrison, told Humber News what a great opportunity programs like Bandcamp can be for a rising band.

“It’s a wicked venue,” said Morrison. “Also, in Toronto it’s really hard to make any profit – which we don’t care about, we’re not in it for the money – but things cost money, like recording and equipment. A lot of places, if every person pays $10 to get in, usually [musicians] get $2 off a $10 ticket. If you brought 100 people in, you’re going to get paid $200. Bandcamp is awesome because it gives us a wicked venue that’s pretty well known for indie music, and it gives us a chance to actually do something with the money that we bring in.”

When it comes to profit, up-and-coming bands need every last bit they can get in order to get off the ground.

“People don’t know that you’re giving away hundreds of dollars in CDs to people that aren’t even going to listen to them,” said Morrison. “So it’s really hard to actually get your name out – a lot of work.”

Independent and new musicians end up on a waiting list of, at times, more than 100 other bands, all vying for an opportunity to play. Morrison told Humber News that the biggest challenge a new band can face is getting someone to take them seriously – with or without a demo CD.

Theatre Passe Muraille is known to give independent artists the opportunity to showcase their music.

“Drawing from the historic strengths of TPM, [Artistic Director Andy McKim] put the focus on supporting and presenting independent artists and companies, emerging artists, collaborative and multidisciplinary work, culturally specific and inter-cultural work, and marginal voices,” according to the TPM’s history.

The theatre has a variety of programs for emerging artists, mostly after-hours, throughout the year.

Theatre Passe Muraille gives emerging musicians the chance to play their own shows until May 2014. Graphic by Megan Rach

Theatre Passe Muraille gives emerging musicians the chance to play their own shows until May 2014. Graphic by Megan Rach

In addition to Bandcamp, TPM presents Crapshoot, which gives artists five minutes to show what they’ve got before allowing the audience to vote on the best performance and give the winner 20 minutes to perform at the next event.

“It’s sort of like The Hunger Games meets Show-And-Tell.  Sort of,” according to the TPM website.

The Songbook Series is a chance for musicians of all disciplines to reimagine music that made an impact on our musical history by artist, era or style.

For The Sailboat and the Sea, a little bit goes a long way.

“The biggest encouragement is having people sing along. Nothing is better to me…it means so much to me that you know the words,” said Morrison.

Back at it for their first big show after the summer, The Sailboat and the Sea take the TPM stage at 10:30pm, October 25, 2013.

“It’s just exciting for us to get up there and do what we love most because we all have other jobs or school and this is what makes us happy. It’s good for us because we get to just do what we love.”

Links to each artist’s website/music can be found below.

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