What’s up with last year’s Fiver bands?

Catching up with the top five from 2016

The Middle Coast

The trio has been working hard since winning last year’s Fiver, including touring 150 days in the last year, from Victoria to Montreal. Many dates were in support of Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, and they’ll be playing with him at Festival du Voyageur as well. 

“We used the prize really well. The Collector time was fantastic,” Dylan MacDonald says. Their new album is slated for release this spring, and The Middle Coast will plan more tours and summer festivals around that. 

Advice for new bands: “Play tons. That's always been our thing is we love hitting the road and playing as many shows as we can, and we've certainly become a better band because of that.”

Deep Dark Cave

Over the last year, the band has been writing and working towards releasing an EP this summer, as well as developing the visual elements to their show. “(We’re) putting together videos for pretty much every single song we do live,” Jeremy Koz says. The band will also launch a website, deepdarkcave.com, along with some lyric videos very soon. “It's all about stepping stones,” Koz says, “that's what (the Fiver) really did for us, is we were able to really start creating a portfolio as a new band.”

Advice for new bands: “Know the business. If you're serious about it, the business is as important if not more important than the music.”

Adam Hanney & Co.

Hanney has toured coast to coast in the last year, including stops at BreakOut West in Regina and a few festivals in Winnipeg. They’ve also released three music videos in the past year. “I had a blood clot in my chest, and I did cancel two tours that we were supposed to go on in 2017,” Hanney says, “but I took that time to just write a bunch of music.” Hanney plans to tour in April and write a new album as well in the next year. 

Advice for new bands: “I mean I'm still figuring it out, so I don't know what advice I could really give. Don't be bad. Be good.” 

Fox Lake

Fox Lake played a few shows in the summer, and released a two-song EP mixed with Craig Boychuk in October. Since then, “we've been focussing on writing, finishing up some songs that were in pieces and not quite complete,” Neil Exell says. They plan on recording a full-length in the spring and getting back to playing live once the new songs and a new set are ready to go.

Advice for new bands: “Play lots. Play with people who aren't just your friends or bands who sound like you and get out there and apply for grants. And do it yourself – a recording is better than no recording.”

Ashley Bieniarz

Through the Fiver, Bieniarz says she made lots of new connections, many of whom she now considers her friends. She’s also been working with Roland Deschambault - formerly of Manitoba Music, now working with BreakOut West - in a mentorship role. 

“I've completely kind of changed my sound since the Uniter Fiver,” Bieniarz says. “It's grown, and it's louder and more energetic.” She’s fallen in love with performance and plans to release some of her older songs and covers every month over the next year. 

Advice for new bands: “Get out there and just start doing it … it's supposed to be a learning process, you're allowed to make mistakes, and you're allowed to have fun with it.”

Published in Volume 71, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 19, 2017)

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