The Canadian Music Week festival returns to Toronto for its 33rd year. For 10 days and in 60 plus venues, over 1,000 artists will perform. Single night event tickets are available as well as full 10-day wristbands.
Skye Wallace, called the “Queen of dark folk” and a “national treasure” will feature at the Rivoli (334 Queen St. W.) on Friday May 8 as part of the Music BC showcase. Her third full-length studio album, released in 2014, is titled “Living Parts”, and filled with human storytelling, and emotion.
Ahead of Skye’s CMW 2015 showcase, she scheduled an online interview with Examiner.
With all the festivals you’ve played, how are you getting ready for CMW 2015? Is there a bit a of learning curve from previous festivals?
I’ve found it very useful to have the alliance with Music BC this time around. Last year, I had to bear the brunt of promotion and filling the room at a not-very-ideal out-of-the-way venue. This year I have the luxury of being able to cross promote with similar artists on a roster hosted by Music BC, who do a bang up job at celebrating the music our province has to offer.
And getting it out there too! It’s so incredible to not have to do it alone!
But CMW is one of those festivals that you can really go all out with promotionally. So right now, I’m trying to get the word out to as many people as possible, hitting up social media, etc. Might be a great opportunity to showcase a new song or two as well?
You’ve been transiting from BC to Ontario for a lot of shows. And last Saturday I was at the Music City Town Hall meet. One of the things to come out it was, is Toronto really going to be a music city? Have you found across Canada, any places that really are musically inclined?
I feel the reasoning behind my travelling so frequently to Toronto is scene-based for sure. And it’s not necessarily that the content is better or worse than other Canadian cities, but the sheer number of people that you can reach and perform in front of is a huge factor.
Obviously Vancouver has a great scene, I love Halifax’s very musically-inclined culture, and I’ve been enthralled with my experiences on the prairies, but it’s hard to measure up to a city that is comparatively bustling!
I think Toronto is very much a music city.
The times I’ve heard you play, you’re playing with some pretty impressive backing musicians. What are they adding to the performances and behind the scenes?
I’m so incredibly lucky to play with the players I do. They’re each really incredible.
In terms of performances, the string element has been a really unique feature of the live show. I love having cello and fiddle and/or viola add texture and feel to the songs. The lines that they’ve come up with are increasingly impressive and I’m always so excited to bring them new material. Michelle Faehrmann is on cello; she’s classically trained and has just recently moved from Vancouver to Toronto. James Law is on fiddle; we went to high school together on the sunshine coast and he’s since hit the Toronto scene hard for the last many years. Rachael Cardiello is on viola and she has an incredible solo project of her own called The Warm Electric Winter.
I’m stoked to be able to play with prolific Torontonian Alistair Whitehead on bass (he’s also in an awesome folk/bluegrass band called The Slocan Ramblers). Ben Doerksen plays some wicked lead guitar and hits the folk-rock feel right on the money. And Julia Stead is the best drummer I’ve ever known; she’s an awesome collaborator for writing as well. I often bring songs-in-progress to her to develop an idea or fiddle around with the feel. It’s an awesome process.
In addition to merch, what drinks should people buy the band at CMW?
Beer’s a safe bet, but I’m one of those poor few with Celiac’s disease, so I’m a cider spider.
I was talking with another music reviewer and in many write ups, “Queen of dark folk” came up. What does the Queen get with the title? Royal slippers?
Yes, they’ve got little Skulls on them.
And lastly, what’s next after CMW ?
There are some Toronto shows to look out for this summer, but the next big thing I’m excited about is a tour happening in July traversing the west coast festival circuit.
We’re hitting South Country Fair (AB), Gateway Festival (Skye), Artswells (BC), and Robson Valley Music Festival (BC), as well as a bunch of cities in those provinces to be announced!
“Skye Wallace is on a quest to compile stark elements of Canadian landscape and history into a contemporary musical archive. Often drawn from untold stories hidden in plain sight, Skye’s songs are dynamic, gritty, and orchestral, both the melodies and narratives sticking in your head long after listening.”
Skye Wallace official website:
Skye Wallace fan page:
Music BC CMW 2015 showcase event page:
Canadian Music Week May 8 at the Rivoli (334 Queen St. W.)
8pm – Skye Wallace
9pm – Ben Rogers
10pm – Hot Panda
11pm – Rococode
12pm – Gay Nineties
1am – The Boom Booms
*Set start times are exact. No late starts.
For more Toronto Music Examiner articles visit: