Meet the Noise: Four Questions for Bry Webb
Bry Webb spent a lot of the last decade singing for South Ontario’s art-rock heroes The Constantines. Since the band went on hiatus though, Bry has shown music lovers a different side of his prodigious songwriting ability with his solo record Provider. Trading the Constantines’ hallmark punk intensity for introspective and mesmerizing country-infused balladry, Bry’s latest album has fast become both a critical and fan favourite, earning a Polaris Long list nomination as well as a host of new ears, eager to catch what Bry has described as “quieter songs for quieter venues”.
Bry will be performing at the Parkdale Library on October 26. In the meantime, he kindly took a moment to answer a few questions for the Make Some Noise site.
Tell us about your most memorable Toronto concert experience.
One thing that's really sticking out in my memory right now was this hardcore punk New Year's festival in maybe 1994 or '95, which my old hardcore (née emo) band played when we were still in high school. Doug from The Constantines played drums in that band, too. The line-up that day was pretty wild. Some of the most intense bands I've ever seen: Nema, Okara, Coleman, Shotmaker, and best of all, Union of Uranus from Ottawa. The show was held at what I think was a Kensington squat and rehearsal space, occupied by members of Armed & Hammered and the BFG Kensington scene.
We were slotted to play first, and arrived at about
11am to an empty space with dog shit on the floor. The only other people
there were the heavy Quebecois band Drift, who seemed as uncertain as us about
being in the right place. Eventually the space filled up with hardcore
kids, people selling records, silk screened patches, 'zines and vegan cookbooks
along the walls. Buddha's Vegetarian Foods on Dundas St. got a lot of
business that day.
It was, by far, the most people we had played for, and I've never been so nervous. We had built up a lot of the people we met that day to be real celebrities in that world - Photographer Shawn Scallen, Kent McClard of Ebullition Records, Chris Logan from Chokehold - this was all a really big deal to me at the time. Some of the performances that day were really incredible. Screaming youthful energy. People were stage diving (I might have been one of those people), and standing in this self-organized amphitheater on all sides of the bands. I can't confirm this, but I may have had X's on my hands...
What Southern Ontario band or artist do you think everyone needs to discover?what southern ontario bands should people hear?
Not The Wind Not The Flag
What advice would you give an aspiring artist trying to break into the Toronto Music Scene?
I'm terrible at giving advice. The best I can do here is: Go to a lot of shows, and try to keep your ear open for any less conventional venues like Cinecycle or house shows where there might be a good community surrounding anything that happens. Apparently the Toronto Public Library is putting on some great shows these days...
You’ve recently become a father. Seeing as this is a library and all, are there any books that you’re particularly looking forward to sharing with your son?
Huckleberry Finn is a favourite. I've read it three or four times, and I'm a slow reader. Along similar lines, I've been reading my son excerpts from Life by Keith Richards before bedtime. In some ways, they're the same book.