Friday, May 16, 2014

Alex Robshaw and the Spider Grooves Tour: Doors Pub, Friday June 13. "My Wild Endeavour"

by Michelle Heshka

Alex Robshaw is an eccentric singer based in Montreal, Quebec. She and her band are embarking on their first tour together, known as the Spider Grooves Tour, and they have a tour date booked right here in Hamilton. We were able to speak to Alex to see what her and her band are all about. We asked her five questions about her band, her sound, and her tour.

1. How long has your band been together?

Robshaw explained that her current band has been together for a short period of time, getting together in September 2013. It features Julian Stirpe on guitar, Gabriel Jetté on bass, and Ben Mayo-Goldberg on drums.

“The live band was formed after the recording of the album. When I got in the studio it was just me -the musicians you hear on the record are a mix of session musicians I hired, and friends who wanted to be a part of this wild endeavor of mine. The musicians in the live band therefore had to learn the songs from the album, and I'm happy to say we are now writing new songs, songs we can call ours,” said Robshaw.

“On my end, I began the work on my solo career back in 2006. Alex Robshaw has been together with her songs, her stories and her Wurlitzer since 2006, but Alex Robshaw's band has been together since September 2013,” said Robshaw.

2. What’s your process like for writing original songs?

“Putting my fingers on my pianos, letting my heart guide them, letting them feel the notes. The music is telling them to play, and I listen. I listen to where my fingers are going, and at some point, when the grooves are one with my heart and my soul and my mind, that's when I know I've hit it.

The words may come before or after, and to me, they are another instrument. My songs are stories, the lyrics are extremely important to me, and I go through lots and lots of research to make sure I know what I'm talking about, and get inspired. I take my time to write each song before declaring it to be complete, and then changes may still happen when I present it to the band. I can have a super clear and concrete idea of how I want the song to sound in my head, and then the musicians take the groove in and may interpret it in a completely different way -and sometimes they come up with even better arrangements than the ones I had in mind.

I like leaving time and space for the songs to evolve on their own as well, and if I think of the new material we're writing now, I can say that until we hit the studio for the final mixing sessions, sounds can keep on changing (speaking from experience with my first album!). And then, a recording is indeed just that -the interpretation of a song recorded at a specific moment. You can play a song for 20 years, and each time, it will always be slightly different, there's always going to be a breath taken somewhere different than the last time, or a note missed or added somewhere, etc. It's all about respecting the songs. They are a part of us, and we evolve -it's only fair they should be able to do so as well!”

3. Describe your sound in ONE word.


4. What is the message you want to portray to your audience?

“First and foremost, that it's completely okay to be who you are. Second, to free one's self from the pressure, stereotypes and ‘the way life is supposed to be’ imposed by society. Life is so beautiful, precious and short -why waste it trying to be someone you're not, or spending your life pleasing others (let it be family members or people around you who won't accept you because you're just so different, or even a god you fear, a god who shames humans for being humans) and never taking the time to listen to yourself. I'll invite you to listen closely to the lyrics of my song Alive, as they pretty much sum up the message behind Alex Robshaw. Towards the end you can hear the words, ‘You're alive, be alive, we're skipping the line, nobody cares on the other side’... I chose this last line to put on our band t-shirts, because indeed, Nobody Cares On The Other Side, and people need to know that. In the end we all die, so don't be scared of grabbing the fire inside of you, and making your life your own.”

5. What makes you want to expand your fan base to Hamilton particularly?

“It was about time I went on a first major tour, as I am extremely serious about my career in the music industry. It’s important to me to present Alex Robshaw to as many people as possible, in as many cities as we can. I've been very lucky to have made many fantastic, friendly, open-and-like-minded contacts since the release of my album, so playing a show in Hamilton with the band Gypsy Chief Goliath was in the plans for a while.

Last year, the band and I performed in Ottawa and Toronto a few times, and we've found our experiences in Ontario to be the sweetest so far. Lots of musician friends of mine who've toured in Ontario have recommended Hamilton as a fun place to play, so I'm very excited about this Friday the 13th show. I’m looking forward to lots of fun!”

Alex Robshaw will be performing at The Door’s Pub on Friday, June 13.

You can check out Alex Robshaw’s music at their website, Bandcamp and Facebook.

Michelle Heshka is a recent graduate of the photojournalism program at Loyalist College. She is currently pursuing a career in freelance photojournalism while continuing to explore her interest in music. Visit www.michelleheshka.ca for contact information.

Tweet me! @michelleheshka

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