Exposures - CMJ 2014

EXPOSURES: A week in New York with 13 of our favourite Canadian bands

We spent a sleepless week getting the full CMJ experience with Blue Hawaii, Weaves, TOPS, Doomsquad and more. A portrait of the Canadian music scene in New York.

- Nov 7, 2014
EXPOSURES captures the moods and experiences of fans and artists, both onstage and off. This time, Kate Killet and Tom Avis go venue hopping at CMJ Music Marathon with Weaves, Dilly Dally, Doomsquad, Blue Hawaii, Lydia Ainsworth and more, and found out what it's like when Canada's music community migrates to New York for a week.
Photos by: Kate Killet
Interviews by: Tom Avis

The CMJ Music Marathon is an emerging music festival that has been held annually across venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan since 1980. Lately, it's been catnip to a certain breed of Canadian artist - the type we tend to gravitate to at Chart Attack. So this year, we went down to New York, texted all the bands we knew, and tagged along to all the shows and day parties we could get ourselves into, hanging out in pet shops, rooftops, bridges, galleries and parks in between.

We captured candid shots and off-the-cuff remarks from artists from some of our favourite labels - Buzz Records, Arbutus, Hand Drawn Dracula and more (they tend to travel in packs) - and experienced what it's like to be one small band at a marathon festival. Sex, drugs and rock & roll. Except more bagels than sex, more Instagramming than drugs. And lots of interband love.

The Buzz Records Family


Class photo on the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building steps: Members of Dilly Dally, Weaves, Mexican Slang, HSY and The Beverleys - a.k.a. most of the Buzz Records roster.

Jasmyn Burke of Weaves (far right): I always think it’s fun to see the people you know from home. It’s a mind trip when you see them in a different city. Sometimes it’s intimidating when it’s just your band, but when you have a whole crew it’s like "let’s play the best shows we can and show this city there’s something unique happening where we’re from."


Morgan Waters, Jasmyn Burke and Zach Bines of Weaves (clockwise from top) on the Williamsburg Bridge.

Jasmyn Burke (Weaves): New York is so much bigger than Toronto and when you come back Toronto feels like such a tiny little place, a little community. When you go to New York it’s like any one area is the size of our entire musical scene.


Dilly Dally onstage at Baby's Alright.

Katie Monks (Dilly Dally): I thought that I would go here and it would be all men in tuxedos and it turned out to just be a bunch of chill people, just like in Toronto, just hanging out and being passionate about music. CMJ fucking rules!

Members of Dilly Dally plus Annabelle Lee (right) post-daytime shots outside of the Brooklyn Vegan day party.

Katie Monks (Dilly Dally) on Buzz Records: Navigating the industry there are a lot of people who present themselves and say they’re stoked, but at the end of the day Buzz has this very integral quality that is no bullshit. It’s gone from being friends to working together and it’s escalated my understanding of these people and what they’re passionate about and how talented they are. It's just blown me away.


Denholm Whale (Mexican Slang, Odonis Odonis, Buzz Records co-founder) and Jimmy Rowlinson (Dilly Dally) share a cuddle outside of Baby’s All Right.


Anna Mayberry (HSY) and Annabelle Lee (Mexican Slang) outside of Bagelsmith in Williamsburg.


Buzz Records label head Ian Chai, shown here in his standard festival pose.

Ian Chai on the role he plays in the Buzz Records family: Tiger Mom. Those narcissistic savages need a firm hand.

The Arbutus Orbit


The Arbutus Records brain trust (from left to right): Mason Windels, Marilis Cardinal, Bronwyn Ford and Sebastian Cowan.


Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alex “Agor” Cowan of Blue Hawaii, pictured on the roof of the Wythe Hotel.

Raphaelle Standell-Preston (Blue Hawaii): Whenever I come to NYC I always get a little overwhelmed because it’s New York and I’m not from New York and there’s so much surrounding New York. It feels big and important and then when you get here you realize it’s just a show and that you don’t have to worry so much.

Alex Cowan (Blue Hawaii): I like the concentration of things at CMJ. You don’t have to worry so much about the draw. It's a lot of people in a relatively small area and it just makes for a good energy.


TOPS on the roof of the Wythe Hotel.

David Carriere (TOPS): CMJ is fucking banging. It’s whooping ass. Laying down tracks real hard, every night, and it rocks.


Lydia Ainsworth after playing at Babycastles in Manhattan, standing next to a projection of Dr. Javier Genneheigens’s Chameleon World, a video game released by Brooklyn artist Jerry Paper alongside his album Big Pop for Chameleon World.
Daniel Woodhead, pictured on stage with Moon King at Shea Stadium.

Daniel Woodhead (Moon King): Shea is the first place we played ever. It wasn’t even a "we" at that point, it was me and my brother and I’d just started writing these songs on my own. We somehow got on some show there and just played these songs that I wrote on an acoustic guitar with one mic. Last night there were some people who were at that show, and there were only five people at that show.


Maddy White and Daniel Woodhead (Moon King) examining pet supplies in a Manhattan Petsmart.


Wilde and Woodhead in front of the Grace Church in Manhattan.

Daniel Woodhead (Moon King): We stopped figuring out where we were gonna stay ahead of time a little while ago, so literally every time it’s somewhere different. It’s just,“hey dude, can I stay at your place tonight?” It works out great every time.

Lydia Ainsworth - CMJ Exposures
Lydia Ainsworth in Manhattan after her eighth and final show of the festival.


A very sleepy Bronwyn Ford outside of the Cardinal PR showcase at Babycastles on the final day of CMJ.

Hand Drawn Dracula and Friends


Jaclyn Blumas (Doomsquad), Jessica Upton Crowe (Beliefs) and Allie Blumas (Doomsquad), labelmates on Toronto’s Hand Drawn Dracula, kicking back on the Highline.


Josh Korody (Wish, Beliefs), Kyle Connolly (Wish) and Trevor Blumas (Doomsquad) take in the Highline view.

Josh Korody (Wish, Beliefs): It’s been a whirlwind! Late nights! Sex, drugs and rock & roll!

Jessica Upton Crowe (Beliefs): Without the sex or drugs, but there has been rock & roll.

Korody: There hasn’t really even been rock n roll.

Crowe: There’s been…music?

Korody: There were guitars and drums.

Crowe: That might be rock & roll.

Korody: It’s as close as we’ve gotten.


Jaclyn Blumas, shown with her sister Allie Blumas and Crowe.

Jaclyn Blumas (Doomsquad): Every time we lock into a new city and we have a couple of days to chill, we look up all the art openings that are going on that night and then we look up which ones have free food and alcohol. We hit up all of them until we find a vibe that we like and people that we have something in common with and then we sort of chat them up. We find out where everyone is going out and we tag along and end up finding out about lots of really awesome stuff. So…after this you guys wanna go check out some openings in Chelsea?


Calvin Love, pictured here (right) on the Williamsburg Bridge with bandmates Kyle McCrea (center) and Andrew Huele.

Calvin Love: I really like to play every night, in a new town for new people or the same people that you’ve seen on past tours going through those towns. The lack of sleep and eating shitty food will get to me though.

Kyle McCrea (Calvin Love): Too many chips.

Love: WAY too many chips!

Huele: It takes it’s toll after a while.

Love: We hang out at gas stations quite a bit.


Discuss this on Facebook and Twitter

Share on Tumblr

Related Posts