Local organization provides opportunities for younger musicians to play, profit and gain exposure
Calgary-based indie band Deluge, has decided to pay it forward by lending a hand to the city’s underage music scene.
Partnering with the Queensland Community Centre, the band created Anatomy Productions in late 2012. The company, fuelled by memories of Calgary’s once thriving, all-ages music community, hosts shows for bands with members who are under 18 and not yet legally allowed in many of the city’s more popular late-night venues.
David Drebit, lead singer and guitarist for Deluge, decided to get involved when he noticed a decline in venues for underage bands.
“We remember playing in community halls back in the day when we were really young and we started to see there was a huge decline in the all ages shows in the city,” Drebit said. “So we decided it was our time to start giving back.”
Produced by Justin Wilson and Hannah Cawsey
Anatomy Productions hosts at the Queensland Community Centre and has held 12 shows so far and plans to host shows at least once a month as the company moves forward. The profits made by Anatomy Productions are enough to sustain the company, but Drebit maintains that higher profit would allow them to do more for the scene.
“The profits make the business end sustainable, but in terms of growth, which is the most important part — getting better sound, gear and more lights — we still have a long ways to go to make all ages shows really shine,” Drebit said.
Currently, $10 tickets are provided for bands to sell ahead of each event, giving bands the opportunity for self promotion. Attendees who don’t purchase tickets ahead of time can pay $10 at the door with a non-perishable food bank item, or $15 without.
In order to bring as many people as possible to the shows, Anatomy Productions works with other elements in the Calgary scene that might bring in an impressive draw.
“We try to base shows around important events in Calgary music, like if an older band is releasing an amazing CD, we try to throw them an all ages release show or if a great touring band is coming through we’d try to put a show together for them,” Drebit added.
Kurt Kluba, sound technician for Anatomy Productions and bassist for Deluge, agrees with Drebit and maintains that the younger bands just need to keep trying.
“Young bands just need to stick to the guns,” Kluba said.
Kluba said he is continuously impressed by the talent that take the stage at Anatomy shows and wishes he had such skills when he was part of the under-aged scene.
“They floor me every time I see a kid who doesn’t even have a moustache yet and he can shred,” Kluba said. “It’s crazy. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Jordan Rumrill, bass player for local band Delacroix, is grateful for Anatomy. He says the company is filling a gap that was left when The New Black Centre for Music and Art closed its doors. The New Black — formerly Calgary’s only under-age venue and a staple in the all-ages scene — closed its doors in late 2013 after running for five years.
“(Anatomy Productions) is what the all ages scene really needs now,” Rumrill said. “Since The New Black shut down it’s been very dry, so we need someone to step up and have these shows.”
Photo by Justin WilsonRumrill adds that finding locations that allow underage bands to play is hard but worth it to be part of the music community.
“We include ourselves with the people that love music, love live music and that’s what I’m in it for, the community.”
Deluge’s newest member, Jordan Potekal, has been involved with Calgary’s music scene for five years and is excited to be part of the opportunity to help out fellow musicians, no matter their age.
“I didn’t expect to being doing this. I expected to be playing shows,” Potekal said. “It was kind of a really cool idea. (David) was pretty much the mastermind but we all pitched in a little bit and it became what it is now.”
Deluge uses their own equipment — speakers, lighting, microphones, mic stands among other important gear — which can be tricky at times. Every so often a band might break equipment or the bands need help setting up. Potekal maintains it’s all part of the learning curve being a musician and no one is perfect from the get go.
“They’re all such fresh bands. They’re all really new musicians,” Potekal said. “That doesn’t mean they’re not good in any way. They’re all brilliant but they’re inexperienced in the way stage managing runs. It’s hard to keep them on time.
“They’re kids. They don’t want to follow the rules all the time. This is the perfect time to start supporting these kids so they can create something bigger than we could ever create; give the seeds, the nutrients and the water. You know, they’re like flowers, beautiful flowers.”
Anatomy Productions will have shows in both May and June, though the dates have not yet been set.