Canada Music Week
We hadn’t seen eachother for 4 months when Adam, Benson and Adrian decided to brave the jet lag to drop in on me at work. We had 2 days in Boston together — intended to be used for some much needed rehearsal time, though they were as much of an excuse to catch up as they were a neccesity. We’ve been friends in a band since our first year of high school, and we never believed that 7 years down the line, Early Hours would be providing a way for us to meet up all the way around the globe. But that’s what its done for us. So the phrase “lads on tour” represents a lot more than tired eyes and screaming headaches. It means we get to escape the world in our best friends’ company for periods at a time, with the added bonus of playing music and pursuing a dream. We spend much of the year split by oceans and sets of exams, but for the next week, the world is ours.
The week begins with “Marathon Monday”. While for some, this means 42km of solid exercise, for the rest of the Bostonian student population it means red cups and sunshine. So, still buzzing after our first rehearsal in months, we set off to get our first taste of an authetnic American house party…
It’s just like the movies. A street full of sorority houses with green front lawns, each one filled with herds of college students laughing and swaying to the trap beats that leak out of every window. The kids gather around trestle tables, clutching warm cans of Bud Lite and hurling ping pong balls at one another. The great Boston Marathon is taking place at the end of the road and people bounce back and forth between cheering on the runners and shooting the breeze in their back yard. And then there are the red cups. They are everywhere — as far as the eye can see. On tables, in hands and littered across the lawn. The only thing Hollywood lied about is how easy it is to get out of bed the next day.
We are up bright and early because Canada awaits! The days here are spent attending the CMW conference, where we get to meet and learn from some of the sharpest industry executives in North America. Highlights include sneaking into the Canadian Radio Music Awards, a Q&A with Taylor Swift’s manager, and having our song Dance Along hand picked and played to the executives of every major radio station north of the equator. Our focus is on the shows. We are playing 3 of them, and we want to show North America how we do things in South Africa.
Friday is the biggest night of the festival. We’re playing two gigs tonight. The first show takes place at The Painted Lady, a narrow bar in the hip part of Toronto. We try out a new cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and rewrite the verse of Into The Wilderness for a girl called Michelle. It’s a little bit surreal to be honest. We’re in a country that we’ve only ever read about, and there are people here to watch us. We chose Canada as our first North American destination off the strength of the plays we get out of the region on Spotify, the possibility of bumping into Ryan Gosling on the street, and the rumors of it being populated by the nicest people on earth.
The rumors are true. We graciously accepted several apologies at the airport before we’d even made it through customs and it didn’t slow down from there. There is ice hockey on every screen, and although their pronunciation of the word “out” is questionable, it’s difficult not to fall in love with them. Getting the chance to meet our fans from up North in person for the first time is not something we will ever forget. The only dissapointment was that Ryan Gosling was nowhere to be found.
It’s just hit midnight when we arrive at the Cameron House. It’s our final show of the festival and there’s a line out side! We’ve been followed across the city by many of our first show’s fans. We are told that this is one of the most legendary venues in the city. It’s a complete celebration. We play a couple of the first songs we ever wrote because it feels right to. We tumble off the stage around 02:30 in the morning. We’re feeling jaded from playing two shows, but the night is far from over. 5FM’s Nick Hamman is set to call us for an interview at 05:30am Canada time. Very grateful that caffeine exists.
The sunlight is creeping in through our hotel window. We’re still fully dressed in last night’s attire, four of us crammed into a double bed with a half bottle of whisky between us, still reliving one of the best nights of our career so far. We’ll be boarding a plane in a few hours time and jetting off to open for The Lumineers in Cape Town. We squeeze onto a balcony, the city of Toronto stretched out beneath us like a dream come true, to watch the sun rise over the CN Tower. We’ll be coming back for sure.
Words by: Jake Bennett
Photos by: Benson Joubert