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Blue Sky Miners – Toronto

A BLUE SKY BY MELANIE BARESIC

Photo Credit Melanie Baresic

Love it when good music finds its way to us. Blue Sky Miners proudly Canadian with the perfect blend of west meets east coast, Rocky Mountain desert rock. Organically grown and finding their own, their collaboration is true testament that all things come together as they were meant to.  – Fresh Independence

BLUE SKY MINERS

Name:  Eric Duquette 

Age: 26

Where are you writing this:  A coffee shop in Toronto.

How did Blue Sky Miners come to be…

Jay and Jena (the two lead singers in the band) had a couple of chance run ins with each other while each living in Victoria. I met Jena after she moved to Toronto and we began jamming some cover songs together. She was hosting a music night at a small bar on College Street and Jay happened to walk in to play some of his songs. He had just moved recently too. It was a very loose, laid back environment and we all sort played on each others songs and eventually decided we should start writing our own songs together. I think we immediately sensed there was an interesting dynamic there to explore.

A BLUE SKY BLACK AND WHITE

Introduce us to your band members and tell us what they bring that makes Blue Sky Miners rock…

Jena Gogo (Lead Singer, percussion) – Her voice. It will seriously stop you dead in your tracks. Also perhaps the greatest tambourine player in the world today.
Jay Mitchell (Lead singer, rhythm guitar) – Theatricality. Jay’s performance on stage is like watching a dramatization of the lyrics.
Mark Lavoie (Bass) – If you watched only Mark on stage, you would think he’s playing in an 80’s hair metal band. His dance moves are second to none.
Stefan Hegerat (Drums) – Stef holds everything together and prefers to end every song with an epic “Detroit” ending.
Me Eric Duquette (Lead guitar) – I’m the spaceman, I’ve somehow convinced the band to let me go wild with spacey effects and weird sounds on stage.

Your best description of Rocky Mountain Desert Rock…

Folk storytelling meets the energy and abandon of rock and roll, haunted by mysterious desert sounds.

What is the song writing process like for you…

Its always a bit different. I’m always sending Jay these rough voice memos from my phone of little guitar parts I’ve come up with and sometimes he’ll write a verse or a hook based on that. Or sometimes he’ll come in with an idea for a verse that he’s written. Then he and I, usually armed with a bottle of whiskey, will sort of work out a rough song structure and come up with some other sections. The magic moment is usually when Jena gets her hands on the song and comes up with a melody or an interesting lyrical counterpoint to what Jay’s written. Then we take it into rehearsal to stumble through it with Stefan and Mark. Often it will take a totally different direction then we had planned, that’s probably my favourite part of the process. Even though it usually takes me some time to come around to it…

Your favourite lyrics thus far and tell us the story behind them…

Personally I think my favourite lyrics would be “You think me a slave and you a master, lining up your pockets with each disaster? Its time to break from our mold, send them down to the Cold Water” from the pre chorus in our song Cold Water. I was so proud when Jay and Jena came up with that. To me its our shot back at those who use power for their own personal gain and a call for the rest of us to be empowered to stand up for what we believe in and not be intimidated.

Tell us about the forthcoming EP…

I’m really really proud of it. Its our first EP as a band, and it wasn’t easy (from my perspective at least) to make. We spent a lot of time searching for our voice and what our sound would be. Early on we were very lucky to have Todor Kobakov working with us as our producer and he guided us right through to the end. He’s worked on a lot of great records by bands like Metric and Stars and really brought about that influence on our music. I think I’m most proud of the variety in the 6 songs. There are intense, harder hitting rock songs but also light hearted more acoustic leaning songs. There are weird sounds like bowed guitar and analog synthesizer that I never imagined us using that we discovered in the studio. It was a very exploratory and exciting process and I think the final product reflects that while being succinct and to the point.

What differences do you see in the East vs West coast music scenes…

Growing up on the East Coast, it was very hard to discover cool local bands. I don’t think there is as good of a framework for promotion and support of local music as on the West Coast. And in terms of seeing bigger touring bands, you would have to travel to a bigger city like Montreal or Toronto if you wanted to see bands you loved. Its isolated that way. On the West coast, Vancouver is a regular tour stop for most bands and close to a major music centre in Seattle, so I think a bigger music community and framework was born out of that. That being said I think a lot of really great things are happening on the East Coast right now, and the music scene has never looked more promising.

A BLUE SKY WORKING

Shout out to your favourite band or artist at the moment…

The one and only Father John Misty! We saw him play live this summer and we haven’t been the same since. His writing style is also hugely refreshing and inspiring to me right now.

When not making music what might we find you doing…

DJ’ing vegetarian brunch parties with friends at my place. I always play a sizzlin’ selection of brunch appropriate tunes. I also work as a Lighting tech for a few bands and do quite a bit of touring around Canada doing that as well.

Aside from technology while on the road what is one thing you can not live without…

A little bit of quiet alone time each day.

A BLUE SKY MINERS

The greatest book ever written is…

On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

The prettiest thing I have ever seen is…

The Old Growth forest in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.

Something fans might be surprised to learn about you…

I’ve never watched Breaking Bad or the Walking dead. I know, Get over it.

Is there one quote or piece of advice that always goes with you…

A friend once told me before I went on stage in a high school battle of the bands “Don’t suck.” And it was oddly comforting. So that’s always with me, for better or worse.

In Blue Sky Miners who is…

the comedian – Jena. Especially when we should be focusing on something important.
the romantic – Jay. Definitely the consummate optimist in the band.
the philosopher- Mark. He leads a group yoga/meditation session in the mornings on tour.
the techy- definitely me.
the athlete- Stefan. He plays on a softball team in Toronto called Balls Deep. Enough said.

How was the August Tour…

We just wrapped it up and it was an incredible experience. We truly couldn’t believe the reception and excitement that we received from so many cities we hadn’t been to before. We’ll be back very soon armed with new songs and new stories to tell.

a blue sky miners bus

Jena while on the road how will you deal with 4 guys in a stinky tour van…

She dealt just fine, mostly by making sure that at the very least we all jumped in a lake or the ocean once every couple days.

True love is…

A myth. Love is all around.

What can we look forward to with Blue Sky Miners over the coming year…

Lots more touring, a new video and maybe, just maybe, some new songs.

BLUESKYMINERS.CA

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