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
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.
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.
“So like to fall in love with new music, especially when it takes you to another time & place and nudges your creativity to come out and play. Boondock Hippy is a vibe and an essence that is filled with the brightness of summer and should be allowed to wash all over you.” – Fresh Independence
Name: Steve Keenlyside
Where are you writing this: London, UK
Home is where your story begins, please tell us a little about yours.
I come from The Shetland Islands, a little group of islands located in the very North of Scotland. That’s pretty much how the moniker came about. The term ‘Boondock’ is used mainly in the US, translated; a remote, rural area. Shetland most definitely ticks both these boxes.
The 2nd part of the name comes from the fact that I’ve always been a hippy at heart. I ‘m pretty sure I take that from my folks ;).
The band started in one form or another whilst I was at school, and evolved over time into the Boondock Hippy as it stands today.
How did music find you?
Music courses through the veins of life on the Islands, so it found me from a very early age. My father plays guitar also, so I learned from him when I was a young lad.
The folk music scene in Shetland is internationally respected, so I feel extremely blessed to have been part of this growing up.
Best describe your musical style.
I would say it’s a mix of folk and blues.
Tell us what each member brings to the band.
There are quite a few members of the band actually.
Dan Szymczak is our very naturally gifted drummer. He keeps the Boondock Ship steady as it were. With so many musicians involved it is so important you have the core keeping it all together. He does this extremely well.
Jimmy Harris is our utility man. He has an extraordinary ability to play any instrument he picks up. The main instruments he plays for us are piano, mandolin and acoustic guitar. Jimmy gives us the tones for our more folkie edge.
Andy McSweeney plays bass guitar & along with Dan, keeps everything nice and tight. He brings out a groovy little bass line every time without fail.
Rich Wassall is our trombone player. He has this uncanny knack of being able to play along with absolutely anything within about 5 mins of putting his ear to the track. It’s quite impressive really. Along with Jimmy he gives the band something unique.
Abishek Joshi plays percussion for us. Congos/bongos, chimes and shakers. Abbs gives us a much fuller rhythm section.
I play rhythm guitar and sing; hopefully I do it justice :).
Bring us from ‘Life in the Slow Lane’ to ‘Makin Tracks’. How have you evolved musically?
I think at the beginning of the journey it was a lot more funk/indie based. I think we have finally found our niche in the folk/blues scene. A lot of experimentation was done between the first album and the last.
What is the song writing process like for you?
I try to approach every song with a purpose. I see no reason writing something when it doesn’t convey a feeling or a particular point of views. With every single one of my songs I could tell you the story behind it.
Your favourite lyrics thus far, and tell us what they mean to you.
Hmm, good question. I’d prob have to say the 1st verse from ‘Grass Roots’. It my homage to the singer/songwriters of the 60’s. The likes of Dylan/Hendrix who tried to campaign for change in a creative way.
There’s no doubt the 60s, it started it all with its seminal words as a gun / But in such a landscape of poets and dreams lived a land of much civil unrest/ Perhaps that is why all these pivotal people arose like a phoenix in flames/ A desire for change, a voice that is strange but the people they had to get heard
Was it fun making your video for ‘Whiskey’, and what was the inspiration behind it?
I made a parody video of the ‘Southern Comfort’ commercials; which featured the tagline, whatever’s comfortable. I created this looping video, where I played a guitar lick, looped it, then another, then looped it… and so on, whilst drinking the bourbon in between ;). They really liked it and put it up on their Twitter account. A company called Deep South Barrels then got in contact with me to say they would like a video themselves. So the synopsis for Whiskey was born. We were blessed to get a very talented director (Chris Pearson, who directed ‘Making Track’) who wrote the full script for it and directed the vid.
You seem so creative, what do you enjoy the most about what you do?
The idea of creating anything is great for the soul, whether it be music, doing a drawing, or writing a story, the list is endless. For me being able to create a song that people can relate to is an immensely satisfying thing.
Shout out to your favorite band or artist at the moment.
I really enjoy what Cosmo Jarvis is doing at the minute. Other artists I really admire are Jack Johnson, The Black Keys, Fink and Half Moon Run to name a few.
Where do you hope music takes you?
It would be great to do something creative for a living. To write and perform our songs to people would be fantastic.
The greatest book ever written is… 1984 – George Orwell
My favourite movie of all time is… Into the Wild
The Boondock Hippy is hosting a party!
Any place… Croyde Bay, Devon
Any time… Summer
What’s the occasion… Beach party
Your ensemble… Flip flops, boardies, t-shirt and me, shades.
Your ride… Camper van.
Your date… My wife.
Which 3 albums are on replay… Beach Boys, Pet Sounds, Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life and Jurrasic 5-J5
What’s on the menu… BBQ
What’s the drink of the evening… Beer and wine. Standard :).
4 people on the guest list past or present that would make for stimulating conversation… Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Bill Hicks.
If a lull should fall how will you breathe life back into the party… Get the surf on.
Your favorite musical moment thus far.
Prob when we supported Ian Brown from the ‘Stone Roses’ & getting our video ‘Makin Tracks’ aired on Channel 4.
The prettiest thing I have ever seen is… My Wife.
The world could use more… Guitars
Is there one quote or piece of advice that always goes with you?
Treat others as you would yourself.
True love is… My Wife.
What can we look forward to with Boondock Hippy over the coming year?
We are releasing a new album ‘Campanero’ this summer. We will also be filming a couple more official music videos and gigging towards the end of the year again.
Reminded life is not about what we consume or create but how we relate. Today is a rainy day spent with old friends and lots of tea and cake.
To a timeless voice full of style and ease.
Home is where your story begins, would you tell us a bit about yours?
I grew up on the outskirts of London in the town of Tolworth, home of Tolworth Tower, Radio Jackie and a whole host of Barber shops. Home for me has always been about laughter, love , arguments, food and lots of music.
How did Music find you?
When I was 7 years old I remember New Years Eve coming to a close that year , after one of the epic parties my parents used to hold at our house I was sitting on the step and I asked if I could have piano lessons. I remember emulating Slash ( of Guns and Roses) on the Keytar as he play for Michael Jackson. So I suppose I could say music found me on the Keytar!
“Like there isn’t anything to keep me from you…eternally barged in on my routine reverie and I have wasted a legion of seemingly good opportunities but waste I will no more you’ll find my steady hand reaching for you”
1. Name: Ian Patrick McGuinness
Where are you writing this? In my living room.
2. Home is where your story begins, please tell us a little about yours.
Right now home is Astoria, NY and I love it. I live in a 3-bedroom apartment with two of my old band-mates. It’s close to the rehearsal space, the studio and the bakery. What more could you need? I grew up in the suburbs of New York (About an hour upstate from the City). My father was and still is an equine teacher and caretaker of 20 horses and my mother is a nurse. I have an older sister and of course there is Kizzy, a golden retriever. Growing up, band practice was always in the basement of my house so it was consistently loud and full of kids. When we weren’t practicing, we were outside. We had a nice backyard and patio so we could play out there and grill in the summer. It was a pretty ideal situation.
3. How did Side Saddle come to be?
I started writing some songs that were a little too folky for the band that I was in and I was looking for a bit of a change. I decided to start a side project.
4. When did you know that music was going to be such a big part of your life?
I’m not sure when that moment happened. It always seemed to be the one thing I could do for a long period of time and not get bored or distracted by something else. But if I had to pick a moment it was probably when my neighbor/family friend Vivian gave me her late husbands Tascam 4 track. I sat down and wrote my first complete song and you know what… it wasn’t that bad.
5. You must be filled with excitement with the release of your debut EP titled The Postcard.
I am suuuuuuuper excited! It has been a long time coming. I started recording some of these songs last May so it will feel like a huge weight off my shoulders for sure.