By Mel Spady
Award-winning, female-fronted, indie blues band the Burn Ins is comprised of Kristine Lyall, Aaron Mokry, and Aaron Lyall. They tour almost constantly — but I caught up with Kristine (vocals, bass) via e-mail to talk influence, burning out, and the new album on their horizon.
What challenges does your touring schedule pose to you as a group? Do you ever get burnt out while you’re on the road?
Kristine Lyall: Haha, yes! Quite ironic that the Burn Ins would get burnt out! It can be hard sometimes — for the last six years we’ve been living on the road and made music our full-time job. We stay with friends and family, or get put up in accommodations by whatever venue we happen to be playing. It’s strange sometimes not having a place to go to be alone, but we find ways to stay sane. We actually had the opportunity to live in Toronto in March and April, taking the Artist Entrepreneur program with Canada’s Music Incubator. We loved it!
What would you say is the biggest influence on your work, musically and lyrically?
Lyall: I’d have to say that our biggest musical influence is probably the Black Keys, followed by Jack White and Alabama Shakes. We write about things we are passionate about, things that happen in our lives or things that happen to people who are close to us.
On The Inside has a strong theme of emotional turbulence, but also a sense of catharsis that expresses sadness without making the music feel sad itself. Was this an intentional move or did the album come together naturally that way?
Lyall: I like to describe our previous album On the Inside as a delightfully dark journey into a foot-stomping good time. It’s true, I’m an emotional writer who loves the blues, so it seems I most often I write about sad things. Maybe it’s a bit of therapy for myself. So you could say it was naturally intentional.
What can listeners expect from your new album, which you’ve described on your website as “meant to … start a fire under people”?
Lyall: Our new release, Start A Fire, has a more upbeat vibe intended to get people up on the dance floor. If you’ve always wanted to be that one person who gets up to dance at a show, but have always been too scared to — now is the time. There is a fun song about depression as well as a song inspired by the Highway of Tears, so there are many different topics but the message is consistent: create change — do something different!
How would you describe your live show?
Lyall: Our live show is raw, authentic rock. No tracks, just the three of us and our instruments.
by Joe Johnson
Known for their lyrical punch and high-energy sound, Casinos is made up of Ken Ditomaso, Kier Junos, Mitchell Trainor, Skylar Bartel, and Zack Keely. With the recent release of their single “Sean” and a new EP on the way, they’re set for a return to the Jam in Jubilee stage.
Are there unflinching, bedrock Casinos sounds that don’t change? What about areas that you guys feel you’ve evolved in?
Zack: I think something that’s characteristic of our sound is really between the rhythm guitar and the lead guitar. There seems to be this tendency to write lead lines that really cut through everything else. As a guitarist, the thing I’ve been working on since I started playing guitar with Kier is keeping up with him. That’s my goal as a guitarist, is to keep up with Kier.
Kier: I think certainly, we’ve matured as musicians. That’s just natural. I think we’re writing songs that are more becoming of us. I feel like the material that we’re writing now is just something that fits us better, and that we’re happier to play. The old stuff is just being naturally obsolesced.
Ken: What remains always true is that, the bedrock kind of thing, most Casinos stuff is really high-energy. There’s slower stuff, but when we’re playing slower we’re also playing more intense and heavy. It’s very rare that there’s a chill moment… for the most part, the slower parts are eventually building to some big high-energy thing down the line in the song. I think that characterizes a lot of Casinos stuff.
What’s the long-term vision for Casinos? Are you guys just playing and seeing how it goes and enjoying it as it is or does you have ambitious goals?
Kier: I want Casinos to be more prolific. At the very least, I want have this album released, but not have it stop there. Let’s keep writing. Let’s keep recording. Let’s put more time into it. Let’s not have things fall into a dip where we stop writing for a bit. I’m not confident that we’ll have as much time as we’d like to tour but that just means we’ll have to put our resources elsewhere. We have to be more active in online communities and things like that to have our music known, and be able to specialize there instead.
What’s next for Casinos?
Kier: We have more music coming. We’re still writing and putting stuff out. Besides that, we’ve been tracking demos for the new EP.
Zack: For the summer at least, we’re looking at playing a lot more shows. You can expect to see more dates from us.
By Dessa Bayrock
Self-described as a “bold, woozy, spacey, and fuzz-ridden experience,” Little Wild’s sound is just that — wild. This garage/psych musical project is comprised of Jake Holmes, Mitch Trainor, and Zack and Layton Keely.
So, you’ve been in the local music community for a long time. How would you say it’s grown or changed?
Layton Keely: Well, it ebbs and flows. It just always depends on the venues and bands at the time. At some points in that time, there were lots of bands and cool places to play, and there were other times where every- one broke up, or there was nowhere to play.
But Abbotsford has always had a strong music scene; it produces a lot of artists, a lot of bands, and I would say it’s always going to be strong. I hope it’s always going to be strong. It’s up to the younger bands and the newer bands coming up, is what I’ve noticed. It’s a developing period, I think. And the bands that are coming up are pretty cool.
And you’ve just put out a new record: Bodies. I was listening to it yesterday, and it’s a fun one.
Keely: Thanks! I like this record the best, out of anything we’ve ever put out. I think it’s one of the strongest. We recorded it in my garage, with Corey Meyers recording — he did the Cheap High and Loans records as well — and he has a style where you only get three tries for every part that you’re recording. He doesn’t cut and paste; he leaves the mistakes in and just finds the best track. It’s a great sound.
We played Abbotsford in March to release the record, and we played at Carport Manor, which was a lot of fun, and then the next time we’ll all be playing together is Jam in Jubilee, which should also be a lot of fun.
Are there any other bands playing at Jam in Jubilee that you’re excited to see play?
Keely: Casinos! [Lead singer] Kier Junos is a great singer, and an intense performer; I like bands that sound really tight, and I’m really into bands who really make it a show. Kier’s quite an eccentric that way — a real performer. It’s great to watch.
There are some bands playing at Jam in Jubilee where I’m not necessarily into their kind of music… but music’s music, you know? And you don’t just go for the music; you go to see people you haven’t seen in a long time, so I’m excited for all the nights. I’ll be there for sure.
By Kristin Witko, Jam in Jubilee Volunteer
For four Thursdays a year, Jubilee Park is the site of a free festival that draws thousands of Fraser Valley residents to enjoy local entertainment and community. For the other 361 days of the year, the park is home to 25 to 30 people who are other- wise homeless.
Ward Draper of 5 and 2 Ministries, an organization that advocates for the homeless and other marginalized individuals in Abbotsford, says most of the park’s residents have lived in the area for many years, and represent some of the Fraser Valley’s most vulnerable people.
“They are First Nations, persons with physical disabilities, people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, mothers, grandmothers… you name it,” Draper says, noting that with limited to no income and skyrocketing housing costs, many people are forced to find shelter and community outdoors.
When Jam in Jubilee’s fence goes up and the security protocols that go with it come into play, Draper says the people who live there “have to go and find some bush somewhere else.” While Jubilee Park is not the only place where this vulnerable population gathers, the concert held there each summer inevitably intersects with Abbotsford’s growing homelessness problem, and the need for solutions, which goes beyond just the need for a roof.
Read the full Jam in Jubilee zine here.