I’ve been thinking about moving for a while. I love my small city, but sometimes I wonder how much larger of an audience there is in a huge metropolis?… and I’m not alone. I spoke with the very talented artist Jeans Boots, about her experiences touring across Canada and where she’s considering/considered moving and why, at least for now, she’s sticking around.
Having toured across the nation what places have embraced you & why?
For some reason sets at The Horseshoe in Toronto and at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver both stick out as Jeans Boots highlights of our last tour…we did we played a show in Sarnia. People were dancing like crazy. That was totally unexpected because Sarnia seems like a total dive town. Surprise! It’s not. There’s a great scene there…
It’s a good idea to open for a band with some musical similarities that also has a decent draw in the city you’ve never played before.
It’s all about the energy at the shows. I’m nowhere near a technically proficient guitar player, but when we have a good show I play with all my heart. People seem to respond to that.
What factors influence a move to one of those places?
From my experience thus far, success in Toronto seems like the holy grail of music success in Canada. All the major media is out there, all the blogs and newspapers and magazines and most of the indie labels. While you might think independent artists are all DIY, those on the indie labels get a big step up in coverage and tour support. If you’re an independent band (as in totally independent: no booking agent, no label, no publicist) you have to do all of the work yourself. If you’re lazy, like me, that doesn’t get done and you have to luck out and hope someone rad is at your show and wants to write about you.
Once you get a bit of buzz in those cities you have to return to them again quickly, otherwise people forget about you. If you live three days away from those cities and work full time to support yourself, that’s pretty difficult.
Do you think there’s a “glass ceiling” in smaller centers?
I don’t think there’s a problem with smaller centres. The problem is really living in a place that’s so geographically isolated. It’s hard to play more than a few times without people getting super bored of you…
..It’s hard to sustain draw while playing enough shows to actually improve as a band… a few local bands (The Deep Dark Woods, Shooting Guns, The Foggy Notions and Feral Children) that constantly draw…I could see achieving anything they want to. At the same time, tour is a very important part of that equation because it gets you noticed, and you get better by playing shows all the time.
What keeps you in your city?
The number one reason I stay is because of my job…I also play in another band called Slow Down, Molasses. We’ve done pretty well in the last couple years and are just getting ready to tour the UK.
While it would be great to live somewhere else, moving doesn’t just guarantee you’ll “make it.” I’d say it takes about five years of hard work to build yourself up as a band, wherever you are…
Another reason to live in Saskatoon is that fewer people go to shows, and you often get to meet or open for amazing bands that come through and play to 10 or 20 people. Then you become friends and then you get to hang out with them when you’re in their populous cities full of people who are actually cooler than you. And then bam, you’re friends with all the rock stars in Winnipeg! Amazing!
Really and truly and especially with the Internet, you can do anything you want to wherever you are. You just have to suck it up and do the work and stop making excuses for yourself. And tour lots.
What are the next plans for the band?
I’m hoping to record and release a “real” full-length record, but first of all, I need to find people who want to play with me regularly….it would be really nice to find someone who wanted to play shows and jam regularly. Seriously, I’m desperate. Please email [email protected] if interested…
Where can people see you play next?
I’ve had the great fortune to have been asked to open for mega-hype band PS I Love You Sept. 23 at Walker’s Event Centre in Saskatoon. I’ll have some sort of new-ish band line-up. I can’t speak to my set, but I guarantee PS I Love You will be awesome.