Matt Webb (of Marianas Trench)

spectrasonic.com presents

Matt Webb (of Marianas Trench)

Fake Shark - Real Zombie!, Jessica Lee

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Mavericks

Ottawa, ON

tickets also available at Vertigo Records.

lineup, date, venue, times and ticket price subject to change without notice.

Matt Webb (of Marianas Trench)
Matt Webb (of Marianas Trench)
It’s a lesson every great musician learns eventually. Less is more; simplicity is everything; groove conquers all. If Matt Webb’s debut as a solo artist with 2011’s Coda and Jacket presented seven different sides of the Vancouver-based musician, from the hook drenched ‘80s guitar pop of “Cinnamon” to the aerobic synth-funk of “Bad Girl”, this year’s model is decidedly more direct in its approach.
“It’s a classic situation with people and their first records,” says Webb, on the eve of releasing his new, four-song EP, Right Direction. “You just have a shit mix of songs. It’s pop stuff; it’s rock stuff; and you haven’t really found your stride yet. With this record, I had a really clear idea of how I wanted it to sound. I just used one or two guitars on the whole thing; the same drum set up; the same guitar set up; and a really organic feel to it.”
After wrapping up his touring schedule with main act, Marianas Trench, the always restless musician decamped to Armoury Studios with producer and co-writer Kevin “Kevvy Mental” Maher, drummer Al Glassford, bassist Peter Davyduck, pianist Andrew Belson, plus four crystalline new songs that take a distinct turn from the quantum level of precision, planning, and craft that the Trench typically brings to its elaborate pop constructions.
“I wanted to hear more mistakes, I wanted it to be raw,” he explains. “It’s a different genre.” His intent is made abundantly clear in the title track. “Right Direction” a soulful, mid-tempo groover that’s charmingly free of any fuss. “That track in particular,” he says, “we went for a kind of Tom Petty feel to it, and I told Al, ‘No cymbals allowed in this song!’ It’s sort of an atypical approach but it helps to build some suspense. If you listen to Tom Petty’s ‘You Don’t Know How it Feels’, say, it’s a really simple drum groove that never changes.”
Webb adds that the Kevvy coined “Matt Webb rule of simplicity” became a running joke in the studio. Nobody was allowed to get too flashy, except when it counted. Glassford’s jazz-inflected drum fills in the bridge of “Heartbreakers” are all the more explosive as a result. Webb’s fleet-fingered acoustic picking on “123” is like a leap into the fourth dimension after the placid spaces the band establishes on “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me” and “Heartbreakers” – an Andy McKee influenced track on which Webb and Maher tag-team lead vocals.
Significantly enough, Webb and Maher eventually built an ad hoc studio in his parent’s house to complete work on the EP. Webb nailed the guitar parts and laid down his vocals in the bedroom he inhabited as a teenager. It opens the door to a nice dollop of symbolism if you imagine Webb, now one of the most successful and accomplished guitar players in the country, returning to the room where his dreams were hatched in the first place, riffing on the kind of grown-up rock that inspired him at the time. The result is the most mature music of Webb’s career. Sometimes, it seems, the right direction is back.
Fake Shark - Real Zombie!
Fake Shark - Real Zombie!
Fake Shark-Real Zombie! was conceived by Maher and Hearn in October 2005 as a way of combining the styles of the bands they liked in hopes to one day open for them. They met in high school, but didn't form the band until some time after graduation. To complete the band, they recruited (via Craigslist) bassist Dan Hughes and The Heck's former drummer, Malcolm Holt. Around the start of 2007, Hughes left the band and was replaced by The Heck's and Hot Hot Heat's former bassist, Parker Bossley. The onslaught of MySpace buzz garnered the interest of Vinyl Junkie Records in Japan who released the band's debut album Zebra! Zebra! on April 25, 2007.

While life-sized cut-outs of the band's members at HMV stores in Japan[1] may indicate a popularity outside the arena of punk, the band still adheres to the punk lifestyle. It has been said that bouncers have had to "manually take down microphones and disassemble gear in order for the band to stop playing."[2] They are known to wear dresses[3] Henry Rollins has stated that they are one of his favorite new bands[4] and has played them several times on his radio show Harmony In My Head.

Fake Shark-Real Zombie! have toured with artists such as Mindless Self Indulgence, Klaxons, Hot Hot Heat, Brokencyde, The Birthday Massacre, Marianas Trench (band), Jeffree Star and Test Icicles. They have also completed three tours of the United Kingdom and performed four sold out dates in Japan.[1] 2008 saw Fake Shark with a North American release of Zebra! Zebra! on March 11, 2008 and the release their new EP Style of Substance followed by additional tours of North America and the UK and festival appearances in Japan.

During summer 2008, the band went into the studio with music producer Dave "Rave" Ogilvie (known for his work with Skinny Puppy, Jakalope, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails) to record their second album. The result was Meeting People Is Terrible, a sophomore attempt that seems just as eclectic as their first but with even more genres covered and mashed such as funk and industrial. The band had leaked two tracks ("Jewellery" and "Angel Lust") from the album and a bonus single, a cover of Portishead's "Sour Times", on their MySpace page. They released the album, August 26, 2009 in Japan and May 31, 2010 worldwide.

In 2009, Kevvy Mental scored the short film starring Canadian singer Sarah Slean entitled 'Last Flowers' directed by CJ Wallis. The film was nominated for a pair of Leo Awards.

Fake Shark Real Zombie's new album is called Liar. Producers and collaborators include Steve Bays, Greig Nori, Dave Ogilvie, Jimmy Urine, members of Die Mannequin, Japanese Voyeurs, and The Birthday Massacre.[5]
Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee
Opportunity didn’t come knocking for Jessica Lee, it blew the door in.
“Basically, two years ago, I was at school at Ottawa U and they were having this YouTube contest to sing with Marianas Trench at Massey Hall in Toronto,” she explains. Because her roommate dared her to, Lee entered herself, “kind of as a joke.” And then she forgot about it. And then she won.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The 21 year-old Ottawa native wasn’t an absolute novice when Josh Ramsay winnowed down all those contest entries and invited Jessica Lee to duet “Good to You” on arguably the most venerable stage in Canada. “I used to dress up as a Disney princess and sing at birthday parties,” Lee offers, with a giggle. “And I did some singing at church.”

Still, “Oh gosh, I was so shocked,” she recalls. “To go from doing science all the time to, suddenly, ‘Oh, I’m going to be singing in front of 3,000 people.’ It was a little unexpected. It’s one of those things where you’ve gotta pull yourself together and just do it.”

Lee actually surprised herself a little at Massey Hall, discovering that she felt perfectly comfortable on stage. She also realized she was putting a powerful instrument on ice when the night ended and she went back to her studies. “I’d had my 15 seconds of fame,” she says. “It was always, ‘School first.’ My mentality was, ‘Okay, I’ll never see these people again in my life.’”

She was wrong, of course. One month after the revelations of Massey Hall, Lee was in Vancouver recording a fresh version of “Good to You” and flexing her front-of-camera chops in the epic video that went with it. From there, Ramsay and 604 Records honcho Jonathan Simkin proposed a co-management deal for the self-possessed and apparently fearless young talent, telling her, “Go home and think about it.”

The rest is history in the making. Cruising on the same ready confidence she brought to Massey Hall, Lee accepted the offer and set about writing and recording a debut album with a small team of collaborators. “I would not feel comfortable singing somebody else’s lyrics, or somebody else’s songs,” Lee says of the subsequent two years she spent commuting between Ottawa and a Vancouver recording studio.

Ramsay and Simkin eagerly demonstrated the extent of their confidence by encouraging Lee to follow her own muse, while introducing her to people who would help see the project through; Fake Shark’s Kevvy Maher, Tino Zolfo and Marten Tromm—both fresh off their work with Adaline—plus Carly Rae Jepson’s “Tug of War” co-writer Ryan Stewart, and Ramsay himself. “They pretty much believe in everything I do and say,” Lee offers, with a touch of incredulity. “I just go in and do my thing.”
The thing, as it happens, is the rarest of commodities—pop music with a brain (Lee was in pre-med, after all), although even the management must have been taken aback at the level of sophistication their new charge brings to floor-stompers like “Save Your Breath” (co-written and produced by Ramsay), the ecstatic “Beautiful” (which she put together with Tromm), or the pristine modern pop of “Say Goodbye” or “Twisted Games” (both cooked up with Stewart).

“Vocal-wise, I grew up with a lot of Christina Aguilera and that kind of vocal technique,” Lee reveals. “Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis—basically the female powerhouses. I think everything Katy Perry does is amazing. I love any good female singer that isn’t afraid to go outside the confines of standard pop and is just willing to wail.”

Given the strength of her own personality and drive, Lee’s music feels genetically related to the music that inspires her while being very much her own. She notes that “there’s definitely a personal aspect” to all of her songs, while the voice itself could only come from one unique place. And that, presumably, is what Ramsay and Simkin saw in 2010 during that three-minute audition-by-fire that Lee didn’t even know she was having.

She mentions that “even retelling the story makes you realize how lucky you are,” but sometimes nature has a way of adjusting itself. It was just a little nudge from the universe (and a couple of highly intuitive guys) that put Jessica Lee exactly where she’s meant to be.
Venue Information:
Mavericks
221 Rideau Street
Ottawa, ON, K1N 5X8
http://www.mavericksbar.com/