This Side of Town is an alternative pop/rock outfit working hard and having fun gracing the local Vancouver music scene with their powerful female-led vocals and driving guitars. I chatted with the band to discuss their sound, thoughts on the local music scene, and future musical endeavors. Get to know This Side of Town a little bit better and check out the interview down below.
1. Introduce your band to us; how did you all come together as This Side of Town?
We are a female-fronted five piece pop/rock band from the Vancouver area. In December 2010, Chris, Jen, and Mel met at Bully’s Rehearsal Studios in New Westminister through an ad on craigslist. After writing and performing for a while they added Kevin into the mix and soon decided to record a demo. Connor was taking courses and offered to record us as a project for school. At the time we didn’t have a bass player, so Connor picked up a bass and joined our band.
2. What kind of musical background does each band members have? What does each member contribute in terms of personal sound or style?
Jen: Took piano lessons as a child; Self-taught guitarist for 6 years. Jen contributes a lot to the groundwork of the songs by providing catchy guitar melodies and song structure. Usually she will create a song and pass it over to Mel to write lyrics and melodies.
Chris: Picked up guitar in his teens and started playing drums and found it more enjoyable and natural. Chris has been playing for 4/5 years. Chris likes to add dynamics to the drums by having a stop and go element to them with driving choruses. I grew up listening to alot of pop music through the 90′s and as I grew up my friend introduced me to led zeppelin, queens of the stone age, and the beatles, and started paying more attention to what the musicians were playing.
Mel: Has been singing her whole life; Started writing songs at the age of 8; Has been performing at various fairs, festivals, and competitions since the age of 13; Participated in school musicals, concert choir, and jazz choir in high school; Joined her first band around 16; Plays some guitar and keyboard (enough to write songs); Enters in a lot of karaoke competitions.
Kevin: Started playing drums and guitar in grade 6. Throughout high school, took as many music courses as he could get into, and was a member of my high school’s concert wind ensemble, jazz band, concert choir, and jazz choir. I try and write catchy melodies that compliment what the rythmn guitar plays.
Connor: Took violin lessons between the ages of 3 and 18; Played in the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra as a violinist from 8 until 17. At 12 he started learning guitar. He played in a band from 14 to 18, then took a small break from music and went to the Art Institute of Vancouver to learn recording arts. Picked up the bass earlier this year.
3. There’s a lot of pop rock, pop punk, and alternative influences in your sound. Is this a musical direction the band feels most comfortable and intuitive writing and performing in?
Definitely. We don’t really try to sound a certain way or classify ourselves in a specific genre, but I think as a starting point, most of our music would fit into those categories. We’re open to experimenting with other genres and sounds as we evolve as musicians and songwriters.
4. What are some of the major influences contributing to the band’s writing style?
Jimmy Eat World, The Dangerous Summer, Switchfoot, Yellowcard, Foo Fighters, Tonight Alive., Versaemerge, Hey Monday, States, The Veronicas, etc.
5. This Side of Town has been playing shows all around Vancouver. Do you guys have any interesting gig stories and what’s the band’s favorite venue to perform at?
We were playing Joe’s Battle of the Bands and our whole set there was this drunk girl dancing on the stage with us. We just laughed it off and tried to include her in the show a little bit. She even tried to make out with Chris.
6. In your guys’ opinion, what’s the best thing about the Vancouver music scene and alternatively, what’s not the greatest?
I think the best thing is that it’s a tight knit community and everyone we’ve met who plays in a band has been an instant friend to us. Everyone helps each other out to further all of our careers. It’s sort of unfortunate that most of the indie nights at music clubs are Thursdays.
We recently finished a mini-tour and are about to record our first ep. We will be playing some local shows in the near future.
8. Are there any local acts you guys are really into at the moment?
Young Sparrows, Emberfield, Greentree, Alexander France, Halfway To Hollywood, A New Divide, Ruby Rain,
9. What are some acts the band would love to go on tour with and where would you guys like to tour?
It would be a dream come true to play on Warped Tour one summer.
10. Where do you guys hope to see yourselves in the near future with regards to the project?
We hope to complete our EP very soon, play as many shows as we possibly can, and keep on writing whenever we can.
11. Where can we find your music?
Well, to get the full TSOT experience ideally you should come see us live but if you can’t make it, or we don’t have a show soon enough, check out our purevolume or youtube for some live videos and updates.
Pure Volume: http://www.purevolume.com/thissideoftown
12. What are some upcoming shows you guys have planned?
We’re playing the Chilliwack Fair for sure, and a few others that will be confirmed shortly. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for all our upcoming events.
Band photo from Chris Lee Photography