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The Ornaments at Bluesfest

By Adria May on July 9, 2015

Tonight, Ottawa rock band, the Ornaments play RBC Bluesfest for the second time (first time was in 2011). The group has released one EP, Ornaments in 2010 and one full-length album, Blood Vessels in 2011. Check out our interview with band member David Peirce, who also gives us his insights into the local Ottawa music scene.

When was the band formed?

The band formed in the spring of 2009 and played its first show that Fall. The original lineup was me  (guitar and vocals), Kevin Kozachanko (drums), and Casey Beaulieu (bass). Jay Lamothe replaced Casey at the end of 2011 and it’s been the same lineup since then.

Plans to release any new releases in the near future?

We have a lot of new material and will be releasing some of it this year, hopefully sooner than later. The tentative plan right now is an EP followed very shortly by either another EP or a full length record.

 
What does playing Bluesfest mean to the band?

Playing Bluesfest is a huge honour for us. Obviously, it’s a lucrative gig with a lot of exposure built in, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to rub shoulders with some high profile artists and live the dream for a day. We work pretty hard as a band and this feels like a reward for all that hard work. Also, Jay wasn’t with the band the last time we played, so Kev and I are really excited to get him in front of a big audience on a big stage–he’s a great bass player and he’s a lot of fun to watch. He’ll own that stage.

What can the Bluesfest audience expect from your show?

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I think people can expect a loud, crisp, high energy set. We’ll definitely leave it all on the stage, including lots of sweat and probably a little blood. I’m sure we’ll play a couple of new songs as well.

We would argue that the local music scene is very healthy, as can be seen by the large number bands playing Bluesfest in the National Capital Region. With that in mind, what are your thoughts about the local music scene?

I think this is by far the healthiest I’ve seen the local music scene since I moved here in 2006. The quality of bands seems to improve every year and there are some new venues that have really given things a shot in the arm. It’s also been cool to see some of the local festivals like Ottawa Explosion, Arboretum, and Doldrums grow into pretty substantial events while still retaining their grassroots aesthetic. Ottawa is really on a roll these days. All the artists I talk to can feel it very noticeably. It’s exciting to be in the midst of it.

Follow-up: What is the most positive aspect of the local music scene? Conversely, what area do you think can use the most improvement?

I think Ottawa has a bit of an underdog thing going for it, which everyone seems to be harnessing these days in a very positive way. I feel like everyone–bands, solo artists, venue owners, promoters–is really stepping up their game. It may be a case of the neo-conservatism of the past several years spurring artists to put themselves out there a little bit more and let their voices be heard a little louder. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a few more Ottawa-based bands break big in the coming year or so, because people here have got a lot to say.

As far as areas to improve, I’ve felt at times that for a relatively small place, the music scene in Ottawa is a bit fragmented. I’d like to see more people going out to shows and maybe checking out some music that’s a little bit out of their comfort zone. Maybe some of the smaller acts in town, ourselves included, need to start self-promoting a little bit better, because there are a lot of really talented, worthy artists in this city that most people have never heard of. We need to change that.

In a perfect world, how would you like the next year to work out for the band?

In a perfect world, we get our record out by the end of summer, on vinyl, which we’ve never done before; ideally, we’ll tour a little bit and hopefully we end up with a song or two that really catches on with people and allows us to expand those touring plans significantly. Absolute best case, we’ve all quit our day jobs by Christmas.

Anything that you would like to add that we haven’t asked you about yet but that you think would be important for us to know?

We’re very much a live band. We’re very proud of the music we’ve recorded thus far, but we feel like the stage is where we really shine. I hope people come check us out at Bluesfest–I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised, and hopefully energized by our set.

Check out The Ornament’s latest album on BandcampThe Group plays RBC Bluesfest on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. at the Canadian Stage. For more information visit http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca.