Well – its festival season again in the 613. If you and I are anything alike, that means you’re engaged in a painful battle to cram every event into your already full schedule. Every. Event. Bigger festivals that span whole weekends, or even multiple weeks, are great-but choosing which nights to attend and which ones have to get the axe (damn my sleep-hungry human body) can reduce me to an anxious bag of bones. Rationally I know these are not life and death decisions…but still….
Let me be very clear here – I love, and will be attending, bigger festivals. But it is such a colossal relief to know that more intimate events are going down too. One night. One venue. And a whole lotta great music and great people sharing their passion. God bless the indie scene.
This Friday, May 23rd You’ve Changed Records (YCR) is hosting its 5th Anniversary Party here in Ottawa. The event is presented in collaboration with the passionate folks of Arboretum. Speaking with Rolf Klausener, that festival’s artistic director, it was clear that the inspiration for this collaboration is all about community connections. Rolf has known Constantine’s member and co-founder of YCR, Steve Lambke, for years. It’s how the ball got rolling on the event. There’s a lesson to be learned here about how personal connections don’t have to be used selfishly (are you hearing me government officials?!?) Events like this build community support for artists and fans alike.
As Klausener said “I was around when he [Lambke] and Romano started the label…it really felt like a natural fit for us to put on the You’ve Changed celebration. Virtually everyone on their roster are friends of ours and we’re huge fans of every album they put out.”
Interested in learning more about the celebrating label, I had a quick chat with the aforementioned Steve Lambke who co-founded YCR in partnership with Daniel Romano.
Apt613: Looking back, how has the label changed over the years? (In terms of the music, your media presence, your vision etc…)
Steve Lambke: It terms of the label we are always trying to improve and operate better: this year we stepped up our mail-order store significantly and have been celebrating with an anniversary sale. We try to get better at scheduling and spreading the word and building relationships with people.
The obstacles change over time: it’s taking longer to get records pressed now because the resurgent excitement about the format has clogged the pressing plants; it’s hard to know if people still want CDs at all; Canada Post keeps raising its prices, etc.
It’s a pretty small bunch of artists and everyone is pretty adventurous and ambitious and hardworking, so the music has changed as the individuals involved have changed their thought and approach. It’s a living thing, so I guess it changes as much in five years as any living thing would in that time.
Apt613: You’re based in Toronto, but your online shop makes your music available to a much broader audience. How do you think the age of the internet and digital downloads is affecting the reality of being a musician (and particularly a Canadian musician).
SL: I think it’s great that there is such a widely accessible and relatively cheap way to distribute music, and, more generally, to communicate with people in far off places. That’s hugely positive to the independent spirits and the diversification of culture.
But twitter, Facebook, and all the rest sadden and frustrate me and I hate that we all spend so much time on computers, and so much of that time is involved in inane chatter and mind numbing blathering. I think we should all go outside and run around a bit. In the words of Jonathan Richman, these bodies came to cavort!
Apt613: A lot of your music is available as a digital download but you still have the hard-copy options of CDs or LPs. In your opinion what makes a tangible product like CDs or the recently resurrected vinyl so appealing to music fans?
SL: Sometimes you just need something to hold on to! I think humans have archival impulses. Music and books can be listened to and read from a computer but they get lost in there too, in old failed hard drives and power surges. The good stuff you have to keep on a shelf if you want it around later.
Apt613: How does working for a label, meeting and working with these artists, influence your own work?
SL: It’s the best. I’m constantly inspired by the other artists on You’ve Changed, as artists, and as people. I like that we mostly all play music with each other, and we learn from each other when we’re doing that. When somebody writes a really great song, it makes me want to write a really great song too.
The 5th anniversary event will be featuring the really great songs of Shotgun Jimmie, Baby Eagle, The Weather Station, Marine Dreams, and Richard LaViolette. Plus currently unannounced special guests (I tried to get an inside scoop but mums the word: fine by me I love being surprised!)
You’ve Changed Records’ 5th Anniversary Party is happening Friday May 23rd starting at 8:00pm at St. Albans Church (454 King Edward Ave). Tickets are available for $10 in advance at Vertigo Records, Compact Music (Downtown location) and Antique Skate Shop. Tickets are $12 at the door. Co-presented by Kichesippi Beer, there will be refreshing beverages available.