Toronto has spawned a succession of shadowy synth-pop bands in recent years, but until recently our underground electronic acts have lacked their own scene. A group of musicians hope to change that by transforming a weekly at the Beaver called Pretty Pretty into a record label.
Its first release was the self-titled debut by Kontravoid, aka Cam Findlay, a 26-year-old analog gearhead, tour drummer for Crystal Castles and Trust and former Concordia electroacoustic studies student. He parted ways with synth-pop group Parallels last year to focus on making aggressively arpeggiated, unapologetically macho industrial dance music.
"It's inspiring to be amongst a group of people who are doing similar things," says Findlay, who started out as a teenage punk kid and grew into an obsessive collector of vintage keyboards. "You feel like you work a little bit better. [Until now] it's something that hasn't happened here, but it definitely has a chance to develop."
Pretty Pretty's coming-out party will be its NXNE showcase on June 16. Right now, the label is primarily focused on synth music (its only other artist is Prince Innocence, a new project by Josh McIntyre from post-punk band Little Girls), but Findlay and Pretty Pretty cohorts John M and Elliott Jones are keeping an open mind.
"There's no specific genre we're reaching for," he says. "That'll figure itself out eventually."