Doc Pickles, co-founder of the Wavelength music series,which celebrates its eighth anniversary with a shitload of awesome shows Thursday to Sunday (February 14-17) at various venues. Check out www.wavelengthtoronto.com for details.
How did Wavelength start?
Many of the first bands who played the early days of Wavelength cut their teeth at Sedated Sundays at the old El Mocambo. In 1999, Jonny Dovercourt helped me organize a show at Cherry Beach called the Harmony Picnic. Greg Chambers and Minesh Mandoda of Mean Red Spiders were putting on a series at the Lion called ° (“Degrees”), and we all agreed that two bands and a DJ accompanied by an interview in a zine was a very good formula. Jonny came up with the name, and Yvonne Matsell gave us carte blanche to book Sunday nights at Ted’s Wrecking Yard. And we haven’t stopped since.
What are some of your greatest musical discoveries from the series?
Booking Daniel Nebiat in 2007 was the beginning of a new way of looking at the series. The definition of “indie” was changing to mean “independent” as a mindset rather than a genre. Also, Broken Social Scene’s first show, Peaches, Feist, the Constantines played a killer show once and haven’t looked back. My favourite discovery was that Katia Taylor and Justin Small met at Wavelength and started Lullabye Arkestra.
What is the “unconference” you’re doing as part of the series?
We’re entrusting Trampoline Hall’s Misha Glouberman to help us explore the value difference of independent music versus other forms of expressive arts, and to talk about the taboo subjects of money, interdependence and getting over shyness about applying for music grants.
Who are you excited to see this week?
At the risk of alienating the other acts, I think DD/MM/YYYY are going to shock me with their set. I think 2008 is their breakout year. And Daniel Nebiat sharing a bill with a DJ set by Glissandro 70 will be life-altering.
What are you most proud of?
When we began in 2000, there wasn’t enough going on to keep all the great bands entertained. In the years since, we’ve seen the emergence of other creative comfort zones, like the rebirth of the Tranzac, Pitter Patter Nights, the fingerprints of Dan Burke’s hustle at the Silver Dollar, the No Shame and ALL CAPS! series and Eric Warner’s Over The Top Fest. It’d be silly to claim that these communities wouldn’t have sprung up on their own, but Wavelength has softened up the soil to make it possible for Toronto to emerge as a DIY cultural hot spot.