Q+A: Kingston band Kasador

Kasador is one of many bands to come out of the vibrant music scene in Kingston, Ont. Their pop-infused style of indie rock gets crowds singing and dancing during their upbeat live performances. The Charlatan caught up with them ahead of their headlining show in Ottawa on Nov. 2, at the 27 Club.

The Charlatan (TC): How did you guys become a band?

Will Hunter (WH): We were at Queen’s University, and I was playing around as an acoustic musician through the city, and I thought the songs kind of deserved more stuff. So, we started to bring in new musicians and trying different people. We met Nick [Babcock] through Boris [Baker], we played hockey together, and we knew Julian [Laferrière] through our old drummer’s school. He went to Humber.

TC: How would you describe your style of rock?

Boris Baker (BB): I think we’ve always kind of described ourselves as indie/pop-rock. There’s definitely like a strong rock base, but I think everyone has their own influences that they bring to the band. I think Julian and I typically like heavier stuff, punk, and I know Cam [Wyatt] and Nick like John Mayer. I think everyone’s got their own influences and we blend them together.

TC: What has [touring this year] been like?

WH: It’s crazy. I think we doubled the number of shows we did in 2016, and the year’s not over yet. We still have 15 more shows. We’re good, it’s just that it’s been consistently on the road, which is a lifestyle change.

Cam Wyatt (CW): It was our best summer too. We had a lot bigger shows, opening up for bigger acts, cool opportunities like the Juno events, opening for Sam Roberts, the Dragon Boat Festival. It was a really fun summer, in particular, and hopefully that can continue throughout the rest of the year.

BB: It’s been really nice to have that EP out, because when we perform those shows, we have something people can go home and listen to after, and something that we’re proud of.

WH: It’s the coolest feeling in the world when people are singing your songs back to you. We’ve worked on them for a year and a half, so,  when we were in Ottawa at the)Dragon Boat Festival and people were singing “Neighbourhood.” That’s awesome. It’s cool to have the music out.

TC: Who have been some of your favourite people to tour with this year?

WH: Julian Taylor Band. We started the year off with those guys. We ended up actually playing at Mavericks in Ottawa with them in March. We’ve got one more show with them this year. They’re just super nice guys. They’ve been around the industry for a while.

CW: Sam Roberts was a highlight for me. He was someone I grew up listening to all the time. I kind of formed my style a little bit from him, so, it was cool to open for him.

BB: I used to listen to his first EP, Human Condition. I used to listen to that on the way to hockey practice every day. It is really cool to get to play with your idols. There are a lot of other cool bands that we’ve gotten to play with, like Half Moon Run, The Darcys, Marianas Trench…

TC: From these experiences of touring with your idols, some of your favourite artists, what sort of things do you draw from them? What do you learn?

BB: I think how you treat other bands you play with and crew. Something I’ve definitely noticed from most of the bigger bands we’ve played with is that they’re all really nice people, and the scene in Canada is small enough that if you’re not nice, people catch on pretty quick, so, I think how important it is to treat people well wherever you’re playing. That’s something I’ve sort of taken away.

CW: Something that sort of impresses me too with is bigger bands is how they command audiences. They sort of take control of the audience, and usually have them fully engaged. It’s like a skill itself.

BB: It’s tough to go out and see your favourite bands and actually go and be a fan of live music, when you’re playing so much. When you get to play with bigger bands, like much bigger than yourself, you do still get that opportunity to see how other bands do it live.

Julian Laferrière (JL): Also, just all the great people you get to meet on the road and at shows and local bands, and there’s so many great people seeing you. Everyone seems to be great and nice to us, so we’re just giving that right back to everyone.

TC: You’ve put out some new music recently, can you tell me about some of that?

WH: Yeah, so we were in the studio in August, and we put out two songs. The first song is “Come Get Your Money.”It’s kind of a political song, which is cool, and it kind of came out of touring in the States this year … and “Skeleton Park,”, we were in the studio and we have this groove idea, and the song just came into fruition really quickly. We just loved the feel of it, and Nick really took over the songwriting on that one. It was cool.

JL: Yeah, I think the last few days in the studio, we were just in this incredible vibe and atmosphere, and everyone was just kind of really into it, and we were working on the song, like “We have to get this finished,” and the last day, we just cranked it out. We got a video done for it, which isn’t released yet, but you know, everything turned out really well.

BB: One of them’s a political song and the one of that Nick sings on is kind of a storytelling one, and I think both of those are things we’ve never done, and they’re things we didn’t necessarily talk about doing, they just kind of happened. So I think it’s a really cool–, natural progression for the band.

TC: Who are some of your favourite artists from [the Kingston music scene]?

WH: Mine’s Bedouin Soundclash. They started at Queen’s University. That’s one of the reasons I went to Queen’s, because I was a big Bedouin Soundclash fan.

BB: It’s tough, because there are the big ones, but there are also a lot of really talented university bands and local musicians, like Spencer Evans. He’s a guy who’s a crazy talented keyboard player, singer, clarinet, and he’s been playing around Kingston as long as I’ve been alive. He’s definitely someone I respect and look up to. Some of the band graduated Queen’s with Lost Cousins and Wild Rivers. We’re good friends with them. They’re quite talented and doing good things right now.

JL: I’m not from Kingston, I’m from Sudbury, and my first time in Kingston was when I started playing with the band, and I was like “Man, everyone in this city, the students, are so passionate about local bands,” it was crazy, like everyone goes to shows on a Monday night, Tuesday night, and there’s always a great pull. Everyone’s always into the shows, so I love playing hometown shows. It’s great.

Photo by Jeff Pelletier