Ottawa's alternative music scene hasn't gone extinct
Sitting down with three members of T-Rex Marathon to talk about what it’s like being an alternative/post-hardcore band in conservative Ottawa.
Ottawa’s T-Rex Marathon released their debut EP, Eponymous, in the summer of 2016. The five-piece band recorded the EP over the course of 11 months in one of the most punk-rock ways possible: in the basement-turned-studio of Tom Edward, the lead vocalist of alternative band, Eagleson.
“It was something pretty different to go and get it done this way,” said Alex Hodges, T-Rex Marathon’s lead guitarist. “Every time we’d give him a payment, he would go out and get equipment to make the next session better.”
Over the course of the 11 months, the area became less of a basement and more of a professional recording studio. The band was only able to record vocals in the later sessions, after the vocal booth had been built.
“It was definitely quite the process,” said drummer Darien Swolfs.
Their somewhat DIY method of recording and producing reflects not only the alternative/punk scene, but T-Rex Marathon’s unique style as well. Eponymous is a one of a kind EP that is part alternative, part post-hardcore. Both genres are demonstrated in the fast-paced lead vocals of Adam Sakauye.
Each band member draws in a different musical influence, from Alexisonfire (post-hardcore), to Blink-182 (pop-punk), to even Coheed and Cambria (progressive rock), creating a sound that is impossible to be kept in a box.
“If everyone comes from a different background, your music isn’t gonna sound like any one influence,” said Hodges.
Being a band that strays from the norm hasn’t been the easiest in Ottawa, a city known for representing the Canadian government and somewhat conservative politics.
“There’s not many places for people to go,” said Swolfs.
Many of the venues in the city are bars, alienating the younger generation, or are just too cramped to draw a crowd.
“We have a lot of small venues and we have some big venues, but we have no medium sized venues for bands to play,” said Swolfs.
“There’s more bands than people, in a way,” said bassist Jeremy Toppings.
T-Rex Marathon has summer plans for a short tour in select Canadian cities, but sometime in the future they’d like to play internationally.
“People, I guess, are more accepting of the art in Europe,” said Swolfs. “Music to them is whoever the fuck’s playing on the corner.”
As well as the tour, the band has more music in the works.
“A second EP is a plan for 2017,” said Hodges. “There’s three darker songs that are more in a post-hardcore, Alexisonfire kind of style that we want to put on an EP.”
The band will once again record with producer Tom Edward and his company Audio Farm Recordings, in their brand new studio.
“We’ve done some pre-production already on this three song EP,” said Hodges. “We’re going to be going in studio early 2017 to work on the EP.”
T-Rex Marathon’s debut EP, Eponymous, is available for download on Bandcamp.