Atlantic Canada is that bit of the land left over AFTER Toronto and Montreal end. Yup, there most definitely is something after Toronto. 😉 Toronto is not really the east coast. It’s just further east than the west or the middle of the country. Atlantic Canada juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is comprised of four provinces which include New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS), Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Newfoundland & Labrador (NL).
Some fun facts:
– The highest tides in the world occur in our ‘Bay of Fundy’ (NB / NS)
– Atlantic Canada’s time zone is not the same as Toronto / New York (or Maine which is just under us). We are on Atlantic Standard time – the same as most of the Caribbean Islands. Maybe all of ’em. I. not sure. This is true for everyone EXCEPT Newfoundland, which is on Newfoundland Time (is it ever!) – 30 minutes ahead of the rest of Atlantic Canada. This is the same time zone as… nope, that’s it. Just Newfoundland. It’s a very unique place is sooooooo many ways.
– Windsor, NS claims to be the birthplace of Hockey (or ‘Ice Hockey’, as you may call it)
– Cape Spear, NL is the furthest east you can get on the entire continent without plunging in to the ocean.
– Nova Scotians are referred to as “Bluenosers” – after a ship, not because it’s cold.
– You’ve probably had some of our seafood. Digby scallops, Digby Clams, PEI Mussles, Atlantic Canada (or Nova Scotia) Lobster, etc.
Anyhow, the thing that makes me the most proud of Rocking Horse Road’s sync roster is that 85% of our roster is comprised of Atlantic Canadian artists. I grew up here. First, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where I was born and raised in a small fishing village. Then, In Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I went to University and started my career. It is an amazing musical community, and I’m so happy to be able to represent the area to the world.
Halifax was actually once called “the next Seattle”. ‘Once’, being in the earlyish 90s, when grunge and guitar pop was huge. Bands like Sloan, Eric’s Trip, Jale, Hardship Post, etc. were snatched up – mostly by Sub Pop, and others got some great attention because of that. Then grunge went away. But the scene didn’t. In addition, the scenes in the surrounding areas also popped up – and big time.
So, Why Still Based in Atlantic Canada?
If you hear bands on our roster, you would know! Aside from our peeps; the members of Alvvays, Wintersleep, Sarah McLachlan, Anne Murray, Hank Snow, April Wine, and many more all come from this area. Oh yeah – AND FIEST WAS BORN HERE. So, that’s something cool. It’s a place steeped in many musical traditions with a rare combination of music cultures living all together in a small area. Celtic / Irish folk / Scottish folk / Native / Acadian… so a lot of people grew up in a culture where music was very important. From the kitchen parties in Newfoundland to Bagpipe events in Nova Scotia, drum circles and native festivals around the Maritimes, and Acadian singsongs in New Brunswick, music was all around. However, as I’ve tried to teach you all – these provinces, while steeped in this tradition, offers much much more than that.
Aside from having a lot of music around, there was also A LOT of space. It’s not overly populated, and there are few cities – nothing that could be considered a ‘big city’. Being surrounded by trees and ocean left a lot of young kids the space and time to create. Whether it be through inspiration from their surroundings or through sheer all-consuming boredom, people picked up instruments. Some got together with friends and formed bands (while others started writing or drawing or painting – but I speak only to music here). Spurred on further by the fact that bands DID make it – whether it be to a larger Canadian audience or further afield – paired with the rise in popularity of more original music, openness to new ideas, and expanding tastes, things grew.
“I grew up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, a small fishing town with a population of approximately 8,000. The chance of clouds and fog is usually at least 75-85 percent. There was not a lot to do there but a lot of people did pick up instruments and play in bands. … I think as maritime Canadians we certainly have a keen sense of our environment. We’ve all been out on the ocean. We all know what it is like to stare into salty horizons. We’ve all been beckoned by storms and fog horns and ghosts in the distance. We’ve all felt sand between our toes, heard the old wives tales and songs of shipwrecks, of collapsed lungs of villagers and mining beds and forlorn widows mourning. We’ve all sat on shores with friends and watched waves crashing on beaches, drinking whiskey in plastic cups….” – Paul Murphy, Wintersleep
Another major catalyst for a vibrant music scene in Atlantic Canada was the support the bands gave to each other. While there IS a music industry here now, it started out small and build rather slowly. The bands shared their music, rehearsal space, and studios with one another. They shared bills, contacts, and wore each others’ T-shirts. They still do. It’s the way we are ‘out here’. We tend to champion each other. From Classified helping out Ria Mae. Joel Plaskett and Two Hours’ Traffic. Wintersleep’s deep love for Alvvays… it’s all good. Of course, there are exceptions, but overall – people want to see other people with talent also ‘make it’.
Anyway – that’s a large amount of text to basically say that we are a bit different out here, BUT WE ARE HERE. This is a completely untapped market with tons of indie bands owning their own material, and We have a lot of it. We always will. As Rocking Horse Road’s motto reads, we’re all about “Pitching, Placements. East Coast Pride.”
We have celtic / acadian, etc. We have blues. We have rock. We have hip hop. We have country and EDM. We have ambient stuff. We have Punk. We have some of the best singer songwriters and folk artists that you’ve ever heard. Here. In ATLANTIC CANADA. Now you know 🙂