This is going to be a more personal post than you’re used to reading on the ol’ Rugs’ blog…
Four years ago, as I prepared myself to begin my second year in an intense arts program at college (begrudgingly so, I might add), I met three guys who would change my life. That was my first summer living in Toronto full-time, and it was a strange experience, trying to find work, while meeting up with old friends, and of course, meeting new ones… I went to a lot of shows because a group of musician-friends I’d hung out with in high school were really involved in some of the music scenes in Toronto. And of course, like so many people I meet, I was a singer and looking to write more and perform. I met a lot of my new friends through those scenes.
On one particular evening, I was at the Embassy with an old friend of mine named Kyle, and we went to a party at an apartment round the block on Kensington Avenue above a cheese shop. I hung out with Barry there (hi Barry!), who I’d hung around with for the last while, having met him sometime in the winter. He introduced me to Matt Rubba, and I remember seeing a blonde-Aryan-faced guy inside the apartment too (who yes, did turn out to be a Mr. Ian Jackson).
I didn’t think much of that night except the hangover it left me with the next day; however, that week, I did post on Facebook that I wanted to start a band. I was looking for “serious” musicians to collaborate with “seriously”, no funny-business, thanks. Really, this was my problem: I was (and always am) in the middle of an artistic-identity crisis and knew that I wanted to perform and sing and write music but I didn’t know how to break freak from the confines of my bedroom-writing and Garage Band-recording sessions. But I felt like I was ready, and looking for something.
Barry responded and told me he knew some guys who were looking for a keyboardist and a maybe sometime-singer, which is great for you, Kaye, isn’t it, because you play keys, right? That’s your thing, right? You’ll be awesome jamming with them.
Now, here’s the thing, guys: I lied. I really can’t play keys very well, and back then, I REALLY couldn’t play keys much at all.
So when Ian contacted me and told me to meet them outside their jam space up on Geary Ave, I thought, hey, maybe I can try and I’ll sing a few ooohs and ahhhss and this will be okay. But as Thursday–jam day–quickly approached, I decided I needed to get out of the situation in any way possible. What had I been thinking?! I couldn’t jam with a bunch of cool dudes in some jam space somewhere. So I told Ian I didn’t think I was their girl. I didn’t think it would work.
But Ian wouldn’t take no for an answer.
It was really rough. Really, really rough. It was like that for around six months. And then something happened. We started jamming out this song–me trying desperately to piece the notes together on the keyboard, still pretending I sort of knew what I was doing, thinking every week that Matt, Ali or Ian was going to give me the boot, because I SUCKED. But we started jamming out this song, and for some reason, I started singing. I’d always sung, but not in front of people. And yet, the song just came to me quite easily. And from thereon in, every song that’s ever worked for us has come quite easily. But that first song was a little song you might know as Always All.
And Always All has brought us here to this point, folks.
It’s our “four-year anniversary” as a band. We’ve released an E.P., performed all around TO, played NYC and Brooklyn, and had lots of ups and downs. We’re on the verge of releasing our new album, This Is OK For Now.
We’ve been hard at work all summer trying to get the vocals and over-dubs right. For something we started over a year ago, this thing sure is taking a damn long time, but listening again to the mixes today, I’m confident we have something special to share. We’ll be playing tomorrow in the Junction for the Junction Festival for the first time since the spring, and we’d love to see everyone there! I’m excited to get back on stage.
I’m very lucky to have met three men who took a chance on me and let me grow with them over the past four years. If you had told me four years ago that I’d be writing, performing and recording with talented individuals in a band, I’d have told you you were crazy.
But then that Always All thing happened and I think, hey maybe I’m on the right track. Maybe, just maybe, what I’m doing, is okay: this is okay for now.
Come hang out and hear some tunes tomorrow at the Junction Festival.