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When I was young…

September 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am by Kaye

When I was young,
I saw something more
Than books and school
When I was young

Many years ago, I decided that I wanted to perform. This dream is never easy, as an “artist’s life” is never easy. There is no money. There is a lot of criticism. There is a lot of turmoil. There is going to be a lot of hard times. There will be fights. There will be a lot of anger.

But in creating art, we’re able to put a little part of ourselves into something, whether it’s a song, a performance, a story, a painting, a dance… and you hope that that piece of work conveys your feelings to another person. When I write the lyrics to a song, I want to literally take myself in the moment, what I am feeling, and dump it into a song. The reason I do this is usually selfish: it is cathartic to write songs, and I almost always write songs when I am super-charged. It’s how I deal with shit.

After a failed stint at acting, I dove into music. You can read about how the other Rugs and I met and how I was welcomed into this band in this post here, but a year into it, I was set. I loved that I finally felt free when I was performing, and finally, after many years, had some semblance of how to actually write the lyrics and melody for a song. The guys — Ian, Matt and Ali — they all made me better. They were patient while I found my confidence. They helped me learn how to write songs. They allowed me to pretend I was a competent keyboardist (I am not). And through all that, Persian Rugs grew into something that is very special to me.

Persian Rugs has seen a lot of hard times the past three years as we wrote and recorded our album. Everyone has been asking us, what’s the delay? Where’s the album? But we’re doing this all on our own dime and time, and without any label support, it can be difficult. There were times when I was worried the album was never going to come. And through all this, we all went through our own personal shit. And I kept dumping that personal shit into the songs, as I’m sure the rest of the Rugs did. And then, miraculously, the album was finished this summer. And it felt extremely satisfying.

As I listen to these songs we have made, I want to cringe sometimes because I’ve written things that are so deeply personal, they instantly take me right back to the place I was in when I wrote them. I usually write songs when I can’t process what I’m going through. And from all that, I’ve moved on. So I don’t cringe; I am proud of us for making something very real and true. And I hope that when people listen, they don’t necessarily hear our stories, but that they hear their own stories conveyed in what we’ve done.

We have to thank: Ryan Haslett, Jay Lemak and Jason Richer for recording us. We have to thank Thomas D’arcy, Jay Lemak and Adam Trozzolo for mixing. We have to thank Brandon Hocura and Mark Murray for mastering at Polyphasic Studios.

And mostly, I have to thank Ian, Matt and Ali for allowing me to do this with them, for working so hard on something that’s so special to us, and for being on this wild ride with me.

So, sit back, and listen to the sounds of Persian Rugs on This is OK for Now.

Goodbye Geary Ave

March 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by Kaye

I talked about this in my previous post (which I posted in September?! GUYS WHERE IS THE TIME GOING??), but almost FIVE years ago now, I met Ali, Ian and Matt at their space on Geary Avenue and that day changed my life forever. We’ve written all of our material in our space at Geary Avenue, recorded some demos, had some late nights, and become a better band and great friends.

Recently, we were provided with an opportunity to use a new space that will allow us to jam more and possibly record in the future. We just couldn’t say no.

Tonight is our last night jamming at Geary Avenue and it is definitely bittersweet. We’ve had some amazing times and although it’s good to make a change, it is not without some sadness on my part. I really learned how to use my voice and how to write good songs in our space, and again, as always, I thank my boys for allowing me that growing room, for allowing me to make terrible mistakes, and for allowing me to learn with them over the course of the past five years. I want to say thanks to Kat (of Planet Creature and HSY) for always being such an amazing organizer of the space, for always staying on top of everything and for just being such a kind individual. And of course, thanks to all the bands we’ve shared the space with.

Now it’s time to make a change!

I’ll leave you with a couple things… we’re going to be putting this album out soon, I swear I am not lying. Unfortunately, when you don’t make a gazillion dollars or have a label backing you, things take much longer than you could ever anticipate. But the final touches are being made to the mixes next week, and then it’s off to my friend Brandon Hocura at Polyphasic Studios for mastering! We’ve been able to work with so many talented individuals on this album — people who have helped us record and mix, including Ryan Haslett, Thom D’arcy, Adam Trozzolo and Jay Lemak. I’ve even had my hands in the mixing pot as well as I’ve begun to mix tracks, with help from Ali, Ian and Matt, of course. It’s definitely been a HUGE team effort and we are so excited to finally have you listen to what we have been working on for such a long time. It’s been a labour of love and frustration ;) but it’s all coming together!

FINALLY, we will be playing another show at Holy Oak on April 12th! I will be debuting another music project I’ve been working on (floppsy b & the sugarstarkidd) and then Fires of Cheektowaga will be playing before Persian Rugs. Come on out — hopefully this winter cracks and the weather’s pleasant!

Stay warm,

This Is OK For Now

September 20th, 2013 at 4:59 pm by Kaye

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.