It’s been six months now since the third annual BC’s Best Teen Band Contest kicked off. This past fall, over 50 bands from all over the province – Greater Vancouver, Bowen Island, Victoria, the Queen Charlotte Islands – entered with hopes of earning a spot in the Top 10.
In December, a panel of industry judges selected the Top 10 bands, then, it was up to the fans to vote for their favourites. By the end of February, the Top 3 finalists were announced: Kate Kurdyak, an indie-folk pop artist from Vancouver, Derrival, an experimental prog-rock band from Langley, and Shadows, an alt-indie rock band from Surrey.
The 2012 Top 3 represents a year of firsts for BC’s Best Teen Band Contest. Kate Kurdyak is the first solo artist to ever make the Top 3, and between her and Shadows, there are three girls in the Top 3 for the first time ever. As for Derrival, this is their first time making the Top 10 (let alone the Top 3), despite having entered the competition all three years.
The Top 3 will compete live at the Electric Owl in Vancouver on Saturday, April 28th for the title of BC’s Best Teen Band as well as some big prizes, including $2,000 cash, a recording session at Greenhouse Studios and the May/June cover of Youthink magazine.
I got the opportunity to catch up with the Top 3 musicians at a recent photo shoot in Vancouver to chat about their experience in the contest so far. I’m excited to introduce you to BC’s Best Teen Band Contest 2012 Top 3 artists!
Genre: Experimental prog-rock
Influences: We Are The City, Tokyo Police Club, Said the Whale, Aidan Knight, Bombay Bicycle Club
YT: Has being a part of BC’s Best Teen Band Contest lived up to your expectations?
Deven: For me, personally, it’s really exceeded them.
Adam: I think it’s really cool… with the Top 10 workshops, [Youthink] didn’t dumb it down at all. A lot of the stuff they were doing was similar to the Peak Performance Project Boot Camp, which was really cool.
YT: What have you guys been doing so far to prepare for the finale?
Adam: Just playing a lot of shows beforehand and getting prepared. There’s always kind of that confidence thing, like when you get up on stage and you’re nervous, but you need to know how to handle it well. Sometimes I can’t handle it, but the only way to really counter that is just to play as many shows as possible.
YT: This is the third year that you guys have entered the contest. Why do you think you made the Top 3 this time around?
Adam: Our songs. We’ve really evolved a lot musically. Before it was good, but we’ve learned a lot. Deven: We went into a professional studio for the first time, so the quality of the recording was a lot better. I think that helped a lot.
Genre: Indie-folk pop
Influences: Leonard Cohen, Damien Rice, Joni Mitchell, Mumford & Sons, The Beatles as well as classical music
YT: Has being a part of BC’s Best Teen Band Contest been what you expected?
Kate: It’s been so much better than I thought it would be. Even just getting into the Top 3 was incredible. I didn’t see that coming at all, especially being a solo artist, right? It felt like it wasn’t going to happen. It’s been really amazing, even today, just the photo shoot... I’ve never done anything like this before so it feels like just being thrust into this new crazy world but I love it!
YT: What have you been doing so far to prepare for the live showcase?
Kate: I have kind of like a backup band. I’ve got strings, guitar, drums and vocals, so I’ve been practicing with all them separately and just getting all that sorted out. I’ve been writing a lot of new stuff just to try and see what will work best.
YT: The Top 3 were announced just a few days ago and now you’re at a photo shoot, how does it feel to have gotten here so fast?
Kate: It just feels real now. We’re all here at this photo shoot and there are only three bands left and they’re all incredible bands and I love everyone’s music. It feels like a whole new step, a whole new level and it’s just incredible, I really... I love it!
Genre: Alt-indie rock
Influences: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Muse, The Joy Formidable
YT: How has this contest matched up to your expectations of it?
Ashley: We didn’t expect it to be so...
Kyle: Big, like, so much going on! The photo shoot was actually really helpful. We’ve met some cool people.
YT: Your band is made up of two guys and two girls. How does that affect your dynamic?
Dianne: Having two guys and two girls doesn’t really affect our dynamic at all. Like any other band, we’re just a group of friends who enjoy playing music together.
YT: Between the four of you, you have a lot of different musical influences. How does that affect your band’s sound?
Dianne: Having different musical influences really benefits our sound. When we work on new songs, each of us brings in a bit of our style and influences and it really helps our songs grow and progress into something that we didn’t expect.
YT: What can the audience expect from your performance on April 28th?
Dianne: Our live shows can get pretty crazy and in your face. We like to engage with the crowd so the audience should expect to move and get rowdy with us.