It’s always interesting when a band can be so well established right from the get go, without trying a dozen genres before finding its sound. Amadians, made up of jazz vocalist and songwriter Courtney Devon, guitarist and songwriter James Roth, and percussionist Kyle Fox, defines its sound as alternative pop, but will also bring elements of jazz, hip hop, and rock to our lunchtime stage on August 23 as part of the free MB Live @ The Cube concert series, co-presented by Manitoba Music.
Two years ago, Roth, having made music for over 15 years as a member of local rock act Pushing Daisies, was given the opportunity to perform with University of Manitoba Jazz student Devon for a fundraising event, and the two hit it off.
“The songwriting process just kind of exploded,” Roth says. “At the beginning it was just the two of us doing all the writing, but lately Kyle has been joining us and contributing to the songwriting as well. I could see that being more of the norm going forward, with the three of us as writers.”
As collaborators, the members of Amadians seem to have figured out a great formula for working together, with each of them bringing their specific skillset to the table.
“I write tons and tons of music, so I would throw the (instrumental elements) down,” Roth says. “Courtney is unbelievably talented when it comes to writing melodies, so she would come in and sing just gibberish over my music, and then the two of us would hash out the lyrics together.”
He adds that Fox, who spent his teen years behind the drum kit for pop rockers Panicland, is able to flesh out any and every idea with percussion.
As Roth is a veteran of the Winnipeg music scene, he says that working with this pair of young up-and-comers has re-energized him.
“With my previous project, we were caught in this rut, stuck in a holding pattern waiting for this album that we were working on to be finished, and for various reasons it didn’t come out. I was basically just dormant until I hooked up with Courtney, and the music just started flowing after that.”
Roth notes that with making music in 2017 comes adapting to new formats. Physical albums are out, and streaming singles are in. While he sees the benefits in both, the musician in him is finding a compromise, while the music listener in him is keeping it old school.
“I am the last person to jump on the streaming bandwagon. I’m still not on Spotify, I was just at Sunrise Records three days ago,” he says with a laugh. “I still love buying physical CDs and vinyl. I think there are plenty of people out there who still wanna get their hands on that.”
He says the band has plans to hit the recording studio in the fall, with plans to release a single or two in the new year. He’s still not giving up hope for something physical, though.
“That’s where my heart and head is for sure,” he says. “I just feel like nowadays, even if our heart is telling us to put out a full length, I feel like it’s almost a waste of the other nine songs because it seems like one song at a time is all the public is able to dive into. I wish people were like me, I still love buying albums. I think we definitely want to make this a career, so we’re walking that fine line between doing the music we want, and still trying to fit in and play that game.”