Last Gang "We're having the time of our lives over here!" Nightbox singer…
- Posted on Aug 22nd 2011 3:00PM by Heather Cleland
Courtesy of Nightbox
"When we moved to Toronto it was almost like starting from scratch," drummer Nick Bitove tells Spinner on the phone from Ireland. "No one knew us over there, our fanbase was back in Ireland. And so we were asked to audition for this show and we thought that would be a great idea."
The show is a spin-off from Much's now-defunct 'disBAND' series that served more as a competition for emerging bands, as opposed to 'Discovered''s more laissez-faire documentary style. There's no judgment day at the end of the 10-week series, just a chance to show off your band's journey and perhaps to rub shoulders with industry bigwigs. Greig Nori, former lead singer of Treble Charger and onetime Sum-41 band manager, still acts as a bit of a rock 'n roll guidance counsellor on the series like he did in 'disBAND,' but Bitove explains that the show is more about documenting than training.
"Everything that we've accomplished as a band, or all the opportunities that have come about so far in the last year-and-a-half in Toronto, they've come about before the show even came out," he says.
That includes their self-titled EP, released in February and produced by Sebastien Grainger of freshly reunited Death From Above 1979 and Al-P of MSTRKRFT. An in with Toronto's Last Gang Records got the band the hook-up with the producers soon after their arrived in town.
"When it was finally time to go and record this EP, one of the people at Last Gang said basically, 'Put together your dream list of producers,'" Bitove explains. "Sebastien was one of them and Al-P was the other one, and they both had affiliations with Last Gang because of their acts. So they listened to our tracks and they liked what they heard and decided they wanted to work with us."
Then Death From Above 1979 invited Nightbox to open for them at their sold-out Toronto show October 28, a gig which will be the cherry on top of a string of UK dates, including stops at Reading and Leeds festivals. But even with all this coming to fruition before 'Discovered' has even hit the airwaves, the band is still expecting good things to come from the show.
"This was kind of a new start to the band when we first moved to Toronto, and it was a completely new and exciting experience," Bitove says. "Having the cameras there and MuchMusic to actually document the entire thing, capture it, I think is great. Now we're going to be able to go and watch back and see when we first moved to Toronto -- this is where we were at, and this is how we progressed over that time."
The show's Aug. 16th premiere focused on four of the six bands, who also include For the Weekend, Brighter Brightest, Colorsound, Brett Boivin and Slow Motion Victory.
Most of the footage you see on the show was collected by the band members themselves on Flip cameras provided to them by MuchMusic. In Nightbox's experience, Much crews only showed up a few times over the five months of filming to capture crucial moments like performances or to film one-on-one confessionals. But even with this hands-off approach, reality-based TV still needs its drama, which fan-picked band Slow Motion Victory provided right away. On the season premier, the sweepy-haired emo band kicked their new drummer out of the group when Fefe Dobson's veteran stickman said he'd like to join -- all this, of course, went down on camera much to the chagrin of the ousted drummer. The F-bombs f---in' flew. Classy? Maybe not. Good TV? Heck yes.
Though he hasn't yet seen the show, Bitove questions the "realness" behind that kind of scene. "Something like kicking out a band member -- obviously the cameras didn't just happen to be there," he says. "The impression that I got out of our five months of filming was that it's basically just a documentary about Nightbox, and not for one second did I think of this as reality TV. Nothing was staged at all, at least on our behalf. Everything was us just having a laugh, having some fun, filming each other."
Opportunities for drama, then, were few for the tight-knit group. "We all live together in Toronto so our arguments basically go as far as telling people to clean up the dishes in the house and that's about it. Nothing too serious. Nothing breaking-up-the-band-worthy."