The Honeyrunners

This is the Honeyrunners

A four-piece group in Toronto (sometimes up to 12, when performing live), fronted by high energy Ottawa-born singer/songwriter Dan Dwoskin (lead vocals, piano, wurlitzer, rhodes, synth), Canadian-Peruvian audio-engineer/producer, Guillermo Subauste (bass, drums, vocals, electric & acoustic guitar, cajón, percussion, synth), Conor Gains (electric guitar) and Toronto-born drummer and filmmaker, Lewis Spring (drums).

A blend of Southern Roots and Americana style in the realm of bands like Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, with a little Rolling Stones thrown in alongside some Anderson .Paak and Frank Ocean, topped off with the soulfulness of Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Ray Charles. They like to push the limits of everything, musically. Ensuring not to conform to what’s happening in the mainstream, but rather to follow their own sense of what they love about music, and what excites them about songwriting, production and tone.  

They were first featured in Coca-Cola’s 2013 compilation “52 Songs of Happiness” with their song “My Garage”. They released their first self-titled EP in 2013, followed by a second EP, simply titled EP2 in 2014.

As a band, they embody community building. They are a product of local venues like the Cameron House, Horseshoe Tavern, the Monarch Tavern, and the now defunct Silver Dollar (where they had their first EP release party with Toronto tastemaker Dan Burke) – places where music advocates do each other favours to help foster the community as a whole.

Their latest album, an antidote to everything that was happening pre-pandemic and a celebration of everything we need to recover from the past 20 months, “Everything Is on Fire” was released on October 22, 2021 after 20 months of sitting on the shelf. 

The Honeyrunners started writing the album in 2018. Over that time, they wrote more than 50 songs. The band trimmed it down to 9, and took their time with crafting the production of each chosen song. The album title was originally meant to be ironic; a criticism of the media and how news headlines and social media clickbait constantly suggest that everything is always on fire. It was tiring. The media had become absurd. This album was an expression on how to put all of that absurdity aside and how to stop letting the headlines stress you out.

Dan and Guillermo wrote the songs together and co-produced the album at Subauste’s Roncesvalles studio on the West side of Toronto, Pacha Sound. Being a new Dad at the time, Dan had a lot of late nights with a singular driving thought through all of them, “What kind of world am I bringing my daughter into?”

You can catch an early performance of one of the songs on the album, “Cabin Fever”, live at the Horseshoe Tavern in April 2018. They were first set to release it in 2019. Then Australia caught fire. And then California caught fire.

The band headed to New Orleans to play Folk Alliance International in January of 2020. On the way back, they noticed full flights of people arriving with masks on and the questions they were asked at the border check-in appeared far more serious than when they had first traveled to New Orleans.

Prior to that flight, they had planned to release the album on March 27, 2020.  But, now they knew everything was going to shut down. They had 25 tour dates that were immediately scrapped. Venues closed. Side hustles in the hospitality industry, gone. Everything they had built towards building a community, gone. And they knew: live music was going to be the last public service back on the table when the dust settled. So, they shelved the album…until now.

On October 22, The Honeyrunners hosted a sold out record release party and performance at the Horseshoe Tavern with the capacity capped at 130 people, seated. They went for it. Dwoskin and Subauste brought in the 11-piece band for the show – a fully orchestrated wall of sound. After 2 years of everything being on hold, they wanted to celebrate this album and the return of live music together (#ForTheLoveOfLIVE).

For a taste of their energy, you can watch a performance of the title song, “Everything is on Fire” on YouTube. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for new music videos for singles “Ghosts” and “Mixtape”.

Stay in touch with the Honeyrunners at the following:

Cat and The Queen

This is Cat and The Queen

A theatrical force to be reckoned with and true renaissance artist, Cat Montgomery, her Nord keyboard (aka ‘The Queen’) and her backing band, the New Royals (Amanda Barbosa on Bass and Graham MacKey on drums), bring an effervescence and visceral experience to each album and every show they play live.   Self described as “Tori Amos meets Jefferson Airplane meets B-52s meets early Bette Midler meets Kate Bush”, Cat and The Queen have their own fresh take on the Cabaret Rock / ‘Caba-Rock’ genre.

Cat grew up in Barrie, playing piano privately and eventually pursued theatre at the Etobicoke School of the Arts for high school (grades 9, 10 and OAC), with a brief interlude in Spain. After high school, she went to a small theatre conservancy, studio 58, in Vancouver and then came back to Toronto for her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in theatre and teaching voice at York University.

In 2012, after dealing with some personal issues, Cat retreated.  Her Mom, in a way to reach out and help her through it, sent her their childhood piano, from BArrie to Toronto. Cat rekindled her relationship with it. What she lacks in technical capability on the piano, she more than makes up for it with her personal connection to it.  Eventually, she went to an open mic at a Keele & Annette pool hall and down the musical rabbit hole she went. 

A couple of years later, Cat started working with a drummer and then another drummer and then a bassist, and then, of course, dancers.   She started standing up at the piano to have a more ‘punk’ aesthetic and to dial up the energy of the performance.  She quit smoking, took some singing lessons, and moved from more ‘speaky’ cynical songs to finding her singing voice.

In August 2018, she put out her first album, Loba Loca and followed it up with an immersive theatre rock show, called LOVE IN SPACE! Performed at The Assembly, an underground theatre in Parkdale.

In 2019, CATQ released their second album, Heart For A Ride – an experiment in mixing a solo electro pop sound with a raw ‘live off the floor’ sensibility.  Cat also had another theatre rock show that year at the Toronto Fringe Festival called “PUMP” at the Theatre Passe Muraille.

As Cat rolled into 2020, she had sublet her house and had planned to go to Halifax for 4 months of performing and exploring the scene there.  The pandemic had other plans and Cat ended up staying at her mother’s cottage in the Algonquin Highlands/Dorset area by herself for 2 months.  What was supposed to be a summer of performing turned into introspection and reflection and ultimately, her 3rd album, released  in 2021, the super lo-fi “I Caught a Fish”.   

The first single, “Bear Boy”, is a haunting portrait of longing and lost love.  Her theatrical presence comes alive with her video for the single Cabin Fever.  And her video for Haunted World is the perfect time capsule to capture the public rage of the anti-police protests in 2020. 

Recently, on October 30th, CATQ brought her new album and live show to one of her favourite venues in the city, the Horseshoe Tavern.  In addition to being the headliner, Cat also used social media to construct a true Cabaret for the evening, which included comedian Hoodoo Hersi, musician Ariel Sim and ThunderClaw Robinsong

In addition to performing, Cat is working on a new kids show with her partner, called the Cat in Space Show, in which they are a rock band, called Bondar, traveling through space and exploring new planets – think a musical Peewee’s playhouse supported with emotionally intelligent content. The show is currently in post-production and they are getting ready to pitch it.  

To follow Cat and The Queen, check out her:

The High Loves

This is The High Loves.   A band that has only been around since 2018 and like many other bands over the past 18 months, has already gone through a line-up change due to the pandemic.  They lost 2 founding members and midway through 2020 rejuvenated the band with 3 new additions.

The current line-up consists of founding members, Noah Monckton (Lead singer and guitarist) and Marco Stojanovic (lead guitar player) and new members – Jaden Spanier (drummer), Jeremy Ugro (keyboardist) and Jake St Jean (bassist).   Noah and Jeremy are both originally from Victoria, BC and moved to Toronto for the music scene, while the others are originally from here.  They crossed paths at the Humber College Music Program and bonded through immersing themselves in the Toronto music scene.  Constantly catching their friend’s gigs at the Silver Dollar, the Horseshoe Tavern, the Painted Lady and many others.

Noah was especially fond of the Silver Dollar, a proper dive bar, which he had only played once in a previous band.  When the bar was added to the long list of music venues lost in the history of Toronto’s ongoing condo gentrification, The High Loves wrote a tribute to the Silver Dollar, High Rise which won them the John Lennon songwriting award in the rock category.

While Noah usually writes the lyrics and melodies for the main songs, he hit a bit of a rut at the beginning of the pandemic.   It took about 6 months until he fully accepted the ‘new normal’ and started to let go of control over his reality.  As the control loosened, he found his creativity again, writing many of the songs that appear on their recent, Too Much of a Good Thing EP.   With new members came new life to the band and ‘letting go’, provided a fresh start.

The songs are “serious fun” – playful music with personal lyrics and a definite 80’s influence combined with indie rock sensibility.  

By Fall of 2020, the band started to find their rhythm and became increasingly prolific.   They came up with big ideas. Wrote new songs.  Made demos.  Built off each other’s ideas and then finally started to play together IRL in November 2020, pre-extended lockdown.

That first time playing music together was sheer joy for all of them.  They kept jamming, recording on their iphone and refining the songs.  Over and over until they got them to a point where they were ready to record in River Radcliffe’s home studio, where River helped produce a few songs as well.

With the city opening up again, they recently had their first show back at the Supermarket and have another this Friday at Lee’s Palace.  They have also been able to produce 2 music videos from their EP – Call me Back  and Sometime.  And a new video is currently in production for their song, ‘Comes and Goes’.

Watch out for more live shows and another EP, which is written and in final stages of production and will be recording later this month.  

To find out more about the band, visit here