Features Interviews NXNE 2010 Interview: Watching for We Are The City

NXNE 2010 Interview: Watching for We Are The City

We Are The City

One year ago, We Are The City were a very different band. They had never done a cross-Canada tour (they've now done multiple), they had never been part of a big music festival (they have now been part of both CMW and NXNE), and they had little to no money and publicity (they have now won the Peak Performance Project and with it $150,000). Not bad for a band of three 20-year-old guys from Kelowna, BC.

"We were looking at last year, looking at ourselves," said guitarist David Menzel. "A year ago, we didn't have all the contacts we [do now], or the know-how, we didn't have the experience. It was just three of us and our manager, and now there's a bunch of people who are on the team.”

The other guys nod in agreement.

"It's funny because things seem to be going so slowly, like, 'We should be doing this and this,'" said drummer Andy Huculiak. "But when you look from the outside, this last year we've accomplished so much."

"We were just thinking, a year ago we had not done a cross-Canada tour yet," said lead singer and keyboardist Cayne McKenzie.

"And the Project definitely played a huge part in it," added Andy, referring to Vancouver radio station 100.5 The Peak FM's Performance Project that puts 20 promising BC musical acts through boot camp, and ultimately awards one artist the grand prize money. "Just in helping us get focused and stay focused."

And now that a year has passed, the Performance Project is back with a brand new top 20, many of which We Are The City have become friends with through various tours and shows around the country.

"It should be a great year," David said enthusiastically. "It's awesome, it's really great to see," added Andy. "I almost want to go up to the [top 20 boot] camp again and hang out with everyone. We won't be allowed to but it's really cool to see the new finalists and I think we're all really excited to see what this year has in store."

Some of the band's friends in the top 20 include Aidan Knight, Adaline, and Said The Whale.

"It's gonna be way harder than the year we were in because there's really stiff competition," Cayne said. "Not that we didn't have stiff competition at all, but... we lucked out. But it's like, there won't be any lucking out this year because every band is really good. We're pretty excited for it to be happening."

And while the guys have spent a lot of time on the road this past year, meeting and becoming friends with other bands, they love going back to Kelowna to see their friends and family. Although, they admit that a lot of people have the wrong idea about their celebrity status.

"It's funny because I think in Kelowna, people have a skewed view on us," said Andy. "We're not the rock stars that people think we are."

"One of our friends was like, 'Oh, you're playing in Calgary, are you playing at the arena there?'" said David. "And we were like, 'No, we're playing at like, 200 capacity.'"

They all laugh.

Still, they are not complaining. For We Are The City, just being able to tour the country and be part of such amazing music festivals as NXNE at all is a blessing.

"I was just thinking about this, and I was thinking about how cool it is that we got accepted to [NXNE]," said David. "I was just thinking it's so nice. Last year we didn't get accepted and this year we did. It's really awesome, we're really fortunate."

"It's just really cool to come into this kind of thing," Andy added. "It's really big, it's bigger than us."

And now that NXNE is over, the guys plan on doing some serious writing. With one album, In A Quiet World, behind them, they are ready to start producing some new music and head out on tour again in the fall.

"That's kind of the next step for us right now is to write some new music," said Cayne. "We have to. We don't have a choice." David turns to him.

"Well, we could not write a record," he said.

"We could quit!" Andy suggested.

Cayne nodded. "We could be electricians, plumbers."

"Cayne would become a plumber, David would become an electrician, I'd be making films," Andy said.

Cayne shoots him a look. "Why do you get the cool one?"

"I was just joking!" Andy said.

Cayne shakes his head. "My dad's a plumber, I've tried it a few times," he said. "I'm just a terrible worker. I'm bad at every job I do."

"We'd go into business together," David said to him reassuringly. "Music school!"

"No, we'd be doing infomercials," Cayne said.

The guys start to talk about an infomercial personality named Dr. Ho and his intense muscle stimulus pads ("It's pretty cool!" Andy said).

Infomercials? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. With their intense melodies, sweet lyrics, and tight acoustics (and not to mention lovely personalities), We Are The City are a band to watch for. And I don't mean on the television.