Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

want great music? listen hear!

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When you hear the word band, you may think of a large group. This isn't the case with punk duo Listen Hear. All this band needs is Graeme Findlay, 18, on guitar and Colin Riopka, 32, on drums.

The two band mates met at church and later became good friends. "We sort of just said 'Hey, you play an instrument? Okay, let's start a band!'" says Findlay. "We figured since we both played instruments, why not play them together?" Since the two have different tastes in music - Findlay likes punk while Riopka likes the melodic pop-rock sound of the band Collective Soul - they combine the two very different styles into one with a melodic, punk feel.

Although Listen Hear has been playing as a band for just over a year, both members have a long music history. Findlay has been playing music for about eight years and began recording it when he was 14. He also has six recorded CDs from a side project called Kickflip. Riopka has been playing music for 17 years.

The duo has written two songs together while Findlay has written over 100 songs on his own (for both Listen Hear and Kickflip). Out of all their songs, their favourite is "The Odds Are Against Us" from their CD of the same name. It's also the song for which they'd like to make a music video.

"It would be freaky to see ourselves on television," says Findlay. "I would love for that to happen! I think this song would go the farthest because it sounds like something teens would like."

The band has competed in two contests: they submitted their music to Power 97 with hopes of being included on a CD compiled by the station and also appeared in the Battle of the Bands at River East Collegiate, where they came in first place.

"We have about 80 good songs together, and to choose a few to play in a 25 minute slot is very difficult," he says. "In the end, we just sit down and ask ourselves if it is a good song that we can play and if it will be appealing to our audience."

The guys practice once a week in a relative's basement. Although there isn't much space there, the band has made it clear that visitors are welcome to come watch them in action.

"Practices are a hoot!" Findlay says. "Sometimes Colin sets up a cow bell and just plays it like crazy. He also plays a really mean triangle."

Listen Hear hopes to get signed one day with a Winnipeg-based label and also dreams of signing with a larger label like Vagrant records - a big time record company to which many punk bands are signed.

Both have plans outside the band as well. Riopka is a fulltime carpenter hoping to settle down, while Findlay, who just graduated from River East Collegiate, is attending Red River Community College this September.

The duo has some advice for other bands trying to make it. "Keep practicing until you're good. Maybe one day, when you're good, you'll go places!"

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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