Watching the band get made

Experiment comes to the stage

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In the early 2000s, TV shows about building a band from a pool of entrants were all the rage.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/05/2017 (2097 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the early 2000s, TV shows about building a band from a pool of entrants were all the rage.

There was the MTV hit Making the Band, which followed record producer (and convicted felon) Lou Pearlman — the man behind the Backstreet Boys and *NSync — as he pieced together the all-male pop fivesome O-Town. The following seasons were run by Sean “Diddy” Combs, and there was even a Canadian version, Popstars, that resulted in the group Sugar Jones.

Fast forward to 2017, and a new Winnipeg iteration can be added to the list: the MTS Stories From Home documentary, Staging the Band.

SUPPLIED Modern Figures (from left) Jesse Brodovsky, Glenn Radley, Ashley Robertson and Gaia Moravcik.

Around two months ago, director Chris Gaudry and singer/songwriter/producer Rusty Matyas put out a call for submissions from local musicians who wanted to be part of the Staging the Band “experiment,” as Matyas dubs it. Musicians were required to submit an original song and then Gaudry and Matyas narrowed them down to the four members of the band, now named Modern Figures.

“We were kind of figuring it out at we went along… (it) was just the idea of putting together a band from nothing to a show in two months later,” Matyas says. “It was an experiment as much for us as it was for them.”

Those four members — Ashley Robertson, Jacob Brodovsky, Glenn Radley and Gaia Moravcik — are all active musicians in other groups in the city who had never crossed paths before, so they truly were starting from scratch. They’ve spent the past eight weeks getting to know each other through the process of starting the band — choosing the name, writing songs (with the help of Matyas, as well as singer-songwriters Keri Latimer of Leaf Rapids and JP Hoe), figuring out a social media campaign and planning and executing a live show.

All the while, cameras have been following them around constantly in order to document their progress, including filming this interview with Brodovsky and Matyas at the Free Press News Café.

“It’s obviously weird,” Brodovsky says of the cameras. “I find myself getting more and more desensitized to it as the process goes on and I think that increases my anxiety because I’m scared I’m going to say something or do something that I’m gonna… but Chris also does a pretty good job of keeping everyone comfortable.

“And at this point, the crew is just as much part of… not the band, but the team, as we are,” he adds.

The group has written six songs, either working together or having one-on-ones with the musical mentors brought in by Matyas, and that collaboration was an important part of the initial plan for the project.

“A big part of the process, too, is to co-write, to come up with stuff with Rusty, JP Hoe and Keri Latimer. I think all of us came to the writing with different levels of preparation, different nuggets of stuff, but it’s more or less cohesive which was surprising to me,” says Brodovsky.

The future of Modern Figures is uncertain at this point — there aren’t any firm plans to continue to play together as a group after the show tonight, as each member has their own band to get back to, but Brodovsky is optimistic the relationships formed in the process will reap benefits down the road.

“I know for me personally, I go on tour two days after the show with my own band, and that’s my life for the foreseeable future. But Winnipeg is such a small town, especially the community of musicians, so the more connections you make, the better,” he says.

As for the six songs the band penned for this project, tonight may be your only chance to hear them. Modern Figures didn’t formally record the tracks, choosing instead to focus on the main intent of Staging the Band, which was to get ready for a live show.

“We did a live-off-the-floor recording at Paintbox Studios, but it was more like an exercise to hear ourselves properly and figure out what the holes are, but this show and project specifically was really focused on the live performance and just getting the songs ready to play live,” says Brodovsky.

“I would love to actually produce these songs with some players and get some good sounds and record them properly, but for now, we just have the live-off-the-floors,” Matyas adds.

“That’ll be Season 2: Recording the Band,” says Brodovsky, laughing.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @NireRabel

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Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar spends her time thinking of, and implementing, ways to improve the interaction and connection between the Free Press newsroom and its readership.

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Updated on Monday, May 1, 2017 8:25 AM CDT: Adds photo

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