July 3, 2020

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Signal to move

Indicator Indicator not content to stand still

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/11/2013 (2430 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Although Indicator Indicator is a fairly new name on the local music scene, the man behind it is certainly no stranger.

Sandy Taronno first established himself as a pop songwriter to watch as a member of local indie-rock outfit Quinzy, backed by the estimable talents of his brother James Taronno and cousins David and Jason Pankratz.

 Indicator Indicator

Indicator Indicator

In 2012, knowing Quinzy was going to take a break, Sandy struck out on his own with Indicator Indicator, a solo bedroom-recording project that offered him the chance to develop an ever-growing pile of experimental pop songs that fell outside the traditional four-piece rock band framework. Taronno was drawn to electronic-production techniques, trading in a guitar-driven sound for one built on loops and synths. Indicator Indicator's self-titled (and Western Canadian Music Award-nominated) debut EP, produced by John Paul Peters, was released last September to critical acclaim.

And the momentum continues to build. This weekend at the Park Theatre, Indicator Indicator is playing a hometown show celebrating the release of a three-song mini EP (also produced by Peters) that includes new singles Love Is Not Enough and Swarm -- a pair of pop opuses strong enough to stand on their own. Digitally released Oct. 1, the EP, which includes B-side Coward, serves as a trailer of sorts for an eventual Indicator Indicator LP.

"I don't want to do full EPs every time, but I do want to release music a little more regularly," Taronno says over the phone from Nashville. "It's low cost for us to produce and it's low cost to purchase, and we stay in people's faces instead of releasing a block of 13 tunes and that's all people have for three years."

It's a release model used by Quinzy, who released a trilogy of EPs -- One Boy's Guide to the Moon, These Nautical Miles and Self Defense -- from 2008 to 2009, followed by a fourth EP, The Flats, in 2010. Taronno has never been shy about growing up on record, as it were, and already, Indicator Indicator has shape-shifted. It's not strictly a one-man band anymore.

"The biggest difference from the EP is that I actually recorded with the guys I play with," Taronno says, referring to House of Doc's Matthew Harder, Kevin Kornelsen and his brother, James.

"It's a bit more collaborative."

What hasn't changed is Taronno's focus. He's been in the music biz for a while now and he's incredibly pragmatic about his career. Indicator Indicator just wrapped up a nine-date U.S. tour, making important inroads with bands, venues and, most importantly, fans.

 Sandy Taronno of Indicator Indicator

Sandy Taronno of Indicator Indicator

"I think we're laying some solid groundwork. I love Canada, it's my country, but when the closest city is eight hours west and 24 hours east, you need to go where the action is. I didn't want to nibble around the edges so much," Taronno says.

Indeed, Taronno is interested in working smarter. For him, that means touring strategically, releasing more music more often and getting creative: Indicator Indicator's inventive music videos -- including a 30-day time-lapse clip (January First) and a video shot entirely in reverse (This Place is a Factory) -- have thousands of YouTube views; the latter has been seen nearly 40,000 times.

"We were talking in the van about all the hats you have to wear, and how those hats blur together. It's trying to bring the same level of creativity and love to all aspects of your business. And it's got to be genuine," Taronno says.

"To use a quote from The Wire, 'We're building something here. We're building it from scratch. And all the pieces matter.'"


Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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