- The Mod Club
- (416) 588-4663
722 College St, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1C5, Canada
Upcoming Events At This Venue
January 28, 2012
January 29, 2012
February 5, 2012
Letters To Jersey
Young Heavy Weight
February 6, 2012
Rumer was born and spent the very early years of her life in Pakistan. Her father was the chief-engineer involved in the construction of the enormous Tarbela Dam, 30 miles to the northwest of Islamabad. Previously, the job had taken him, together with his young family, to the Western Australian outback and Tasmania as well as to South Africa. Rumer was the youngest of seven children who found themselves living in this expat colony, with no TV or newspapers: an enclosed community where the kids would run wild, and the adults would play bridge, golf, and engage in the occasional spot of amateur dramatics.
This closed, though oddly liberating, community also provided Rumer with her first taste of music. Her family were “quite churchy, but in a mellow, 70s sort of way”, and her brothers and sisters were especially musical: they would often sing and write songs together, determined to provide their own entertainment. Her brother Rob gave Rumer her first guitar; which she taught herself to play, and on which, years later, she wrote all the songs on her debut album, Seasons of My Soul. And so the family lived what seemed like a charmed existence; for Rumer, this period of her life is now remembered as an idyll. “It was an otherworldly landscape,” she recalls. “Our universe wasn’t defined by anything other than ourselves.”
Life changed when the family returned to the UK and settled in the New Forest. Having never seen a television before, Rumer became obsessed with the technicolor movie musical, watching Judy Garland on repeat. She felt adrift at school, unsure of a new society that she had no connection to, and found solace, together with musical inspiration, in old films. It is an influence you can hear in the likes of ‘Slow’ and ‘Come To Me High’. “My songs have elements of that folk tradition,” she says, “which is what I grew up with. But when I started writing on my guitar, I tended to combine it with these cinematic, epic chords. I am always looking for a lilting, romantic melody. I basically wanted to write the soundtrack for Hedy Lamaar walking down that spiral staircase.”
It wasn’t long after her family’s return to England that her parents split up – circumstances with which Rumer herself only became acquainted at the age of eleven. For it emerged that her biological father was not, in fact, the man she had been calling Dad (and the dad to her six siblings). Instead, Rumer’s father was the family’s Pakistani cook, with whom her mother, who was a linguist, had struck up a relationship. Rumer’s mother and her biological father couldn’t have been more different. “My mother was this well-educated and beautiful, fair haired English woman,” she says, “this quite old man was working to support his own family in a mountain village. But they had a connection. My Dad was very noble about it. He didn’t treat me any differently, though yes, it has been very painful for everyone.”
Her parents having separated, Rumer was educated in Carlisle with her Dad, and spent summers in the New Forest. She left school at 16, and began to drift; studying at Art College in Devon and then joining a fledgling indie rock band, La Honda. Plays from Radio 1 followed, as did early support from NME. Then, Rumer’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and so she moved back to the New Forest to be near her. There, she rented a caravan in a wreckers yard, surrounded by old fridges and furniture, supporting herself by putting on bands at local venues, teaching drama at a local college (despite a lack of qualifications) and briefly working for the Arts Council. As she grew closer to and began to fully understand her mother, Rumer started writing her own songs. “I went back to my roots in the caravan,” she says.
Her mother died in 2003, and Rumer hit rock bottom. The lyrics of songs like ‘Healer’ document Rumer’s journey through grief (“Sometimes I feel so temporary just like those summer days…if I close my eyes, I can hear you laughing”). Unemployed and back in London, Rumer took action. She travelled to a stately home in the countryside, where she essentially lived as part of a commune, owned by a “charismatic, philanthropic baronet. I washed dishes, cooked, and made the beds. The place was full of fascinating people who for one reason or another had fallen out of society.” Rumer recognises that, subconsciously, she might have been trying to recreate that sense of freedom and escape she hadn’t really experienced since her childhood in Pakistan. Against this backdrop of natural beauty, she wrote many songs, including the stunning ‘Blackbird’, which is in part about coming to the realisation that she was strong enough to go back to the real world. “That song was the turning point,” she says. “It’s about a lot of things, but mainly about being addicted to sorrow. It gave me the courage to go back to London and really try to go somewhere with my music.”
And so Rumer returned to London, and tried to build everything up again from scratch. Working every job she could to make space for her music, it was then that she had something of a Peter Sellers moment. “Yes!” she laughs, “someone told me I was like Peter Sellers, because they’d seen me in three different outlets in one day. I just popped up all over South London, doing every job you could possibly imagine: waitress, barmaid, deli girl, hotel chambermaid, popcorn seller, teacher, promoter, hairdresser…and I worked in the Apple store on Regent Street, where I diagnosed broken I-pods”.
As surprising as it might sound when you hear her voice, not to mention her music, success was not handed to Rumer on a plate. She has fought long and hard to get her break; ten years, to be precise, during which she performed anywhere and everywhere she could, trying to meet anyone in the industry who would give her a chance, all the while essentially propping up South London’s job-count. “You have to be tough,” she says. “I was constantly rejected, and I kept trying to improve. You see a lot of amazing musicians quit, because you have to sacrifice.”
Rumer’s luck changed when she met award-winning TV and musical composer Steve Brown (It’s A Wonderful Life, Spend, Spend Spend), who was reluctantly watching a gig at the Cobden Club in Kensal Rise, where his bass player son was performing with his band. Perhaps Steve Brown hasn’t led a life quite as turbulent as Rumer’s, but anyone who’s written songs for Harry Hill and featured in the Alan Partridge TV show ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ as band leader Glenn Ponder… well, it’s quite a CV in itself. “I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to those open mic nights,” he recalls. “I was only there for my son. I saw this nervous girl and her guitar and feared the worst. After ten seconds I was mesmerised.” Brown quickly became Rumer’s producer. “Nobody would put us together,” Rumer laughs, “but we’re united by a love of great music. He’s of the same tradition as George Martin, who also began his musical career in comedy, with the Goons.”
Together, Rumer and Steve began to bring to life a set of songs that anyone with ears is destined to fall in love with. First single ‘Slow’ is a stop-what-you’re-doing torch song “about being obsessive in a new relationship. It’s a love song, but it’s unrequited love, and the chorus has that Greek Chorus effect, advising me not to fall in love too fast.” The instantly-classic soul of ‘Aretha’, meanwhile, conveys, amongst other things, “the gratitude you feel to artists that sustain you through difficult times. Everyone has their own Aretha. I can’t imagine my life without them.”
Think, too, what nerve it must take to name a song after Aretha Franklin, to sing it in that idiom, and to more than hold your own. This could, in part, be down to the fact that Rumer has already met her fair share of heroes. She has sung with and stayed in the house of Carly Simon, having worked with her son, Ben Taylor, in 2005. Earlier this year, the godfather himself, Burt Bacharach, heard of Rumer through the grapevine, and was so won over that he flew her to California and asked her to sing for him. “I cried with joy when I found out, “she says. “If Burt Bacharach says you’re good, you have to start believing you’re good too.”
In early 2010, and at the age of 31, the word-of-mouth chain of events that surrounded Rumer’s career began to pay dividends. She was found by her manager when he posted a question not at all related to music on his Facebook page: “Who Is The Most Underrated Person You Know?” Five separate people, none of whom knew each other, replied with the word ‘Rumer’. Having been signed to ATC Management, all corners of the industry quickly began angling for her signature. Then, in March, her hard work paid off, and Rumer finally signed to Atlantic Records. She will release Seasons of My Soul, her self-penned debut album this autumn.
Whilst Rumer is prepared for the comparisons with classic artists – the likes of Carole King and Karen Carpenter are certain to crop up – she is certainly not intimidated by them. “I’m not concerned with what’s musically popular or fashionable, really. All I wanted was to make something of quality that would stand the test of time, that people could come back to, and that was rooted in authenticity. Because that’s the kind of music I listen to.” It’s taken Rumer a long time to get here, but now she’s finally out of hiding, you’d be hard pressed to think she got lucky.
February 11, 2012
Singer/songwriter and guitarist Adam Cohen gained plenty of practice performing as a member of a number of rock groups in the early ’90s. By 1998 he had turned down the chance to contract with a number of big recording labels, and ended up working as a solo artist under Columbia Records. That same year, he released his debut album, a self-titled offering that carried 12 impressive adult contemporary tracks. It was quickly followed by the EP Tell Me Everything.
Cohen was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1972. He spent his inclement childhood being moved back and forth between the homes of his divorced parents. He lived all over the world during those early years, spending time in places like Canada, France, the United States, and Greece. Early piano lessons didn’t have as much of an influence on him as his exceptional home life did, which exposed him to not only his father’s music and writing, but to all forms of art and music brought in by family friends and acquaintances. Young Adam Cohen came about his singing and songwriting talents honestly, inheriting them from his father, celebrated folk-rock singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. The older Cohen began his performing career in the ’60s, and was still working in the music business when his son found his way along the same laborious path.
As a young adult, Adam Cohen moved to New York and started college. He also began his professional musical career there, joining up with several rock bands where he tried out his skills at both singing and songwriting, and later even guitar playing. After moving to Los Angeles near the end of the ’90s, he was offered a chance to sign with Columbia Records, the label his father had worked with so many years to.
When the time came to work on a debut album, Adam Cohen teamed up with producer Steve Lindsey. They brought in a number of strong collaborators, like Brock Walsh, Phil Roy, and Dillon O’Brian. With the help of synthesizers, drum machines, and live musicians all combined together, Cohen’s self-titled debut gave fans and music critics something to chew on. The album hit the market in July of 1998. Some of the songs fans can sample on this first recording include “Down She Goes,” “How the Mighty Have Fallen,” “It’s Alright,” “This Pain,” “Opposites Attract,” and “Beautiful as You.” ~ Charlotte Dillon, All Music Guide
February 16, 2012
February 18, 2012
LiveMusicTO Exclusive: CHASING AMEE w/ THESET **Wax Records** & Crystalyne @ The Virgin Mobile Mod Club **FREE SHOW** -
Saturday, Feb 18th! CHASING AMEE (http://www.facebook.com/chasingamee)
wsg/ THESET (http://www.facebook.com/theset)
– FREE SHOW — Date: Saturday, February 18th, 2012 Time: Doors @ 6:00pm Venue: The Mod Club Theatre Address: 722 College Street, Toronto, ON All Ages/19+ Event
February 19, 2012
We’re back again with another installment of #WHITEGIRLWASTED with The Comeback Season Kids. This time, we’re going to tear Mod Club to the ground. It’s Family Day on Monday. What’s Family Day? Another excuse to wake up with a hangover.
February 21, 2012
February 22, 2012
February 25, 2012
February 29, 2012
Hunter Hayes makes a great case for reincarnation. Close your eyes, and you hear the voice of a man who has been there. He is singing about life and love, all the while playing very accomplished traditional Cajun accordion. Open your eyes, and you see the cherubic countenance of a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. It sets the mind to wondering if his prodigious talent did not come to him from another time and place, springing full force into the small body of a child from Breaux Bridge, LA.