Today, I am happy to present to you our newest Five Questions With segment featuring the talented Toronto pop rock band, Across The Board. The band released their new single, “Don’t Drag Me Down” today, so it seemed fitting to have this feature go up on the same day, which is also International Women’s Day.
“International Woman’s Day 2017 comes at the heels of the ‘Women’s March on Washington which took on a global movement in response to President Trump’slack of attentiveness to Women’s Issues as a priority”, says Jacqueline Auguste, front-person and songwriter of the Toronto-based pop rock group. “As a musician,mother and healthcare worker in Canada, I’m grateful for the freedom to make choices that so many women in the world simply aren’t afforded”.
Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Across The Board (ATB) is a Toronto-based pop rock band of multi-instrumentalist musicians who started from basement and backyard garage jams to launch a successful Youtube and musical web series with well over 150 videos in catalogue. Having released our debut album, “Jane On Fire”, in June of 2016, ATB has played to sold out crowds of some of Toronto’s most notable venues including the Horseshoe Tavern, Cameron House, The Mod Club, The Opera House and Revival among others. Having worked with many Canadian indie artists on projects including our Youtube series “Pick Up & Play” and the Canadian Female Indie Artist Collective, “Indigal”, ATB has managed to create several collaborations that have helped us build an amazing musical chemistry between band members that comes through as smooth musical transitions, lush harmonies and infectious lead electric guitar riffs in our original tracks. Having produced so many music videos as well as having played with a variety of amazing artists, the band has developed an ability to bond immediately with our live audiences and put on some well-received shows that have led to several awards and a growing fan base both in Canada and Internationally.
Our newest track, “Don’t Drag Me Down”, released March 8, in conjunction with International Women’s Day is the first song off a 3-track concept EP titled “Amends”. Slated for release during our feature at Canadian Music Week, April 22, 2017, “Amends” explores the concept of trying to turn back the clock, to relive one’s glory days, or go back in time to change the past—all while realizing we need to live in the moment and move forward. We are also excited for the new release as it marks the fourth birthday of the band and one year since the finish of our first album, “Jane On Fire”.
Across The Board’s core group of band members includes lead singer and songwriter, Jacqueline Auguste, a classically-trained musician who also plays guitar, keys, saxophone, and other woodwind instruments. Andy Ramjattan, one of the founding members of the band is on bass but also plays other guitars and drums. Paul Nanuwa, a well-seasoned session drummer and co-writer sits in the drummer’s throne, and newest member, Damien Atapattu is a wonderful electric guitar player and vocalist with a jazz and gospel background who rounds out the band’s indie rock sound.
Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.
Our music tends to lean toward the classic rock genre with a crossover element into country which lends iself to the Americana genre-a mishmash of influences from pop, jazz, rock and country. We tend to write about darker concepts and overcoming life’s trials and tribulations which seem poetic to us but rooted in the daily realities of life. We typically start with a guitar riff that builds to a chord structure, then melody—Paul will find us a groove with the beat and then Jackie will write lyrics that fit the feel and vibe of the song. It’s a collaborative writing process that develops organically as we continue to work with a song over several sessions. Interestingly, all of our songs seem to continue to evolve. The tracks on “Jane On Fire” which we completed and recorded a year ago have all taken on slightly different elements since production as we continue to practice them and play live.
Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?
We have two shows coming up—March 10 at The Opera House for our Single Release Party of “Don’t Drag Me Down” and we are playing Canadian Music Week on April 22, 2017 in Toronto (venue yet to be determined)—after we return from Los Angeles where we are picking up an award for the song “Indifference” off our debut album as best pop rock/Americana song.
On stage we are active band—bouncing around and playing with each other. You can usually find Andy (bass) and Damien (guitar) shredding near the bass drum when Andy’s not jumping up and down in place to Paul’s beats. Jackie moves between playing guitar as she sings, and taking the mic around the stage to check out everyone else’s solos and riffs—we are certainly not statues on stage and occasionally unplug each other by accident! We are considering investing in wireless pickups!
If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?
I recommend you listen to our new track “Don’t Drag Me Down” – a retro vibe rock track with some infectious guitar riffs and lush harmonies that we are sure you will enjoy. This is a good example of the band’s overall genre and tone. From the debut album, we recommend “Take A Minute”—a slowly building classic rock track with a driving bass and some fantastic electric guitar work from co-writer Parry Nitchos, one of our original band members.
Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favorite Canadian bands/ artists?
The list is not short! Currently, one of my favorite Canadian bands is “Jane’s Party”, who recently returned from a European tour and were out in Calgary for Stampede City Sessions. They have a great groove and never fail to create great music. We are always listening to Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip in the studio and we are super fans of Walk Off The Earth (WOTE)—so much so that the band is a Patreon.com patron of theirs and hits all their local shows front row and centre! We were fortunate to be able to hang out on stage with WOTE at their 2016 Air Canada Centre concert with Marianas Trench (another of our favorite Canadian bands). If we were to have to pick one Canadian artist that has influenced us most as a band, we would have to say Metric—there is something magic about their music, their vibe as a band, and the manner in which they have represented Canada on the international music scene over the years that is simply impressive!
Connect with Across The Board: