'All Will Be Well Records' founder Ian Mitchell has been busy again, his label having recently released their second compilation album 'Bloom'. As you would expect from AWBW the content is diverse, challenging and interesting, some tracks hitting the right note, others a little left of centre.

One of the bands, who I hadn't heard before, is Kanadia. Hailing from the Oxfordshire borders of Abington, the four-piece indie rock quartet certainly offer an earworm experience once heard. Having listened and subsequently been very impressed by their self-released EP 'Kanadia', I arranged a Q+A with the band's vocalist and guitarist James Bettis.


PB: In a short space of time Kanadia have built up quite a following in and around the Oxford are. For those readers who aren’t aware of the band, please introduce yourselves and explain the origins of the band's name.

JB: Kanadia are a four piece alternative rock band, consisting of myself(guitar/vocals), Tim Lucas (drums), Melissa Marshall (keyboards) and Jack Ashworth (bass). While we may be based in Oxford, we also have origins from Devon and Reading too. The whole thing came about when Melissa and I met a guy named Will while we were travelling from London to Singapore by car. Will urged us to relocate to Oxford and told us it would be a great place for our music.

We are so excited and appreciative that people are taking an interest in what we do. We work very hard on our music and put all we can into creating a diverse collection of songs, to keep both the listener and ourselves interested. Equally, we feel a natural approach works best for us, so our aim has been to capture the intensity and live energy we create together. We are strong believers that a band is only as good as their live performance. It is still early days but we have all worked very hard in previous bands for many years to get to this point.

The name Kanadia derives from a song of the same name. It comes from an old friend's mispronunciation. We just liked the mysterious sound of the word.

PB: You're described as an alternative rock band. Would you say the categorisation is correct?

JB: We would definitely agree with the term alternative rock. We are strongly planted in the rock genre, but, however, rock is a very broad categorisation. We use a few electronic samples and loops within a few of our tracks and have even experimented with reverse drum loops. Many of our songs are held together by a strong Sub/Synth keyboard role. At our core we are a rock band, but with a blend.

PB: Tell us about your latest EP 'Kanadia'. What type of feedback has it received?

JB: Our 'Kanadia' EP has been very well received, it's really been like a business card for us, dropping into venues, meeting other artists and promoters. It's a small sample of our range of sound but it's served us well. We've had some very positive reviews, the most recent was by 'Nightshift Magazine' of Oxford, a well respected magazine with an very impressive history including Radiohead and Foals. They compared us to Jeff Buckley, U2, Radiohead and Muse all in one review, which truly made our day. They said we are destined for playing stages and venues far larger than we are currently playing.

PB: What are the major challenges Kanadia face in terms of getting their name and music out to a wider UK audience?

JB: The biggest challenge we face is the moment of initially grabbing people's attention before they have heard our music or seen us live. I'm certain this is a major challenge to all artists of any kind. It entails sending hundreds and hundreds of emails and hearing back from just a handful of promoters. A little further down the line, people who didn't respond hear about you through word of mouth and eventually get in touch. It stands to reason that it's not possible for somebody to sift through thousands of emails on a daily basis so we don't take it personally.

Bands aren't able to just walk up to the biggest venues in a city and obtain a gig immediately. It's all about having the determination and patience to let things grow. So far we have found in addition to emails and social media, the old fashioned approach of scouting venues in person, with a handful of EPs works very well and shows people we are committed to what we are doing.

PB: Who are the bands/artists (past + present) who provide inspiration and direction?

JB: There are so many bands and artists we look up to! Any songwriter who really expresses themselves and creates an original and real sound is an inspiration to us. It doesn't really matter what the genre is because as a band, we have quite a mixed taste in music between us. Some of the big inspirations to us are bands like Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Foals and Kings of Leon. All those guys seem to constantly move forward with their sound from album to album, it shows they are still doing what they are doing for the right reasons, just a love of music. It's definitely something we aspire to do over the coming years.

PB: The band have recently signed up to'All Will Be Well Records, with 'State of Mind' being amongst their compilation album 'Bloom'. How did the amalgamation develop?

JB: Ian Mitchell from All Will Be Well Records was the first person to pay attention to us when we got going in the area. He really helps to support the local scene and does a lot for it and asks for no return other than for artists to help each other out. A band called Club Soda, who rehearse in the same studios as us, put us in touch with him (which we are really thankful for).

Amongst organising events and finding a multitude of ways to publicise artists, All Will Be Well have released two compilation albums. We have been featured on their second, 'Bloom'. All the proceeds go to a local mental health charity called MIND, something we are proud to be a part of. Currently, Ian has informed us our track 'State Of Mind', is the second most popular track on the compilation.

PB: Summer 2016 is on it's way. What are some of the gigs you have lined up?

JB: Over the next few months we have quite a few gigs lined up. On the 21st May we are headlining the Wheatsheaf in Oxford. Another date we really want to push is 29th July at the Jericho Tavern. We are hosting the night ourselves and have support from a great band from Reading called Third Lung. It will be an awesome gig to come to if you want to see something a little different. To view all our dates visit our website www.kanadia.band

PB: What are Kanadia's plans and objectives for the rest of 2016?

JB: We have a busy year ahead of us, as we recently began recording our first full length album. All the live tracking is completed and its so tough to sit on the songs because we are so eager to show people. We are incredibly excited to finish it and we hope to release around September. On top of that, we have plenty of gigs booked and are expanding from the Oxford/Reading area towards Leicester, Bristol and wherever we can to be honest. Our goal is to place ourselves at the right venues to new audiences as often as we can. We recently got our first O2 Academy booking so we would love to see what comes from that.

PB: If someone miraculously put £250,000 in your bank account how would you use it to promote the band?

JB: If we had £250,000, we would most likely put it towards touring. It is our dream to take our music abroad to Europe and North America and it is, in time, something we are going to do. We have this crazy yet very do-able idea, that we would tour from London to Sydney overland with our friend Will, who we surprisingly met doing that same trip in 2014. It would be such a great thing to take our music to those countries that touring bands don't usually play, even if its just for the experience. So we would most likely put the cash towards doing that all over the world.











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