Forming in 2010, Casey MQ, Jonathan Milner, and Kamilah Apong ventured into the depths of Casey’s basement, with Miles Gibbons joining several months later. They made their way back out by becoming Unbuttoned, creating music that was a fresh alternative - funky sounds of R&B and Pop, supported by undertones of hip hop and electronica. The group's debut EP Electric Kingdom, released May 16th 2012, has challenged the tunnel vision of genre labels and highlights the beauty of crossover music. The name Electric Kingdom aptly illustrates the sound of the band; a highly charged and powerfully diverse landscape of voices and sounds. Their debut single, This Feeling, is a fine example of this – a blend of two passionate voices working in harmony on a warm bed of synth and drums. Blood and circuits mix for a very special type of love affair.
Unbuttoned is four twenty-something’s from the Toronto area who write, produce, record and perform their own music. Unbuttoned spent a year performing across Southern Ontario, and creating Electric Kingdom at their own Level Me Studios. In that time, they received attention and guidance from both Kevin Killen (Grammy award winning engineer/producer) and the late John Carter (Capital Records). "Casey's development as a unique songwriter has been evident to me for the last six years. With his latest collaboration – the beautifully crafted "Unbuttoned - Electric Kingdom" Casey delivers a seven song EP that is magical, innovative and belies his age as a songwriter. Ones to watch”, says Killen.
The EP is receiving attention and airplay from various Internet radio stations across the globe, as well as CBC's Jian Ghomeshi. The online blogosphere is also alight with word on Unbuttoned, with people sharing the album via blogs located in Brooklyn, Germany, Spain and more. Unbuttoned has recently released their debut EP in Japan with the support of P-Vine Records, available December 19th 2012.
Get the debut EP today - http://unbuttoned.bandcamp.com
Casey MQ - Vocals & Keyboard
Kamilah Apong - Vocals & Keyboard
Jon - Bass & back up vocals
Miles Gibbons - Drums & Back Up Vocals
Electric Kingdom EP (2012)
5 Canadian R&B acts to watch
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The boy-girl harmonies and bright, minimal arrangements of Toronto band Unbuttoned make us think of ...The boy-girl harmonies and bright, minimal arrangements of Toronto band Unbuttoned make us think of a more upbeat version of the xx. Unbuttoned's 2012 release, Electric Kingdom, is less playful than the band's previous easy-going singles, and puts an of-now spin on soul and pop.?
Unbuttoned Wows at CMW!
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I was hoping that I didn’t like the band Unbuttoned. They were a last minute selection that I became...I was hoping that I didn’t like the band Unbuttoned. They were a last minute selection that I became curious about after hearing their song, “Now vs. Then.” I had a half-hour between shows and figured that if I wasn’t a fan I could justify leaving early.
Instead I missed the next show!
By their second song, “Play on/Play on,” I was feeling the vibe, stayed for the entire set, and left wanting more.
The core members of the band, (Casey MQ, Kamilah Apong, Jonathan Milner, and Miles Gibbons), look like the standard fresh faced kids in a college band. This all changes when the music begins and you realize that you’re hearing something special.
Beginning the 35-minute set with their newly released single, “Let’s Just Go,” off of the EP, Electric Kingdom, the group were a part of CMW’s line-up, playing to a small enthralled audience upstairs at the El Mocambo on Tuesday night.
Their sound is a fresh take on pop and R&B, with just enough electronic energy to create a summer-on-Queen St. type of youthful sound. It’s danceable music that would have fit perfectly 10-years-ago during the Jamiroquai era yet it sounds totally new today.
Lead singer Casey MQ was one of the biggest surprises of the night. While at first glance he appears unassuming, when he opens his mouth he releases unique pop vocals that at times is as show-stopping as English soul man Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. Co-lead singer/ Kamilah Apong is just as exciting. Both have pipes and their voices are perfect together. (If voices can have chemistry than these two voices had chemistry all over the stage!) Heightening their great sound is well written catchy songs that soar.
Ultimately, this band has what it takes to go to the next level. See them live when you get the chance.
Unbuttoned - 2012 - Electric Kingdom
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With the recent success of acts like Drake and Frank Ocean, there’s been a supposed “revival” of R&B...With the recent success of acts like Drake and Frank Ocean, there’s been a supposed “revival” of R&B, a genre that had been mostly recognized as the reason R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet” ever came to fruition up to now. It’s too bad that some of that sudden attention to a long-dormant genre in the pop landscape didn’t land on Canadian group Unbuttoned, because seriously? Electric Kingdom is, and I say this with my butt on the line, everything that music should be. From the opening notes of “Something Wicked”, something just feels right: perhaps it’s the gentle yet empowered coos of vocalist Casey Manierka-Quaile as the track builds from a piano ballad into a jazz-rock slow jam. Yes, this is R&B, but who says that you can’t throw some other ideas into the pot with it? Indeed, album standout “Play on Pain” makes its appeals over a rousing gospel overlay, while “Cold in The Summertime” is a chameleon of a track, mixing brass and beats with a hard rock sensibility, all carried over a bed of electronic synths, before it strips back down to a piano solo near the end. And like that title suggests, this release is not one lacking in warmth behind its ice-cool surface. The desires here may be seductive, even primal, but they project themselves out of real emotions, real pain. That vulnerability tears the superhuman back down to the human—and elevates Electric Kingdom from merely a good listen to a great reflection on life. Drake who?
CD REVIEW “ELECTRIC KINGDOM” by UNBUTTONED
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Coffee Coaster: * Dust Collector: ** Worth a Spin : *** Daily Dosage Recommended: **** Take Ever...Coffee Coaster: *
Dust Collector: **
Worth a Spin : ***
Daily Dosage Recommended: ****
Take Every 6 Hours: *****
I blogged about the band “Unbuttoned” 8 months ago and since then they had been busy in the studio recording their debut EP-CD that was just released last week.
The disc contains 7 tracks.
The writing is strong with many great hooks, harmonies and original ideas. The songs are also well produced and arranged.
When I first listened to the disc, I must say I haven’t heard anything new and recent that resembles this bands sound and direction.
Aside from my passion for drumming, I have a passion for making hot sauce and enjoy listening to light jazz or smooth jazz tunes during the process as it puts me in a relaxing good mood.
“Electric Kingdom” totally fits in this category. Its has very “chill” like tunes with catchy lyrics.
I listened to it 4 consecutive times and made much more hot sauce than I planned.
I had a chance to catch up with the drummer Miles Gibbons to share with me the production and percussive ideas that went into making this disc. Here is what he had to say.
The album was recorded by us at Casey’s Level Me Studios, and Casey mixed everything. Having the luxury of our own studio gave us the opportunity to experiment with different tones and parts… We recorded drums three times for several tunes, for example, to try new snare\cymbal sounds, or groove ideas. We didn’t prescribe to a formulaic work process, recording things spontaneously, and in varying order. This was a big factor in giving each track a distinct flavour; by starting with different elements or instruments, and building the songs in a non-linear direction, we could really explore their full potential.
We didn’t create a specific schedule or deadline to complete the project by, so the album was completed in eleven months. We’d write and record the main synth part to a tune, for example, and not return to it for weeks. We also recorded several tunes that didn’t make it onto the EP. We have been performing them, and will continue to, and they may eventually be released in some format.
In terms of percussion, the album is a balanced mix of live drums, programming or a blend of both. We programmed grooves within Logic Pro, using stock sounds. Some tunes feature acoustic sounds that are simply EQ’d, compressed and etc. Other tunes incorporate drum samples from the Steven Slate Collection to bolster the acoustic sound, or for more tonal options. A big part of the drum sound was the Brincasti Reverb Unit we used, which makes the snare in Play on Pain larger than life. The kit was a Yamaha Maple Custom, except Something Wicked, which uses a Yamaha Oak Custom. Both kits were 20? Kicks, and 10? and 14? Toms. We switched between a Yamaha Musashi Oak Snare, a Steel Pearl Piccolo Snare (both 13? drums) and a Tama Kenny Arronoff Brass 5×14?. The cymbals were all Sabian HHX Legacy, Evolution and Signature models. We used coated heads on all of the drums, for depth and warmth.
The interlude, Song For… gave me a chance to experiment with some fun drum editing. I’m a fan of chopping up and warping live drums to give them an experimental, low-fi or unique sound. I threw a tambourine on the hi-hats (inspired by drummer Chris Dave) and recorded this skittery hip-hop beat in one pass. I used Ableton Live to tweak the recording. Mainly, I applied some pretty extreme compression and EQ to everything. The hats and snare were side-chained so that they would compress and “breathe” with the kick drum hits. In the spoken-word section of the tune, I drop the pitch of the drum track by an octave, which makes the groove mellow, while still thick and trashy. I applied some dropouts and delay for a bit of extra detail, and used a radically effected kick drum stroke for a bass drop to bring in the final section.
The EP is available for free / pay what you can at www.unbuttoned.bandcamp.com
(please be generous and support t
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In this week’s Blog I will feature a very talented band from Brampton, Ontario called “Unbuttoned”. ...In this week’s Blog I will feature a very talented band from Brampton, Ontario called “Unbuttoned”. The leader of the group, Casey MQ was a drum student of mine who started playing the drums at the age of 12.
When I first met Casey he was already an experienced artist with great knowledge of piano, vocals, dancing and acting. He had done many performances from theatre to singing the Canadian national anthem at the Air Canada Centre for Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment.
I recall many times at the beginning of our drum lesson he would sit at the piano I had in my teaching room and play me ideas and songs he had written and we would create drum parts for them throughout the lesson.
6 years later and many shows behind him, Casey formed Unbuttoned in 2010. This group also features the talent of Jonathan Milner (bass), Kamilah Apong (vocals & keys) and Miles Gibbons (drums).
Miles was also a drum student of mine. After high school he continued his music studies at Humber College in Toronto. His knowledge and versatility of percussion makes him a key attribute to “Unbuttoned”.
Check out his drum solo.
The band’s music is a fresh alternative…LIVE Pop and R&B, with splish splashes of hip hop, rock, and a few spoonfuls of funk.
Unbuttoned writes, records and manages their own music, but also has had some great help – the talented hands of Kevin Killen (Grammy award winning engineer/producer) and guidance from the late John Carter (Capital Records).
They have played at The Revival Lounge (Toronto), The Opera House (Toronto), The Living Arts Centre (Mississauga) and The Rose Theatre (Brampton).
Their genuine passion for live performances and talent is what continues to keep them playing for the people. All in all, they love music and at the end of the day they are four very happy, talented and crazy people, paired up with honest, good music.
What more can you ask for?
Check out this live performance of them and keep your eyes and ears open for them in the near future.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1OonBe47IE&feature=related Become a fan on Face book.
You can also check out their website at www.unbuttonedmusic.com
See you next week.
"Review: Cora Kim Debuts"
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"The void left by the most plentiful applause was quickly filled by Unbuttoned, a four piece synth-c..."The void left by the most plentiful applause was quickly filled by Unbuttoned, a four piece synth-centric joy machine hailing from far-flungToronto. The music was propulsive. They played with the smiley energy and attitude of an 8-year-old doing jumping jacks. The two vocalists (one, a boy, the other, not) incorporated some gospel elements, bringing the crowd together in joyful catharsis."
Cora and Candy at Il Motore
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"Next up was Unbuttoned, friends of Kim’s brought in from the Tdot. They had a bit more trash to the..."Next up was Unbuttoned, friends of Kim’s brought in from the Tdot. They had a bit more trash to them than the other performers, which I appreciated. A little bit more drive and head bopping. Unbuttoned are a four-piece fronted by two very talented vocalists who harmonize well and have lots soul and talent. Driven by keys, accented occasionally with xylophones, Unbuttoned are jazzy, soulful, and tight, executing the half-note dead stops in the middle of a song that always seem draw me in, no matter who’s playing. They seemed happy to be playing for us, and happy for Kim, which added to the warm, festive feeling of the night."
Get Unbuttoned & Enjoy ‘This Feeling’
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This new group called Unbuttoned has got to be the coolest thing to come out since sliced bread. I’v...This new group called Unbuttoned has got to be the coolest thing to come out since sliced bread. I’ve seen this group around but never really took the time to really search to see what they were about until I received and email with their first single This Feeling off their album Electric Kingdom. As tragic as it is to admit, I definitely slept on this group and let me be the first to advice you not to make the same mistake!
Unbuttoned’s international appeal is undeniable and is guaranteed to be on any feel good music lovers playlist in a matter of minutes. The two lead singers Casey M.Q & Kamilah Apong do an amazing job in harmonizing together and make one heck of a team.
check out the album and I’m head over heels about the single This Feeling – watch the video below
Album Review: Unbuttoned - Electric Kingdom
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From playing every Open Mic and Jam session in the GTA, to releasing various tracks online, Toronto'...From playing every Open Mic and Jam session in the GTA, to releasing various tracks online, Toronto's own Unbuttoned released their first full solo effort entitled Electric Kingdom on May 16th via Bandcamp.
Knowing the vast array of musical influences Unbuttoned are under(pop fusion,r&b,soul the list goes on), it was very interesting to start playing records off the project to see where it led.
The 7 track EP plays like a theatrical show coupled with a rollercoaster ride to match the corresponding emotions each track brings.
Starting with Something Wicked, the eerie drums and ominous synths lay the stage for a somber tune with honesty and straight forward questions and resolve, where the lead singer and writer Casey Manierka-Quaile asks :
Why can't I read you anymore
Why can't I see you anymore
Why can't I touch you anymore
Did i say something that made you walk out that door"
With the chord changes, Unbuttoned flourishes and with the same note, introduces the icing on the musical cake: Kamilah Apong, the female vocalist heard in and out of the Electric Kingdom. A man's voice is only as compelling as the background vocals accompanied by it (ask Barry White’s Ghost) and that what makes Unbuttoned work as a well oiled musical machine
As the CD continues it takes us to the Illegal Photography & Friends-assisted single This Feeling.
This record is a simple lyric feel-good record with complex rhythms and changes that play out like a party progressing from good to amazing. Miles Gibbons’s drumming skills flourish from the beginning with the percussive intensive portions to the second half of the record where things get funky with the helping hand(s) of Bassist Jonathan Milner. It’s easy to see why this was chosen for a video and promo for the album.
Things slow down after the party as if dealing with the aftermath in Play On Pain. Casey gets somber and his wails almost serve as cathartic as he sings of a relationship (or at least on the surface seems like) gone awry. The poignant writing brings the imagery to life, and the airy backgrounds of Ms Apong in tandem with the filtered Piano of the bridge accent the message.
Every record on the album brings new elements to the table musically more than anything from the twinkle synth and the radio chorus of Cold In The Summertime to the introduction of Kamilah on a solo verse and the classic guitar strumming sounds in Ruler Of The Sun. Casey's production and arrangement skills ooze in every track, leaving no stone unturned in terms of song direction and musical palette.
Unbuttoned first effort is short in track length(ep)and may lack depth for some, but at the end of the day every genre of music isn't for everyone. With that being said, Electric Kingdom has something for everyone and is guaranteed to live on your ipod for as long as their kingdom reigns.
Set can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Generally, we arrange cover songs and add our own spin.
Sample set from our last show:
One In A Million
Play on Pain (Original)
Something Wicked (Original)
Is This Love
Are You That Somebody
The Rain Song (Original)
Whats My Name
This Feeling (Original)
We All Try
Let's Just Go (Original)
Little Black Sandals
On and On
Now vs Then (Original)
|Jun 14, 2013 Friday||10:00 PM||Gladstone Hotel||Toronto, ON, CA|