Ace Kinkaid
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Ace Kinkaid

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"Ace Kinkaid"

Art-rock continues to be a grand concept, even if you’re from Waterloo. Armed with elements of prog-metal and electronica, this is a sonic kalaeidoscope of styles that gradually unfolds with epic ambience, psych-fueled ventures, and blazing guitar parts. Arrangements that hint at bits of King Crimson, Dream Theater, and The Mars Volta, without any of prog’s pretentions, rather leaning towards smooth synth-scapes, propulsive drumming and tripped-out guitar-solos. -

"Indie Scene-Ace Kinkaid"

June 25, 2009

by Carrie Humphries

The instrumental rock band that is as likely to back a hip-hop artist as they are a metal band, Ace Kinkaid are stepping out in a solo spotlight once again to tear the roof off of the Starlight Club in Waterloo on Thursday, June 25. With a non-specific genre and a notoriously unconventional approach to song writing and performing, Ace Kinkaid is the type of acid trip you wish you had in college. Creatively enabled to write catchy riffs and as equally engaging song structures, Liam Epps, Shane Bellenie, Jared Bellenie and Ryan Kimmich are self professed "huge music nerds" referenced to the likes of Tortoise and Battles. It's not even the lack of vocals that sets apart these boys from their predecessors or their fellow indie peers-Ace Kinkaid thrives on pushing the boundaries as an indie band dominating the scene. And when you've got the kind of die hard fans Ace Kinkaid enraptures from show to show, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are people left on the planet ready to overdose on real music again. Quite possibly the most unique band the Tricities have ever birthed, Ace Kinkaid are packing up their multi-synths, drum machines, instruments and lap-tops to take their unyielding approach to experimental sounds and rhythms past the region on a mini-tour including dates in Guelph and Toronto. But for now, catch them at home in Waterloo on a stage that welcomes them time and again-the Starlight on June 25. - Echo Weekly

"I've found your new favourite band"

January 15, 2009
Colin Hunter
for Nightlife

Ace Kinkaid is better than your favourite band.

Sorry to break it to you like this, but facts are facts. Your favourite band is probably kind of lame compared to Ace Kinkaid.

That's not to say your favourite band isn't pretty decent in its own right.

It's just that Ace Kinkaid is better.

Now, I don't claim to know which band is your favourite. I'm not psychic.

Statistically, however, based purely on record sales and whatnot, there's at least a reasonable chance that your favourite band is U2 or R.E.M. or the Tragically Hip or Nickelback or Coldplay or whatever group is the top-seller at Wal-Mart today.

Ace Kinkaid is definitely heaps and lots awesomer than those bands.

And even if your tastes are more discerning -- if your iTunes playlist boasts thousands of meticulously researched and lovingly downloaded tracks by hard-to-find college radio darlings -- chances are Ace Kinkaid could rock the trousers off those bands too.

Might I be wrong? Perhaps. But until someone proves me wrong, I shall stand behind my assertion that Ace Kinkaid makes your favourite band sound like a badly out-of-tune cat by comparison.

I concede that my argument is rather simplistic, since calling one band "better" than another requires a sweeping generalization, ignoring genres and styles and such.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your favourite band is the Rolling Stones. Comparing the Rolling Stones to Ace Kinkaid is like comparing apples and hippopotamuses. They're totally different.

So we have to outline the criteria behind what makes one band (Ace Kinkaid) "better" than your favourite band.

Here's some criteria: originality, musicianship, production quality, technical proficiency, adventurousness, depth, complexity, repeated listenability, emotional resonance, and cool song titles.

Ace Kinkaid's self-titled debut CD meets all those criteria and then some.

But what, you're probably wondering, does Ace Kinkaid actually sound like? That's tricky.

For starters, they sound nothing like your favourite band. That's because Ace Kinkaid doesn't sound like any other band, period.

You could label Ace Kinkaid post-jazz, but that would be insufficient. You could call it heavy-space-electro-ambient-stoner-prog, but what would that even mean?

Here's the simplest possible description: Ace Kinkaid are four Waterloo boys who create wordless music that leapfrogs across genres and time signatures and galaxies, yet remains as infectious and catchy as a virulent flu bug.

Hear for yourself at the Starlight in Waterloo on Jan. 31 when Ace Kinkaid plays a gig with psycho-metal gurus What's He Building in There (both bands share the same drummer, which helps explain their presence on the same bill).

Just be ready to discover a new favourite band. - The Record

"Ace Kinkaid"

By Patrick Finch

“People who are into indie music, or metal, or hip hop, or
whatever have all approached us and shown their appreciation,
and that’s a good feeling,” explains Ace Kinkaid guitarist Jared
Bellenie of his band’s ability to cross genre boundaries. “I feel
that these people are just genuine music lovers. We put a lot into
this and I think they pick up on that.”
Ace Kinkaid was formed by Bellenie, his brother and bass
player Shane, and keyboardist Ryan Kimmich. After childhoods
rich with musical influence, (father Bellenie brought his boys out
to a good many open–mic nights to hone their chops), a jazz trio
was born, and soon after they began backing up other open–
minded artists. Ace Kinkaid was born when the trio cherry–picked
drummer Liam Epps from his day–job in What’s He Building In
“We’ve known Liam for a while but he started playing with us
about a year ago. We had some tracks and ideas and we asked if
he wanted to see what he could contribute. After that we just
started practicing and writing more together and it took off from
“As Ace Kinkaid, we’ve backed up a lot of hip hop artists like
Mantis, Justis, Astral, and Embassy, and we’ve contributed to their
albums. Right now, Ace Kinkaid is instrumental and no one is
clearly the leader on stage. I think that makes collaborating with
other artists and experimenting with our own music a lot easier.”
One listen to the debut disc by Ace Kinkaid makes one thing
abundantly clear: these dudes are really fucking serious about
their music. Not in a tight–lipped, scanning–your– sheet–music
way, but in the sense that they’ve obviously spent years getting
good at what they’re doing. Playing an instrument really well is
one thing, but making it all sound effortless and affecting is
something else. (Anybody can practice forever and sound like
Yngwie, but there’ll only ever be one Frank Zappa.) Tracks like
“Sub Par Excellence” and “I’m An Accident” take the listener on a
real (cheesy as it may sound) journey through the song. Bellenie’s
lead guitar is fluid and goofy, and Kimmich’s synths anchor the
songs when they should and freak them out when they can.
Bassist Bellenie digs deep grooves and keeps everything rolling
steady while Epps’ Dave Lombardo–drive and Terry Bozzio–finesse
paints a vivid rhythmic palette. Their collective talent was not
easily harnessed, it’s just what you end up with when music is
your passion and without it, you may just go postal.
“Really, we’re just big music nerds and we grew up
surrounded by music nerds,” Bellenie explains. “There has always
been a steady source of inspiration coming from somewhere. We
all have pretty different tastes, so I usually have no clue what the
other guys have been listening to just before we have a rehearsal
or writing session. I guess that helps contribute to the
‘genrelessness’ of the music.
“Now, this album was written in a matter of months so there
is a certain vibe to it that seems consistent,” he continues. “We
would just show up at our practice space, hit record, and start
playing. Sometimes we’d show up right after work and it would
be a real catharsis, a way to vent our frustrations so one of us
didn’t end up in the paper the next day. But we always recorded it
so we could sift through the hours of ideas and start building
actual songs.”
The songs that started to emerge were fleshed out in Philip
Shaw Bova’s Ottawa studio, Bova Sound, and cut live off–the–floor
to two–inch tape. The result is a warm and happy marriage of Mr.
Bungle’s heavy madness, anthemic rock n’ roll, free jazz,
ambient–electronica, dub, and pretty well anything else you can
think of. Seems like it should be too many ingredients in the
same soup, but the experiment is executed masterfully and
is never anything less than seductive, danceable, and really just
highly listenable.
“We have this ‘anything goes’ approach that we keep in mind
and we try and get everyone’s input to help a song come along.
It’s like working with a blank slate. If nobody’s expecting the
music to sound like anything, we can basically do anything. Our
songs end up with parts that are harsh and abrasive as well parts
that are melodic and engaging. What we’re trying to achieve by
putting this album out is to introduce some different music to
listeners in a way that challenges them without totally alienating
them.” - Echo Weekly

"Robot Rock"

Feb 5, 2009

John Holmes

K-dubya's Ace Kinkaid march on the Otts

Ace Kinkaid's Shane Bellenie builds robots for a living. When he speaks to me for this interview, he's working gruelling 6 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. night shifts back home in Kitchener-Waterloo.

"It's pretty horrible, but it's only for a couple more weeks," he says of his current employment. The work can be hard, but Bellenie's electronics skills do have a positive influence - he's responsible for wiring up the insane synth sounds that characterize Ace Kinkaid's instrumental music. "I'm a synthesizer nerd, and I work that into the music whenever I can," he continues. "All my synths I either found in the trash or bought really cheaply, and I take them apart and fix them up. The imperfections are part of the sound."

You're going to hear a lot more about Ace Kinkaid over the next few months. In Kitchener-Waterloo, they regularly command audiences of more than 300, a remarkable figure for a young band making wild experimental sounds. Bellenie (bass) has split his time between Kitchener and Ottawa over the last year, and now the rest of the band - his brother Jared (guitar), Ryan Kimmich (keyboards) and Liam Epps (drums) - are set to move to Ottawa full-time.

Kimmich and the Bellenies have played music together since high school. It's never been conventional. "Jared and myself have two really cool older sisters, and my dad is a huge music fan and record collector, so we had this huge library of records to listen to in the house, which we were free to explore. We developed our music taste that way,"
Bellenie explains.

During high school, the three played in a jazz fusion band before working as backing musicians for acts in Kitchener-Waterloo's hip-hop scene. The recruitment of Epps, a drummer with a metal background, helped complete the transition to the more uncompromising sounds they make today.

Recorded in a short space of time last summer, Ace Kinkaid's self-titled debut EP captures both the power and subtleties of their music. "We were working day jobs in Kitchener, and we'd meet up after work and it would be cathartic," Bellenie reveals. "I think that contributed to the aggression as well."

Though the songs were written in improv sessions, Ace Kinkaid's live performances are precisely arranged. "Though we're instrumental, we want our music to have really tight arrangements," he continues. "We're not a jam band. We want to have a different take on instrumental music." - Ottawa Xpress


Ace Kinkaid self titled (released 2008)



For some people - maybe even you - music is a religion. Like all religions, the point of music is to communicate with the infinite, to find a common tongue with which to express the power and scope of the universe. Iggy Pop calls it the O-Mind - the primal instinct that moves us toward ecstasy, raging against the dullness of everyday life until you reach that perfect moment of understanding, the point of pure white light and pure white heat. The true secret of music is that ecstasy can come from anywhere at any time, that what seems like chaos can suddenly shift into epiphany.

Ace Kinkaid live in that pure ecstatic moment: four reasonably normal men who come together to create moments of blinding, awesome clarity. The songs can shift anywhere from quiet, contemplative grooves to wild discordant noise; sometimes the music ebbs and flows organically from one peak to the next, sometimes it turns on a dime as if it's daring you to pay attention. Ace Kinkaid sometimes don't seem to be making the music so much as allowing it to move through them to wherever it needs to go - but luckily, you get to come along for the ride.