Blue Sky Miners
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Blue Sky Miners

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Folk




"Diving into Cold Water: Blue Sky Miners on its debut EP and first single"

‘I think the most important thing for all bands [to do] is paint a picture with what you call yourself,” says Jay Mitchell. “Really create something that when you hear that you’re like, ‘That encapsulates the music I’m listening to’—not these very specific genres that you kind of just put together and you’re like, ‘Well, it’s kind of poppy, but alt-punk-garage.’ It gets very confusing.”

Mitchell, who started Blue Sky Miners alongside songwriting partner Jena Gogo in 2013 after meeting in a Toronto bar, is discussing the band’s use of the bespoke term “Rocky Mountain Desert Rock” to describe its smooth yet gritty sound. The phrase was coined by producer Todor Kobakov during the creation of the band’s debut eponymous EP, to be released on October 23.

“While we were in the studio, we were trying to explain this sound that was coming, because it just kind of organically happened as we were recording,” Mitchell says, noting much of that style had to do with the vintage tube-and-ribbon mics, guitars, keyboards and synths used to record the EP. “It’s just kind of one of those things where you’re just trying to put your finger on it and somebody’s like, boom, got it.”

The vintage instruments and tones pay homage to the artists who have shaped the collective influences of Blue Sky Miners—rounded out by Eric Duquette, Mark Lavoie and Stefan Hegerat. For Mitchell, this includes Cat Stevens, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon. He notes that his father had a penchant for vinyl collecting, and it was these artists who sparked his interest in making music.

“They were such great storytellers, but they took the kind of classic storytelling style of writing [and] applied it to a bit more rock ‘n’ roll—other than Cat Stevens, of course,” Mitchell says. “I feel like that was a bit inspiration for me, and Jena as well. We both really like to write stories and [have] that folk aspect, but we sit more in a rock ‘n’ roll setting.”

The EP’s first single, “Cold Water” is an emotionally charged, harmony-driven track that epitomizes the band’s ethos of creating songs driven by storytelling. While the lyrics are not cut-and-dry remarks, Mitchell says they touch on the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, which was playing out heavily in the news at the time they wrote the song.

“We don’t like to label ourselves as a political band, but we are all very concerned about the state of the world, and it’s a concern that a lot of people have. And we wanted to capture that,” he says. “Everyone who writes music: your job is to inspire people to kind of elevate their visions, kind of influence people to speak up. I think that’s what we wanted with the song, is to inspire people to speak their mind.” - Vue Weekly

"Top 5 Folk bands to watch in Toronto"

This five-piece is a reminder of that Canada is not as big as we often imagine it, with friends from different coasts reuniting in Toronto. Their songs show off their regional experiences as well as coast to coast. Humber96.9 named them band of the month in March 2014, and they're fresh from playing CMW (Canadian Music Week) in May 2014. - BlogTO

"Blue Sky Miners to release self-titled debut EP in October"

Blue Sky Miners to release self-titled debut EP in October
August 10, 2015
Published by Greg Longley

Toronto-based indie-rock band Blue Sky Miners has been making waves lately with their new single, Cold Water. The haunting track, featuring the lead vocal stylings of Jena Gogo and Jay Mitchell, leads off their debut self-titled EP, which is set for release on Oct. 23.

While both Gogo and Mitchell grew up in British Columbia, it was in a small Toronto bar where they met and discovered their songwriting partnership. The band formed in 2013, after enlisting the help of guitarist Eric Duquette, bassist Mark Lavoie, and drummer Stefan Hegerat. Blue Sky Miners were quickly named one of blogTO’s Top 5 "Folk Bands To Watch" in Toronto.

Following a year of headlining slots at some of Toronto’s most iconic music venues, including the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace, and a Canada-wide tour, the band decided it was time to channel their creative energy into crafting their debut EP.

"This EP is the product of two years of exploration and growth as a band,” said Gogo and Mitchell. “The songs and lyrics are a reflection of our feelings and fears ranging from heartbreak to the uncertainties that the future holds. We are calling for change, both within ourselves and the world around us.”

Gogo and Mitchell say the band draws influence from multiple genres, blending the deep roots of folk with the soulful highs of bluesy rock and roll.

“These songs are a celebration of the albums we grew up with, utilizing vintage guitars, amps, keyboards and recorded using old tube and ribbon microphones - an homage to the sounds that made us want to become musicians in the first place."

Check out their tracklisting and upcoming tour dates, and watch their acoustic performance of their lead single, Cold Water, below! - eBitz News

"Blue Sky Miners play Canadian Music Week May 7 at the Velvet Underground"

The Canadian Music Week festival returns to Toronto for its 33rd year. For 10 days and in 60 plus venues, over 1,000 artists will perform. Single night event tickets are available as well as full 10-day wristbands.

Blue Sky Miners CMW 2015
Blue Sky Miners media
Blue Sky Miners are in a way reminiscent of all that Canadian song and storytelling are built upon. Members are from both coasts, brought together performing folk and roots in music centric Toronto. In conversation they like to share their favourite story of how they first met. Also where their deep love of storytelling came from. They are Jena Gogo, Jay Mitchell, Eric Duquette, Mark Lavoie, and Stefan Hegerat.

On Thursday May 7 Blue Sky Miners will feature as part of Canadian Music Week 2015 at the Velvet Underground.

Ahead of their CMW showcases members of Blue Sky Miners scheduled an online interview with

Let's start right into CMW. How have other shows prepared you for the festival showcase?

Eric Duquette:
We are actually just in the midst of finishing up our debut EP at the moment, so the last few shows have been really important in fleshing out live versions of the recorded version of the songs where we tracked many different sounds and instruments

Is there a component of your music that you feel is essential for on stage and in your recordings?

Jay Mitchell:
I think the most important component to our live and recorded music is the lyrical content and connection that those stories have with our audience. The new songs and EP have a strong message. both onstage and in the studio we work very hard at serving the story.

If we can talk about stories then and folk music, of which storytelling is at the center of folk music. Has (for any of you) storytelling always been there in your lives?

Jena Gogo:
Absolutely! I was raised by a very musical family and a big part of my childhood was singing songs (telling stories) to eachother. Jay also has a strong theatre background as he studied it in university and ran two theatre companies. And then there is the story of how Jay and I met and eventually started writing our songs together.

Is there a favourite story you like to share on stage?

Jay Mitchell:
I personally love to talk about the first time we met. I was working as an actor at the parliament buildings and heard this beautiful voice from across the lawns. I turned to my friend and said "I don't know who that is but I have to go meet her"

Jena Gogo:
And then some dude in a top hat and a three piece suit comes up to me and asks to jam. He had been searching for the right voice, I had been looking for the right person to write with.

I had the chance to go to the music city town hall meet on the 25th. And it was about: will Toronto be a music city? Any thoughts on how you feel about Toronto as a music city, right now?

Eric Duquette:
Jay and I actually attended that meeting too! To me Toronto is already a world class music city, with some of most talented and interesting musicians working today. On any night of the week you can walk into the Cameron House, dakota tavern, horseshoe etc and see incredible music. Not to mention all the other incredible scenes. I think the next step is figuring out how to let the world in on our secret of what we have going on here!

What's next after CMW 2015?

Jay Mitchell:
Post CMW we will be releasing our first single from the upcoming EP in June. Summer tour dates will be announced soon and followed by a fall release of our debut EP. - Examiner/ AXS Entertainment

"Blue Sky Miners"

So let me tell you about Blue Sky Miners. I received an email about a month ago from one of the members of this Toronto-based folk rock group called Blue Sky Miners. I’m still impressed that people manage to find us, since I still consider us babies in blog scene. He said a friend had told him about us and that he loved what we were doing, especially the emphasis we put on under promoted Canadian bands. Well, let me tell you, one way to get my attention in an email, is to stroke my ego a little bit. I was given a link to a SoundCloud page, and a month old YouTube video for their song “Three”. Well there wasn’t a lot on their SoundCloud page, but the video grabbed my attention. I’d like to tell you it was because I’ve been on a folk-kick recently, but that’s not even true. I love folk rock, always have, always will, but I’ve been kind of all over the place in my music recently, and so the fact that this was folk wasn’t the cause. I liked everything about this video, before I knew anything about the band. I liked the setting: outdoors in the sun, and there were t-shirts, vests and summer dresses on, which (when I saw this video it was November, and there was snow or had been snow on the ground in London, ON) reminded me of a nice calm summer day. I liked the instruments: banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar, and cajon (I really just love that I know what the drum box things are called). I loved the beards. I’m a sucker for those, not to mention in November, I was missing my own beard. And finally, I really loved the vocals, the sound of both vocalists individually, and later together really meshed well, with the music, with the lyrics, with the overall vibe. Everything about this video really struck me. The lyrics also really resonated with me.

So armed with this, I decided I definitely wanted to know more about the band. Blue Sky Miners are three musicians from all over Canada, who have united to tell their stories. We decided to release their song “Three” for our Free Track Friday promotion. This turned out really well because this was the first time the band had released a track for download. We felt pretty special that they decided to do that through us. The band was also nice enough to throw me on their guest list for a show they were playing at the end of November, their second show at home since returning from a month-long west coast tour. They said it would be their largest show to date, and would be tied into Movember, a cause that I decided to take seriously this year.

The show really solidified all my feelings about this group. I could tell when the band started setting up and Phil Ochs was playing over the P.A. that it was going to be a good night. The band was a bit larger than I had anticipated, having two extra members from the four that were in the video, a stand-up bass player and a viola player, who also sang backing vocals. The harmonies were absolutely wonderful, Jay, one of the lead vocalist’s beard had grown a bunch since the video was filmed, and it looked pretty fucking amazing (that would have been enough for me to love the show right there, nothing else needed). Not to mention I thought his look, which that night included a vest and tie, and his epic beard, very gentleman-looking, up against a bunch of (really cool) tattoo sleeves was really interesting to me. Maybe I’m just not used to seeing men with tattoo sleeves dress well and play soothing, chill, folk rock, but it worked for him, it added only positive things to the experience. Everyone on stage had smiles as big as the sun, and it really just added to everything. It looked like they were having more fun than I was having watching them. in the best way possible.

In an age of the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, and a bit of a return for folk rock, almost to the point of over-saturation Blue Sky Miners feels different. I don’t listen to them and feel “oh it’s just another folk group.” They’re a young band with what I feel will be a very promising future.

They have an EP called Shot in the Dark that I believe you can only get by going to see them live and buying a “dropcard.” But from what I understand an album is in the works, and I for one can’t wait to hear it. - The Indie Blender

"Canadian Beats EP Review 2015"

The Blue Sky Miners are a five piece band currently based in Toronto, and are most definitely one to keep an eye on. Their sound is a mix of melodic strong harmonies, that leave you wondering where a band like this has been.

While listening to their new self titled EP, I was taken on a ride full emotions. It’s one of those that you just sit down, you listen and really do “Get lost” in the music. It was needless to say one of my favorite EP’s of recent months.

The first single off the EP is Cold Water, a dreamy, folky tune. My other favorite was “Are you Lost”, a forlorn yet catchy composition. This EP feels so relaxed, filled with beautiful lyrics, catchy riffs, and strong elegant vocals. I am in love with the mix of male and female vocals featured in this band, and I look forward to hearing more from them as they progress.

Having finished up a West Coast tour and having done a few shows locally in recent weeks, I hope to see this band live in the future. Make sure to check out their EP release party in Toronto today (October 23, 2015). - Canadian Beats

"Canadian Beats Interview 2015"

From the excellent people around us who are making positive waves in the music, social justice, and art worlds.

You recently released the first single off your debut EP, how has the response been so far?

The response to ‘Cold Water’ has been really exciting. The audiences we have played to have been very enthusiastic.

Speaking of the EP, how are you guys feeling knowing it’s being released in just a few months?

We feel great- we’re all really proud of how it came together and can’t wait for people to hear it! And we are really enjoying writing more while we wait for the release.

What was the writing process like for the EP?

We had a bunch of songs prepped to record that were more or less ready to go. Once we started pre-production however, we started getting more of a sense of the EP as a whole, began re-arranging structures, listening to our producer’s feedback and ended up writing a bunch more songs. One of which was written a week before the studio and actually made the EP!

How has it been having a single on CBC music?

It has been very cool. We were so happily surprised to happen upon ‘Cold Water’ while touring Vancouver Island, listening to CBC. We were driving in two vehicles on route to pick up rental gear when we first heard it, and all pulled over to dance in the parking lot of a Long and Mcquade in celebration! Also, a couple people at our shows said that they heard our single on CBC and actually pulled over to hear what band was playing! Only to find that they already had plans to go see us play their city- quite a trip!

What has the experience been like touring with John Gogo?

Amazing, hilarious and very special. For myself to be on tour with my dad and for the guys who all look up to him so much. He’s a top notch human being, an excellent musician and songwriter, and a very fun and inspiring person to be around.

At Canadian Beats we like to ask some fun questions to help fans get to know you better.

What song have you had on repeat lately?

Drink A Beer by Luke Bryan, to much of the rest of the band’s chagrin. It’s a country pop song which is not typically my thing at all, but the chorus makes me laugh, and I love singing it to the boys.

What is something that someone may not know about you?

I’m happiest in the ocean.

Where is one place you would love to travel to?

Berlin, again. It’s an incredible art city and one of my best friends just moved there from Denmark to make music.

If you could see anyone in concert alive or dead who would it be?

The Beatles!

Who would you love to work with if you got the chance?

Thom Yorke, St. Vincent, or Beyoncé.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?

We love everyone who is on this journey with us, and are so grateful for the incredible support we’ve received so far! Enjoy the EP- and know there is a lot more coming. - Canadian Beats

"A Music Blog Yea? Exclusive EP Premiere"

Hailing from “the wilds of Canada’s two coastlines”, Toronto-based fivesome Blue Sky Miners (Jena Gogo, Jay Mitchell, Eric Duquette, Mark Lavoie, and Stefan Hegerat) will soon release their new self-titled EP. Laced with deep roots of folk, melodic harmonies, and bluesy rock and roll, the band’s unique combination of influences creates a rather haunting release. Whether attributed from the spooky harmony-driven opener Cold Water, the spellbinding atmosphere on Half Black Moon, or the sultry vocals Gogo provides on Six Feet Small — the EP is truly hypnotic. Exclusively stream the EP on AMBY and follow updates from the band below. Blue Sky Miners is scheduled for release on October 23rd. - A Music Blog Yea?

"Confront EP Review"

If there’s a The Civil Wars-sized hole in your heart since their 2014 breakup, you’re going to want to run (not walk) to your nearest record shop/computer and get yourself a copy of the debut EP from Toronto’s Blue Sky Miners.

Blue Sky Miners are vocalists Jena Gogo and Jay Mitchell, guitarist Eric Duquette, bassist Mark Lavoie and drummer Stefan Hegerat. Formed in 2013, the band describe themselves as “rocky mountain desert rock” on their Facebook page, and have spent the better part of their musical existence regularly gigging locally at The Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace, as well as embarking on a cross-country Canadian tour. Their hard work nabbed them some well-deserved praise, including a spot on blogto’s Top 5 Folk Bands To Watch list.
Their debut EP, Blue Sky Miners, sees the band further developing their folk-meets-bluesy-rock sound. The dual vocal harmonies from Gogo and Mitchell are beautiful (drawing comparisons to The Civil Wars), particularly on tracks like “Half Black Moon” and “Bones”. The vocal parts towards the end of “Six Feet Small” sounds like they’re aiming to have the song placed in a dramatic movie/tv montage – and I mean that as a genuine compliment. The EP closer, “Riot”, is a heartfelt ballad that moves closer to the folk-parts of their sound (rather than the bluesy-rock of the other tracks), and the vocal harmonies on the track are worth the sticker price of the EP by themselves. It was actually pretty difficult to pick out just one stand-out track on Blue Sky Miners EP, but the bluesy-rootsy instrumentation and rhythm of “Are You Lost” is a major selling point for me.
The Blue Sky Miners EP was a very satisfying discovery for me, and if you want music that would sound perfect on a desert camping trick, here’s your chance.

4 out of 5 stars


Must-Listen Tracks: “Are You Lost”, “Six Feet Small” - Confront Magazine


Blue Sky Miners (self titled) 2015



Blue Sky Miners is a Toronto based band whose inspirations are as diverse as the landscapes they have called home. With members hailing cross-country from the Maritimes to the Gulf Islands, each brings their own unique influence to the mix. The four-piece band is comprised of Eric Duquette (guitar), Stefan Hegerat (drums), and lyricists Jena Gogo and Jay Mitchell.

Jena and Jay, both originally from British Columbia, were as inspired by the sprawling metropolis of Toronto as they were by the scenic landscapes of their youth. Ultimately it’s the melding of these disparate environments that led to the “gentle-but-gutsy sound” they call Rocky Mountain Desert Rock: deep roots of folk with a bluesy wash of rock and roll. With the release of their debut self titled EP in 2015, Blue Sky Miners unveiled a unique collection of songs that evoke beach campfires, lush mountain ranges, all within a moody soundscape that reflects their urban home.

It was during the long, cold winter of 2014 that the quartet began to piece together the vision for their debut. After enlisting the help of producer Todor Kobakov (Lindy, Sarah Slean), the band found a creative home at Toronto recording studio, Lincoln County Social Club, where they used old tube and ribbon microphones, vintage guitars, keyboards and synths to reveal the bones of their sound. The EP was self released online and in Canada on October 23rd 2015 to a very warm critical response.

“…leave you wondering where a band like this has been.”

(Canadian Beats)

“…the EP is truly hypnotic.”

(A Music Blog Yea!)

“…you’re going to want to run (not walk) to your nearest record shop/computer and get yourself a copy of the debut EP from Toronto’s Blue Sky Miners.”

(Confront Magazine)

Their first single, Cold Water, has gone into rotation on CBC across Canada and the band’s song Half Black Moon was premiered exclusively by George Stroumbouloupolous on The Strombo Show. Their self-titled EP has charted in the top 10 at many campus and community radio stations across the country. Along with the success of the release, the band has toured from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS and has performed at classic Toronto venues such as The Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace and The Mod Club.

Their infectious live shows are known for their boundless energy that always brings the room to its feet. Blue Sky Miners have captured an enthusiastic and dedicated fan base throughout Canada and garnered a shout out as one of BlogTO’s “Top 5 folk bands to watch” in addition to many other nods for their acclaimed live show.

“The way their music effortlessly flows from one theme to another and subtly adds new textures to every layer left me wanting more long after they had left the stage.”

(Canadian Beats)

“Their live show is a warm, welcoming, and also mind blowing experience, that is not to be missed.”

(Indie Blender)

“Fans came in hoards to hear their newest songs live. The night was filled with dedicated fans who’d memorized the lyrics of the newest songs and weren’t shy about showing it off as they hung off the bands every move.”

(Jesus’s Sister)

The band is currently hard at work writing the next batch of songs to make up their next album and launch themselves onto the international stage. They are also in the midst of planning another Canada wide tour and will be on the road again soon.

Band Members