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"School of Rock"

jan 2004

Who: Jordan Bimm (bass), Nevin Douglas (guitar), Luke Higginson (vocals), Bill Turnbull (drums)

History: Old friends who met at the Etobicoke School of the Arts in the late '90s. Formed the band three years ago, but have been in their current ("more serious") incarnation as Debaser since last fall."Other people are together because they see a sign in a rehearsal space or whatever-there's a very loose connection," says Bimm. "But with us, there's more-we're best friends. Stuff like music and girls is not going to tear us apart."

U of T connection: Bimm (who happens to be a theatre writer for The Varsity) is in second-year American Studies.

The others: Higginson is a film student at Ryerson, Douglas is working at an art store and saving up for school, and his bandmates quip that Turnbull is living off royalties from his recent appearance in an Arby's commercial (he's the guy with the oven mitts).

Their sound: "Hooky and dark and rocked out," declares Bimm. "Recently, we've got a lot of people telling us that we sound sort of like the Manchester scene with guitars."

"It is necessary to compare yourself, but I think it's really important to find a new sound and not just re-hash what other people have done," notes Higginson.

Common influences: "We all bring our piece to the same common ground," Bimm explains, but cites The Pixies as a band they can all agree on.

Biggest show to date: With nearly 20 shows under their belt to date, Debaser are still building a fanbase, but a recent Sneaky Dee's gig attracted a solid crowd of over 50.

"It's a total geometric learning curve," says Bimm. "Every show, even if we play one that we don't think is our best show, it's still better than the two previous ones."

Claim to fame: Infamous club booker and man-about-town Dan Burke (remember the El Mocambo fiasco?) is a supporter. To hear the band tell it, they were doing one of their first rehearsals in their current practice space, and when they came out, Burke, slumped into a sofa in a dark corner, beckoned them over, told them they had a good sound, and even though they hadn't played any gigs to date, offered to set up some shows for them.

"We just thought he was some cracked-out dude-and I guess he is," laughs Bimm. "Everyone in the city has an opinion about this guy, but so far he's done good things for us."

School vs. the band: "The band comes first," Higginson says simply. Recently, he had an essay due the night after a show, decided not to do it, and ended up getting an extension on the paper anyhow. "I figured it was a sign."

Promoting their band on campus: "Even just networking on campus-you have a large group of people who are in the demographic to check out new bands and like indie music," says Bimm. "You have a huge target audience just within a few blocks. It's so much easier than if we all lived in Etobicoke. It's such an awesome network to abuse... er, use." The band sees a lot of Higginson's fellow Rye High students coming out to shows, so they'd like to see more U of T folks as well.

What's next: They're taking their time to record a demo, which they hope to have completed by the spring. They've applied to the North by Northeast festival, and hope that the demo will serve as a calling card for potential management, indie radio, and press.

"We want to send it to anybody that has ears," says Bimm. "The more people that hear our music, the better-that's our philosophy. We don't want money to get in the way of hearing our music. At the same time we would like to make money doing this one day, but that's not a priority at this point at all. The fact that we didn't think we'd make it to here gives us that much more inspiration to get to the next level."

Next gig: Jan. 29 at Clinton's.

- the Varsity


- "seen it before" has been played on CFNY
- "virus" has been played on CIUT
- "i don't know" has been played on CKLN
- "the rest of us" has been played on SPIRITradio


Feeling a bit camera shy


we started at a highschool for the performing arts in the year 2001. our first song was a cover of "psycho killer" by the Talking Heads. We started playing live shows in June 2003. In April 2004 we released our debut EP, which was recorded in our basement. In May 2004 a track off our EP was played on 102.1 the edge's (CFNY) indie hour. Tracks off the EP have since been aired on CKLN, CIUT, and SPIRITradio. After a summer of playing packed shows around Toronto we are gearing up to record our first full length studio album.