Down With The Butterfly
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Down With The Butterfly

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This debut release from alt-rock Halifax quartet is another excellent example of why (Halifax) remains on the leading edge of the Canadian music scene.

Clever melodies and strong arrangements are driven by edgy guitars, pounding percussion and strong, shadowy vocals.

Production issues aside, DWTB evoke early Sonic Youth, Television, and Eric's Trip with this street smart soundscape of songs that will stir you to recall everything that is incredible about indie-rock. A solid start for an avant-garde band on the rise.

Stephen Clare - August 2006 - The Daily News/HFX News


DWTB: Happily Unemployed

By Adam Grant

Very early on, the guys in Down With The Butterfly decided that working in the real world wasn’t really an ideal situation for them. With their minds and hearts set upon writing songs and performing them for audiences wherever they could, no typical 9 to 5 would suffice.
The cocoon of this butterfly began to take shape during the high school days of Kris Pope (guitars, vocals), Jason Burns (drums), and Ian Sherwood (bass), who would jam together in New Brunswick when not in class. But before anything too much could come from the music that they were making back then, this trio of individuals would have to temporarily part ways to explore other aspects of their lives in different parts of the country.
Burns would go on to begin a graphic design career in Newfoundland, and eventually reunite with Sherwood who had just gotten his degree in religious studies, and was working at a local University. Soon enough, they’d welcome Pope back into the fold, and relocate to Halifax, where they knew no one, but knew that music had to be their new career of choice.
“We quit our jobs to move here and we all had our vehicles, but six months later we’re like, ‘okay, got to sell the car, can’t afford the car.’ We were all working just part time jobs and we all had educations,� explains Burns about the early days of DWTB.
“I think it’s the same risk as somebody quitting what they’re doing because they don’t like it – it’s not that far off. I have a lot of respect for people who quit their jobs – there are lots of people that have good jobs and just quit and do something different and this is what we chose to do,� he continues. “We’ve been playing music for a while, so we thought that we could realistically make a go at it.�
Once in Halifax, Burns, Sherwood and Pope would come into contact with Ottawa-area musician Dave Scholten, who would take on the role as the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist. Like the rest of his new band, Scholten too had an education, and could have taken a stab at the psychology industry. Instead, he moved into the home of these high school chums, and never left. It would be here that they’d begin their days as a serious live act and recording act – but that’s not where it would end.

Throughout the recording of their 2006 debut Self-Titled album, DWTB would lay down tracks in a variety of different spaces including, Liquid Digital Media, Redfish Audio, Sonic Temple, Common Grounds, and – of all places – a friend’s room. But by no means did this happen overnight. Leading up to these live-off-the-floor recording experiences, were a large amount of successful shows that made the quartet realize that as much as they prefer the live setting, it was time to quench the thirst of their growing listenership with some recorded tracks.
“We got the band together in April (2005) and in May we did that first show, so we didn’t have a CD and didn’t really know what we were doing. We just started playing some shows around Atlantic Canada which was great – we just toured without a CD [which] I don’t recommend, but it was awesome,� says Burns.
“Yeah, it was a really great year. By the time we released the CD we were going back to cities and people were singing along to songs – they still had them in their head. We did have some demo recordings that we’d give to people, and people shared those, so by the time we did our CD release tour, people were singing along to the songs.�
With their album now in hand as they tour throughout Canada as much as they can, Down With The Butterfly is setting their sights on a whole host of future projects. When they reach Toronto on this tour, they will be meeting with local producers to discuss their next album, which they hope to get out to the public by May ’07. Before they get to that stage though, they are looking at getting a double-live record out by March, and quite possibly a trip over to Europe.
And while all of the above is making the band happy, it took a little bit of time to convince those around them that tossing away their guaranteed paycheques for a shot at making it in the fickle music industry was a good idea, but with all of the aforementioned plans in order, opinions are slowly shifting now that results are being seen. - ECHO


The disc is confident and tuneful, with David Scholten's dramatic vocals offset by Kris Pope's sawtoothed guitar work. Down With the Butterfly mixes atmospheric soundscapes with direct emotional telegrams for a potent musical experience. - Stephen Cooke - The Chronicle Herald


After only one amazing year, Down With The Butterfly has created a buzz, amassed a fan base, and captivated audiences throughout Atlantic Canada with their energetic live show. - The Buzz - PEI Entertainment Weekly


"I can honestly say that few other bands have excited me as much as Down with the Butterfly has. Their songs continue to stick in my head with familiarity, (a testament to their folk and blues influences), and still manage to remain original and fresh, a clear indication of their musical talent and ability"

Matt Miller- Liquid Digital Media - Liquid Digital Media


Amazing band…Drummer Jason Burns is so crisp that he holds together this unique sense of tension I feel in all of their songs. Guitarists Kris Pope and David Scholten unraveled hypnotic harmonies…It was such an engaging performance - The Xaverian Online


The members of Down With The Butterfly seem to have a knack for weird stories. From the way they got their band name to what you'll see at their concerts, it's all a little off.

Or maybe all this is coming out because Jason Burns, drummer for the Halifax group, just woke up.

"I'm exhausted. I couldn't wait to sleep in," he says on a Friday morning at 11 a.m. "I'm in four bands, I had four shows this week, I was in the studio and I work a full-time job." And so Jason tiredly weaves us through the story of the band, how it formed, got its name and recorded an album that wasn't meant to be.

Jason and bassist Ian Sherwood, both from Belleisle, just outside of Saint John, were in Newfoundland studying about two years ago.

They finished up and left for Halifax, where another Belleisle native, guitarist Kris Pope, who'd been studying in Fredericton, joined them.

They had gone to high school together, so they gelled quickly as a three-piece. They put up posters in Halifax to announce that they were looking for a singer. Folk singer David Schollen answered the call and with a few other members, they formed what Jason describes as, "this eclectic folk...(pauses)...ugh, I don't know. It was terrible, we all sort of wondered, 'what the hell are we doing?'" So Jason, Ian, Kris and David regrouped on their own about a year ago and formed a pop rock group, incorporating jam band grooves and some folky elements.

The band's name came from Kris.

"He's a really weird guy," says Jason. "He has this weird sense of humour. I think he's the funniest person I've ever met." Kris would frequently act out as though he were a farmer with a gun, shooting at butterflies. He'd always end his skits by saying, "Down with the butterfly!" It kept coming up, so the band members decided to use it for their name.

"And we've had e-mails from people saying what a great name it is because the butterfly represents all of the colours, and all these different things," he laughs. "It's really interesting that people get all this out of it." Down With The Butterfly's first album was recently completed and it's being released at their CD release shows and in stores over the next few weeks.

The album, Rise, was recorded over the last few months in five different studios. It started just because a friend wanted to check the band out in his basement studio. They recorded the sessions live off the floor just for the hell of it and liked what they heard so much, they kept at it, recording wherever they could, whenever they had the time and money.

"It was so much work, and we did it all the while working and saving money. We're so happy with how it turned out. The people we worked with were great. We learned so much.

This was like an experiment for us." Jason says the band mates are happy to have a product to tour in support of now, saying it's better to have a product to push instead of just touring for the sake of it.

At their New Brunswick shows, Down With The Butterfly is bringing a three-piece string section with the band - cello, viola and violin.

The afternoon of this interview, the band would be rehearsing with the trio. Jason, who still hadn't met a member of trio wasn't sure of their names, so he suggested just explaining to our readers that the string section was simply three robots.

"Down With The Butterfly couldn't find strings, so they built robots," he offers. "They make bread too." Robots that play music AND make bread... but Jason promises that's not all you'll get from their shows.

"Tell them we're handing out bicycles and popsicles at the shows. That would make me go to a show," he says.

"These guys have three robots that play the strings and bake bread, plus they give away bicycles and popsicles. Write that." Done and done.
- Here Magazine


"The music of Down WIth the Butterfly reminds me of a lot of things. This particular song reminds me of early REM, and that's a good thing. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it's there. I think it's the drums and the bass. There's also a confidence to it that works as well, though early Stipe was notoriously shy. But when the drums rolls starting hitting around the two minute mark (of the song blue and green) and the singer starts howling, it's clear that these dudes have a direction in mind."

- Music For Robots


"This is an accomplished album for a young, emerging band that plays with confidence and sonic verve- some fine production by Andrew Watt and gorgeous packaging complete the presentation."

"Listen closely to "Tank": this is an intelligently rendered song about the dangers, globally, of life with your head up your arse."

Sean Flinn - The Coast Weekly


Down With The Butterfly - Radio Chart List

CHSR 97.9 FM Top-30 - Fredericton
22 Down With The Butterfly

CFRO 102.7 MHz - Vancouver
23 Down With The Butterfly October 31, 2006
21 Down With The Butterfly October 24, 2006
21 Down With The Butterfly October 17, 2006

CKDU 88.1 MHz – Halifax
24 Down With The Butterfly September 19, 2006
18 Down With The Butterfly August 8, 2006
7 Down With The Butterfly July 25, 2006
12 Down With The Butterfly July 4, 2006
6 Down With The Butterfly June 27, 2006
1 Down With The Butterfly June 13, 2006
1 Down With The Butterfly June 6, 2006
5 Down With The Butterfly May 30, 2006

CFRU 93.388.1 MHz – Guelph
30 Down With The Butterfly September 12, 2006
24 Down With The Butterfly Aug 17, 2006

CFMH 92.5 MHz - Saint John
13 Down With The Butterfly July 11, 2006
24 Down With The Butterfly July 25, 2006
12 Down With The Butterfly August 8, 2006

CHUO 89.1 MHz – Ottawa
25 Down With The Butterfly June 6, 2006

CKLU 96.7 MHz – Sudbury
# Down With The Butterfly July, 2006

CFRC 101.9 MHz – Kingston
3 Down With The Butterfly June 13, 2006
30 Down With The Butterfly August 22, 2006

!earshot charts - June 2006 - top 200
79 Down With The Butterfly *

!earshot charts - July 2006 - top 200
188 Down With The Butterfly


* Last updated Oct. 31, 2006
- Earshot's Top 30!


Discography

2006: RISE (independent)

2010: All The Pieces (independent) [coming soon]

Photos

Bio

The music and brief history of Down With The Butterfly is intense, beautiful, and insightful. The band formed in early 2005 in Halifax, Nova Scotia when Dave Scholten, Kris Pope, Jason Burns, and Ian Sherwood began practicing new songs in a small house on a hill. These rehearsals quickly expanded and the group began playing shows around Halifax; by the end of the summer they had toured all the way to Ontario and back. Throughout the fall and winter the band recorded songs for an album while continuing to maintain their busy touring schedule. In May 2006 the group embarked on a string of successful "cd release" shows, despite the fact their cd was unable to be released due to problems at the USA/Canada border. Eventually, their ECMA award nominated debut album, RISE, was released in June of 2006 and the band toured from Newfoundland to Ontario in support of it. For the next year and a half the band continued to tour, using the opportunity to arrange, write, and refine new songs live in front of audiences. By April 2008 the group was playing almost all unreleased material during live shows, but by this time they had already abandoned two vans due to seized engines and so they decided to call it quits with touring. Since then they have parted ways in order to focus on individual musical projects. In early 2008 Down With The Butterfly recorded material for a sophomore album, which should be released in late Winter/early Spring 2010. The members of Down With The Butterfly are currently creating music with other bands so keep your ears, eyes, minds, and hearts open.

As for the band's current activities, Jason Burns plays drums for the indie power-pop group Mardeen; and he manages Hey Rosetta! as well as Brent Randall & His Pinecones. Dave Scholten and Kris Pope have combined their songwriting talents to write socially conscious folk-rock songs as Acres And Acres. Kris is also the lead guitarist for Halifax indie band, Caledonia. As for Ian Sherwood, he has to compete with a similarly named songwriter, so he has taken on the pseudonym Outspoken Invoice in order to create his own brand of psychedelic folk songs.

Career highlights:

---shared the stage with international touring acts Metric, Immaculate Machine, The Most Serene Republic, Wintersleep, Jenn Grant and Hey Rosetta!; as well as Atlantic Canadian performers such as: The Museum Pieces, Grand Theft Bus, Tanya Davis, and Carmen Townsend and The Shakey Deals.
---received two grants from Nova Scotia for manufacturing and promotion of debut album.
---performed at CBC Galaxie Rising Stars Showcase in Saint John (July 2005).
---performed at Rock Can Roll Independent Music Festival in St. John's (January 2006).
---performed at Junofest (March 2006); Halifax Pop Explosion (October 2006); and ECMA showcase (February 2007) in Halifax.
---performed at Toronto Bites! Festival in Montreal (April 2007).
---performed at Fundy Fog Festival in Saint John and Evolve Festival in Antigonish (August 2007).
---performed at Pop Montreal festival (October 2007).
---performed at CBC Galaxie Rising Stars Showcase at the ECMA awards weekend in Fredericton (February 2008).
---performed at Canadian Music Week in Toronto (March 2008).
---televised performance for IWK Children's Hospital Telethon (June 2006).
---featured twice on CBC radio's Freestyle with Kelly Ryan and Cameron Phillips.
---featured on Much Music's Going Coastal (December 2006).
---participated in the Atlantic Film Festival 10x10 video program (September 2007).
---2008 ECMA Nomination for Best Alternative Album.