Low Level Flight
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Low Level Flight


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The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Just about everyone will have an opinion about Low Level Flight, which often happens when a well-known front man re-emerges as part of something more developed, more personal and simply more credible. Singer-guitarist Ryan Malcolm’s new driving pop-rock band, Low Level Flight, is the project he’s always wanted to make, self-financed and self-released on his own label, I Heart Records. "After having been with a major (Sony BMG), I realized that success is not just in the numbers,” says Ryan. “It's about being happy with your artistic contributions. Something I really wanted was to have a feeling of control over the music, the direction of the band, and my career." Low Level Flight’s debut album, Urgency, kicks off with a soaring ‘80s-style keyboard and a vocal effect on the upbeat rocker “Change For Me,” about that bittersweet male fantasy of finding out your girlfriend has cheated with another girl. It not only serves as the first single, but sets up the odd humour that pervades many of Ryan’s lyrics. The furious and pumping “Hate You” is just a pure upfront call on an ex girlfriend, who is so eloquently referred to in the song as “a wonderful disgrace” and “waste of space.” “If I’m going down, so are you,” Ryan sings. There are also darker songs, such as “Hesitate,” featuring the line “I’ve got to save my soul on the way down” and “Turnaround,” about a guy’s choice to do drugs in front of his little brother and the impact it had. “Growing up with you was torture” is just one example of the poignant and emotional lines in that song. There’s also the reflective, self-attacking “When Will I Learn,” which goes “I do it to myself / Addicted to the pain / When will I ever learn? / I’ve got no one to blame.” On a less personal note, the rock song “Holiday” which has a reggae vibe and touches on heavier issues, includes the line “Get out / Your flag is slowly burning / Step up / You’re running out of time”. It’s a song about the conflict and effect of war, not just between one country and another, but between a country and a person living within it as well,” Ryan explains. The band — comprised of Ryan, Shaun Noronha (bass) and James Rooke (rhythm guitarist/keyboardist) with touring members Dave Carter (guitar) and Brandon Merenick (drums) — all share the same brand of dark humour. At one point, the guys in Low Level Flight were considering an album cover for Urgency that showed the band in a macabre ambulance scene. James says, “we thought it would look pretty ridiculous”, but Shaun explains “then we said ‘screw it, it’s probably too expensive!’”. Born in Kingston, Ryan started singing in a band at age 11, alongside his older brother and dad, who opened a fine dining restaurant that had entertainment three nights a week. “My dad taught me everything,” says Ryan, revealing that his father was once in a band with the original members of April Wine. At 16, Ryan started writing songs and produced his first demo at 17 in Sarah Harmer’s studio, although he admits, “They were not very good. I’m not going to lie.” With no foreseeable connection to the Canadian music industry hub of Toronto, he enrolled in college for policing, but continued playing nightclubs in Kingston and honing his songwriting in his spare time. In 2003, he learned of the inaugural Canadian Idol auditions and tried out. To his surprise, he was accepted and decided to go have fun in Toronto for the summer performing on the television talent search. Little did he know he would win. His debut full-length, Home, an album he made only a little contribution to as a writer because of the rush job to get it out and the nature of the show, went platinum (100,000) in Canada, was nominated for a Juno (pop album of the year) and spawned the number one single “Something More,” but Ryan was not artistically satisfied. When the hoopla died down and contractual obligations were met, Ryan retreated and got to work on what he really wanted to do — start a band of his own. He had found from the Idol writing camps that hooks and melodies came quite easily to him and took the tips he learned from established writers and applied them to his more rudimentary early writing experiences. Rounding up Shaun and James, and dubbing his new band Low Level Flight, they went into Toronto’s Vault Studios with producer Mike Borkosky (illScarlett), who took a creative approach to the making of the record, occasionally using different plug-ins, an ‘80s guitar-keyboard, vocal effects, and other cool ideas to ensure the album had a unique, yet accessible quality. “I’ve known Mike for three years now. He was my musical director on my first tour, and we had done some demo work together, so I knew we’d have a good working chemistry,” says Ryan. “Mike and I were on the same page from the start. We didn’t want to create your run-of-the-mill, cookie cutter pop record that was bland and would sound like everything else. The end product is exactly what we envisioned it to be.” Low Level Flight’s d