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"Fish Griwkowsky"

The Edmonton Sun Friday September 29, 2006

Country Artist adds stripe

Red Ram plays The Sidetrack tomorrow night

You can always hear Futch poking out on the springy Uncas albums. Things get more romantic somehow, his voice circles above you in a vintage New Romantics sense that instead of defying the band’s rural hootenanny adds to its depth. Or heights more accurately. He’s part of what makes the Uncas one of the city’s top three entertaining country acts – along with Corb Lund and the mighty Swiftys
But something else is brewing here. And if it wasn’t good, you wouldn’t be reading about it. Futch Uncas is morphing his skin in a sense, reverting to his given name of Mark Feduk, and suddenly in charge of a seriously capable electronic pop-rock outfit called Red Ram.
Album reminiscent of Depeche Mode
The album reminded me of Depeche Mode, Vancouver’s Buttless Chaps, Guided By Voices and even, thanks to Feduk’s habit of protracting long, mournful notes, the earlier and thus better Metallica ballads. Though its release is later nest month it will be sold tomorrow night at Red Ram’s Sidetrack show, tickets $7.00 at the door.
Due to the skill and musicianship we’ve seen from Feduk so far, the quality of Stars Ablaze isn’t really a surprise. But the songs are delightfully sculpted and tight for a new band . There’s a reason.
“I don’t know if you remember a band from about 10 years ago called Ants on a Log. That was my high school band back at Vic, and I played with them for about four years before the Uncas, I was the main songwriter and guitar player. So some of these songs have been brewing for the good part of a decade,” Feduk explains.
“That band was very progressive, experimental. We were young, so lots of 10 minute to half hour songs. I didn’t bring that back, but I did want to get more into rock. The reason these songs wouldn’t fit in with the Uncas is they’re more electronic. There’s no country influence here, it’s pretty much urban. Well, my version of urban,” he laughs. “At least not evoking images of the Prairies.”
Though he’s 28 now, Feduk’s kept ties with high school buddy and local producer Doug Organ, the Andrew Ridgeley to his George Michael here. Actually, maybe scrap that – but hopefully you get the idea.
“He’s been an aspiring producer for a long time, and he’s the one who actually started this project,” says Feduk. “He approached me. He produced Colleen Brown’s record, quite a few others. We both, over the last 10 years, have been talking about doing this, using all his fancy recording gear, drum loops and crazy keyboards, so he gave me a call.”
“At first we had no plans to make a band, we were just having fun recording a few songs. But our friends reacted to it really positively. So we made an album. Most of the instruments are played by Doug or myself, though we brought in others who will join us live in the future.”
One of them was Amy Van Keeken, who along with Colleen Brown and Tash Fryzuk sings in the Secretaries. But you can even follow the family tree back with her. Van Keeken also sang with Ants on a Log, “so she was the natural choice when we needed a female voice." We hope to have her in the band full time as we are evolving, playing shows.”
Feduk pushing the band
For the record, Feduk is “extremely busy” right now, meaning that he is staying on bass with the Uncas and pushing this band, as well as being promoter for both acts. Touring, of course, would be easy, seeing as Sook Uncas has joined Red Ram, too. These boys like their bands big, no question.
But enough talk eh. Come on down to the show tomorrow, it’ll be a good one.
- The Edmonton Sun - Friday September 29, 2006

"Wham bam, thank you, RAM"

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wham bam, thank you, RAM
The timeless sound of guys revisiting their youth

“the first thing you see is Ryan Smith,” Mark Feduk says about You’Tube video showing his band, The Uncas, singing the national anthem at an Oilers home game in February. (Just search “The Uncas” and you will find it.)
“That’s probably the sad part. Even sadder than our performance.”
Feduk is happy to offer a self-deprecating quip about the band’s attempt at a capella patriotic harmonizing. But when it comes to looking back to the past, he, unlike many of us, isn’t one to cringe.
Consider his other project, Red Ram. Though the group has only been an official entity since 2005, Feduk admits much of its esthetics dates back to that time of life from which a whole lot of the rest of us tend to put some ironic distance about our lamentable choices in things such as music and fashion.
“Back when we were in high school, when we were kids, (fellow Red Rammer) Doug Organ wanted to do the same thing he’s doing now, which is to produce albums, and I thought of myself as a song writer. So we have recordings that we made back then that sounds pretty much exactly the same as Red Ram.”
That’s going on ten years now, but then it is pretty timeless stuff.
In particular, the chunky riffs, hand-clapping beat and lyrical “rama-lama/wham-bams” of Bad Bite off their CD titled Stars Ablaze, could have you thinking you’re hearing the modern rock progeny of such ‘70s juke box faves as Grand funk or Ram Jam (Black Betty in particular, though when the former is mentioned, Feduk admits he hasn’t heard of them; guess he just has boogie in his blood).
As such, the band has received rotation on Sonic, and Feduk says he hopes to take the show on the road this fall. But that doesn’t mean he’s lost interest in the country-rock leanings of the Uncas, with whom he plans to record more material this fall for a winter release.
On top of that, Feduk’s been writing even more songs in a vein different from either group-dark and atmospheric country that he wants to find time to record lo-fi style and avoid incurring studio costs.
Time and money, of course, are the restraints put on all of Feduk’s creative ambitions. And like other musicians he has dreams to achieve his goals. Modest ambitions really, but ones shared by just about anyone bitten by the band bug.
“Without getting too boring, but basically I have to get some grants. It’s a financial thing-definitely a reality of the music business. Both my projects are indie, and we kind of prefer it that way,” he says.
“Hopefully we can get to where we want to be and stay indie at the same time, (which is) being able to do everything that you want to do within music as far as being able to bring it to as many people as you can without working a part time job. “Just being able to do it and support myself would be great.” - The Edmonton Journal - Zoltan Varadi - Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Stars Ablaze Review"

Saturday Feb 10 2007
The Edmonton Journal (C3)
CD: Stars Ablaze
Artist: Red Ram
Rating:3.5 stars
Red Ram doesn't like to be fenced in. The local musicians led by Mark Feduk and Doug Organ, prefer to roam through the pastures of electronica, hillbilly country, gregorian chants, disco and folk on their debut, Stars Ablaze. Bird Flu laments today's barnyard ailments complete with Feduk's hick-like vocals. Few In Life is a swirling dance-floor number with speak'n'spell vocals. Play The Game reverberates with monk like incantations while Goin' Down is a trippy electro-pop number with echoey, distant vocals a la Portishead. Such sonic diversity is risky- it can often sound like a mess-but Red Ram pulls it off, tying the album together with the occasional use of stompy guitar riff and video-game sound effects. Several songs, especially those towards the end of the album, aren't quite as strong as the first five or six tunes - only because they're not quite as adventurous.
- The Edmonton Journal


Slip Away - to be released in the summer of 2010
Land of Dreams - March 2009
Stars Ablaze - November 2006



* * * *

“it’s refreshing to hear a rock band like Red Ram that is about songs first and foremost, and uses technology to augment their sound – not the other way around”
- Renato Pagnani, SEE Magazine, Edmonton, 2008

“flavoured with rock of the 80s-feeling electro variety, but the open, warm production and prevalence of good guitar keeps it from sounding inorganic – a good thing, because your girlfriend’s gonna play the hell out of it”
- Rick Overwater, BeatRoute, Calgary, 2007

“(Stars Ablaze is)… loaded with canyon-deep grooves that provide plenty of winding twists and musical rapids throughout… while much of the disc makes it difficult to sit still when listening … songwriting frontman Mark Feduk can still reign things in when he wants, indulging in more than one note throughout the album and giving the music some legs to go the distance”
- Eden Munro, Vue Magazine, Edmonton, 2007

“jumps and cross cuts between ‘90s alternative, heavy metal, and electronica-drenched guit-pop… Stars Ablaze manages to entertain and surprise at every turn”
- Francois Marchand, The Edmonton Journal, 2006

Red Ram is all about great songs – strong melodies, rockin’ riffs, and catchy hooks are the backbone of this band. Blending electronic and organic sounds, creative arrangements, and a gritty rock and roll ethic – the band has honed its own innovative style. Since its origins as a studio project that served as an outlet for frontman Mark Feduk’s (The Uncas) unique songwriting, Red Ram has turned into a powerful touring act that has been rocking live audiences across Canada for over 4 years. The band has appeared with Danko Jones, The New Odds, and Gob among many other nationally recognized acts.

Red Ram’s first album Stars Ablaze (2006) featured the single ‘Bad Bite’ which garnered radio play on various Canadian modern rock stations in 2007. The band gained commercial radio play almost instantly with radio play on modern rock and urban stations in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. Before the debut album was even officially released, Red Ram was picked as Edmonton modern rock radio station Sonic 102.9's November 2006 band of the month, garnering over 100 local plays that month alone.

In 2008 Red Ram unveiled an interim E.P. entitled Land of Dreams that featured five exciting new songs to be released on a future full length album. These songs picked up where the last had left off, revealing a more mature, developed rock sound. During this time the band has continued to tour, network and hone its live show.

Early in 2009 Red Ram was happy to find out that it was a recipient of a Rawlco Radio 10K20 grant. This grant allowed the band the complete an all new full length album that is set to be released in the summer of 2010. The adventurous twelve song whirlwind of a disc is entitled Slip Away and it reflects the evolving sound of the band while maintaining its energy and spirit of innovation. 2010 promises to be a very exciting year for Red Ram with national tours in the works as well as the release of Slip Away and a coinciding music video. The timing is right for Red Ram to step onto the national and international stages in 2010 – the sky is definitely the limit for this world class modern rock act.

Stars Ablaze and Land of Dreams are available for sale at stores across Canada and worldwide online through iTunes, and Slip Away is set for international release in the summer of 2010.
E: T: (780) 905-1940

Slip Away – to be released in 2010
Land of Dreams - March 2009
Stars Ablaze - November 2006