John Antoniuk (Smokekiller)
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John Antoniuk (Smokekiller)

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE | AFM

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
12
John Antoniuk (Smokekiller) @ Capitol Music Club

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Jul
28
John Antoniuk (Smokekiller) @ Gateway Music Festival

bengough, Saskatchewan, Canada

bengough, Saskatchewan, Canada

Music

Press


"Always With You - Prairie Dog review"

It’s weird trying to separate the breakup tunes from the songs mourning a loved one on John Antoniuk’s new album, Always with You. Antoniuk, a Saskatonian who usually records as Smokekiller, used his own name as a gesture to his mom Marlene, who passed away from cancer in 2012. The album is dedicated to her. That tragedy is the inspiration for the first song on the album, “Holding On” — a hushed and atmospheric track that uses pedal steel and excellent production from Leeroy Stagger to achieve a dreamy quality. Antoniuk’s more playful elsewhere, recalling the soulful bounce reminiscent of the last Bahamas record with a more solid grounding in roots music.

Matching Antoniuk’s musical precision is a subtle lyrical insight. Throughout, he’s dropping gems like this one in “Break My Heart”: “Every time we hit Alberta the ground reaches for the sky. I wish that I could live there. It kills me every time.” /James Brotheridge - Prairie Dog, Regina, SK


"John Antoniuk - Always With You"

John Antoniuk — Always With You
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Independent; 11 Tracks

Review by: Lee Fraser
Everyone needs a musical hug now and then and John Antoniuk's new record is the big, warm kind.

After losing his Mom, John Antoniuk did what comes naturally to gifted musicians: he came to terms with the change in his life through art and creativity. Always With You is an album that starts off supportive and pensive and slowly draws you into an optimistic and cheerful mood. It’s the kind of album that’s a great solution to feeling a little down. It starts off by comforting you, then gradually lifts you out of your funk and, by the end, has your spirits lifted and puts a smile on your face.

There's a simplicity to the arrangements, yet the hooks and notable guitar stylings are effective at catching your ear and keeping you absorbed. While difficult to put your finger on, there is something reminiscent of early 70's music in this album. It's something in the attitude, the smoothness and the economies of doing a lot with a little.

Some of the slower tunes are clearly inspired by his mother; the album kicks off with a tribute, "Holding On (For Marlene)". The whole record is scattered with songs about support and about letting go. "Last Day of the Year" speaks to the heartbreak of marking New Year's Eve without someone for the first time.

Conversely, there are a couple of tracks that might be considered to be off-topic but compliment the album well with their wit and humour. In "Break My Heart", Antoniuk describes how the Rocky Mountains of Alberta impact him every time he visits the province. The track "Chicago" is a whimsical tribute to Johnny Cash, an homage to one of John's great influences.

Two of the gems of the album are the last two tracks. "The Secret" is a tissue-worthy beautiful waltz, featuring guitar, piano and vocal harmonies. The message is a classic and the melody is very memorable. The last track of the record, "For You", features a live off-the-floor recording, complete with creaking floors. The song starts off with John's vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar work, but the cellos turn the song into a masterpiece.

You can catch John Antoniuk at one of the stops on his Eastern Canada tour to support this new album. Included on the tour are two Saturday nights at the Cameron House: November 10 and November 17, 2012. John's wife, Jen Lane, will open both shows. Their Prairie warmth, both musically and personally, makes them the perfect guests at Toronto's folk and country music institution. - Sticky Magazine, Toronto, ON


"Always With You - Vue Weekly review"

John Antoniuk, who until now has recorded and performed under the name Smokekiller, has shed that moniker to release the highly personal and touching album, Always With You—a tribute to his mother Marlene, who passed away in 2010. Always With You opens with the touching track "Holding On (For Marlene)," a heartfelt ode to the woman Antoniuk lost. Each song on the album has a touch of sadness, but also hope. Antoniuk's vocals and songwriting abilities are front and centre, telling carefully and lovingly crafted stories of those important to him. Moving between bluesy, country-tinged tunes and simple, acoustic guitar-driven folk ballads, Always With You is a finely-crafted record that proves sometimes, simple really is best. - Vue Weekly, Edmonton, AB


"happy find at SXSW"

"Jen Lane and Smokekiller are two of the happy finds of SXSW 2008" - William Kates, billsmusicblog


"Smokekiller avoids sophomore slump!!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Review -- SMOKEKILLER -- 13
13
Smokekiller
Independent
8.5-out-of-10
Readers may recall from an earlier review of the self-titled debut album in September 2007, that Smokekiller is the stage name for Saskatoon-solo performer John Antoniuk.
That debut album was one which didn't immediately impress, but gained strength with a few listens.
No worries this time around. Smokekiller has grown as a musician, and 13 starts off strong, and holds your attention from the get go.
The strength here is a sound which is mellow, akin to some of the rock of the past. For example, the lead cut California could just as well have been performed by the Beach Boys, as a sort of slower number for their repertoire. Smokekiller does a really nice job of the piece, a cut that should find radio itching to slot it into the summer rotation.
Interestingly, the song You've Got a Hold On Me reminds me of the Beach Boys rock generation too, not as party rock as the Beach Boys, but the same underpinnings of style.
Smokekiller recently showcased at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, and if his live music matches the CD, he no doubt earned some attention.
At least the material on the CD is very strong given its mellow rock genre stylings. Cuts such as Out There are offered up in a relaxed, bop along to the beat styling, which is quite infectious. It's plain hard not to get into the rhythm of the music here.
There are a number of cuts here that could make radio, including the aforementioned California, Hover and Sunshine.
Overall, a CD which takes Smokekiller to a whole new level in terms of his music. It is impressive to see such growth in material, especially since many performers see a drop off in their second album, having less time to prepare for it. Antoniuk avoids the sophomore slump here and takes a major step forward. It will be interesting to see how he grows with his third album. Until then, just enjoy this one.
Check it out at www.smokekiller.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS - calvin daniels


"kool kat musik album review"

"Plays with ambient noise and backmasking, showcases imaginative drumming, and also reveals Antoniuk's love of lots of electric guitars - underpinning this sonic growth is what made Smokekiller's name in the first place: sweet melodies and talent as a lyricist...sensationally catchy.."- Planet S Magazine We agree! "Back To The Heart" and "My Song" both have a strong, early Peter Bruntnell influence and are among the discs highlights for sure! What really sets this uniquely apart though is the 80's indie guitar, shimmering Brit Pop at times delivery - a very nice
and interesting touch indeed! A real grower! EXCELLENT!!!
- kool kat musik


"13 review"

Smokekiller-13. Another artist with a quality sophomore release is Saskatchewan's Smokekiller. They have a winning mix of indie pop, power pop, and Americana (Canadiana?) and 13 just might be their lucky number. The rootsy, jangly "California" opens the disc in quality fashion, and "Jenny" is excellent power pop. "Out There" channels the Old 97's and Hundred Air, and "Foolish Heart" channels the Pernices. The real triumph here is "You've Got a Hold on Me", which combines all of their styles into one fine mix. - absolute power pop .com


"jay semko on smokekiller 13"

"I love the new Smokekiller album(13)!! The songs just kill!! I guess I'm a bit biased, as I've seen and heard how great Smokekiller is in a live setting, but this album gets better every time I hear it..excellent!!" - jay semko


"Smokekiller avoids sophomore slump!!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Review -- SMOKEKILLER -- 13
13
Smokekiller
Independent
8.5-out-of-10
Readers may recall from an earlier review of the self-titled debut album in September 2007, that Smokekiller is the stage name for Saskatoon-solo performer John Antoniuk.
That debut album was one which didn't immediately impress, but gained strength with a few listens.
No worries this time around. Smokekiller has grown as a musician, and 13 starts off strong, and holds your attention from the get go.
The strength here is a sound which is mellow, akin to some of the rock of the past. For example, the lead cut California could just as well have been performed by the Beach Boys, as a sort of slower number for their repertoire. Smokekiller does a really nice job of the piece, a cut that should find radio itching to slot it into the summer rotation.
Interestingly, the song You've Got a Hold On Me reminds me of the Beach Boys rock generation too, not as party rock as the Beach Boys, but the same underpinnings of style.
Smokekiller recently showcased at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, and if his live music matches the CD, he no doubt earned some attention.
At least the material on the CD is very strong given its mellow rock genre stylings. Cuts such as Out There are offered up in a relaxed, bop along to the beat styling, which is quite infectious. It's plain hard not to get into the rhythm of the music here.
There are a number of cuts here that could make radio, including the aforementioned California, Hover and Sunshine.
Overall, a CD which takes Smokekiller to a whole new level in terms of his music. It is impressive to see such growth in material, especially since many performers see a drop off in their second album, having less time to prepare for it. Antoniuk avoids the sophomore slump here and takes a major step forward. It will be interesting to see how he grows with his third album. Until then, just enjoy this one.
Check it out at www.smokekiller.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS - calvin daniels


"the mellow genius of smokekiller"

“the mellow genius of smokekiller. Smokekiller, a.k.a. John Antoniuk, has evolved into one of the most capable solo players in the city, if not Western Canada.”

- Andrew Schwab, editor of the Sheaf


"Toronto College Radio #6"

1.Hey Ocean It's easier to be...
2.Mstrkrft Fist of God
3.Junior Boys Begone Dull Care
4.Handsome Furs Face Control
5.Joel Plaskett Three
6.Smokekiller 13

for the week ending April 14th, 2009
- CIUT earshot


"mellow but emotionally stirring show"

"mellow but emotionally stirring show”


- Shannon Boklaschuk, Star Phoenix, Saskatoon.


"Ready to Kick Ash"

"13 plays with ambient noise and backmasking, showcases imaginative drumming, and also reveals Antoniuk's love of electric guitars - underpinning this sonic growth is what made smokekiller's name in the first place: Antoniuk's sweet melodies and talent as a lyricist."
caitlin ward, planet s magazine - Planet S Magazine


Discography

Smokekiller "Chiba EP" March 2019

John Antoniuk, Jen Lane 2018 "Jen & John II"

John Antoniuk, Jen Lane 2014 "Jen & John"

John Antoniuk 2012 "Always With You"

Smokekiller 2008 "13"

Smokekiller 2006 "smokekiller"

Smokekiller 2005 "Side B" EP

Smokekiller 2003 "Side A" EP

Photos

Bio

John Antoniuk, aka Smokekiller, is a singer/songwriter from Saskatoon, SK. John's music draws a diverse range of comparisons from Teenage Fanclub and Weezer, to Ryan Adams and Neil Young. In 2003, John released the Side A ep which quickly garnered him attention as a songwriter and saw him sharing the stage with artists like Ron Sexsmith, and Hayden. "13" was the first full-length release with the Smokekiller moniker and was mixed by Steven Drake. "Out There" from the album "13" was selected as a National Finalist in the 2009 Radio Star Songwriting Competition. In 2011, John was awarded a 10k20 project grant from Rawlco Radio, which allowed him to go into the studio with producer Leeroy Stagger. Together they created "Always With You", a full album of new material dedicated to John's mother, Marlene, who passed in October 2010. Featuring performances by Leeroy Stagger and his Band, Kevin Kane, and John Ellis, the album was released on September 4th, 2012. Most recently, John was named Best Solo Artist in the Planet S readers poll. John has been constantly on the road in support of "Always With You" with 3 national tours since the release. The International Songwriting Competition has recognized John as a semifinalist three years in a row; in 2013 for “Chicago” from Always With You, 2014 for “End Of The World” from Jen & John, and 2015 "The Way Home" from Jen & John. John is currently on tour with Jen Lane and holding down a May/November residency at the Cameron House in Toronto, ON.

"Always With You is a powerful album that manages to layer the simplest lyrics with astounding complexity. Without ever once moving outside of a subdued and gentle sound, Antoniuk fills each note with impact and each word with memory. It's a stunning tribute."
Grayowl Point, Toronto, ON

"There's also something about these songs (on Always With You) that keeps me from doing my usual track surfing. I feel compelled to hear out John's expertly crafted words fully and really let the message sink in. Also, I love listening to the guitars in each track; as a player, I just find them to be near perfect."
Sean Craib Petkau, Yorkton This Week

"Always With You is a finely-crafted record that proves sometimes, simple is best."
Vue Weekly, Edmonton, AB

"..recalling the soulful bounce reminiscent of the last Bahamas record with a more solid grounding in roots music"
Praire Dog Magazine on "Always With You", Regina, SK

"Smokekiller and Jen Lane are two of the happy finds of SXSW" billsmusicblog

"out there" by smokekiller is the regional winner for the Canadian Radio Star Songwriting Competition 2009. Smokekiller was in Toronto for Canadian Music Week for the songwriting competition finals.

Smokekiller has showcased at JUNOFEST 2013, NXNE 2013, BREAKOUT WEST 2012, CMW 2011, SXSW 2009, CMW 2009, NXNE 2008.

"the mellow genius of smokekiller. Smokekiller, a.k.a. John Antoniuk, has evolved into one of the most capable solo players in the city, if not Western Canada."
Andrew Schwab, editor of the Sheaf. (U of S student paper.)

" "13" plays with ambient noise and backmasking, showcases imaginative drumming, and also reveals Antoniuk's love of electric guitars - underpinning this sonic growth is what made smokekiller's name in the first place: Antoniuk's sweet melodies and talent as a lyricist."
caitlin ward, planet s magazine

"I have now produced/engineered 68 albums in my career since 1992. I believe Smokekiller "13" is one of the finest hands down. Great songs + great sounds + great production + great vibe = 1 great album."
David j Taylor, WCMA producer of the year 2007

"mellow but emotionally stirring show"
Shannon Boklaschuk, Star Phoenix, Saskatoon.

"..sensationally catchy.."
Planet S Magazine

"Smokekiller makes music that vibrates with consistent excitement."
National Association of Record Industry Professionals

It begins with the breaking of a heart and the lighting of a cigarette. Music and inspiration follow, and as the music fills the air, and the lyrics fill the page, so dies the cigarette. Filter and ash, the by-product of lost time while writing. The songs kill the smoke and I write and play them.
Peace

smokekiller has shared the stage with:

Ron Sexsmith
Hayden
Dan Mangan
Yukon Blonde
Northcote
Steve Earle
Rah Rah
Limblifter
Tegan & Sera
Corb Lund Band
The Waifs
Wide Mouth Mason
Madison Violet
Jen Lane

Influences include matthew sweet, ryan adams, pixies, bruce springsteen, dinosaur jr., lou reed


Band Members