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"Is X92.9 any sort of alternative?"

January 25, 2008
Colin Horgan

For years Calgary has been a fairly dreary place when it comes to music. Forgive me if I don’t really get into Nickelback, or yawn when I hear yet another Metallica song on CJay 92. So, I was excited that Calgary was going to be home to a ‘new alternative’, complete with a No-Nickelback guarantee; what could be better than the new X92.9?

X92 did begin by being a true alternative to the usual hum-drum of Calgary radio. I found that hearing the Arcade Fire or Kings of Leon on my local radio dial was a nice experience. They even had a punk show! And a nineties hour! Stupendous.

Recently, (you all knew this was coming – the sour “but…”) X92.9 has proven disappointing. I had suspicions that things were going awry when one morning on the way to work, I heard the newest Jack Johnson track. I checked my car radio, confused for a moment. Was I listening to Vibe 98.5 by accident? Had I made some sort of terrible mistake? No. Sadly, it was X92.9. Later, after hearing the same City & Colour single for about the zillionth time, I knew something was definitely up. Something terrible had happened down on 17th avenue at the X92 headquarters.

My fears were reinforced further on Wednesday night when I attended the Underground to take in round four of the battle of the bands, hosted and judged in part by X92.9. It was the first of such shows I had been to, and chances are, the last. The dueling groups were the Evidence and Somastate.

Both bands gave good performances, but personally, I felt that Somastate was the clear winner. This is obviously based on personal preference, but there’s a lot to be said for vocal ability, melody, and stage presence. One band had it, the other didn’t: simple as that.

In the end, the victor (as you may have guessed) was the Evidence, who will move on to play for first place. I don’t actually know on what the three judges based their decision, but I must have missed something. Part of it was allegedly based upon crowd support, which Somastate seemed to have more of, by the sound of it. It seemed odd for representatives of an “alternative” station to chose the more mundane, and commercial-sounding of the two groups. Somastate have, arguably, built upon a sound developed by other bands, but constructive progression was not noticeable in the Evidence’s performance.

What has happened to the most promising radio station in Calgary? I don’t usually care about selling out, and nor do I mean to say that the Evidence shouldn’t be supported, but it was a telling sign of worrying change. The Evidence weren’t at fault. They are obviously talented, but they just simply were not good enough to win. By X92.9 playing a part in the Evidence moving forward in this contest, they have endorsed the anti-alternative. Woops.

Disappointing times for X92.9. Is this the sign of things to come? To side with bands who have had more MuchMusic or MTV exposure, even when faced with (sorry) the evidence? That doesn’t seem very alternative to me… - Calgary Herald

"Somastate Continues to Move Forward"

Thursday January 24, 2008
Ian Kucerak/Encore!

Jay Brazeau of Somastate is a lead singer on a mission. The Calgary band has been building a fan base across B.C. and Alberta, ahead of its Canadian tour this spring, a fan base Brazeau hopes will grow before their next disc is released. The five-piece band’s sound is a mix of melody and harder elements, influenced by bands like the Deftones, A Perfect Circle and Thrice. The band’s been building a following ahead of the release of a new disc at the end of February.

They’ve been a complete operation for just one-and-a-half years, but Brazeau said Somastate has already taken off. “I’ve seen a change ... from a certain style to a little harder edge,” he explained, “... (it’s) the process of growing as musicians.” He said the band’s dynamic sound comes from the different musical influences each member brings to each rehearsal and live performance.

Somastate connects with fans online through sites like While the band hasn’t yet made it nationally, the idea is to build a fan base one step at a time.

“(We’re) not trying to take all of Canada at once,” said vocalist Brazeau. “You’ve got to start small and move out from home.”

Once the CD is printed, they also plan to offer it for sale online. Services like iTunes represent the “wave of the future, to use a cliche,” said Brazeau. “I still love CDs,” he explained, “but you need to be doing both (physical and digital releases) in order to reach as many people as you can.”

Somastate rocked Grande Prairie once before, in August 2007. Brazeau said the band enjoyed its stop in town.

“It was awesome, a great place. We just had such a fun time up there,” he said. Both of the band’s shows saw a strong turnout, something Somastate’s singer said went over well with everyone involved.

“From what I saw (of GP’s music scene) it was great. We had people coming up to us, they were just like so thankful that we had come, so high on the music and that was kind of humbling,” he said.

“You love hearing that stuff. That’s what you want. If that’s an indicator of what the Grande Prairie music scene is ... it’s pretty healthy.”

Brazeau said his musical inspiration comes from personal experience.

“To perform well, and to come across well, I need to believe in what I’m singing about,” he said. “There always has to be something that triggers that.”

Brazeau is open to the idea fans take the songs and interpret them in their own way.

“Someone can take from it what they want and I think they can identify with the songs in a way that it might not even have been written for,” he said. “That’s why art is art.”

The next few months sound busy for the rockers from Calgary. Apart from the release of their new EP Reversals the band is planning a late February Canadian tour. Brazeau hopes that by the next time they hit the recording studio, they will do so with more national recognition.

“I would like people in the country to at least know who we are somewhat ... like they know Somastate is from out west ... it doesn’t have to be more than that.”

The band is also in the process of talking with several smaller record labels about getting their music out on a larger scale. With the contacts they’ve been building, Brazeau said they were learning quickly how everything works.

“Being in the industry and learning all the ropes as to how it all works ... it’s a quick learning curve,” he said.

In spite of his strong support for digital music delivery, Brazeau sees the usefulness of record companies in the modern music industry. He said bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, who recently made big news with free or pick-your-price digital releases, wouldn’t have exposure without the marketing they’d received their labels over the years.

What should rock fans anticipate if they head down to Better Than Fred’s Jan. 25 or 26?

“The show is tight. It’s good musically, it’s loud, it’s good rock and roll,” said Brazeau. “People will enjoy it if they come out and give us a chance.”

Tickets are available through Better Than Fred’s. - Ecore!

"Somastate of Mind"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
By Liz Field

Aldous Huxley is not an obvious source of inspiration for many hardcore-rock bands, but the author’s 1932 release of Brave New World lent itself to a group of Calgary boys when they named their band Somastate.

Taking their name from Esoma, a drug used by the government to quiet the dissenting voices of the people in the novel, the boys in Somastate want to use their music as a means to voice their perspectives.

“It’s an intensely personal undertaking,” said 27-year-old lead singer, JayBrazeau.

According to Brazeau, carving out a niche in the Calgary music scene can be a difficult task because “you’re putting a piece of who you are” on display.

Such a feat requires tight relationships among band members, said Brazeau, who adds that egos are non-existent in this band.

“There’s a level of honesty that exists that allows us to call each other on our crap and keep egos in check. I appreciate knowing that someone will put me in my place if I’m out of line,” he said.

And with five competing creative personalities in the band, it’s a good thing they’re all on the same page.

Brazeau said the quintet has a steadfast commitment to the band and are learning how to roll with whatever unfolds for them.

But with a new album set for release in January, there’s still some uncertainty for the boys.

“Do we go hard copy or do we go digital?” said Brazeau. “The industry is in a state of chaos right now.”

Radiohead’s exclusive online release of In Rainbows has left everything in the industry in flux, according to Brazeau.

“I loved it, but I still like owning physical CDs,” he said. “It’s changed the way record labels are going to do things.”

Brazeau, who has his BA in music, has undergone four and a half years of classical training singing in choir, which has lent itself to an in-depth understanding the technical aspects of music. A background in developing harmonies has provided a framework for Brazeau’s writing.

“It’s definitely set the tone that I draw from,” said Brazeau.

Check out the technical workings of Brazeau and the rest of the boys as they take the stage at the Gateway on Nov.16. Tickets are $5 at the door for this 18+ show.

In the meantime, visit to listen. - Sounds of Calgary

"Local Band Strikes a Chord with Festival"

Somastate Plays Vans Warped Tour
Wednesday June 27, 2007

The opportunity to play in this year's Warped Tour came at just the right time for the Okotok's band Somasate.

The night before finding out they had won a spot at the all day music festival's Calgary stop, the hard edged rock band, which still manages to incorporate a lot of melody into their songs, had just finished playing a show at a small music venue in Calgary and were craving the opportunity to play on a bigger stage for a larger crowd.

"The night before, we'd just played this crappy show. It was a bar show and nobody showed up," said Jason Brazeau, lead vocalist for Somastate, explaining how he was left feeling a little low.

However, the mood quickly changed for the 28-year-old singer when he received a phone call from the band's drummer Nathan Navetto.
"Nathan called me in the morning and said 'this might cheer you up, we just got on the Warped Tour,'" said Brazeau.

For the members of Somastate, who have been playing together as a complete band for just under a year, the news couldn't have been better.

"It was definitely pretty exciting for all of us and a little bit unexpected for sure," said 22-year-old bass player Kyle Ryks. For Ryks, the chance to play the Warped Tour was a pretty big deal, due to the fact that he remembers going to see the tour growing up.

"It's a pretty cool feeling to be able to play somewhere that you went as a kid and watched all these big bands play."

The Warped Tour is an all day music and extreme sports festival that features between 40 and 50 different bands the play on various stages throughout the day. The tour, which was founded over 10 years ago, hits cities all across North America and features numerous unsigned acts like Somastate as well as well-known acts like Bad Religion and Pennywise. This year's Calgary show will be held at the Race City Speedway on July 5.

The band was chosen to play on the tour after submitting themselves into an online competition put on by the Warped Tour, which helps judges decide which local bands will get a chance to play at the festival. At each stop, the Warped Tour leaves four spots open for local acts. Somastate, along with 2 bands from Calgary and one band from Edmonton, were chosen from more than 100 submissions from all across Alberta.

According to Brazeau and Ryks, playing Warped Tour is exactly what the band has needed to help push them to the next level.

"I think exposure is the thing you want the most, you want your music to be heard and to get your name out there.

"Playing the Warped stage, it's a huge stage for us to play, but it's also great for leverage," said Brazeau, explaining that he feels playing this type of well-known tour will help them gain more recognition in the music business and perhaps help them land larger gigs and more of a fan base.

Somastate has already made quite a name for themselves on the local music scene and are constantly playing shows at music venues around Calgary. Currently the band has been in the studio putting the finishing touches on their first EP, which will consist of three original songs. - Okotoks Western Wheel

"Somastate Scores a Jackpot"

Somastate Plays Vans Warped Tour
July, 2007

I’ve never really understood the concept of slot machines. Typically, you feed the machine a quarter, pull the handle, test your luck – and lose.

I sat at a table at the Stetson Pub and watched for over 45 minutes as the world’s oldest cowboy (complete with stereotypical black-suede cowboy hat) repeatedly fed the slots quarter after quarter, only to be greeted over and over again without a single winning combination. Finally, after dozens upon dozens of handle-yanks, he won what I can only guess totaled about three dollars. Not exactly a great payout.

While luck may not have been with the geriatric cattle-rustler, it has most certainly shone its face at the boys of Somastate more than a few times – and with surprisingly good payouts.

Take, for example, how the group met. “It was a lot of random events – weird circumstance meetings.” says vocalist Jay. “Basically we all ran into each other at an HMV, in the metal section. We got to talking, and a few of them mentioned they had just got a singer for their band. I told them I was a singer. Then they all walked out.”.
One would think that without having exchanged so much as an e-mail or phone number, the chances of meeting again would be miniscule. But as Jay tells with a grin on his face, “A few months later, just at random chance, we ran into each other again, also under weird circumstances. They needed a singer – I needed a band.”.

One by one, all seemingly randomly, the band’s members fell into place, and Jay was the final piece of the puzzle. It’s been nine months since band began playing shows, and a lot has happened since then for Somastate, all containing some degree of luck.

Anyone who has ever been in a band can tell you that musical chemistry is crucial, and so finding 5 guys who all work well together, yet who have never met prior, is…well….lucky! “Everyone has respect for each other, this weird thing takes place where writing is easy and fun for us, we gel so well.” says Nathan. “We care about each other as people and as friends – “ begins Jay, but eerily, before he can even finish this sentence, Nathan reaches over. “There’s a hair on your face, dude”, says Nathan, removing the invasive strand gently. “See what I mean?”, laughs Jay.

Luck continues when it comes to the band’s progression. Out of thousands of bands entered into the Ernie Ball Warped Tour contest, Somastate were one of four lucky winners of a spot on the Ernie Ball stage on the tour’s Calgary date. Of course, it can’t hurt to have hard work on your side either. “I was obsessed with (the contest).” says drummer Nathan, who conducted a huge online campaign to make sure their songs were being played and the votes were being cast. Jay readily admits though, “The contest wasn’t even on my mind, I had forgotten about it completely.”. Finding out you’re playing the country’s biggest summer tour is a welcome surprise, no doubt.

Not only that, but the band is headed on a self-booked tour of the U.S.A. in August. Ask any band who has tried to book their own tour, especially in a place like U.S.A., and they can tell you it can be difficult if not impossible without some sort of help or prior connections. So how did the boys of Somastate manage to get ‘er done without having ever left the province of Alebrta? “I think, once again, it was just luck and chance.” Laughs the hopelessly modest Nathan, but again, one needs to attribute some credit to the band for sending out countless “goofy e-mails”, being smart about who they contacted and crossing their fingers.

So where now? Despite being destined for the road, Somastate hopes to increase their involvement in the community here at home. “I love hanging out with other bands, cracking jokes, watching each other’s sets – we want to build relationships here. I think that happens as you progress – I hope it does. I’m leaving that one up to chance.”.

If the past is any indication of the future, chances are looking good.
- Beatroute Magazine

"Reversals Promises Success for"

By Tara Rajabi

Among the infinite number of Albertan musicians out there, one band is quickly gaining recognition. Somastate released their EP Reversals this February 23rd and so far ithas been well received. “We are all very proud of this record and it is amazing and quite humbling when people are impacted by it,” says Jay Brazeau (vocals), in response to the positive feedback they have been receiving.

With tracks that fuse metal and rock to form songs that will satisfy both preferences, it was no surprise when Somastate was selected to play in Vans Warped Tour in Calgary last summer. “It was amazing! A little bit surreal in the way that I, personally, didn’t even really take it in while I was onstage,” Brazeau reminisces. “Prior to the invite to be a part of Warped Tour, we had been pretty discouraged by some brutal shows with low turnouts and virtually no pay, which can definitely have an effect on your attitude towards playing. When we found out that we had been invited to play, I can say that it was a huge relief and a big encouragement for us to keep pursuing what it is that we all love to do so much.”

The future continues to look bright for Somastate as they, “are beginning to tour a little more extensively around Western Canada and will be focusing on that for the next six months, as well as promoting the disc to radio and press around the country,” says Brazeau.

With their memorable sound and significant lyrics, Somastate has remained humble amidst their success in the short amount of time they have been playing together, “Wherever our music takes us, be it all over the world or just around our country, we’ll continue to make music that we like and hopefully others will like it as well.”

No matter what your personal preference in music may be, “Reversals” is guaranteed to have something for you, so keep your eyes and ears open for more on Somastate as they continue to tour the country. - Youthink Magazine


Reversals EP - 2008
The Physics Demos - 2009



Inspired by artists such as Thrice, the Deftones, Cult Of Luna, Norma Jean and In Flames, Somastate has experienced a quick rise to becoming one of the most talked about, freshly-unique hard rock bands in underground music. Sharing core values akin to bands like Converge, Somastate continue to push past the ever-evolving "scene" in hopes of creating music that will stand the test of time while always promoting a message of community and social awareness.

In 2009, Somastate was sponsored by JagerMusic Canada and have been touring the country in between recording their new EP "The Physics Demos" and writing for their upcoming full-length due out in 2010. In the past 2 years, Somastate has performed Taste of Chaos, Vans Warped Tour, Junofest and shared the stage with artists such as Thursday, Secret and Whisper and Cancer Bats.