The Carps
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The Carps

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The best kept secret in music


"School of Rock"

January 26, 2003

Luiz Furtado-Castro (drums), Jahmal ("Jay") Tonge (guitar, soulful vocals),Neil White (bass, baritone vocals)History: Started by longtime pals Tonge and White when they were in a church band in Flemingdon Park as teenagers. The name comes from "Carpe Diem." or "Seize the day" (they thought it sounded too high-and-mighty for a rock band, so shortened it to 'The Carps').

U of T connection:
White is a student of Evolutionary Biology at Trinity College, working as a Research Assistant to Dr. Spencer Barrett, the world authority on the evolution of plant mating systems. The others: Furtado-Castro (apparently a nephew of the Cuban dictator?!) is "a Brazilian immigrant hoping the Canadian government will let [him] stay," while Tonge is a "frustrated" Journalism student at York U.

Their sound:
"I'd say our roots are in the classic greats, but our present sound is more like a cross between the Strokes and the Neptunes," Tonge explains. "We love real rock'n'roll as well as booty-shaking hip-hop beats. We keep it a bit raw being from Scarborough and all," he quips. Common influences: Inspired by their fathers' vinyl collections, the guys like the old greats like the Beatles, Al Green, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and ("of course") Stevie Wonder. Biggest show to date: The Carps have had the ups and downs of any indie group, but the high so far was a show at a summer camp in Cobourg, Ontario to 300 people. Claim to fame: Will be recording their demo in the Jack 92.5 FM studios. (Then there's that matter of the Castro connection...)

School vs. the band:
"Last term I thought that adopting a nocturnal schedule would be the answer," says White sheepishly," But I ended having a maximum of 4 hours of sleep per night (the guy's insane-he does Varsity fencing, coaches soccer, runs a biology club, teaches Taekwon-Do at Hart House, is an avid rock climber, and works in the lab). I just let Jay handle the business side of things as it were."

"I work, so I'm usually tired, but it's a good break from the daily 'grind', and I love playing and making music," Furtado-Castro offers, "So I make time.

"Promoting their band on campus: Aside from the upcoming show at the Buttery (see below), the band feels that college newspapers like this one and other indie-friendly outlets on campus are a crucial way of spreading the word about bands like themselves.

What's next:
"We think that when an opportunity for your music to travel around the world knocks, you should take it," Tonge says. "The money and fame is not promised, nor is it a desire of ours. We play for ourselves at the end of the day. But at the same time, there is no sense to writing songs and sitting in your tiny dorm playing them for the guy across the hall. The music will always be our first priority. That's why I'm tired of making promotion and showcases my priority, so maybe we will get a manager to steal our money." They'll also be re-recording the single "Father's Day" from their album for radio play.

Final words:
"Music can do more than than Bush and a couple of bombs, Fantino and his brethren." (Referencing a recent police stop where he was harrased). "Music affects us all in a very real way, and that's what we want to do for every listener," Says Neil. "Black, white, Asian, poor, filthy rich, whatever. We just want to do music justice, and do it real."

Next gig: Jan. 28, The Buttery in the Gerald Larkin Building - UofT Varsity Newspaper

"Carps make Music - Interview"

-Hello, Who are you?:

Neil White:
Hi, we are The Carps, we are from Toronto. We play Rock'n'Soul. A mix of old Rock'n'Roll bands and Soul music.

-What are you doing here in K.L.?

NW: Well, we sent a demo to a guy who saw us play back at home and he invited me out here to play shows like this one today at your school campus. So I'm going to try to do what we do back home by myself.

Jahmal Tonge:
Neil is partying. That is all he ever does!

-I heard your song on the radio the other day, the people like it. Do you have an album out in shops?

NW: No we don't. That's why we are here. To get somebody to put our records in your shops. It's cool that people like it. It was taken from our demos for a first EP we wanted to do. It's really raw, and I guess that's why people dig it. The plans are to record a bit here and at home. It's coming together nicely.

JT:As a young boys we thought that music was supposed to challenge the mainstream Ideals of what was good and lovely. We are still a young boys. But we are now a group of blokes who make music not just to achieve some vain sense of sucess, but for the intention of creating the best piece of art/expression possible. So with this new recording, the old thoughts of playing and singing as to not offend any paticular group or genre have gone out the window. Life is not safe, protected in a glass vase. Why sould music be? We play from our souls. The guitars are loud and ruff-shankle, and the drums are clinically obese.

NW: Thanks J, a simple "It's going well" would have been good.

-You two seem to get on very good. Does that help the music?

JT: Of Course! Neil is my brother. We've been tight together since we were kids. Everything I write, he makes into real songs. Without him everything would be a 30 second tune!

NW: We are tight with the other guys as well, they aren't in this conversation because they are shy.

-Do you guys think you will be really popular back in America? Or will you try to be popular here?

JT: I don't give a damn about being popular. I let managers and record companies, and the 'industry' people worry about that. We just play music wherever people want to hear it. I'm glad that it's happens to be over there in K.L.

NW: I think we can be really popular in America yes. I mean, back home we have so many different types of people and genres, the four of us fit into each and any of them.
I'm glad that I came here though. It's cool to see that even though we are unknown still at home, people over here in Asia really like it. I went out with a group of people in Tokyo, and they paid for my dinner just because our song was on the radio! Maybe if we get on the radio back home, somebody will pay my rent!

-Thank you Carps for talking for me. We enjoy your music, and we want to see you all play soon.

JT: Thank You Johnny for talking to me, and for playing our music and passing it on to others. But I must go to bed! It is very late here. Good night Neil, good night Johnny. Good night KL! See you soon!

NW: Thank you very much Johnny, this has been a great experience. I hope this gets you the big press you wanted! I love KL, and I can't wait to come back with all the boys. Look out for the EP record. 6 tracks. We'll be back next year! Good bye.

----End (Johhny Leu) - Kuala Lumpur (?)

"Hip hop and spoken word artists perform at orientation event"

Yorkfest is a campus-wide event happening September 14, and you can count on a ton of people there trying to catch a glimpse of one of the great acts performing that day.

However, for those who were keen enough to notice, another star-studded event took place this past Friday, September 2. The Atkinson Student Association held the Slam Music Fest for Frosh Week at the Underground's Contact Nightclub.

Despite the overzealous security features - a rather large metal barrier was stationed in front of the stage holding back a maximum of about 70 audience members - as well as a low turnout, the talent shined on.

Saukrates, BrassMunk and K'Naan were the night's big attractions, but it was the spoken word poets and lesser-known acts that really spoke true to the night's messages of peace, unity and hip hop.

Poet Helen Johannes had the small crowd's full attention with her impassioned delivery. Zaki, who performed in front of the large barrier before the stage, had the kind of strong and pure voice that many music students would kill for, not to mention her lyrics, which were also worth hearing. In between sets, breakdance crew the Drunken Monkz entertained with DJ Mensa - believe me, you haven't seen anything until you've seen someone slide across the floor on their head.

The show really started getting into heavy territory when local rock/hip hop duo The Carps took to the stage. Their sound was somewhat reminiscent of another local band, Death From Above 1979, with the drummer spitting lyrics while furiously ravaging his skins and the bassist standing to the side soaking it up. But what made them really stand out was their energy and the undeniable hip hop element of their music.

Finally, K'naan came on and it was as if you could feel the audience holding its breath for this up-and-coming Somalian-born artist. There was a large berth between the metal barrier and the crowd, as if everyone was afraid to get too close to the stage.
After the first song, K'naan invited the crowd to move closer, creating a more intimate atmosphere and allowing the audience to relax and enjoy.

K'naan was the perfect performer to have at an event like this. His intimate knowledge of war and struggle in Somalia made his message of peace all the more credible and extremely powerful. His natural stage presence and lyrical charm made him an easy favourite for the best performance of the night.

Pumped up by the K'naan set, the audience was ready for more when BrassMunk started into their own. With S-Roc, Clip and King Reign bounding all over the stage spitting rhymes between each other and DJ Agile spinning in the back, it was hard not to get into the show.

Halfway through the set, a red-shirted man stormed the stage and took over the mic, introducing himself as Saukrates and taking over the show with the rest of the BrassMunk crew as backup. The set was a great cap to a night full of new sounds and experiences.

The flyers posted around the Student Centre promoting the event said it cost $15 to enter, but admission to the show was actually free, thanks to a last minute corporate sponsorship.

The lesson learned today? Attend your frosh events and get involved with your college! You never know what amazing things you might see or experience at school until you get out there and do it.
- York University Excalibur Newspaper - Written by Colleen Hale-Hodgson

"The Big Fish Rumours!"

Most college bands never rely on any kind of hype to sell out a show. They rely on roomates changing their MSN names to "Come out to my buddies show!" or letting all of their friendsters and lab partners know about their pals' gig. The Carps on the other hand are a authentic buzz band.

As the track that has been wafting throughout all the rooms in the college kicked in, 'All the damn kids', you knew something special was taking place. A real Grassroots band. From the college circle, supported by the college circle they live in. And Welch house resident and Bass player Neil knows it. "We are everybody's favorite band, but yet you guys don't buy our $5 CD! Come on! File-sharing is for Justin Timberlake songs." The Carps have a song called confidence, and drummer Luiz tells me what it's all about. "It's simply about how much better we are than most bands in this city. We aren't bound style-wise to any genre or any scene. We're just a copule guys from Scarborough who can do everything anybody else can. Perhaps better. Hip-Hop, Latin, Rock'n'Roll, whatever." A part of me wanted to say, "Who do these guys think they are?" But cockiness never hurt anyone right? But really, it doesn't matter. I think I love these guys! (I'm particularly crushing on the cute guitar player..) "I'm glad the other guys think so highly of this band, we are pretty good. The best? I don't know.. but I think Neil & I write some good tunes."
Hopefully these fellows decide to make good of the record they promised, and bring their sexy, booty-shaking, love making music out of the college, and into the Stadiums.
- Trinity Saltarae Newspaper

"The Carps @ Toronto City Roots Song Celebration"

Passionate 60's rock'n'roll and r&b, one whole classic set of Monterey Pop!
The Carps festival opening set was solid. Showcasing lead singer Jahmal Tonge and his smooth voice. An acoustic set With an old Jazz standard cover thrown in for good measure. The closing set two days later however was a bit of a surprise to the attendees at the distillery. A full band set was in order and The Carps blend of racous Rock'n'Roll and R&B was well recieved by the young & old festival attendees. - The Buzz Review


*The Carps – “the Young & Passionate days of Carpedia”
Independently released (Blousen Records) 5 trk EP/Demo
*The Carps - "All The Damn Kids" -single
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
*The Carps – “My Good times”
Flow 93.5/with artist Tiga.H
*The Carps - "This Love" & "Entrance soundtrack"
UofT CIUT 89.5 Radio
Seneca College Radio
York University CHRY 105.5 Radio
Waterloo University CKMS 100.3 Radio
McGill University CKUT 90.3 Radio
UofBC CiTR 101.9
*Work on “Hipsters Contrition” EP
at Jack 92.5 studios Toronto
(Hipsters Contition demo Sen@York.U Studios)


Feeling a bit camera shy


A Message From your Friendly Neighborhood Carps:

The Carps are two young Rock’n’Rollers who wear tight Jeans and sit outside of West Indian food shops drinking Malts and eating jerk-something with patties. We talk about the type of songs we want to write, sometimes deciding we want to write a Franco-Bossa Nova type tune simply because we can. We are of distinct ethnic groups, and in Toronto’s east side; Scarborough, we blend together like PC's and Blocs. Oh, and we are, or at least pretend to be politically conscious. Lastly we would like to thank Death From Above 1979 for everything they have done. In every way.
Thank you, We love you all in our dreams.


Whether hanging out on Queen St. West, or in front of Nicey’s in Scarborough, The Carps are cogitating and obsessing over their music. Practicing and crafting their sound meticulously has made The Carps one of the front-runners of the burgeoning Toronto music scene.

The year of The Carp. Time in Asia opened up the band to international success. Gaining radio play in Malaysia, and with the band in talks for with a scruffy but passionate Japanese indie label, things are looking good in the East. Back West at home, the Carps were busy performing to a sold out showcase audiences at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern and The Distillery among other dates. The Carps, whether playing at home, or Montreal to New York... It is Youth, Sex and Energy... All of these things that embody The Carps live.

Jahmal Tonge, Soul junkie. Growing up on asexual legends like Michael Jackson and Prince, Hip-Hop artists like The Fugees and LL Cool J; it was sifting through his father’s record collection that exposed to him what he was looking for all along. Al Green, Otis Redding, Motown. Soul music. Music that is, and will always be at the heart of The Carps. But as it is, attempting to recreate an era long gone would be futile. The Carps thrive on ingenuity and vicissitude, newness. Therefore the Captain of the ship, Neil White, wielding his bass, steers this raw emotion into a palatable and at times progressive direction. All this while never leaving his ‘Mindless self-indulgence’ duct tape Punk Rock days far behind him. Also taking cues from his Father’s record collection in the thousands, Neil guides the vessel learned by the hands of Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, and Genesis.

As distribution in Asia is being secured for The Carps debut EP recorded at the ever glorious ‘Studio 215’ in Philadelphia PA, (studio home to The Roots), the focus of 2006 will be getting the real goods to the masses. A tour of Japan will commence in the next year, with support of Channel .V Malaysia. A set of shows with support of Afro-Punk (Official selection Toronto Film Fest) producers will be another journey in cross-border relations, again bringing the band to New York. At home, the band will be placed on a campus tour in the winter of 2006 showcasing the new record, as well as dates with other Toronto talent such as K'Naan, Brassmunk, Saukrates and Shawn Hewitt & The National Strike.

The Carps. Simply brilliant. Comprised of two distinct individuals with one vision in music. To create a sound that is new and fresh. But more so, relevant to all listeners. Music that holds no boundaries. Music that matters. This is Rock'n'Soul. The beginnings of a Revolution.