Mediaplanet: Growing up in Ontario you must have attended tons of concerts and festivals, which festivals and regions stood out the most to you and why?

Wes Marskell: Growing up here I have always taken for granted the depth of musical acts that come through Toronto. I’ve seen The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, and Arcade Fire, in tiny venues. Toronto is a hub for great local and touring acts. Beyond Toronto, I have always loved Guelph’s Hillside Festival. It’s about more than just music as they create a wonderful all-around experience. That’s also true of the relatively new but equally as wonderful Field Trip Festival. We’ve played Field Trip the past two years, and it’s only getting better.

MP: When you’re on tour around the continent, what do you miss most about home?

WM: Ontario, though Canada in general, is full of kind, good-natured and friendly people. There’s a feeling I get when I cross the border from Detroit back into Windsor on a tour. I feel comfortable and safe. I’m always happy to be back in Canada. It’s an unmistakable and intangible feeling.

“I’m always happy to be back in Canada. It’s an unmistakable and intangible feeling.”

MP: You’ve played at many different kinds of venues in Ontario. Where would you tell a first-time concertgoer to check out this summer? 

WM: On July 12th, we’re playing The Kee to Bala with Arkells. I’ve been lucky enough to see The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts, Matthew Good, and more there. It’s a relatively big venue but it feels very intimate. It’s not often that you get a chance to see a great band play in what’s essentially an old cottage right on lake Muskoka. If you ever get a chance to see a show there, take it.

From top left: Jason Couse (vocals, guitar, keys), Wes Marskell (drums), Michael le Riche (guitar, synth, vocals) and Dave Hurlow (bass).
Photo: Jenny Hueston

MP: When you’re touring the province, what are your favourite spots to go to unwind?

WM: We have a couple favourite spots that we like to visit to break up the long drive, including the beach in Pancake Bay or Sandbanks Provincial Park. We are always encouraged to get off the beaten track a bit and explore our surroundings, and it really is amazing what kind of unexpected beauty can be found just minutes from the highway. 

MP: You guys have played all across North America, but what is it about playing in Ontario that makes it so special? 

WM: Ontario is home. Though we may specifically be from Toronto, when we step on stage in Hamilton, Kingston, or Ottawa, the crowd treats us like hometown boys. We’ve been playing the 401 for years now and every time we roll in to a different city we’re given the warmest of welcomes.

MP: Where have you toured in Ontario that has really stood out to you in terms of people and culture?

WM: It makes me proud that diversity and acceptance is part of Ontario's culture. We just elected the first openly gay head of government in the commonwealth of nations. I love seeing the plethora of flags during World Cup and it's amazing that I can walk one block from my house, past an Ethiopian restaurant, to get an authentic Mexican fish taco in the heart of Korea town. We've got lots of culture.

MP: When you're not touring, where's your favourite spot to go in Ontario to unwind and relax?

WM: We've been feverishly working on new songs for a forthcoming record and I feel like I've had little time to do much else. When I do get a minute, however, I've been keen on playing golf. Golf is a sport I played well as a kid and I use the hours on the course to take my mind off writing, sales, our next tour, etc. I do my best to just enjoy being outside. I've already played a few rounds this year, with the fortune of playing all over Southern Ontario, and I'm always impressed with the quality of the courses.