By Keith Sharp
Their story starts out just like any group of kids who meet in high school and dream about forming a rock group. Luke Shauf (bass), Warren Frank (lead vocals/guitar) and Tanner Pare(drums) met during their grade 11 music class at I.E Weldon Secondary School in central Ontario in 2011, found a common affinity and started to hang out together.
Calling themselves The Kents, named after Lindsay’s main thoroughfare ( Kent Street) , the trio eventually added guitarist Fred Kwon and started to write original material together. Influenced originally by other Canadian indie bands like The Arkells and Hollerados, The Kent penned a bunch original tracks but had no idea how good they were until on song, “The Stakes” was selected for a Hockey Night In Canada musical montage for a game seven telecast.
“That was the first mind-blowing thing that ever happened to us,” noted band lead guitarist Shauf, on the phone from Kingston Ontario where they are in the midst of a short tour to promote their new EP “Within Waves” and debut single “Caroline (I Can’t Explain). “You can write music and think it’s great but it can be garbage to everyone else. But when “The Stakes” was selected by Hockey Night In Canada for their music montage we felt that people were catching on to us and that maybe we had something positive going on.”
Recipients of Apple Music’s Rising Stars Award and selected as Toronto’s Walk Of Fame Emerging Artists in 2016, The Kents recorded their first five-track EP, titled `Waking’ in 2015 while studying at various Universities in Kingston, Toronto and Chicago. “We communicated to write the material through Facebook and digitally through a computer and once we got into the studio we each had an appendage that we sewed together and created little Frankenstein’s,” joked Shauf. “But for our second EP, `Within Waves, it was more like a sperm and egg situation. We were all together in one room, creating the songs.
Shauf notes that the band’ song writing is a team effort. “No one comes with a full idea, some one might have a chord progression and some one else might come up with the lyrics but we all generally contribute to the songs.”
Trying to tour and make a name for themselves with only 10 original songs is always a challenge for a new band and Shauf agrees that during their first tours, they had to pad their set with covers but now with 10 songs and a bunch of other tracks which may make future albums, the band has progressed to performing a completely original set.
Having performed with The Trews, The Strumbellas and Fast Romantics, Shauf says their geographical position in Lindsay has helped them break ground in Ontario. “We are the Highway 401 specials,” he laughed. “We don’t have to travel more than five hours either east or west of Lindsay to find about 20 places to play which is a great saving on gasoline,” he allowed. “We are finding our road legs as much as we can and we are slowly building up a sizeable following.”
As a band that’s a product of today’s social media, The Kents have learned from the onset that they are responsible for marketing as well as recording their own material.
“It’s an on-going process to learn how to use social media to promote your music,” offers Shauf. “I check out other band websites and I want to see quality sites, with quality photographs and effective videos. I find the bands with quality website usually also generate quality music. With us, we realize that people are watching us all the time, we have to do our best to communicate with our fans and to provide them with a quality website. You have to do your best to represent your music.”
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:Jan 11 – House Of Targ, Ottawa, ONJan 12 – Grad Club, Kingston, ON – TICKETSJan 13 – Phog Lounge, Windsor, ONJan 14 – The Casbah, Hamilton, ON – TICKETSJan 18 – Warehouse, St. Catharines, ON – TICKETSJan 19 – Casa Del Popolo, Montreal, QC – TICKETSJan 26 – Neat Coffee Shop, Burnstown, ONJan 27 – Moustache Club, Oshawa, ON