By Keith Sharp
Unveiling its 2016 Canadian Music Week showcase event at Toronto’s Cherry Colas venue on Thursday May 5th 2016, Music Express magazine has selected Indie Can Records to utilize this evening to promote its roster of domestic talent.
Launched in 2015, Indie Can Records as a boutique label operated by Avi Federgreen who has earned a reputation as probably Canada’s most aggressive and successful producer of domestic independent, low- budget movies. Federgreen’s Federgreen Entertainment has over 60 titles to his credit in his more than 20 years in the industry. But as he has himself experienced; “There’s more than 200 films made in this country yet less than 10% of those films ever get distributed.”
It’s a parallel Federgreen drew with Canada’s music industry. “When it comes to signing talent in this country, the usual suspects seem to be involved but a lot of the less connected people are being passed over. As someone who has constantly struggled to finance, produce and distribute movies in this country, I can empathize with these people and I wanted to help them.”
“I am the first to admit that I don’t know the business end of the music industry but, from my movie experience, I do know how to initiate a project, be totally involved in all aspects of the project from production, direction through to the art work, the financing and the distribution so I believe there are some great similarities between the two industries.”
Federgreen, whose movie credits include such titles as `Score: The Hockey Musical’, `Still Mine’, `Moon Point’, ‘Prisoner X’ `The Cocksure Lads”, “How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town” and `One Week’, found his first artist for his own Indie Can record label when he caught Sudbury’s Murder Murder bluegrass band perform at a 2015 NxNE conference showcase. “They were amazing, like a Canadian Mumford & Sons and they sang all these songs about death, really unique. So I started talking to them and found out they had a huge following in Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada but that was about it.”
Another artist he discovered was Laura Tremblay, an actress who starred as Jenny in The Cocksure Lads movie, Executive Produced by Federgreen and directed and written by an associate,Murray Foster, formerly of Moxy Fruvous. “She was singing all these covers and I told her, you’ve got a great voice but why are you wasting your talent, you need to write some original material. So she went away and started working with her friend Kashka Ironside and came back with 18 songs.
So far, Federgreen’s roster is comprised of Murder Murder, Tremblay, Thunder Bay’s Nick Sherman, Sudbury’s Jennifer Holub and Port Colborne Ontario native, Emily Madronich, a talented group he is in the process of developing a business plan for that will enable them to obtain recognition. “In producing movies you are trying to get as many eyeballs on the screen as possible and with music you are trying to get as many ears on the product as possible. I want to deal with passionate artists who are committed to taking their talents to the next level.”
Federgreen exhibited his marketing talents last Fall when he staged a showcase for his roster at Toronto’s Rivoli venue as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, a showcase which included Murder Murder, Tremblay and Madronich. “Even though no one knew any of these artists, the venue was jam packed,” Federgreen enthused, “That showcase was a major success.”
Federgreen is aware that you have to think outside the box to succeed in distributing independent movies, utilizing outlets like Netflix, iTunes and even Air Canada to counter-act a lack of major distribution and he feels music distribution is also open to some unique innovations.
“With the lack of record sales opportunities and the onus on artists having to play live to make music, you wonder how these people can possibly make a living,” mused Federgreen. “Both the music and movie industry have the same funding issues but I am fascinated by how the two mediums can work together. Movie and television soundtracks all use music and I can see this as a great outlet to promote Canadian talent”.