Under the Covers with Riley Rossmo

Riley Rossmo is a Calgary based comic book artist who has gained recognition for his well detailed and vibrant style of drawing. He has worked on big name comics such as: “Green Wake”, “Rebel Blood”, “Bedlam”, and his latest adventure “Drumhellar”.

“I think [when I first took interest] my grandma gave me a G.I. Joe comic when I was about 5 and sick with a fever. I was hooked after that,” says Riley.

“The second comic I remember reading was Voltron #1 and after that I’d buy used comics from the quarter bin at the local used book/comic/record store,” he adds.

“I’ve always been into drawing narratives. I’d draw little military scenes, animal drawings, fantasy battles, design cars, etc.” he says.

“I was often bored in school so I drew all the time on everything,” Riley says.

“I received my formal training when I was 19 in college,” he shares.

Comic book art is very distinct in nature and always has an emphasis on dramatic flair. Riley draws his inspiration from the real world.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about horror and comics lately. I feel like the grotesque is easy to draw and I’d look at images of road kill, or from slaughter houses for inspiration and apply it pretty directly especially in Rebel Blood and Green Wake,” says Riley.

“The next horror comic I’d like to try and do is something in atmospheric horror,” he adds.

Being a comic book artist wasn’t always his first choice as a career either.

“Yes and no, I didn’t know it was an option really till I got older,” says Riley.

“As a teen the only people I knew in the arts that had careers were tattoo artists and I only really put my mind to doing something in art after I went on a tour of ACAD,” he mentions.

He found his success when his first big comic “Proof” was published by Image Comics.

Each edition to his collection of contributions quickly becomes his favorite series.

“Whatever’s current is always my favourite. I like making, imagining, and building stuff more than putting the final touches on this,” he says.

Most artists usually draw inspiration from the real world, experiences they’ve had, or even some fantastical ideas birthed from the recess of their minds.

“I draw my influences from film, books, comics, locations, etc. and I read a lot and listen to podcasts, when I travel,” says Riley.

“My biggest influences are probably Bill Sienkiewicz, Ego Schiele, John Byrne, and Frank Millar,” he says.

One of his long time collaborators, Kurtis Wiebe, has shared quite a bit of success as well.

“We both lived in Saskatoon for a while. I was interested in doing something new and Kurtis was open to starting a book from the ground up so we came up with a concept and started fleshing it out,” he says.

“It was pretty cool to work like that in the same physical space,” Riley adds.

“When we can work in a back and forth way like that we do good. When talking concepts or pacing, or characters, I like to do it verbally,” he says.

“On Green Wake we’d back and forth a lot and let each other’s’ ideas grow and evolve and it was a real partnership,” Riley adds.

Being artistic has always been important to Riley.

“Drawing is the only thing I’ve ever worked at that hasn’t been a grind,” he says.

Calgary has its own little niche for artists and the city is responding to the success each artist has gained.

“Comics have an interesting place in Calgary,” says Riley.

“ACAD produces a lot of artists and more of them seem to be into comics so the talent pool keeps growing,” he adds.

“Historically there have been some comic giants such as John Byrne, Todd Mcfarlene and Cary Nord from here. The thing about oil and comics is lots of engineers seems to be into comics and with all the wealth in oil lots of big comic art and comic collectors in Calgary can afford to buy stuff,” he mentions.

Some big names such as Guillermo del Toro, the Dalai lama, Rupert Sheldrake and Grant Morrison are people he’d love to meet one day. Grant Morrison is also well known for his contributions to DC comics.

Riley’s steam isn’t running out any time soon. He’s working on some new material that is quickly gaining attention as well.

“My newest book ‘Drumhellar’ (a paranormal road trip set in small town America), came out in November and I’m pretty excited about it,” he says.

“I’m co-plotting, penciling, inking and coloring it,” he adds.

Riley Rossmo has contributed to: “Seven Sons” (Ait/Planet Lar), “Proof” (Image Comics), “Cowboy Ninja Viking” (Image Comics), “Green Wake” (Image Comics), “Rebel Blood” (Image Comics), “Daken The Dark Walverin” (Marvel Comics), “Debris” (Image Comics), “Bedlam” (Image Comics), “Adventures of Superman” (DC Comics), “Dia de la Muertos” (Image Comics), and “Drumhelar” (Image Comics).

The Man behind the Masses

Rich Aucoin is an indie rock experimental solo artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia whose sound cannot be simply put into words.  As a collaborator to the instrumental supergroup, “The Hylozoists”, he has put out an EP titled “Public Publication, a studio album “We’re All Dying To Live,” and is currently working on his upcoming 2nd studio LP “Ephemeral”.

 Rich Aucoin takes an experimental approach to writing. In an interview on MTV Canada, Rich said he likes to watch movies with the sound off and compose music to coincide with it.

Where many would sit down with a group and work out arrangements in a well-mannered fashion, he’s found a niche that just might be the coolest way to write any song.

 “I write all my music influenced by visuals and compose my pop songs like they’re scores for a film,” says Rich Aucoin.

 “So all the songs I’ve released also sync up to a visual and film with many synchronicities occurring between the visuals and the audio,” he says.

 Living in a reality where you visualize how the music would sound feels like a place where ultimate creative freedom can birth.

 With visuals taking an important role in his music, it isn’t a surprise that he’d spend as much time on video as he would the sound.

 “Thematically, the visuals really influence what the song is about too,” he also adds.

 “I think it just gives me a framework for me to visualize certain things about the song right away (i.e. tempo, certain key beats, theme, lyrical suggestions, and duration),” he says.

 Rich Aucoin’s music video for the single “It” parodies pop culture references to famous Hollywood films such as Die Hard and E.T.

 After gaining attention from the masses, and being coined as the greatest opening act in Canada due to audience participation and a giant parachute alongside visuals, he’s working on something even more exciting than the last record.

 “The new record, Ephemeral, syncs to the 1970’s version of Le Petit Prince,” says Rich Aucoin.

 “Other restrictions on the songs other than retelling the story and theme of that amazing book are that the songs are all quite fast and short with the whole record being 10 songs and just under 30mins,” he mentions.

 Rich Aucoin has earned recognition for his talent and music alike.

“This year [2012] marks the inaugural instalment of the Prism Prize, a newly launched award that celebrates the best Canadian music video from the past year. After weeks of lead-up, the organizers have now announced the winner for the prize’s first edition: ‘Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E.’ by Rich Aucoin,” from exclaim.ca by Alex Hudson.

“This song appeared on Aucoin’s 2011 album We’re All Dying to Live, while the Noah Pink-directed video followed in September of last year. The unique clip tells the life story of the iconic Beach Boys songwriter by taking Aucoin through a series of Brian Wilson-themed sets on a sound stage,” exclaim adds.

And the music scene is swiftly responding to this recognition by showing support.

The Canadian music scene is sometimes taken as a joke or is rarely talked about as much as the U.S. or Europe, but Rich thinks otherwise when considering A-list talent.

 “[Canada] totally does [have a strong music scene] and such a wide range from Arcade Fire, Drake,  Justin Bieber to Celine Dion and there’s tons of huge artists,” says Rich Aucoin.

 “In the indie world, we’ve got such a huge number of respected artists for such a small population and it’s a very healthy and vibrant scene,” he adds.

It doesn’t hurt having industry heavyweights such as Broken Social Scene or Metric to help break through the musical barriers between indie and mainstream rock/pop.

 Rich has his music tastes just as varied too.

 “I really liked Pink Floyd growing up and film-like pop music,” he says.

 The visual aspect of his career is one that’s as prominent in everyday life as the music.

 “I like photography and visuals for sure,” he adds.

And if he wasn’t a musician, he would love to be a filmmaker and hopes to do that one day.

 With a strong music community backing his decisions, Rich Aucoin is swiftly becoming an indie heartthrob that will resonate throughout the masses for years to come.

 For more on Rich Aucoin check out his website and Facebook page. He might even reply to your answers too.

Annual Calgary Zombie Walk Takes a Bite Out of the City

Calgary Zombie Walk

The Calgary Zombie walk is an event that happens once yearly in the spirit of Halloween, The Walking Dead and dressing up to give Calgarians quite a scare.

It’s all in good fun of course, where thousands gather at Olympic Plaza dressed in their best attire of flesh, brains, blood and good vibes.

The streets were packed as zombies rushed the survivors to put up a fight for their life.

From Mario and Luigi to Batman to dead brides and corpses, the spirit of Halloween could be felt and heard throughout the downtown core.

They marched and trudged along Steven Ave. and carried onward to 17th Ave. where the crowd gathered to recollect and take a breather while socializing.

From young to old, everyone participated in the anguish.

The best part about Halloween is seeing the creativity people put into their costumes to further keep the tradition alive.

Passers-by were scared and surprised cheering and honking their horns as their eyes beheld the army of zombies strutting their way.

“I love this event and the spirit of Halloween,” one crowd member said.

Photographers took their stand along with the survivors while some were daring enough to make their way right into the heart of the walk to get the best angles and shots.

If you haven’t had the chance to attend before, I highly recommend giving yourself a good scare next Halloween.

https://twitter.com/DylanStreifel

Young Galaxy: A Profile

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Young Galaxy is an indie rock/dream pop Canadian group that originated in Vancouver, B.C. in 2005.

Their sound is compared to Pink Floyd and Luna with elements of shoegaze and electronic-oriented soundscapes.

Originally on Arts&Crafts records (A recording company staple based out of Toronto), they have been releasing under Paper Bag records in recent years with a noticeable stylistic shift towards dance music elements.

Catherine McCandless features a more prominent role as a lead singer.

I watched Young Galaxy perform at SAIT’s The Gateway on September 21st and to my amazement saw a very minimal set up using background projections as an added element to a dream like set list.

The crowd gathered as they hit the stage and everyone was hypnotically entranced holding their gaze upon Catherine’s captivating eyes.

“She sounds like Dolores from The Cranberries,” I heard one audience member say.

The fours would hit the floor and everyone was crooning and dancing with their hands waving like flags.

Doused in 90’s vibes, even down to Catherine McCandless’ outfit of leather overalls to the swept back short hair, the crowd couldn’t help but move to the swaying dream pop resonating throughout the venue.

She gave a deadpan stare and moved elegantly with a shaker in her hand that seemed automated everytime she shook it but instead was rhythmically moving to the beat of the drums.

When they released their self-titled debut album back in 2007, their music was quickly being recognized for its well-crafted songs that carried you to a place you’ve never been to.

Even when you think you haven’t heard them before, you might have caught their tune “The Sun’s Coming up and My Plane’s Going Down” in the Canadian film “Y.P.F (Young People F**king)”.

It’s to no one’s surprise that they’ve accredited praise release after release while expanding their sound to incorporate electronic elements such as midi drums in their foray of instruments.

Their music has shifted in tone but hasn’t lost its edge.

They’ve adopted a more “impressionistic” writing style, says Stephen Ramsay (guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist), instead of using the verse-chorus-verse progression commonly found in all types of music.

Their new album Ultramarine, which was longlisted as a nominee for the sought after Polaris Music Prize, is available in your local music stores.

You can catch Young Galaxy continue their U.S. tour from September 27th through November 10th.

Check out “Embers” from their self-titled release and “Fall For You” off of Ultramarine.

Website: http://younggalaxy.com/

by: Dylan Streifel

Getting a Little ‘Risky’ with Cale Zebedee

Risky Endeavor is a 3 piece group consisting of Cale Zebedee (Bass), Paul Gervais (Drums) and Ryan Landon (Guitar) who are looking to storm the world with their melody driven, good-time-vibe rock and roll.

Cale Zebedee plays bass and shares vocals with Ryan. I sat down with Cale to find out just how “risky” his band could get.

“I’ve always been playing bass since I started [music],” says Cale.

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They originated in Calgary, Alberta contributing to the small but strong and proud music community.

“Music’s a risky endeavor,” says Cale.

“You put a lot into it and hope for something to come out of it,” he adds.

Cale has been in many bands but wishes to have no other affiliation than his current project. Risky Endeavor is looking to make a bigger impact on the music scene.

“We are going to take it as far as it takes us,” Cale shares.

“Until it doesn’t fit us anymore, we don’t care. We would still jam because we are all about having fun but being serious,” he adds.

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Cale is not a stranger to the road either. He has already been on tour across Canada.

“I love the road. There is honestly nothing better than waking up in a new place every few days,” he says.

“The only constant is change,” he shares wisely.

“It’s a whole different lifestyle, but there’s just such a romance you form with it,” he mentions.

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 “I honestly would love to do some Risky touring but we have a few other things to worry about before we do that,” such as getting well known in their hometown first and foremost.

Risky Endeavor is influenced by some of the greats and some not as well known.

Jesse Lacey (lead singer of Brand New) and Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters) are among some of their most favorite acts today.

“They just do it for me,” says Cale.

“Ryan Landon is really influenced by Modest Mouse (an indie rock group based out of Washington), and Matthew Good (based out of Vancouver), he shares.

“We all love Matthew Good,” he says proudly.

There are bright futures for these talented young men.

“Risky is going to record for a few months and work on a 2014 release of an EP,” he shares as an insight.

“We really wanted to release something this year but we want to give people the best that we have, so we have been holding off and perfecting songs,” he mentions.

You can catch Cale, Ryan and Paul at their most favorite venue Vern’s Tavern on 8 Ave SW most of the time and at Dickens Pub on 9th Avenue SW coming up.

“Our show’s on the 30th (October). It’s with a bunch of really great touring bands and I feel honoured to be on the bill.

Trace The Sky (members of Dead Eyes Open and The Perfect Trend) from Vancouver, Sharks on Fire from Vancouver, and Old Townes from Edmonton.

“It’s at Dickens Pub. It’s the day before Halloween so we are probably going to dress up,” says Cale.

If you’d like to get dressed up, get risky and get rowdy, be sure to grab your tickets before they run out.

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