CHARLOTTETOWN – Iain McCarvill isn’t getting much sleep these days, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
© Alyssa Gallant/Special to the Journal Pioneer.
Iain McCarvill rocks the Rock Stage at the Delta Prince Edward on Saturday night, along with his band, the Meds. The group is set to release their debut full-length album later this month.
The Kensington native, and bassist/vocalist for the Meds, has been putting in work this week in the capital city, both working and playing all over town.
With some of the venues open around the clock for East Coast Music Week, McCarvill and his band have been busy, to say the least.
“Early mornings and late nights,” McCarvill sighed with a laugh. “All the venues have been absolutely full all week, so we’re happy as hell, man. We’ll probably sleep for the next week straight.”
While the Meds are not nominated for an award this year, they are gearing up to release their debut full-length album, South America, later this month. With new material on display, the Meds took to the Rock Stage on Saturday night at the Delta Prince Edward. In a packed audience, there were not only fans, but also delegates from music festivals, television shows and the movie industry.
“A lot of it has been about getting to meet some of the delegates, from across North America into Europe and Australia,” he said. “It’s about making connections and building relationships.”
Another Prince County musician hoping to strike up some new relationships this weekend is singer/songwriter Jordan Cameron, of Summerside.
Cameron has been on a marathon song-session, gracing the stage eight times in the last three days.
“It’s been crazy,” he said. “It was definitely the busiest and most fun ECMA week I’ve had yet.”
Cameron got the chance to play on the P.E.I. Roots Stage, one of the bigger events of the weekend, Saturday night at the Guild. Cameron had fun with the opportunity to play in front of a packed crowd, getting the fans to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to his brother in a self-shot video posted to Instagram.
The connections formed are vital to a young performer like Cameron, who has a busy summer of touring ahead of him.
“Even if you’re playing a short set, tucked away in the corner of a bar, you never know who is there watching.”
If anybody knows the importance of creating links in the music industry, it’s McCarvill and the Meds. In a movie-like twist, the band was discovered after their demo fell into the hands of one of Eastern Canada’s most well known musicians, Matt Mays.
After hearing Mays was in Charlottetown for a show, the band saw it as a chance to get their name out there. Rather than opening for Mays, or being introduced to him, they instead resorted to a stealthier tactic.
“One of the guys went on a hunt downtown for Matt Mays,” McCarvill recalled with a laugh. “He ended up finding him in a coffee shop downtown and handed him our demo.”
From there, the demo went into a pile of others Mays receives everywhere he goes, and remained there for a while. It wasn’t until Mays was cruising through California in a rental car, that he heard the demo.
“I guess he was in this rental car and didn’t have any of his own music,” McCarvill said. “So he reaches into his duffle bag and pulls out this crappy, burned off CD that just says ‘the Meds’ on it.”
Immediately intrigued by the voice of lead singer Kyle Drake, and the band’s guitar-driven tracks, Mays was convinced. Mays would eventually produce the band’s first recording, a six-song record aptly titled ‘The Meds EP.’
On the new full-length album, the Meds got the chance to play with another hero of theirs, Colin MacDonald of the Trews. The famous Canadian vocalist produced two tracks for the band, including the title track and the lead single.
“It was amazing working with him,” McCarvill said, adding that MacDonald was instrumental in the arrangement of the songs. “Everything from how the verse flows into the chorus, right down to the pattern of the bass drum.”
While connections to the elite of Canada’s music industry are a big reason for the band being where they are today, it’s the small town connections that got them started.
With several of the Meds’ members coming from musical families, as well as the music families that surrounded them growing up, there was never a shortage of places to hone their craft.
“That was so huge for us when we were getting started,” he said. “Whether it was a campfire or a coffee shop, there was always somewhere for us to play – even back when we weren’t so good.”
South America will drop on April 29, with the band playing shows in Kensington and Summerside leading up to the release. They will then hit out on the road, with gigs in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, before coming home.