Across The Board is a Canadian indie pop rock band from Toronto, Canada. Formed in 2013, Across The Board quickly gained popularity with their YouTube cover series “Pick Up and Play” – imprinting their unique and innovative musical style and videography on both contemporary and classic rock songs while featuring other local Canadian artists as guests. Band members include. Jacqueline Auguste, Andy Ramjattan, Paul Nanuwa and Damien Atapattu
What’s new in the world of Across The Board?
Across The Board (ATB) has had some amazing “new” things evolve over the last 6 months—from the release of our debut album “Jane On Fire” on the heels of our 130 th music video on YouTube, to the release of the first single- “Don’t Drag Me Down” – off our upcoming concept EP “Amends” m- we have been busy writing, recording, producing and performing more than ever before. We have always been a consistently active band, putting out YouTube videos and collaborating with other indie musicians. We caught our stride this past year with our original work and have honed our genre down from a multitude of titles like pop, rock, alt country and country rock to Americana—encompassing rootsy vibes from classic rock and blues—with country undertones and poppy overtones. ATB will be playing at Canadian Music Week this year which we are incredibly excited about—an opportunity to showcase our work to a larger audience including industry folks and musicians from across the world. \ We joined the Star One Group this year and signed with Sawbone Records—an Canadian indie label—to increase the reach of our audience into College Radio in the States and terrestrial radio internationally. As well, we won an award for the song “Indifference” off our debut album “Jane On Fire” which we are going to collect in Los Angeles in April.
How was it recording your album Jane On Fire?
“Jane On Fire” was a great album to record. Having recorded and produced so many YouTube videos, which of course also include formal audio recording and production in addition to video work, the album itself was intuitive and flowed well. We are fortunate to have our own recording studio and partnerships with Sawbone Records in Toronto and our producer Tom Smith in Alberta, made the process seamless for us. We did much of the mixing ourselves and in the end sent the album off to Chris Pavey to master in the UK. All of those music videos we did for our YouTube series “Pick Up & Play” served as a training ground for “Jane On Fire”
When writing a song, is there such a thing as investing too much time?
Absolutely—we always say “the enemy of good is better”…sometimes too many layers, too much editing, too much automation takes away from the original idea and can de-humanize a track. Once you get the “goosebump” feel on a track—stop and call it a day. That first goosebump moment is the signal that it’s done. It’s a moment captured in time. Any work beyond this won’t give you more goosebumps.
Do you consider album artwork as important now that music is mostly downloaded?
Yes, artwork is key. Music is a multi-sensual medium. And as a writer, or an artist, part of the getting your point or concept across is to provide as much relevant stimulation to your audience as possible. The album or track art is part of the persona of the music—it’s what people see when they purchase or stream your music and it lends to overall expectation of feeling, tone of sentiment that flows alongside the music. Sights and sounds sooth the brain and visual arts go hand in hand with musical arts most certainly.
How many shows do you play per year on average, and how crazy does the schedule get?
This past year we played 10 major shows and we expect to double this in 2017 including festivals and tour dates for our upcoming second album, due out in the fall of 2017. We try not to play too many back-to-back shows in our local Toronto market as we can saturate our local draw—we want to surprise our fans, and have them miss seeing us live. We want to come back and perform the familiar and the unfamiliar and give regular fans a new a unique experience every time.
How is the music scene in your area these days? Are clubs still popular?
Clubs are still very popular in Toronto, although a few of the more iconic and traditional venues are closing to make way for condos and other more profitable ventures for owners. The Toronto live music scene, is alive and well and growing. The sheer number of bands performing each night in and around Toronto is a good indication of the health of live music in our area.
Is the band fans of Spotify and similar streaming services? What are your thoughts on this?
We are and we have been working hard to promote the band on Spotify playlists and to promote our Spotify profile to our fans. In this era of free downloads and dwindling album sales, we believe that streaming services like Spotify allow for royalty payments to bands while exposing our music to audiences that may not otherwise hear it—audiences from other countries and across genres—thanks to compilation and theme-based playlists.
Do you use mostly Facebook now as a primary website source for the band?
We tend to drive fans from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to our main website where they can find out more detailed information about the band, our shows and our music. However we do find Facebook to be an excellent source for publishing day to day vlogs, blogs, and photo diaries of the “soap opera” that is Across The Board. We can connect directly with fans through comments and target new fans through Facebook’s promotional offerings. We put all of our shows up on Facebook as an event and link our tour schedule, merchandise and all other websites that we contribute to directly from Facebook as the hub of a web of sites.
In your opinion, which album would be essential to have if someone was stranded on a deserted island?
Each of us in the band had a different album of choice—this was the list:
Andy (bass) Pearl Jam 10
Paul (drums) U2 Rattle & Hum
Darnell (producer) Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Jackie (lead singer) Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Damien (lead guitar) Nirvana Nevermind
Where do you see music in general going in 30 years from now?
We had a long heated discussion about this question and decided that the future of music was going to be a multimedia resource for entertainment and therapy – body, mind, soul—encompassing the audio track, together with video, art, and some type of sensory experience offered through virtual reality technology which will allow the viewer/listener to feel as if they are in the music, or in the band, or part of the crowd, feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing, even performing! Fans will become super consumers of art behind the music.