Wakefield, Quebec band the Strain needs older fans


by admin on April 28, 2011

Wakefield's the Strain is in this year's Big Money Shot

Their fans are on the young side, and the Strain is beginning to show on the band. What the four musicians – David Taggart, his sister Rylee, his cousin Alex Serre and their friend Nick Johnston – really need are some older friends.

The Strain are playing the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot this year, and to have any chance of  winning the massive battle of the bands contest, the young Wakefielders needs a big crowd cheering them on. The problem is, most of their fans are underage and the show venue is a bar – for grown-ups.

“A lot of our fans aren’t 19 (years old) yet,” David Taggart, the vocalist and lead guitarist, chuckling from his jam space in Wakefield. “We really need some older people to come out and cheer us on.”

But it’s not only that the fans are too young for the bar scene, but some band members are under age, as well. Rylee Taggart and Serre are 17, and Johnston is 18. David Taggart, meanwhile, is 20.

The Strain find themselves among the youngest of the 74 other bands in this year’s competition, and they’re totally aware of that.

“We’re just kids compared to everyone else,” said Serre. “But we’re tight and we really have a modern sound,” adds Taggart.

The Strain have been together as a band only since November, but the foursome grew up together in Wakefield. The three related band members have saved photo albums and years of video footage from their childhood, which show Johnston being very much a part of the family.

“I went to (Alex’s) first birthday party,” said Johnston, referring to an old family video the four pulled out, which shows the family dog running over the band’s bass player. He didn’t cry in the video, though.

“We’re all from the same village and our parents all partied together,” said Johnston.

While the three boys are born musicians and have been plucking and jamming since their early days, Rylee Taggart recently learned to play the synthesizer and realized quickly she had a knack for music. After noticing that his younger sister had good rhythm, her older brother quit pulling her hair and invited her to join his boys’ club. Neither has looked back since.

The band’s unique and modern sound comes directly from Taggart herself, as her electro- synths add an element of 80s dance pop to the indie-sounding band. Take some Metric, mix it in a pot with LCD Soundsystem, add a dash of Canadian rockers Sloan, and top with a pinch of the Kings of Leon and voila! – you get a perfect Strain of danceable, singable, get stuck in your head tunes, all fit for partying, driving, chilling and everything in between.


Battle royalties


If the Strain win the first round, the band will get $5,000 and advance to the next competition stage. Each segment yields great rewards, including studio time, loads of cash, and workshops featuring top recording engineers, stage trainers and other industry professionals.

In the end, the big winner will get $350,000 toward the pursuit of a professional music career. The top three bands will also take an Ontario mini-tour, an opportunity the Strain already relish. They know they’ll be in tough against the competition, with the likes of the Watters Brothers and Tympanic, among many other area bands, in the running for the top prize.

So Strain fans, if you’re 18 and older, enjoy dancing and dig live music, head out to the Live Lounge in Ottawa on Thursday, May 5, to catch the Wakefield fousome take on the best of the area indie bands. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information on the band, visit their Myspace page at www.myspace.com/thestraincanada.