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A Conversation with Double Bassist Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington, a life member of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) and Local 180 (Ottawa, ON), has served for over 30 years as the principal double bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also teaches at the University of Ottawa and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Quarrington performs on an Italian bass made in 1608 by the Italian master Giovanni Paolo Maggini, and is an enthusiastic advocate of the historical practice of tuning the bass in fifths rather than the customary fourths. He believes fifths tuning leads to clearer and more accurate performance in all ranges of the bass, as well as greater tonal richness.

International Musician recently spoke with Quarrington about his career, his music, and what he has been doing during quarantine.

IM: When did you start playing music?

JQ: “I wanted to play an instrument because my two older brothers played a lot at home. I grew up watching them play and wanted to join them. My oldest brother, Tony, taught me. We had a brotherly trio and we kept that up for many years. We played bluegrass country and had banjos, guitar, and double bass.”

IM: What type of music education did you have growing up?

JQ: “I attended the University of Toronto and studied music there. I also studied in Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria privately. I enrolled in school in Austria, too.
I traveled all over Europe for lessons; I wanted to learn as much as I could.

I joined our brotherly trio when I was seven years old. We had two guitars and Tony on the banjo. Sometimes Tony would bring the double bass home from high school and we would include it in our trio. In grade 7, I chose to study the double bass. That way if I learned the double bass, my brother Tony would play the banjo in our trio. I just really love the banjo and its sound.”

IM: What interested you about classical music?

JQ: “When I began studying bass, I got good right away. My teacher at school suggested that I begin studying privately. My teacher was the principal bassist at the time for the Toronto Symphony. I knew that eventually I, too, wanted to be in the symphony. The first time I played in a symphony, I was 12 years old. At that point, I was certain that that’s what I wanted to do.”

IM: When and why did you decide to become a union musician?

JQ: “I first joined the AFM when I was 18 years old. In order to become a real musician, I had to be in the union. When I joined the Chamber Players of Toronto, it was mandatory to be part of the union. I remember signing my papers then. I’m now 65. When I joined, my retirement date was 2020, and I thought that date would never come. Now, it’s here and I have no interest in retiring!”

IM: How has joining together with other musicians in union allowed you to improve your life, both professionally and personally?

JQ: “I have never thought about not being in the union. Being in the union has improved my life and it’s provided me with a huge network. In retrospect, the benefits and pension fund is the nicest part about being in the union. Every union job always pays an amount to your pension. It’s very beneficial. I’ve also gotten connections for gigs through the union. The work the union has done on my work visas has been helpful and indispensable, as well.”

IM: Have you participated in your local in any way?

JQ: “During the 1999 Toronto Symphony Orchestra strike, I attended lots of meetings. The AFM provided the legal fees and a representative for our contracts. This was very beneficial as a union member. In 1991, our salaries were cut by 25% and we didn’t have raises for eight years. We went from being a 50-week orchestra to a 42-week orchestra. Our summer season was wiped out. However, after 9/11 the contract that was settled on couldn’t be paid. Now, the Toronto Symphony is doing great.

The union has been very helpful, as they have been for every orchestra I’ve played with. The AFM has helped with collective bargaining agreements, electronic media, contracts, and all aspects of orchestral life. Members of the orchestra also joined the union board. I think this helped as well. They were able to fix things and have more control over what was going on.”

IM: What do you tell non-union musicians about the union and the value of being a member?

JQ: “I teach a lot of high school graduates before they head off to university. I let them know about joining the union and how beneficial it is being a member. I get them set up and everything at a young age before they go out into the world of being a musician. I also teach graduate students who have arrived from other countries who are on work visas. I have a nice relationship with the woman at the local union. I’m able to set up my students with gigs and it gets them out and performing.”

IM: What are you doing to pay the bills through quarantine?

JQ: “I haven’t been performing at all, but I have been teaching a lot. I’ve been enjoying my time in quarantine. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. I’ve been writing pieces and teaching a lot. I also have some compositions I have wanted to get published. I’ve been working on some projects for years and now I’ve been able to get so much done.”


Joel Quarrington uses:

• Basses: Santo Maggini 1660, Brescia/Italy (solo/recording); Mario Lamarre 2018, Montreal/Canada (orchestra); Masa Inokuchi 2000 Toronto/Canada (touring)

• Bow: Bernard Walke – special “Longbow” design

• Strings: Thomastik-Infeld Vienna – Dominant (top three strings), Spirocore Light (low C)

• Rosin (depending on weather): Kolstein Ultra All-Weather, Wiedoeft, and Leatherwood Bespoke

• Sound post: Anima-Nova carbon fibre adjustable

• Cases: Accord Flight Case – “Stanley Clarke” model; “Tuff-Lite” Flight case;
Mooradian Soft Cases, deluxe model; Accord Carbon Fiber Double Bow case; Holstein Bow cases

Canadian Opera Company Orchestra Musicians Fight to Preserve Guaranteed Services, Achieve New Contract

by Catherine Gray, Member of Local 149 (Toronto, ON)

en français

Last spring, after a triumphant opening of La Bohème, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Orchestra musicians found themselves facing a long, difficult summer fighting for their livelihoods and the future of Canadian Opera. When negotiations began on April 18, management wasn’t prepared to discuss finances. In the next meeting, management delivered its proposal: to cut guaranteed services from 120 down to 100, with a resulting 15% reduction in the musicians’ annual compensation.

There had been some warning signs. One of the first things General Director Alexander Neef did when he joined the company in 2008 was reduce the season from seven mainstage operas to six, and performance activity has continued to fall since then. It became clear to the musicians that management viewed unused orchestra guaranteed services as a gigantic eyesore on the company budget sheet.

Although the COC has experienced some financial turbulence, the company has not posted a deficit since opening its new hall in 2006. The endowment performed poorly on the stock market in 2018 and government funding and subscriptions were down, but even in that context, the extent of the cuts demanded from the orchestra was excessive and unjustified. Management wanted to achieve 35% of its savings goals from the orchestra musicians, who make up only 10% of the overall budget.

After a second negotiations meeting, the committee met with the full orchestra to report on management’s proposal—and the thousands of dollars it would cut from musicians’ compensation. The orchestra responded with great support to fight to preserve the guarantee. The musicians also voiced support for rejecting management’s proposal to reduce pay for extras and instead to keep it on par with that of core members.

After several unsuccessful meetings with management, talks came to an impasse. Musicians could not accept a cut to the guarantee; doing so would not only erode incomes, it would encourage the erosion of performances and quality, and ultimately the decline of a major Canadian cultural gem.

The impasse sparked a tangible collective energy to fight cuts to the guarantee, and the musicians began seriously organizing for work action. With the support of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) and in consultation with Randy Whatley of Cypress Media Group and AFM Organizer Alex Wiesendanger, the musicians created pamphlets and buttons to distribute to patrons on opening night of Turandot, and T-shirts in preparation for picketing. There was an outpouring of ideas from musicians of how unused guarantee services could be used to foster greater orchestra involvement in the company, including participation in fundraising campaigns, community engagement and outreach, and educational outreach.

The musicians’ negotiating committee included Co-chairs Janet Anderson and Liz Johnston, Charles Benaroya, Bethany Bergman, and Catherine Gray, assisted by Michael Murray, executive director of Local 149, and counsel Michael Wright of Wright Henry, LLP. Musicians Shelley Brown and Aya Miyagawa also participated as part of a work action committee. The COC orchestra musicians are members of Local 149.

As summer ended and the new season approached, musicians met with the COC Board of Directors and shared their vision—the many ideas from musicians about how the unused guarantee services could be used to better the direction of the company. The musicians also laid the groundwork to become involved in the search for a new general director, as Neef will soon be departing for the Paris Opera. This meeting was pivotal and formed the basis for a relationship that will be critical to nurture.

Shortly after, as rehearsals for Turandot began, the parties proceeded to mediation with the Ontario Ministry of Labour. In a marathon 13.5-hour mediation session on September 25, the musicians finally got the message across the table that cutting the guarantee was not an option, and the parties reached agreement, narrowly averting a work action. Although the musicians made small concessions in overtime, the guarantee and extra musician compensation were preserved, and the musicians even obtained modest wage increases. The new agreement was ratified by musicians on October 1.

The settlement includes an agreement to build relationships and foster collaboration, with added language calling for regular meetings to discuss greater orchestra involvement in the company using the unused guarantee services, and orchestra consultation in the search for the next general director. Musicians believe continuing to strengthen their involvement with the COC and fostering deeper relationships with the board of directors and management will be critical to the future success of the company.

La lutte des musiciens d’orchestre de la Compagnie d’opéra canadienne pour préserver les services garantis et conclure une nouvelle entente

par Catherine Gray, membre de la section locale 149 (Toronto, ON)

Le printemps dernier, après le succès éclatant de La Bohème, les musiciens d’orchestre de la Compagnie d’opéra canadienne (COC) devaient faire face à ce qui s’annonçait être un été difficile et une longue lutte pour l’avenir de leur gagne-pain et de la COC. Au début des négociations, le 18 avril, la direction n’était pas disposée à discuter des aspects financiers. À la séance suivante, elle a déposé son offre : une baisse des services garantis, de 120 à 100, ce qui aurait eu comme résultat une réduction de 15 % de la rémunération annuelle des musiciens.

Il y avait eu des signes annonciateurs de cette tangente. Une des premières décisions du directeur général Alexander Neef à son arrivée en 2008 avait été de réduire le nombre de productions pendant la saison de sept à six. Le nombre de représentations n’a cessé de baisser depuis lors. Pour les musiciens, il était évident que la direction considérait les services garantis non utilisés comme une tache sur le bilan financier de la Compagnie.

Malgré quelques turbulences financières, la COC n’a jamais enregistré de déficit depuis l’ouverture de la nouvelle salle en 2006. Il est vrai que la fondation a connu des résultats médiocres sur le marché en 2018 et que le financement gouvernemental et les abonnements sont à la baisse. Néanmoins, malgré ce contexte difficile, l’ampleur des compressions imposée à l’orchestre était excessive et injustifiée. La direction voulait que l’orchestre absorbe 35 % des réductions de dépenses prévues, et ce, même si celui-ci ne représente que 10 % du budget général d’opération.

À la conclusion de la deuxième séance de négociation, le comité a rencontré l’orchestre pour leur faire part de l’offre du COC – et des baisses prévues de milliers de dollars dans les salaires des musiciens. Les membres ont fortement appuyé une motion visant à conserver les minimums garantis. Les musiciens se sont aussi prononcés contre la proposition de la direction visant à réduire la rémunération des remplaçants, qu’il fallait au contraire s’assurer qu’elle demeure la même que celle des membres réguliers.
Après plusieurs séances infructueuses, les négociations étaient dans une impasse. Il était impensable pour les musiciens d’accepter une réduction des minimums garantis; agir ainsi aurait comme conséquence non seulement une baisse de leurs revenus, mais également une dégradation des prestations, une baisse de la qualité et, à plus long terme, le déclin d’un grand joyau du patrimoine culturel canadien.

Cette impasse dans les négociations a éveillé les consciences de façon tangible chez les membres. Ils ont entrepris de lutter activement contre les coupures touchant les garanties et établi un plan d’action commun à cet égard. Avec le soutien de la section locale 149 (Toronto, ON) et en concertation avec Randy Whatley de Cypress Media Group et l’organisateur syndical Alex Wiesendanger de la FAM, les musiciens ont conçu des dépliants et des macarons, pour distribution aux spectateurs lors de la première de Turandot, ainsi que des T-shirts pour le piquetage. Par ailleurs, les idées ne manquaient pas chez les musiciens sur la façon d’utiliser les services garantis non utilisés afin d’accroître la participation de l’orchestre dans les activités de la COC, dont entre autres une participation aux campagnes de financement, aux initiatives de mobilisation communautaire et aux programmes de sensibilisation.

Le comité de négociation des musiciens était composé de Janet Anderson et Liz Johnston, coprésidentes, Charles Benaroya, Bethany Bergman et Catherine Gray, avec le soutien de Michael Murray, directeur général de la section locale 149, et du conseiller Michael Wright, de Wright Henry, LLP. Les musiciennes Shelley Brown et Aya Miyagawa ont aussi participé aux activités du comité. Les musiciens d’orchestre de la COC sont membres de la section locale 149.

À la fin de l’été, avec le début de la nouvelle saison approchant à grands pas, les musiciens ont eu l’occasion de rencontrer le conseil d’administration de la COC et de faire part de leur vision – leurs nombreuses idées pour utiliser les services garantis non utilisés afin d’améliorer l’orientation de la Compagnie. Les musiciens ont aussi jeté les bases pour assurer leur participation au recrutement du nouveau directeur général; Neef quittant bientôt son poste pour prendre la direction de l’Opéra de Paris. Cette réunion a marqué un tournant et est à l’origine d’une nouvelle relation entre les parties, relation qu’il sera important d’entretenir dans le futur.

Peu après, au moment où commençaient les répétitions pour Turandot, les parties ont convenu de recourir à la médiation auprès du ministère du Travail de l’Ontario. Le 25 septembre, lors d’une séance marathon de médiation qui a duré plus de 13 heures et demie, les musiciens ont finalement réussi à faire comprendre qu’une compression dans les minimums garantis était hors de question. Par la suite, les parties en sont finalement arrivées à une entente, évitant ainsi de justesse le déclenchement de moyens de pression. Même si les musiciens ont fait quelques concessions mineures sur les heures supplémentaires, notons que les services garantis et la rémunération des remplaçants ne sont pas touchés. Les musiciens obtiennent en outre une petite hausse de salaire. La nouvelle entente a été ratifiée par les membres le 1er octobre.

L’accord comprend des dispositions visant à favoriser les relations et à encourager la collaboration, dont certaines clauses prévoyant la tenue de réunions sur une base régulière pour discuter de la possibilité d’une participation accrue de l’orchestre au sein du COC en ayant recours aux services garantis non utilisés et la consultation de l’orchestre dans le cadre du processus de recrutement du nouveau directeur général. Les musiciens estiment que l’augmentation de leur participation dans les activités de la COC et le fait d’entretenir de bonnes relations avec le conseil d’administration et la direction joueront un rôle essentiel dans le succès futur de la Compagnie d’opéra canadienne.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra Receives $10 Million Donation

The estate of long-standing Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) supporters and patrons Tom and Mary Beck has donated $10 million to the orchestra. The gift is the largest single donation in the orchestra’s history, and brings the lifetime giving of the Beck family to the TSO to over $20 million.

In accordance with the wishes of the family, the gift has been directed toward the support of key artistic initiatives over the coming years, as well as important financial objectives including the reduction of the accumulated deficit and growing the Toronto Symphony Foundation endowment.

“The Becks’ support ensures continued bold artistic programming in the coming seasons, and will reinforce investments in education, community engagement, and audience development, which are all vital to the mission of the TSO,” says Matthew Loden, CEO.

“Tom and Mary Beck were the kind of friends and supporters that every arts organization dreams of,” says Sir Andrew Davis, the TSO’s interim artistic director. “They loved the music of the Toronto Symphony passionately and believed that what it gave, and continues to give, to Toronto and the world is no mere luxury but rather a vital part of the fabric of life.”

In addition to their generous donations over the years, the Becks showed their love of the symphony with their time and energy. Tom, who passed away in 2015, sat on the board of directors for 22 years, and served as chair in the early 80s. Mary, who passed away last year, was a constant and supportive presence, beloved by the musicians.

Your Local Business Rep: A Valuable Tool for Recruitment and Organizing

A very valuable and often overlooked position in each AFM local’s personnel is the on-site representative (sometimes referred to as a “business agent”). Each local is required to have at least one person designated as such, as prescribed by the AFM Bylaws Article 5, Section 13, which states:

Each local shall have at least one representative whose duties shall include communicating with musicians who perform in that local’s jurisdiction for the purpose of securing such musicians’ support of and participation in the attainment of the membership’s collective goals as set forth in Article 2.

The wording of this bylaw has varied somewhat over the years, and so has the application. Anecdotally, I have heard stories of how local reps would visit each venue to “check the cards” of every musician on the stand, and were prepared to pull the band if the number of nonmembers exceeded a predetermined limit. Retrospectively, this seems extreme; however, the intent was more to send a message to the employer that only union musicians could be utilized. In the day, this activity was very effective, although the reps were thought of like police.

In my own experience, Local 149 (Toronto, ON) had at least three reps visiting clubs, particularly those that offered live music six nights a week. Some were our peers—musicians we knew who were part of bands and took part-time work as reps for the local. It was not an imposition by any means, and it felt strangely comforting to know that the AFM was in the house.

What is the benefit of reps to the local? Oftentimes, it’s difficult to keep track of which venues have ceased using live players, which ones have started to, or what kind of music is played. Locals with an active booking referral programme may not know who is playing with what band, the repertoire, or the level of polish. A visit by the rep answers all these questions, plus can put you in touch with nonmembers or travelling bands coming through your jurisdiction. In addition, regular contact with venue owners and others who may employ live musicians is an opportunity to develop relationships, which may be extremely beneficial over time.

What is the benefit to the members? Certainly, as a travelling musician, performing in a strange town had its challenges. I recall some locals who prepared a package for travellers that contained information and directions to find the local, as well as laundromats, grocery stores, liquor/beer stores, music stores, and all-night gas stations. There was always a work dues bill enclosed, of course.

When the rep would show up during the performance, it was an opportunity to ask questions and gather information. What other venues of similar type/price range were around? Who are the other musicians of note playing in town? Or perhaps there were difficulties with the venue owner or contract, which the rep could assist with. It was also an opportunity to ask questions about the services and benefits of AFM/CFM membership, and how to access them.

Another area where reps are invaluable is when recording is taking place. Perhaps it’s a “dark” jingle or scoring session, in which case the rep can usually speak with the employer and leader, and a proper contract (with all of the ensuing benefits and residuals) can be the result. When cash work is allowed to flourish and replace signatories and AFM report forms, everyone ultimately suffers. The fee will be low, pension not paid, papers not filed, and therefore, no Special Payments, new use, or other residuals. Rep visits can eliminate much of this underground economy and help musicians receive the fees and benefits to which they are entitled.

I left for last what is probably the most important aspect of having a rep make contact with musicians in the field: organizing. Much of the dialogue will be in the form of “internal” organizing, where existing members are apprised of what they may be missing out on. Knowledgeable members will pass that information along to musicians who are not members. And, of course, reps speaking directly with nonmembers can only result in a positive outcome in terms of recruitment. A local that has reps regularly visiting musicians on-site cannot help but increase visibility, which in turn creates the opportunity to recruit and increase member density.

If you are an officer in a local who does not have a business rep, you should find a way to appoint one as soon as practicable. If you are a musician who is lucky enough to have a rep visit you on site, use that opportunity to learn more about the AFM and its services.

En français:

Sheraton Cadwell Group Ceases Operations After Body-Shaming Email Goes Public

Toronto’s Sheraton Cadwell Orchestras went out of business abruptly after a body-shaming email sent to a select group of singers went viral.  The email stated that the orchestras would only work with “fit and slim” vocalists and those who follow their conservative dress guidelines. The message went on to say that instrumental musicians were not required to look physically fit and slim since they are “essentially background wallpaper.”

The Sheraton Orchestras Group operated 10 boutique orchestras that performed at weddings, galas, fundraisers, and corporate functions in Toronto. When the story went viral, many people shared negative past experiences working with the orchestras, including musicians who felt they were unfairly paid and exploited.

The Beaches

Life’s a Beach: Toronto Rock Group, The Beaches, Head Out on the Road with a New Album, New Tour, and Big Ideas

The BeachesEven through the roar of the open road, The Beaches’ youthful optimism reverberates on the other end of a speakerphone call. Leandra Earl (23, guitar), Kylie Miller (20, guitar), Jordan Miller (21, bass and lead vocals), and Eliza Enman McDaniel (21, drums) are packed in the Miller’s family van en route to Seattle where they will open for the Canadian rock duo and fellow Local 149 (Toronto, ON) members Death from Above 1979. While it’s not the most luxurious of accommodations for Canadian rockers on the rise, it will do for now. The members of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) were smart about joining the union from the onset of their careers.

Currently on their first international tour, fresh off the heels of their debut album Late Show, the musicians have gained attention in the alt-rock world for a 1970s sound and swagger transported to the twenty-first century.  Drawing from the likes of David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and The Strokes, Late Show’s lip-curling lyrics, pounding drums, and snarling guitars feature heavily on the album. Standout tracks like lead single “Money” and “T-Shirt,” show off an attitude fit for a young rock band with veteran polish to back it up.  International Musician caught up with The Beaches in the middle of a hectic touring schedule to talk rock influences, record contracts, and whether making it means just getting out of your parents’ basement.

How did you guys meet, how did The Beaches form?

Kylie: Jordan is my sister and we started playing guitar together at very young ages, six and seven. We wanted to start a band and we were looking for someone to drum with us and we asked our friend, Eliza, if she would come and audition—and she absolutely kicked ass and the three of us have been playing music ever since. We were in a Disney pop-punk band called Done with Dolls up until high school. At that point, we were looking for another band member and that’s when we asked our friend Leandra to join the band to expand the outlook. That’s how The Beaches came to be.

The BeachesDid any of you guys have plans for college or post-secondary education before getting signed?

Eliza: I think the three of us—me, Jordan, and Kylie—were kind of unified in not going to school. With Leandra, it was kind of an overlap with her joining the band and also applying to school. She got accepted to York University for classical piano. She went through a bit of a hard choice and she wasn’t sure whether she should commit to school or the band, or both. We kind of came to the unified decision that, if she went to school, she couldn’t give her all to either—and at the same time we decided that we wanted to go full force with this band.

Leandra: It was weird because I took an extra year of high school just because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after grade 12. I knew I wanted to pursue music, and the only option was to become a music therapist or a music teacher, which didn’t excite me, really. When I got the offer to join this band I was excited and I didn’t know if my parents would support it, or how far this would go. But my parents were super supportive and they’re the biggest fans of this band. They come to like every show. It’s been amazing. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. Since [hearing] my gal, Avril Lavigne, in grade four, I knew that I wanted to be on stage and play all these instruments with my BFFs, so it was insane to get to do this.

The BeachesWas there anything about being on a label that deviated from your expectations?

Kylie: There was this kind of expectation, in my mind at least, that once we got signed, we’d release a record and be on tour right away. But the reality of the situation was that we got signed and for three years we were doing writing sessions and working with different producers. At the same time, we were able to work with amazing writers and producers and we became a lot stronger as a band and as friends. We had that time to develop our sound and our band.

Jordan: The one thing I didn’t expect was how many people were going to be on our team. I thought there would be maybe six or seven people, but there are like 30 people that have their own unique job at the label that are working for you.

You guys have cited Avril Lavigne as a childhood influence of yours. Why was she so important to you at a young age?

Kylie: You know, being young women and seeing someone who’s badass playing a guitar and being a rock goddess. It was an inspiring visual image for us to see and there weren’t a lot of people doing that at the time. They were playing a different kind of sound and owning their own thing.

Do you guys take inspiration from other all-girl groups? You have a lot of male heavy rock references. Is there any other all girl group you guys idolized or looked to incorporate into your sound?

Kylie: I think that we don’t really think about gender in who we’re inspired by; it’s not really something we consider. So, there are females we’re inspired by, but there are a lot of males. We don’t really think about that when we’re writing music and making music.

The BeachesDo you feel like the “all-girl” label sets expectations for you?

Jordan: When we were in Done with Dolls we’d have people come up to us and be like, ‘Yo, I really like you guys. I didn’t expect you to be good because you were all girls, but you were awesome.’ But, honestly, we haven’t gotten a comment like that in years. I think it’s because there are a lot more females present, especially in the alternative rock industry; it’s way less of like a taboo that we’re girls in a band.

Can you tell me a bit about how you got involved with Death From Above 1979?

Kylie: We actually met them backstage at a show during Canadian Music Week [in 2016] when we opened up for Eagles of Death Metal and DFA was on tour with them. But it wasn’t until Leandra, who runs our social media, became social media buds with the guys that our relationship with them blossomed. They ended up reaching out to us and offering us a spot on this tour. To seal the deal, they ended up coming to our show this summer in Quebec City. They watched our set and officially invited us to the tour. We ended up celebrating with them all night. We went out until five in the morning and got poutine. It was rad.

Jordan: I really think the audition was how long we could stay out with them. It wasn’t even our show. [laughs]

Kylie: This is our first big international tour. It’s been really fun. A lot of unique opportunities—a lot of firsts.

What was one interesting first?

Leandra: A first for us that I thought was really exciting was we got to go on live radio in Laguna Beach and play our song “Money” for the first time and play a couple other songs. It was really cool because we’re getting a lot of radio play in Canada right now—we’re number three on the charts, nbd, it’s a good time—so to go over to America and start our journey over there is really cool.

Where do you see rock going in the next few years and where do you see your place in it moving forward?

Kylie: There’s a nice little community in Toronto currently that we’re happy to be a part of. If we can just continue to expand and explore that, that would be really awesome. For us it’s all about real music and actual rock, rock ‘n’ roll movements. There’s nothing fabricated about us. Sometimes it’s chaotic, sometimes we f*** up, but it’s all really fun and raw. I, personally, am not a fan of things that feel fake or things that feel phony, so I’m happy to see a lot of people exploring a more real side of this.

When will you guys know you’ve made it as a band?

Leandra: We haven’t really been on a headlining tour or played many heading shows, so I think when we start to do that and see people coming out to our shows and buying tickets to see just us, then we’ll start to realize, oh, cool we’re making it.

Eliza: For me personally, I think when we have a real legit tour bus—with beds and a toilet and stuff—I’ll feel like we’ve made it. Currently, we’re in a family car. Jordan and Kylie’s dad was very nice and lent us his car for the tour and we have a U-Haul attached. But I think we’ll have made it when I can sleep on my bed in a tour bus with a fridge and a driver [laughs].

Jordan: I think we’ve made it when I can move out of my parents’ basement. Like, that’s my goal right now.

Kylie: When we were in New York City, someone saw a couple people across the street yelling “Beaches!” while were trying to go get a bagel in the morning, and I said to Leandra, “Oh my God we’ve made it, people know who we are here!” And then we cross the street and see they’re our friends who were in New York at the same time. So, still making a name for ourselves, I guess.

Toronto Police Union Speaks Out Over Reform Measures

Toronto Police Association, representing 8,000 uniform and civilian members, spoke out against proposed changes from a task force set to make the Canada’s largest municipal police service more efficient and effective. The task force has recommended a moratorium on hiring and promotions, which would reduce the ranks by 450 uniform officers through attrition (saving $60 million). It has also explored scheduling changes and identified $30 million that could be saved through “alternative service delivery or shared services” over three years, transferring some of the “nonpolicing” situations to other city departments.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack says the compressed workweek shift schedule, and requirement for two officers per patrol care from 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. are cast in stone in their collective agreement. “We will ensure, by any legal means necessary, any breaches of the collective agreement will be dealt with swiftly and harshly,” he says, adding in an email that any new model must address “issues around work-life balance and the health and safety of our members.”