Peak Performance Project: Two Bears North, The Royal Foundry, Northern Beauties

Welcome to the second of our four writeups on the musicians featured in the Peak Performance Project! 

The PEAK Performance Project is a seven-year, $4.9 million contest open to all musicians in Alberta. The program is run by Calgary’s 95.3 The PEAK radio station and Alberta Music with the goal of developing Alberta-based emerging artists and preparing them to take on the world. 

We asked all 12 musicians featured in this year's Project the same four questions and here are the responses we received from Edmonton's Two Bears North, Sherwood Park's The Royal Foundry and Calgary's Northern Beauties! Make sure you vote from now until October 31 to make sure your favourites get into the top three!

Two Bears North

 Photo by Dwayne Martineau

Photo by Dwayne Martineau

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
High energy, upbeat indie rock. Catchy melodies and groovy as hell bass lines. Energetic and passion fueled, with darker lyrical content. There's power and a rawness behind it all. 

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
It's been extremely consuming - it really forces you to pick yourself apart then build back up. That can feel really uncomfortable at times but we're constantly pushing ourselves to grow in general so we're used to the growing pains. The amount of great people we've met through this experience has definitely been the highlight. I still can't believe the calibre of the bootcamp. There's been moments of feeling completely overwhelmed but we spent a part of the last night at bootcamp writing nice things about everyone on bits of paper and putting them in a mason jar for each other. I thought that was the loveliest way to find some positivity when things feel a bit impossible. 

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
In Edmonton we've had some bad luck with venues closing but it's inspired people to create venues in their homes, garages, or art spaces. We always say how strong the community is here - people band together in the cold winter months because it can be so miserable otherwise. That's why there's so many good artists here - there's more struggle to overcome plus you want to just stay inside and write or practice. I think Peak coming to Alberta is huge too. It's clear that it's done wonders for so many BC bands so I think it'll continue to help our scene thrive. 

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
We Were Friends, Nature Of, Billie Zizi, The Ashley Hundred, Windigo

The Royal Foundry

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
Our music sounds like Mumford and Sons having a super jam with Arcade Fire. Except with just three people and synthesizers. 

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
The Peak Performance Project has such an abundance of tools and information for artists. This is our second year going through the peak and it has been great to sort of pick up the valuable information that we missed last year.

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
The Alberta music scene feels like it's really getting ready to explode. There are very few venues in Edmonton but it hasn't seemed to slow down the amount and quality of great music coming out of Alberta.

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
We Were Friends, The Provincial Archive.

Northern Beauties

 Photo by Keith Skrastins

Photo by Keith Skrastins

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
The Northern Beauties are the best of folk harmonies nailed to a country western heart… Imagine Simon & Garfunkel singing with Blue Rodeo as their band. 

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
In one word: hectic! But, overall, the work we are doing has truly become its own reward. The Peak Performance Project is really a band development program and it has been a pleasure being a part of it. There are tough questions being asked and lots of support to help find the answers we need to move ourselves forward. I know we will get everything out of this that we put into it. 

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
I think the Alberta music scene is full of great musicians and songwriters but has been lacking the rug that ties it all together. If there is a strong scene then there is a strong community and I believe the Peak Performance Project coming to Alberta is the first step in creating that strong community. There is world class talent in our borders in all genres that has yet to be discovered, the future is very exciting!

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
The Provincial Archive, I Am The Mountain, Mariel Buckley, Rotary Park, The Bitterweed Draw, The Ashley Hundred, Windigo, J.J Shiplett.