Peak Performance Project: Miesha & The Spanks, Cowpuncher, Transit

Welcome to the third 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 Calgary's Miesha & The Spanks, Cowpuncher and Transit! Make sure you vote from now until October 31 to make sure your favourites get into the top three!

Miesha & The Spanks

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
This has always been the hardest question to answer of all interviews for me- ever! Especially because, as I've changed members over the years, the music will take a bit of a turn. Right now, with Emelia's rad drum style, I think you can hear a bit of surf and dance elements that she brings from her really awesome band, Divepool. For the six years I've been rolling with the Spanks though, pretty consistently I get Joan Jett and White Stripes comparisons. If you ask me at a show though, I usually just say, "... garage rock."

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
Really amazing, and really challenging. I've been performing in bands since I was in grade 9, and I think when you've been doing something for such a super long time, you get stuck in a comfortable way to do things. What I've loved about this, and which has been hard, is readjusting- because the industry is always changing. Peak Performance Project is here to help you really build your career in this industry, and so I've been looking at things differently, which is really exciting. In some ways it's a reminder of what you already knew was important but got so co comfortable that you stopped pushing yourself as hard, and there's also totally new ideas that I hadn't thought of applying to my music and business. 

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
I'm completely in love with Calgary's music and arts community. I have been for a really long time. I come from a super small town, Invermere BC, and so I hold huge value in community- something I've always felt Calgary held strong to. For a while I think it was because we had to, because all our scene really was, was local. Since stuff like Sled Island, music from all of Alberta has really been showcased everywhere, and I still see an incredible level of support over competition. I think that's because as awareness of our music grows and spreads across Canada, and internationally, if one of us does something huge- it helps all of us. I'm always really proud to say I'm from here, and being a part of building this scene and community and watching it continually thrive has always been what's kept me in Calgary. 

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
Bad Animal are a really new band in Calgary who are just killing it live, and their new album is super deadly. I think getting to experience something like PPP so early in their career would really steer them to some early success. High Kicks and Napalmpom are some awesome hard working rock bands who I love. And of course, my Emmy's band Divepool, are one of my favourite Calgary bands.

Cowpuncher

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
We are sweaty, punchy rock and roll. We frenzy around on guitar and bass necks, drums and stages. Most of our new songs are high tempo with the exception of some brooders. Our next record Hustle comes out next year and we're excited for y'all to hear it! You'll have to witness it live in the meantime.

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
There was a little bit of reluctance since the "music industry" and the assumed formulas associated with it can be off-putting. But going through the project has been an exceptional experience. 

Surrounding ourselves with 23 other bands from BC and AB who are going through the same paces was a treat. A shoutout to our song writing partner CHERSEA (future pop star) and our roomie Leeroy Stagger (we've still got your swimming trunks)! It's been a lot of hard work but that's the name of the game and we're feeling very inspired and grateful to be apart of this. 

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
When the economy was booming the state of the Alberta music scene was growing at a rapid pace with a lot of new venues opening up. That's tapered off a bit with the closing of some of our favorite Edmonton and Calgary rooms (Republik and Pawn Shop come directly to mind). Our hometown of Calgary has less oil money to spread around on shows (that lucrative Stampede week) but there are still a lot of opportunities out there (this Peak Performance Project for example). There's magic happening.

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
PPP takes bands that are at the top of their game and gives them the tools to be even more successful in the music industry than they already are. So with that as a criteria in mind some of the bands we're watching who have great songs and a strong work ethic are Chron Goblin and Dojo Workhorse. Copperhead would be an awesome addition - they've just put out a new album. And Static Shift might take the most away from PPP's artist development since they are under 18 and playing like seasoned pros. Finally we've got our eye on League of Wolves out of Saskatoon. If PEAK ever goes there, or they ever come here, watch out!

Transit

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard you before?
Vulnerable, honest hip-hop so relatable you'll swear you know the artist personally.

How has your experience throughout the Peak Performance Project been?
Nothing short of incredible. I feel very honoured to be the only hip-hop artist in the contest. I've obtained such vast knowledge, made valuable business connections and developed friendships that will last for years to come. 

What are your thoughts on the Alberta music scene and the state of Alberta music?
Diverse. More than you would think. I think Alberta is changing, and music is a reflection of that change. With the fall of the Conservative political era, there's a greater demand for a voice of the young generation. Just like any societal change over history. Alberta is experiencing a cultural renaissance and music is a forefront component of that. 

What other Alberta bands would you recommend for next year's Peak Performance Project?
Natural Ensemble and Jam. Two of the best hip-hop acts in Alberta. We need more representation in this contest!