16th Avenue look to the future

Saint John band 16th Avenue is headed to Moncton to play a show at the Riverview Kiwanis Skate Park and Youth Centre on Friday July 17.

 
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Formed in 2003, the punk-pop group is continuing to promote their 2006 record In It To Win It. The group has moved approximately 1,500 copies of that record between physical sales and via online avenues such as iTunes. They received decent radio support and airplay for their single “Tentativa Favorita” which led to the group touring across Canada twice and around the East Coast even more.

 

16th Avenue Drummer Chris Claessen says this taste of success also helped to broaden the group’s fan base and give them the motivation to do their best, to top it with their new record which is slated for release in early 2010.

Last summer, they went to Toronto to record their new record with a relatively big name producer (who shall remain nameless). However, those sessions didn’t work out so well, to put it nicely.

“We had aimed to record the follow up to In It To Win It in Toronto last summer,” Claessen begins to explain. “We felt as though we had grown, our songs were a lot stronger and we were very happy with the direction we were taking.”

The experience was the first time that the band had worked with a producer who also excelled in song writing.

“It was hard watching some of our favorite song parts disappear but we were learning how to create hit songs,” Claessen says. “A few weeks of recording and partying turned out some great material and all of us were eager to reach the finish line.

“Assuming the producer’s guidance was what we needed, we found it odd when he told us we weren’t recording for a whole week while we rented a very pricey house in Toronto. And once we got back to recording, everything was different. Our producer was really deep in to some addiction issues and it is not a good environment to be in when your producer is never there, and when he is, he is barely coherent or conscious.”

Tensions mounted and eventually, the producer pulled the plug on the entire project. The producer turned over what had been recorded to the band, telling them they could choose to do with the songs whatever they wanted.

Returning to Saint John without a record and no plans to finish it “” not to mention $30,000 of debt and broken spirits “” was the last thing that 16th Avenue wanted or could have expected. Claessen says the band was unsure if they could even continue because of the financial and emotional strain that their experience in Toronto had brought into the group.

But one important trait of any band is to be able to pick up and move on, even when the cards are seemingly stacked against them.

“At the end of the day, we have a bond that won’t easily be broken. That experience made us stronger; we have never been more excited with the new songs we have written,” Claessen states.

Indeed, the future is looking bright for 16th Avenue with tour dates and more in store for the band over the summer:

“We are currently gearing up for an East Coast tour which will take us through the Maritimes over the next couple of months and included in there is our first Moncton area show on the 17th, which we are really looking forward to.”

With a video for “Tentativa Favorita” ready for release and plans to record an EP this fall, it seems there will be no stopping 16th Avenue anytime soon.

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