Nothing if not starkly original, Toronto indie-rock band Ace of Wands hits the stage at The Krossing on April 18th.
They will be joined by Underside Pattern and Amateur Maps.
The band is coming off of an intense year of productivity, with the release of two EPs and two music videos (Grown from Good and 10,000 Feet respectively).
Ace of Wands has been described as a powerful trio that deftly melds rock and roll, classical violin training and folk music to ‘create cinematic soundscapes of pop melodies and fuzzed out guitar riffs’.
Their latest disc, Lioness, was recently released as well.
From the opening tones of the title track through to tunes like Float the Flood to Grown From Good to Jolt the Amplifier and Winter Wind, it’s clear this is a band with outstanding style and a strikingly unique approach to songwriting.
“Ace of Wands really officially started in the summer of 2017, but the three of us have known each other through different projects over the years,” explained lead singer/songwriter Lee Rose, who had been with another Toronto band for several years prior to that.
When that band folded, she spent some time writing and figuring out what her next step would be artistically.
“I started jamming with Anna (Mernieks) and she was such a wonderful, creative collaborator with us so I knew I wanted to bring that sound to a full band scenario at some point.”
She also met Jody Brumell through playing in the same back-up band for Ron Hawkins.
“He and I just really hit it off, and when I decided that I really wanted to get a band together for Ace of Wands, I called him. So although we’ve been playing together for a relatively short time, the three of us have been playing live music and been touring musicians for so long at this point.”
But melding their talents has resulted in something starkly unique.
As to their just-released disc, Rose, she said part of the production of it coincided with her walking through a period of depression.
“I was really driven to make music, and to create music that was going to serve as a kind of introspective, healing process for me, not only in the lyric writing but also in the music and the visuals we create that go along with our music – the videos, the album artwork and the photography.
“So I really wanted to create something that could convey the struggles that I was going through emotionally at that time,” she explained.
“I wanted to get it out there in a way that could be reflective for the listeners. I’m revealing something very personal in the lyrics and the music so my hope is that when people listen they will feel like, ‘I feel like that, too, or that sounds like me or I can see myself in this song’.
Rose recalls growing up in a musical home and continually hearing her father’s very eclectic collection of records.
“My dad is a musician and has a huge collection so we were always listening to music growing up – strange, interesting, and very diverse tunes. From punk to jazz to post-rock – very diverse! So that was definitely an influence.”
She started piano lessons but later picked up the violin which she eventually studied formally at York University.
And then came along the world of rock which proved uniquely compelling.
All of those experiences and tastes find their way into the musical sensibilities of Ace of Wands.
“I started writing my own songs, and that’s also where I started playing bass guitar and electric guitar. The violin became an added texture to the music. A lot of Ace of Wands is based around the guitar but the violin definitely makes its way in there.”
For Rose, one of the best things about being an artist is the means it provides of connecting.
“I feel like art is kind of made for that expression, and for that kind of sharing,” she said.
“The power of art and music is really in the sharing with other people, that you can make these community-based connections. That power of being able to perform and being received by an audience, where they see who I am and that I’m expressing a really truly authentic part of myself and they are getting it – that just can’t be replaced.
“I also feel so lucky because I can have that connection with people all over the place,” she said. “It’s really what drives me to keep doing it, too.”