The Peak Performance Project is in full swing for 2012 as the Top 20 artists prepare for a summer of development, shows, festivals, and bootcamp prior to their fall showcases — and ultimately the crowning of this year’s winner. I recently interviewed finalist Dominique Fricot and today I spoke with another finalist, Matt Bryant, from the band Headwater.
Headwater — consisting of Matt Bryant, Jonas Shandel, Tim Tweedale, and Patrick Metzger — has traveled from Vancouver Island to Vienna since releasing their debut album in 2006. No stranger to performances in many different places, I actually first heard about them years ago when my sister texted me from the ferry. She said there was a band playing in one of the lounges and she really liked their tunes. At the end of the sailing she caught their name: Headwater. I mentioned this to Matt during our call and he said he’s even blogged about those impromptu ferry performances before due to their success.
They’ve been part of Shore’s Sounds of Summer and will now commit to the Peak Performance Project — boosting their profile up another notch. “Getting to meet people is crucial. You kind of get ‘in’ with people at stations that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to as an independent band. We’re really looking forward to it — meeting other great bands, playing showcases — it’s all positive.”
A large part of the Peak Performance Project is the bootcamp aspect where bands participate in an intensive one week training program, learning the ins and outs of the music business, live performance, songwriting, marketing and promotion. Artists are mentored by some of the music industry’s top professionals and performers. Headwater is in a good position right now, Matt says. “We’ve probably got a pretty good – if not a leg up – a pretty good handle on what we need to do… …We’ve been at it for a long time and Jonas and I are very business minded, and we care about that stuff.” They recently launched a new website, released a new album, have merchandise setup, and are comfortable with their online presence.
Part of a good business plan these days is a social media strategy, which Headwater is all over already — in fact I booked this interview by sending Matt a message on Twitter. “[Social media] is a super good way to get in touch with people and to directly go at people and to get information you wouldn’t otherwise get. It’s awesome.”
If you would like to connect with Headwater directly — and in person — your next opportunity to see them live is tomorrow night at the Biltmore. “One of the things that so special about playing in this band for me is that we really drop all the ‘bs’ on stage and just get up there and really feel the tunes and communicate with each other.” Matt says the audience can look forward to “big improvised sessions, big jam outs, big percussive breakdowns and unexpected stuff, crazy solos, and usually a semi-tasteless joke or two — and lots of fun!”
Check out Headwater’s tunes, find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and scoop up tickets for the show on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the Biltmore. They’ll also be at Car Free Day on Commercial Drive this Sunday, at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, at Surrey Canada Day, and at the CBC Plaza in July.