In our ongoing series, we check in with some of the artists performing at the East Coast Music Awards Breakout Stage at the Seahorse Tavern on May 5. Featuring some of “the most promising emerging and developing artists from around Atlantic Canada,” this is the perfect opportunity to discover your next favourite artist.
In this edition, we learn more about the alt-rock band Ptarmageddon.
This interview has been edited.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Ptarmageddon is a four-piece alt-rock band – Scott Neary, Jenn Edwards, Matt Soper and Chris Mills – based in Labrador City. We originally formed the band as a COVID project, live-streaming covers from our living rooms. We soon started writing original stuff as a collective and have released two EPs: Holding Pattern in 2021 and Dream Logic in 2022. In 2022 we were nominated for Alternative Artist of the Year and Rising Star of the Year by Music NL. We’re so excited to come to the ECMA’s for the first time.
How do you describe your music?
We have a hard time describing our sound because each song is very different. We love to play between genres. Some songs sound like Crosby Stills and Nash, others sound like 90’s alt-rock, and others are very silly and poppy. We also love to play with time signatures and surprise the audience.
How did you get into making music?
Our paths in music have each been very different. Our guitarist & lead singer, Scott Neary, has a Master’s degree in jazz guitar. Our keyboardist, Jenn Edwards, has more of a background in classical piano, and our drummer and bass player, Matt Soper and Chris Mills grew up playing covers together in a local Labrador bar band. As a result, we all bring something very different to the table, which helps give us that eclectic, hard-to-pin-down sound.
What or who inspires you as a musician?
Influences on us include Weezer, Mother Mother, Foo Fighters, and Steely Dan.
What are you working on musically right now? Do you have an album in the works?
We just shot a music video for our song, Lullaby, featuring some contemporary dancers, and we’re hoping to release that in May.
We have a third album that is about half written at the moment. We released an acoustic demo EP with five of the new songs called Things in March for the RPM Challenge, and we’re aiming to release it as a full-length album by the end of the year.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
We’d love to keep playing for bigger and bigger audiences and spending more time on the road.
What was the best advice someone gave you when starting as a musician?
Jenn Edwards (keyboardist): My Dad was a full-time musician and songwriter his whole life. He co-wrote a pretty famous Canadian song – Wildflower by Skylark – and played bass for Chilliwack for about 20 years. His whole philosophy in life was to find something you love, find a way to get really good at it and find a way to make money at it. It was that simple for him, and I’ve carried that message throughout my artistic career.
What advice do you have for other aspiring musicians?
Just keep writing and creating, even if you think it’s bad while you’re doing it. Just keep going. And finish things.
What can fans expect from your live show?
Expect some ripping guitar solos from Scott, a lot of vocal harmonies, and a really eclectic set.