What's In The Box: Red Music Rising
featuring LOR, Wolf Saga, Sebastian Gaskin and classic roots
LOR is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter who is about to make her debut. After years of cutting her teeth singing in the bar circuit, she teamed up with local producer SLWJMZ (Sean Leon, ) and Vocal Director Nevon Sinclair (Daniel Caesar) to create a unique blend of dark pop. Inspired by artists like Avril Lavigne and Lana Del Rey, LOR juxtaposes her airy yet soothing voice with raw and twisted lyrics based on true, lived experiences.
Eight years into the story of Wolf Saga, electropop polymath Johnny Saga dropped his debut self-titled LP. A 2018 JUNO Masterclass Finalist who was named RBC Canada Emerging Artist in 2017, Saga’s dreamlike synths dynamize as they soothe, offering a matured take on the affable bangers of the 2010s—MGMT, Daft Punk, Justice and Boyz Noize come to mind, with the wisdom of a decade in between. Wolf Saga was named to honour the spirit of the wolf—a loyal protector of loved ones that holds special meaning in Saga’s Ojibwe culture. With this album, generous in its wisdom and lavish in its fun, Saga is on a quest to give listeners a reason to dance, but jokes that it’s not all bottle service and strobe lights. By juxtaposing serious subject matter with rave-y rhythms, Saga’s mission is to inspire cognizance. The album’s songs, guided by the unwavering presence of Saga’s father, who passed away in 2019, were inspired by important causes, such as Black Lives Matter and support for Indigenous land defenders. As Saga was readying the LP, he discovered an old demo reel from his father’s acting days. In the reel was a clip of his father saying, “it’s been about eight years,” an alignment too precise to be coincidental. Saga borrowed the clip for the introduction of the album’s opening track, which he titled, appropriately, “Eight Years.” Saga wants listeners to pay attention. He also wants to ignite our imaginations, comfort our memories, and to help us envision a resilient tomorrow.
How does an emotional aftermath evolve into a creative epiphany? For award-winning Toronto-based, Tataskweyak Cree Nation multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter and producer Sebastian Gaskin, first, they get comfortable with the outcome, then get to work sculpting their experience into a song. It’s the mark of an artist unafraid to look deeply into themselves— through the process, they create a sonic offering designed to embrace our many broken pieces, all the while reminding us that love and vulnerability are acts of resistance.
Intentionally genre amorphous, Gaskin’s music is grounded in bold intuition and gut instinct. At once, conjuring the timeless spirit of Bill Withers and the musical virtuosity of John Mayer, with the mischievous wordplay of Post Malone and Pro Era. A dynamic producer and arranger, Gaskin’s ear for collaboration has led them to work with Evan Miles (dvsn, renforshort) and Milano (Icona Pop) to reimagine the potential of each genre they explore. They have performed at venues and festival stages around the world, supporting artists ranging from Common, T-Pain, and others. Their forthcoming debut album will be released on the Indigenous-owned music company, Red Music Rising, Ishkōdé Records and Universal Music Canada.
The heartbeat of the boreal north, Classic Roots, the musical alias of Joshua DePerry, is a Toronto-based artist with roots in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and ties to the Long Lake 58 First Nation. Fusing Pow wow techno with contagious basslines, Classic Roots creates a distinctive sound that serves as a vibrant celebration of cultural freedom and Indigenous resilience. In the dynamic realm of techno and house music, he inspires listeners to pursue their dreams while embracing their heritage.
Thanks to our sponsors Steam Whistle + Canadian Club for helping to make this show happen.