Can't Stop, Won't Stop: Winnipeg's The Revival Soldiers On with the Power of Rock
Manitoba Music has teamed up with Fresh Radio for a new monthly spotlight on local music, dubbed Manitoba Fresh to introduce audiences to a stellar slate of buzzworthy local artists emerging on the Canadian music scene. Featuring on-air segments and online performances via Fresh Radio, and in-depth band profiles right here on manitobamusic.com, Manitoba Fresh kicks off with The Revival. Tune in to 99.1 Fresh Radio and stay tuned for so much more...
By Jillian Groening
The Revival is upon us.
Living up to their exalted name, the Winnipeg-based electro-rock outfit is breathing new life into the world of radio-friendly recording and restoring faith in the notion of a band that sticks together no matter what.
Mixing classic rock influence with the technology of the future, The Revival sets about making infectiously catchy music that still snarls and swaggers.
Following the usual pattern of getting music-obsessed at a young age followed by time spent goofing around in junior high band, bassist Jay Jensen joined The Revival in 2008 after playing in pop-punk groups with his pal drummer Alex Danyliuk.
“After one rehearsal we played jam night at the Cavern and it seemed like it was meant to be,” Jensen recalls. “We all just clicked.”
Along with guitarist Eric Clefstad and vocalist Kevin Hogg, the group of friends moved in to a house together in what could be seen as the ultimate in surrounding yourself with your music. Jamming together constantly and hosting raving house shows, the experience helped the young musicians grow and connect in ways that only sharing a bathroom and a fridge will.
From packed houses to sold-out venues, The Revival started growing a devoted following. After charming the award-winning manager Tim Jones with a stellar set one night, the group proved that talent and a solid live show can go a long way.
“We bugged Tim for about a year and then as he tells it he was having a shitty day and then we played and he was just like ‘yes!’,” Jansen explains. “But we had been persistent. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
After becoming connected with Jones of the local label Pipe & Hat, the alt-rockers were able to take it to the next level. Performing for sweaty screaming fans all over town, getting hyped radio play and recording and releasing their first EP, The Revival played their first showcase at Canadian Music Week (CMW).
Then on April 12, 2013, tragedy struck. At the age of 22, Danyliuk passed away leaving friends and family shocked and in mourning.
“We had just finished pre-production to record a new album literally days before,” Jensen remembers. “It was just like holy shit, what do we do.”
While giving up and leaving all of their hard work behind seemed tempting, the group of friends pressed on and The Revival lived in Danyliuk’s honour.
Enlisting drummer and friend Scott Beattie, the group got back on stage.
“To continue playing helped us out so much,” Jensen states. “Music became more and more important over time, the impacts of what it does for people and what it’s done for us. It’s been like therapy.”
With noses to the grindstone and with the memory of their lost friend giving them strength, The Revival discovered a new purpose and a unyielding drive behind their music.
Two years later and with benefit shows, loads of new songs and an American tour under their belts, the group of friends are ready for a big summer. After Manitoba Music showcases at NXNE and CMW, The Revival recently started working with The Feldman Agency, one of the largest booking agencies in Canada.
“It’s so sweet,” Jensen says. “It means bigger shows on a bigger scale. They make sure you have an audience and get paid and it makes you feel at ease.”
The first gig under a glitzy new force will be opening for American indie-electric sensation Awolnation on July 5 at Winnipeg's Garrick Centre and then it’s on to a radio campaign. Performing acoustically at stations across the country will open up The Revival’s fan base and have their hip-shaking tunes on iPods everywhere.
Before that The Revival is up to play Canada Day at The Forks, more American touring and the highly-anticipated release of their full-length debut.
“It’s pretty much done but we’re shopping it around ‘cause we want it to make the biggest splash possible,” Jensen says. Recorded at Winnipeg’s Bedside Studios with Montréal producer Mike Nash (The Stills, The Dears, Bran Van 3000), the album features the drumming talent of Beattie, Danyliuk’s drumming teacher Kevin Radomski, and Danyliuk himself. “It’s the only time we’ll get to do this trifecta of history for the band. These songs are really special to us and we want them to be done right.”
With a promising future ahead for the hard-rocking group, the band name is all too honest.
“Nothing has slowed us down.”