The east coast just can’t seem to stop rocking. With the likes of the Trews and Matt Mays coming out of the Maritimes, Canada has begun to birth its own garage rock scene on its rocky eastern shore.
The latest rising band from this region: The Novaks, a St. John’s, Newfoundland band about to embark on its first headlining tour. Coming off a month’s break, the band is ready to start ripping up stages across Ontario.
“All we’ve been doing on the break really is getting loaded, just hanging out and watching a few movies,” says Mick Davis, The Novaks’ vocalist and guitarist. “We’ve been enjoying the down time — this was our first year of full touring really.”
The band’s year of touring even included playing a set at the infamous South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas.
“It was crazy down there; there had to be at least 1,400 bands playing during that week,” Davis says. “It was a lot of fun to see a lot of bands and play for new people who hadn’t heard our music. There were only a few people who had really heard us or owned the album before we played.”
Davis admits, however, that SXSW is not without its flaws. “You do get tired of everyone looking the same as you. Same band haircuts, same clothes and attitudes.
“We actually played in this weird venue,” he adds. “It was basically a strip club with really shitty sound, but they were using it for shows because there are so many bands.
“We were kind of freaked out at first, because not a lot of people showed up. I guess at these festivals people just show up at the right time. Once we hit the stage, a hundred people just came through the door.”
While touring in Canada, the Novaks have been lucky enough to play with such well known artists as Sam Roberts, as well as Matt Mays and El Torpedo.
“Matt Mays is a true gentleman,” Davis says. “They are all really good guys. Touring with him and the band was a great experience. They took care of us.
“We toured together, we drank together and we played onstage together too. Sam Roberts and the other bands we have toured with have been great as well. Good guys, good bands.”
However, coming home for a break is sometimes just as good as cross-country touring.
“It’s good to come back and play in your hometown,” Davis says. “You have some rough shows on the road, but you know it will be a good show when you come home.
“Really, it seems like we are bigger every time we come home. A lot of people here support us. Some even sing along at the shows,” Davis adds.
“But there are always people who might get mad when their favourite band starts to get a bit more attention. We are pretty small on that scale, and it’s just foolish for people to think that way — I could make more money playing every night in a cover band at home.”
As The Novaks begin their headlining tour, they would like to follow in the footsteps of their teachers.
“We’d like to take some of these local bands on tour and help them out, but we aren’t big enough for that yet,” Davis says. “It took Matt Mays three years to get where he is now.
“The dream now is to circuit the U.S. — there are just so many people. It really opens up a new market for us.”
The Novaks will play alongside Field Guide at Call the Office on Saturday, May 13. Tickets are $5. The show starts at 10 p.m.