” That we tried our best when faced with adversity, that we lived our lives with respect for others, that we were there when our friends needed us, and that we rocked!” – Sapphire City – Toronto @sapphire__city
Q: How did Sapphire city get its start in music?
The current version of Sapphire City formed early in 2009 when guitarist Mike Carlo and bassist Barry Bevan, bandmates from a previous project, began writing music together. Then, at a birthday party / jam session Barry was reunited with two former bandmates, drummer Lance Mapplebeck and guitarist Dave Seymour. These four skilled players meshed so well together it seemed like destiny that Dave and Lance would become involved with the new project. As fate would have it, other opportunities presented themselves to Barry which caused him to exit the band six months later. Undeterred, Mike, Lance and Dave began recording prototype versions of the songs that would become the “4 Years” album and in late 2010 drum tracks were recorded at Escarpment Sound Studios. And that is where it almost ended.
For the next three years the three remaining band members watched as a revolving door of singers and bass players (including a short reappearance by Barry) each ended in disappointment. Fortuitously, in early 2013 singer Andy Law was discovered (by Mike’s son Robbie) living in the same small town. Andy proved to be both a very capable vocalist and frontman and made an immediate impact on the fledgling albums vocal tracks. With renewed spirit the recording finished up as 2013 closed with Mike playing the bass tracks in the studio. Mixing began and Andy began circulating some of the early mixes through his musical circles. The album ended up in the hands of Cambridge Ontario native John Desouza who eagerly joined on bass to complete the lineup as it currently exists. Then, in mid-2014 Mike suffered a near-fatal heart attack that put the whole project in jeopardy. But, thanks to some tremendous efforts by a lot of people, Mike recovered quickly and was well enough that in late 2014 the band decided to release the album. Currently playing at live venues across Southern Ontario, Sapphire city will continue to tour to support the new album throughout 2015.
Q – Tell me about your song “MEMORY”
The underlying message in the song “Memory” revolves around the difficultly of working with, sharing, and loving others. In some ways it is the story of Sapphire City itself. Many came and many left during the four years it took to create the album. And, when the end comes, all you have left is a Memory and sometimes a few pictures.
Q What’s the music scene like in Toronto these days?
Because Toronto is such a dynamically ethnic city the music scene is eminently influenced by the vast culture within it. With emissaries like “Drake” Toronto is “on the map” musically. Yet, for rock bands like Sapphire City the story isn’t quite as pretty. A great many of the legendary live music venues in the city have fallen in past years to falling attendance. Each year it becomes more difficult to find venues and even more difficult trying to fill the seats. But this is not just a Toronto phenomenon. Cities everywhere are experiencing the same thing. Clearly, live music venues are fewer in number every year and those that support live bands fewer still.
Q. Being in Canada, have you found it difficult to reach into the United States music market? Has social media helped you find US fans? If so, how…
I think we’re just in our infancy insofar as promotion of Sapphire City goes so, to us, every new fan is a new “Sapphire Citizen”. Because Toronto is such a big place and so many great acts have come out of the scene there it makes sense for us to focus our efforts there. Overall, I would say that social media has been very helpful for us, especially on Facebook where we have had some success targeting our local audience. And, at the same time, we’ve met so many new fans from across North America and around the world. It’s a gas. On Twitter you can’t control where your fans come and on ReverbNation we find we’re communicating with musicians and other artists more than fans themselves. So I would say it can be a challenge to effectively target a local audience on social media but the tools of this generation certainly make it easier to spread the word then the classic methods did.
Q. Are any of your successes contributed to social media?
I would say yes. In today’s world promoters are using the stats from sites like Facebook and ReverbNation as key indicators of a bands “buzz” level. By working our social media in a consistent way we’ve found our fan and play stats will rise. And this has resulted in getting shows at some venues that otherwise might not have seen us worthy.
Q. I noticed that you love Led Zeppelin. In what way does this band influence your sound and music?
Where do we start? Led Zeppelin was such an influential band on every one of us in the band. Lance idolized John Bonham, both Dave Seymour and I spent many an hour trying to replicate and perfect the riffs of Jimmy Page. John Paul Jones influenced every rock bass player of the last several generations and our John is no exception. And Andy Law will tell you that the style and vocal dexterity of Robert Plant gave every vocalist a benchmark that was very difficult to measure up to. Overall I would say that no band has influenced us more as a whole
Q. What is your personal definition of success?
Great question. We were just talking about this the other day. For some of us success is simply measured by the amount of personal joy we get from playing our own music and watching others enjoy it. For some, I would say that success has something to do with playing on bigger stages in front of bigger crowds and gaining recognition within the musical community. But I think any of us would have trouble quantifying this. None of us are young bucks anymore. I think we do this because we enjoy it. It’s not about money, it’s not about fame, it’s about love for music and the pleasure we get from playing it.
Q. If heaven exists what’s the first thing you would like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
.Wow, that’s a deep one. That we tried our best when faced with adversity, that we lived our lives with respect for others, that we were there when our friends needed us, and that we rocked!
Worn out your copy of Exile On Main Street? Your Zeppelin albums malfunctioning from overuse? Looking for a new rock act with just a touch of class? Well, then welcome to Sapphire City.
With a nod to 1970’s stadium grandeur, southern musical hospitality and memorable, anthemic melodicism Sapphire City’s brand of rock is crafted to appeal to a large percentage of the overall demographic and for good reason. It begins with the rhythm section of drummer Lance Mapplebeck and bassist John DeSouza who provide the most dynamic of bottom ends. Mix in the interplay of guitarists Mike Carlo and Dave Seymour who fill the palate with the tastiest of riffs and top it off with singer Andy Law who will mesmerize and emotionally drain an audience with his combination of power and grace. When you put it all together on a stage you get Sapphire City, a band with a rich, powerful sound, 4-part vocals and a cast of characters that are full of personality. Indeed, they are very entertaining to watch.
In September 2014 Sapphire City released their new album titled ‘4 Years”. The album contains ten tasty cuts of compelling riffs, impeccable arrangements, and warm, moving performances. And, it ROCKS. The album is available through CD Baby and the Sapphire City website (www.sapphirecity.ca)
Based just north of Toronto in the town of Fergus, Ontario, the band will now focus on performing live to support the new album. They have but one purpose: To share their passion for rock music with the world and gain fans one Sapphire Citizen at a time. Welcome to Sapphire City !!
Connect with Sapphire City
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sapphirecity1
Twitter – @sapphire__city
Official Website : http://sapphirecity.ca
Purchase Sapphire City’s “4 Years” album on CD Baby