by Martyna Turczynowicz
Young Folk have been around since 2012. Last year they released “You Words” on Beach Station Blues and this year they’re performing for the second time in the Galaxie Young Performers Program at the Winnipeg Folk Fest. Stylus caught up with the band’s guitarist Darren Hebner and John Baron on bass and vocals.
Stylus: How long have you guys been together?
John Baron: We’ve been together for three years. Everyone except our singer went to music school in Brandon together.
Stylus: What was music school like?
JB: It was a great experience, but by the end you want to do it for real. In the university setting, there are always opportunities to play. You don’t have to hustle; it just kind of comes to you.
Darren Hebner: It’s feels really safe. Anything you do, people say how good it is. And it’s like “No, I played horribly.” There’s cushioning. In the real world, not so much.
JB: Most of the professors were adamant on your mentality and how you conduct yourself as a musician and your mentality and actually getting gigs. You have to be on time, but in general for like gigs and stuff, you need to be on time, you need to have your gear.
Stylus: What’s it like being out of Music School?
JB: If you’re not completely prepared for a gig and you get called and you play and it’s not that great, you won’t get called again. You won’t get that gig ever again, and they’ll tell other people not to call you for the gig. You have to be on, all the time. You can’t afford to be lazy; you can’t afford to not work hard. As much fun as being a musician is, it’s hard work. It’s stressful; you do have off days like an athlete. There are days when you play like garbage and you don’t know why and everybody’s watching.
DH: It’s a full time job. Our drummer, right now he’s a full time musician. He played every weekend this month, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. He’s in the middle of like an eight-day gig streak, and some days he plays twice a day.
Stylus: Have you done the Young Performers Program before?
DH: We did it last year. It was a really good experience for a young band to work with people who know how the industry works. Our mentor was Vanessa from Oh My Darling. She was great, she had lots of really good things to say and it made us feel very on track.
JB: It’s inspiring to be surrounded by musicians who are actually doing the Folk circuit and being able to perform at Folk Fest. Julie Penner is organizing the Young Performers Program this year; she’s a member of Broken Social Scene. It’s not every day you get to spend a whole day talking to these people and have them listen to your music, knowing that they’ve been there and done that.
DH: The day before our performance we’re isolated at this church and all we’re doing is music. We play a few songs and talk about it and we write a song that day and perform it on Friday.
Stylus: You were on Beach Station Blues last year as well…
DH: It’s kind of funny, neither of us actually played on that recording. There was a storm and we got stuck in Brandon and I got really sick so I couldn’t drive out. The singer and the cellist drove out and the guy that was recording it played our parts as well.
JB: We sent them the song and were like, “ We can’t make it out so go on without us.”
Stylus: Any acts you’re excited for this year?
DH: I’m excited for Boy and Bear.
JB: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say. And Ben Harper, I’ve always been a sucker for him.
Don’t miss Young Folk at the Winnipeg Folk Fest, down at Shady Grove.