Good For Grapes grow from Peak Performance
Hundreds of bands submit demos to the radio station, as well as an essay explaining their band’s worth – only 20 finalists are chosen.
Taking place in August, the project pits these 20 bands against each other, but also to learn from each other, in a battle for a chance at large scale exposure and recording funding.
Coming in just short of the top 3, the band is the recipient of a substantial cash grant ($10,000) to be allotted to their musical career. Lead singer of the band Daniel McBurnie said the experience was invaluable.
“I don’t know where to begin, it’s been such an amazing experience,” said McBurnie. “We’ve watched many Peak Performance years go by.”
Until recently, the band was too young to enter the competition, as to qualify you must be at least 19 years of age. The project brings the finalists to Princeton, B.C., for a week long boot camp of classes, recording, learn from industry people, and every night is capped off with showcases from each band.
“We learned a lot from people in the business, doing what we want to do. We also learned a lot about performing live and also recording. It was a crash course in every aspect of your career. It was intense and amazing.”
The final showcases took place every Thursday until all bands had played a set, then they determined the top three that continue on to the Nov. 21 finale at the Commodore Ballroom (the finalists are BESTiE, Hannah Epperson, and Rykka) to determine who will win the three ultimate prizes totaling $227,000.
Good for Grapes fell just short of the mark to make the finals, but they maintain that the experience was like nothing else, and what they’ve learned will take them further than money ever could.
Good For Grapes also recently announced the completion of their new album Man on the Page slated for a Dec. 10 release. The first full-length was produced by Colin Stewart, a Canadian great with names under his belt like Yukon Blonde and Dan Mangan, Stewart worked together with the band at Hive Studios in Vancouver to master the recording.
“We worked on this album all through the summer with Stewart,” said McBurnie. ” He reached out to us, so that was really cool. It was like a dream come true.”
As the main songwriter for the band, the lyrics are both relative to the listener, but also very personal to McBurnie.
“A lot of the songs on this album we’ve been playing for a while,” said McBurnie. “We snuck a few new ones on during the recording. The songs on this album really mean a lot to me.”
Ironically, the title track wasn’t supposed to be on the album. Even though the album was already called Man on the Page, the title came from a lyric of the song “Eskimo.” McBurnie wrote the title track almost as the album was done recording.
“I wrote the last line of the song, and said ‘holy shit, this needs to be on the album!’ as it culminated the album perfectly. I’ve gotten really close with these guys, and writing songs has become an absolute joy.”
Their music can be described basically as high-energy folk rock, and true to that spirit, they truly captured their stage presence on the album. The band recorded most of the music live to tape, with all members of the band playing at once. It might not be perfect, but it sure is authentic.
“Instead of doing it track to track, we did it like that and it really worked for us. We want it to have personality.”
After the experiences the band has taken in this year, and the modest beginnings they established by supporting charities and foundations, gave their unique souls insight and also placed them in the hearts of many in their community. This also gave them the freedom to establish themselves at many venues and develop a loyal and caring fan base which hasn’t stopped growing since they won their first “Battle of the Bands,” sponsored by Rogers’ urMusic.
After a thorough coast to coast tour, the band now heads back to their home on the west coast, to play a few final shows to close the year off solidly, after what was more than likely the defining year for the group, playing the Tree Lighting Festival in their hometown of Surrey on Saturday, Nov. 23, and then finally ending the year on two December shows in Victoria and Vancouver.