Midsummer Music Festival

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There's something magical about taking to the road and heading out of town to a music festival. BC, if you can believe it, has over 400 festivals! Each one has its own charm, culture, and atmosphere, and this summer, we're going to be experiencing 4 of these festivals, and telling you all about them!

This past weekend, Canada Day long weekend, we headed out for the 13 hour drive to Smithers, BC for the Midsummer Music Festival. A well established, family-friendly, warm and welcoming festival that has been going for 35 years, and it shows. The volunteers, organizers and staff all seemed relaxed and happy, and were a very welcoming bunch!

From the five different stages, extensive children's area and activities, food trucks and vendors selling the most delicious treats and treasures, and the professional and chill sound tech team, the whole thing felt like a well-oiled machine.

Hundreds of people came out, and the artists, about 20 different groups, were a mixture of local and further afoot summer touring nomads, like us. The crowds were engaged and dancing, laughing and having loads of fun while we artists moved in and out of our sets.

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A really fun part of the festival for us was getting to play a set on the kids' stage! While we haven't ever identified ourselves as children's or family entertainment, we find that no matter where we play, we often have a contingent of small humans dancing away to our music, and enjoying the show as much as the adults are. As so we got booked onto that kids' stage for a set, and WAS IT EVER FUN! 

Naturally, as it's summer now, Ryan has unearthed his dancing ribbons, and kids and adults alike can't get enough of his crazy moves, and love getting a chance to use the ribbons themselves. 

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The thrill was real when we were booked for this festival, however, and were given TWO sets on the main stage - one on the Saturday night and one on Sunday afternoon. It was just amazing, and the crowds had as much fun as we did, dancing and grooving along while we ground out our tunes. We played all our usuals, Carry Me, Freight Train, Stuff Song, and some of the new songs - Orion, The Drum Song, Firelight. All was received and enjoyed with smiles and dancing and attentive listening and laughing along with us as we bantered between tunes.

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Overall, the whole weekend was a total success. The people were wonderful. The music was amazing. The magical extra acts (First Nations Dancers, Illusionist, etc) were all just excellent to watch and participate with, the crowds were supportive and happy - it was a wonderful time!

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*Photo credit to Teresa Porter and Airless Photography.

SUMMER TOUR 2018

We couldn't be more tickled to hit the road in a few days and start our summer tour! Last summer we had the extreme pleasure of playing at a few festivals in rural BC and absolutely fell in love with the wild beauty of our province, and the utterly lovely people we encountered! This summer, we are expanding further North, further East, and building on what was an excellent local performing circuit as well! 

We are continually amazed and so thankful for such a passionate and caring army of people that propels us forward (THAT'S YOU, KWERKNATION!), so thank you. Much love to you. Hope to see you at one or more shows this summer. 

xoxox

The Kwerks

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Kingfisher Barn Concert

It's about time we got back to the wonderful, 100-year-old Kingfisher Farm Barn! 

This is the very location where we released our very first, very new EP! Remember???

 Awwww, look! Newborn Kwerks!

Awwww, look! Newborn Kwerks!

Well, we're back on June 9, 2018 at 7PM, three years later, and we're bringing our BIGGER BADDER DREAMS show to the stage. It will be a fun, foot-stomping, raucous laughter kind of night! Come on out, will you? 

Tickets are $18 in advance, and $20 at the door, with kids at $5.

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LIVE MUSIC is where it's at.

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It had been some years since I had been to a live show. Sure, I had been to plays, musicals even, and the odd production of one kind or other, but it really had been a long time since I had really been to a concert, listened through a set, heard the stories, listened to the lyrics, felt the feels.

And then I sat there, and the music crept towards me through the air, reaching it's tentacles around my body and through my hair and into my ears, and right down into my heart. Music is a language, and not just of words, but of emotion, and depth, and soul-shaking connection. You enter into a normal room, with some equipment, and some chairs, and some other humans, and in a short time, the room becomes an ocean of sensation, floating around you and through you and between you and all the other humans in the room, and it connects you all and causes all sorts of stirrings.

Whether a massive stadium filled with thousands of people, or a house concert with 20 odd friends, the experience of music is magical. The connection that happens between artist and audience, the way you leave feeling like you've been given a gift, the way that you feel like you've been through some kind of therapy session - it's magic. 

It was only recently that I had a discussion with a friend about the fact that music, for me, is live. I mean, music HAS to be live. Recorded music, well to me it's great because you can take it home, and listen anytime, but the real thing, the live experience, that's where the magic really happens for me. That's where the energy between artist and audience really dances. The audience engages by listening, and absorbing, and feeling, and giving back in facial expressions, body language, laughter, tears. The artist provides the stimulation and dances with the audience's reactions, altering, changing, shifting as they sense the lifting or lowering of the mood, crafting a journey through the set with notes and lyrics and moments of quiet. 

It is an amazing gift to be able to do this as my work. 

And as we prepare for upcoming shows, and try to get the word out, market, try to sell tickets, and get bums in seats, it can feel like I'm a used car saleswoman. You know? Sales are not my passion, because sales can feel like a cheap and quick money grab to me. And yet, there's this amazing gift that I want to give, and that's the whole point. It's a gift to both artist and audience. It's an experience, and you really can't get it anywhere but a live show. 

So if you haven't already, I really encourage you to take the time to buy a ticket. It's money so well spent. Get a ticket to any show. Any band you like. Any artist that sounds interesting to you. And then show up, and experience the magic, and feel the feels, and enjoy an escape from the stresses of life, and thank your lucky stars. 

Much love,

Laura, The Kwerks

 

TOP 10!

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Can you believe it??? We Kwerks, after making it through the rounds last year, propelled by our amazing army of voters, KWERKNATION, and landing ourselves in the TOP 25, have managed to go further this year! Yes, once again, our dear fans and followers have pushed, nay propelled us into the NATIONAL TOP 10!!

What a rush this year's contest has been. It was a risk taking the plunge a second year in a row. What if we didn't do as well? What if KwerkNation was tired of voting? What if, what if, what if??? But at your bidding, we entered again and went even further!

Now, a huge congratulations to the winner of the contest, AquaKulture, and his song "Sure" for taking the top prize. We love his story and admire his unique style! And to go forward, we are just sitting here, feeling so thankful for all of you. What more could we ask for as artists than to have enough of a network of encouraging, enthusiastic, good people like you backing us up? I will be plain here. It's a dream come true. To enter into art and put yourself on the line, on the stage, into total vulnerability, is no easy task. To have such a response as we've had....thank you so much. A million times. A bajillion times. 

We love you, KwerkNation. See you soon at a show, online, or face to face in the streets should we rub shoulders one day. xo

The Kwerks

Fill that plate a little bit fuller

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Hey, so what if we're preparing for the biggest, most magical album release? Why don't we just throw a major national competition into the mix? YES PLEASE!

CBC SEARCHLIGHT HAS JUST RECEIVED THE KWERKS' SUBMISSION, MY FRIENDS.

Want to join the fun and help us get daily votes?

We have a facebook group set up to give you daily reminders: http://bit.ly/2kS3Awl

Or, sign up for a daily reminder email list - get a reminder in your inbox each day (no spam). The list will self destruct after the contest ends. Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/diu2T9

Love and hugs,

The Kwerks

BIGGER BADDER DREAMS

We are THRILLED to announce the upcoming release of our new album, Bigger Badder Dreams which will be available for purchase on March 2nd!

Two places to get it:

1 - AT OUR ALBUM RELEASE CONCERT (see info below), or any other live Kwerks show. See our tour dates here. We've got some great shows lined up for you!

2 - OFF THIS WEBSITE - by clicking here. Both physical CDs and digital downloads will be available here, starting on March 2nd.

ALBUM RELEASE CONCERT @ SWALLOWFIELD BARN (click!)

Quick deets: March 2nd -  7:30PM - 7296 Telegraph Trail, Langley - Tix here

Kissing 2017 Goodbye

For a married duo that have three kids and a band comprised of dads, The Kwerks have managed to accomplish an incredible amount in the past 2.5 years since they kicked off their project, and 2017 was no exception.

The band continued to make the rounds throughout the lower mainland and Fraser Valley, where their fan base eagerly packed out venues and soaked up their easy-going vibe.

Having entered the CBC Searchlight competition, the band dominated the voting portion of the competition and came in in the top 10 in their region (Vancouver area - round 1), then the top 3 (Vancouver area -
 round 2), and on the national level, made it to the top 25 (Canada wide - round 3), all awarded by popular vote, thanks to their engaged and enthusiastic fan base.

Their online presence, including their comedic music videos, won the hearts of many, but they truly shone when they get to perform live for audiences. Bantering between songs, making audiences laugh to tears, and blasting listeners hearts with relatable and authentic songwriting, the band is enjoyed wherever they go.

Summer 2017 brought their first foray into the festival circuit, with appearances at the Music on the Meadow Festival (Fort St James, BC), the Downtown Victoria Busker's Festival (Victoria, BC), the Same Sun Summer Jam Festival (Surrey, BC) and the Tractorgrease Folk Festival (Chilliwack, BC).

In the fall, The Kwerks were selected to showcase at the Northern Exposure Showcase and Conference in Wells, BC, where they won the hearts of many rural festival organizers and venue managers.

Several newspaper articles published, hundreds of new followers on social media, a booking for a speaking engagement in 2018, and industry voices raving, the Kwerks were celebrated wherever they touched down.

In November, Laura picked up a Frazey Music Award for "Excellence in Performance by a Female Artist".

The Kwerks also held a "buy-one, donate-one" campaign in December - for every pair of Kwerky socks they sold, one pair would be donated to a person living in poverty, resulting in over 120 pairs being donated.

The end of 2017 was filled with local Christmas concerts and the band spending a few weeks in the studio, recording their third EP that will be released in February 2018.

The Kwerks are looking forward to 2018 with eyes set on expanding their audience even further, and building up their online presence, particularly in video content, but as their true love is performing live, they plan to stack the tour dates and keep doing what they do best - connecting with people, sharing laughs, spreading the love, and creating better and better live experiences for their fans.

Bubble fun in Langley!

Aaaaah we're re-living some of our summer memories! Here's a snippet of our show at the Langley Events Centre in August.

When it rains it pours

Well we've got a fully booked December, plans percolating for our annual Christmas video, we're recording our new album over the next few weeks, and we JUST FOUND OUT that we've received TWO NOMINATIONS for Fraser Valley Music Awards! 

1 Nomination in the COUNTRY category

1 Nomination in the EXCELLENCE - FEMALE ARTIST category

This is pretty amazing, friends! Feeling awfully thankful right now.

Want to see the announcement? CLICK HERE.

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We're Recording This Month!

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Extreme Songwriting

 A shot taken on a walk in Pemberton while Laura Kwerk was on a recent artist's retreat.

A shot taken on a walk in Pemberton while Laura Kwerk was on a recent artist's retreat.

Interview with Laura Kwerk

While Laura Kwerk is quite well-practiced in the English language, she certainly has a penchant for making words and phrases up to suit her songwriting needs in any given moment. From "a titch" in All Yours (which turned out to actually be a legitimate saying), to "find your loud" in Little Fighter, to the sassy "bigger, badder dreams" in the recently written Fire Light, the cheek is apparent in her seemingly nonchalant disregard for grammatical etiquette. When asked about it, she remarks with a smile, "But I like it." 

Fair enough. Fair enough. And we like it too, Mrs. Kwerk.

The big question we have, however, is centred around the newly written song, Drummy Dün Dün, cheekily named in a moment of agitation around song naming, and within it's lyrics can be found....wait for it....a REPEATED aforementioned phrase: FIND YOUR LOUD.

What, pray, does this phrase mean?


LK: Well, when I first came up with this phrase I was writing the song, "Little Fighter", which is all about digging yourself out of the fear-cave and getting yourself onto the track you know you're supposed to be on. Fear can cause all sorts of stunting, and keep us from really doing what we're built for as individuals, what is best for us, and ultimately for the world at large. The amazing thing about humans is that we're all made so differently, and while I may be made to write music and connect with people through it, another person might find their passions focussed on scientific study, or teaching, or counselling, or <insert a million other things here>. The phrase "find your loud" is all about figuring out what your particular expression or passion in this life might be, and seizing it with everything you have. Too many people are walking around this place with blank, sad expressions, not having ever dug into what makes them feel alive. I feel like part of my job as a songwriter is to expose some of these things, and get people thinking about themselves and their lives. 

Okay, but why did you use the same phrase in your new song, Drummy Dün Dün? 

LK: Oh right. So, I sat down to write a Christmassy song, because you know, the season will be here soon and I need to be prepared!! So as I gathered my things together, guitar, notebook, pencil, brain, I tried getting in that Christmassy mode. You know the warm, fuzzy, lovey-dovey happy mode that we're supposed to feel at that time? Well, at the time I was doing this, there were crazy hurricanes down in the Southern states and Carribean, there was a huge earthquake in Mexico, there were floods, and out-of-control wildfires, there were horrible reports coming in from Myanmar about the slaughters happening there, and there was crazy bad political stuff going on with Trump and the rest of the world, including North Korea. I mean, it felt like the sky was falling. So, I ended up writing this song with that very phrase "the sky is falling" in it, and throughout the song I'm feeling this horrible weight that we need to stop and take a stand for the sake of our fellow humans, and for the sake of this beautiful planet. We need to beat our drums together, cause change, help others, and generally *find our loud* voices for the sake of this earth. So, I guess in this song the phrase is used a bit differently, but there it is. 

Cool. Well that makes us want to hear the song now. Will that be possible? Where are you playing around Christmas?

LK: Yeah you can definitely hear it! We don't have plans to record it at this point, but we're playing a Christmas Concert for the Langley Township at the Cheif Sepass Theatre on Dec 3, and we'll also be participating in several of Pacific Theatre's Christmas Presence shows, where we plan to bring the song into the mix as well. (Check out our website for actual dates we're performing.)

Sounds great! Well thanks, Mrs. Kwerk. It's been interesting picking your songwriting brain a bit today.

LK: My pleasure.

(Interview of Laura Kwerk by Laura Kwerk. Weird, I know.)

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Kwerknation is growing!

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KwerkNation - Thank you.

 Here we are, waiting for our set to start on the main stage at the Music on the Meadow Festival!

Here we are, waiting for our set to start on the main stage at the Music on the Meadow Festival!

WHAT A SUMMER! This has been an epic one for us, and there's little more to be said than a heartfelt THANK YOU to our dear fans and followers. Without you, this would be a lonely journey. Without your feedback, we wouldn't have any idea what kind of an impact our music and story would be making. Without your emails, messages, comments, likes and shares, we wouldn't be able to get the word out about this crazy thing called The Kwerks. 

SO THANK YOU. WE LOVE YOU.

The summer, our third summer at it, was incredibly full, and very encouraging. For those of you who have been with us since day one, you'll be so happy along with us to know that the rumble that started with my (Laura's) songwriting back in July 2015 has increased and developed into a full out roar, and it's only getting bigger and louder. 

Some highlights we're amazed and humbled to be able to tell you of:

  • Landing our first bookings in FOUR music festivals this summer (this is a huge deal for us)
  • packing in over 25 shows over the course of the summer months (previous years have been less)
  • making new connections and being approached after EVERY show with new gig interest
  • taking the risk of ordering our first run of KWERK SOCKS and seeing them be a huge hit!
  • starting to actually bring in a small income through music (they said this isn't possible anymore)
  • finding our groove and honing our skills both as a duo and as a full band (so different, so good)
  • playing for hundreds, thousands of people, and seeing them all dancing to our music!
  • moving past the shock of hate mail into MORE authenticity and self-expression than even before
  • having such a busy schedule that we're actually having to turn away offers!

Each of these things is a mini miracle in itself, friends, and we are so thankful!

GOING FORWARD, we're very excited to be percolating and working on plans for a new record. Those songs you love that we haven't released yet? They're coming. New Kwerk music? It's coming. Stay tuned and get ready!

So here we are in September, a season of settling into routines and focussing in on admin stuff behind the scenes. Oh the music continues, and we've got a number of shows planned that you'll hear about, but along with the darker, longer days comes the exciting time of SUBMITTING FOR NEXT SUMMER'S FESTIVALS, contests, showcases and submissions; getting our butts into the studio (!!); setting up a CD release par-tay and CD release tour; and continuing to keep you all in the loop as it all happens. 

Lots of work to do! Lots of love and fuzzy feelings to fuel the work. All set....GO!

xoxo Your Kwerks

Summer isn't over!

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AUGUST NEWS

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OUR BIG NEWS

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SIGN UP FOR PATREON HERE.

I really don't care if they try to run me down. Really.

Every so often as I catch myself in the busyness of running this Kwerky business, marketing, budgeting, booking, songwriting, planning, strategizing, and all the fun stuff that goes along with the behind-the-scenes work of The Kwerks, I get a flash of the bird's eye view. My brain zooms way, way out, away from the minutiae that I get caught in for hours (how to write that post in the best way, with the best photo, which has been edited to suit our quirky style, the caption being under the magic number of characters, the clickable link being easy enough to locate, the timing of the post just right....) and I remember that we're living the dream.

It's still early. It still feels like we have a long road of this dream-living ahead of us, and it feels like we're still learning and growing and experimenting, but it's amazing. Dropping my career as a childbirth doula, to diving in head first, no holds barred, into pursuing music, our own music - what a rush. 

Not only that, but as we began performing and connecting with our audiences, as we listened to what people were saying after our shows, as we read what people felt when they watched our videos, read our blogs, or listened to our songs, we started to see a bigger picture unfold. And we are leaning heavily into that bigger picture now.

There's a lot more story to be told about the path we've been walking than just the Kwerk part of it. There was a little video app called VINE that we very thoroughly became obsessed with for a couple years, which led to a huge transformation for Ryan first, and then me following. The transformation had everything to do with realizing we were holding ourselves back from the world, that we were putting on masks and pretending we were a certain way, not really allowing our true selves out, not really feeling like our true selves would be acceptable. But that darn app, that little screen on our phones, and more importantly, that community of caring people that lived all over the world and who engaged with us, encouraged us, and saw us emerge with our weird senses of humour, our weird dance moves, and our weird selves, gave us permission to really let go of those masks. One of those rather caring and influential people's VINE alias happened to be "Kwrky". Hmmm. But that's a story for another day.

VINE wasn't the only catalyst. Sometimes it seems that when you're being pushed down a path, all sorts of things line up to accommodate it. Books we were reading, people we were talking to, messages we were hearing everywhere, they all lined up. They all kept telling us to let go of our inhibitions. Be real. Be yourselves. Let loose.

There's a lot more to the story, and those who are close to us know the journey well, and perhaps we'll tell more of that story another day, but today, the story halts at a rather unpleasant pit stop. 

Hate mail. 

It's an interesting thing, hate mail. Really, it's astounding to read something that is full of anger and disdain that someone actually went and sat and wrote, on purpose, seemingly for the sole reason of hurting. 

We got one such email recently. It was directed hatefully at Ryan. And it hurt. But it also opened up a lot of discussion, and ultimately made way for MORE goodness, MORE authenticity, and MORE determination in the right direction. 

You see, the thing is, the writer was slamming Ryan for doing exactly what we set out to do. This person was hating him because he was doing EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO. Someone missed the memo. Someone wasn't hearing the message.

When we get on stage, we aren't up there to impress an audience with our musical prowess. Ryan proudly proclaims he HASN'T HAD ANY DANCE TRAINING, and his maniacal moves are truly self-taught. Bahahaha! And I'm not even that good a guitar player! Sheesh! I've got rhythm, sure, but I'm still learning, and teaching myself, and if you ask me what key I'm playing in, I'll usually panic and turn to ask one of the amazing guys that play with us and know way more about music than I do. And I've made peace with that. 

This is the thing. We are just simply bringing ourselves and offering what we have, and we are loving it, every moment, and that's it! It really is a nice surprise that people seem to like it, and tell us after shows how much they loved certain songs, and tell us that they're inspired to go and live life a little differently now. One of the most tear-jerking memories for me was after a show when a woman came up to me and said, in the most heartfelt way, "Thank you SO MUCH for quitting your job and doing this. Thank you." It was one of the earliest moments that I realized that this is a gift not only for Ryan and I. 

And so when an email comes in that picks Ryan apart and tells him that he should stay backstage, and that he's a horrible distraction to an otherwise great band, it really seems like that person is missing the whole point. 

The other day, we went to our kids' fine arts school to watch the year-end grade 4/5 show. Now, I'm a weepy mom like all the others at these kinds of things, but when the banners came down revealing the theme of the show, I was floored, and had rather leaky eyes through most of the show. Be free to be yourself. Have the courage to choose freedom. There is no better theme for us Kwerks to be dwelling on and leaning into at this time. Nothing better. And we will keep going. And Ryan will dance like a maniac and I will break strings from playing them so hard and the band will be there to back us up. And that's all.

It was a good run!

Oh KwerkNation. Oh loyal army of voters. We have SAD news!

This morning we learned that it was very close, but we didn't make the top vote in CBC Searchlight, which we were aiming our hearts towards. 

Without hanging our heads too low, we want to express to you, our rather amazingly loyal army of voters and supporters, how incredibly supported we felt throughout the competition. The CBC took note of how engaged our audience was (yeah, that's you!) and we got some good tidbits about them quite liking our stuff, but in the end, there were a great many excellent artists in the competition, and we didn't quite make it there. 

Thank you for voting, and for putting your heart into hoping for our success. So many of you told us you were checking facebook hourly for updates, so many of you mentioned you were holding your breath (which I truly hope didn't cause any fainting because THAT WAS A LONG WEEKEND TO WAIT THROUGH!!). Thank you a million times for your support. 

For us, this is disappointing, but we know there are so many other fish to fry, and so we are already moving our gaze to other challenges and adventures, all of which you'll be on with us if you so choose! 

So, much love to you, our dear KwerkNation. Thank you for everything. We were nearly there. :)