the Schomberg Fair

The Schomberg Fair Finishes Up Mini-Tour and Plans Ahead

On the way to my cousin's place in Newmarket, the town of Schomberg always marked the halfway point of what seems like a long drive when you're five years old and have to pee. My family never stopped there, and we never saw the fair, but the town's sign will remain a distinct memory until I'm old and senile.

"Well at least you got to keep driving, that's where I had to stay," chuckles Nathan, the bass player for blues/rock band, the Schomberg Fair. Schomberg is where both he and Matt Bahan -lead singer/guitarist- grew up.

The Schomberg Fair does not group easily with the usual Toronto indie sound. They have a grassroots feel, coupled with a dark energy that booms from the depths of Nate's bass vocals. The lyrics are often down-in-the-dirt, but their music moves forward quickly, refusing to slow.

So, Nathan and I had a lot to talk about.

Although they have only been a band for just over two years, they are already on their fourth drummer. (Insert Spinal Tap reference here.)

"Yeah it's a shame, we'd really like to stay together and hopefully this one has a longer life-span as a band member. I think with the last one it was little bit of a work-ethic issue. We're on the road a lot, and there's obviously not a lot of pay, so sometimes you're going to have to miss a friend's birthday, or something like that. It takes a certain amount of commitment."

Nathan is fairly confident in their new drummer, Pete Garthside. Pete also drums in Provincial Parks, a band that played last week with the Library Voices.

"He's really talented and committed to Toronto's music scene, so hopefully he sticks around."

The Schomberg Fair is in the middle of a mini-tour. Tonight, they'll play with Spooky Ruben in Ottawa, and then they'll spend the rest of the weekend playing a couple shows in Montreal. I asked Nathan what he thought of playing with Spooky, especially since their style of music is not exactly similar.

"Ha, yeah... it's definitely an odd mix. I think what we have in common is that, well... take Spooky Ruben. Now try and classify his music: it's hard to do 'cause he's so unique. At the same time, we're doing something that's fairly different as well. It's always hard to match bands with us. So, we share that."

Their last album, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground, was released earlier this year, and the boys are have already marked the spring of 2009 for their next recording.

"Ideally, we'd like to finish up this next record in the spring and head out West in the summer to promote it. We've never been, and there'd be no better way to see and experience this country than to play shows. Right now we're talking with the Speaking Tongues -they're a really great Toronto band- and we're hoping to go out West with them."

Matt works as an outreach worker. His experiences often surface in his lyrics and the music enables him to regurgitate the stories he sees and hears every day from those who have suffered hard times on the street. He is also a Canadian painter, and his work is currently being exhibited at the Moore Gallery until Saturday, December 20th.

The Schomberg Fair are playing in Toronto on January 7th at the Tranzac, and January 24th at the Silver Dollar.

Photo by Anton Volek

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