Heater History, Part III: Continuous Playback

Here presented is the third part of my on-going series of posts about the formation of Heater Girl. Part II can be found here: http://www.heatergirl.com/archives/119 

While the manner in which I met Stoo Byfield does not have as much causality as my first meeting with Darren, perhaps it does hold a touch more fate. At the beginning of 2010, there did not exist a single link between Stoo and I. By March of the same year, he would be asking me if I would want to record an EP with him.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Though we’d only meet each other in early February, the first time I saw Stoo perform was a month or two earlier.  This happened at another one of my regular open mic stops, the Cadillac Lounge. Though I’d been going to the jam for a few months, late 09 was the first time I’d ever see one of Stoo’s other bands, We Are French, perform. Their high energy and infectious hooks made me a fan immediately, but the large tables of exuberant company they sat at admittedly intimidated me. For fairly long string of weeks, I would be delight to see We Are French show up to the jam, their sets always heralded by Stoo’s emergence from the kitchen to play drums. Though I wouldn’t go to introduce myself to the band, I was walking around the streets of Toronto humming their songs before year’s end.

If things had stood like that, my shyness may have prevented me from ever meeting Stoo. Luckily, a seemingly innocuous act on my part ended up causing our paths to cross. That act being my purchase of a loop pedal.

Three weeks prior to buying one for myself, I admittedly didn’t even know of the existence of loop pedals. But in December of 09, I’d begun to see several performers at the open mics using them to great effect and I found myself pondering whether or not I should get one. After going to see Owen Pallett perform one of his first shows in Toronto after dropping the Final Fantasy sobriquet, I was sold. I had to have one. With complete disregard as to where my meals would come from for the next couple of months, I bought one mere hours after seeing Mr. Pallett’s virtuoso performance.

I realize that this connection might seem a bit obtuse, but I swear there’s reason for me telling this. It was a few weeks after getting my looper that I finally mustered up the courage to bring it with me to the Caddy jam. I’d only worked out how to play one cover with it, Jens Lekman’s “F-Word.” It wasn’t particularly complicated or impressive, but I hoped that the flash and pomp of doing three-part harmonies unassisted would be enough to intrigue the crowd. I brought along my melodica for good measure.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am my own worst critic, so I want you all to understand the gravity of what I’m about to say. That first night playing with my looper at Caddy? I fucking killed it. And I knew it. I got off the stage feeling like what I’d just done was objectively awesome. And it was only after that performance that the lead singer and guitarist of We Are French would give me his card and invite me to the jam he hosted at what is now not just my favourite bar in the city but my home away from home, Not My Dog.


to be continued next week with Heater History, Part IV: Rather, Our Dog.


wishing you all contentment and cotton candy,



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