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DAN MCKINNON (Dan McKinnon Group) Blues Recording Artist, Guitarist

P:  Who motivated or inspired you to choose such a dark and unpredictable career in music?

DM: I'm inevitably inspired by my influences are many that include (but are not limited to) Buddy Guy, Robben Ford, Prince, Jimmy Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Nelson Symonds, Art Blakey, Gary Clark Jr, The Black Keys, Lenny Kravitz and as of late, many hip hop artists and producers like J Dilla, Madlib, Kendrick Lamar and Common.  And on a non-musical level, it would be my parents. Both of them love what they do and stressed how important it was to follow your passions in life when I was growing up. 

P:  Santana compared Miles Davis’s sudden move toward electric to “Jumping without a Parachute”.  Have you ever at some point, or plan to make any sudden shifts in your style and mood?

DM:  It's an ongoing process for me right now as I have been experimenting more and more with hip-hop based rhythms/grooves over more blues and blues based music to very strong results.  At the end of the day, I want to do something musically fulfilling that sounds of the time, reflects my background/influences that also makes people happy.  Blues in its day was a party/dance music and I want to create something similar that fits in with modern day Toronto.

P: A musician that can’t cook is just an absolute enigma, if your favourite artist or band is coming over for dinner, what would you throw together in the kitchen?

DM: Traditional style tacos (meat & small tortillas with salsa, cilantro and onion) with a fully stocked bar.

 
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SHAFTON THOMAS (Recording Artist) Bassist

P:  Who motivated or inspired you to choose such a dark and unpredictable career in music?

ST:  I grew up in a musical family. My grandmother was a child prodigy on piano and organ, my older brother was a professional rock drummer and there was always an eclectic mix of music going in our house. For years I tried to go in a different direction, to do something else, but when my oldest brother, a jazz guitarist, turned me on to artists like Coltrane, Mingus, Monk, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomerey I was fully intrigued. Eventually, as I matured, I simply couldn't fight it anymore. I knew it would be a challenging path with many ups and downs and no guarantees, but it was too "in my blood" to let go and I couldn't live with myself if I didn't try.

P:  Santana compared Miles Davis’s sudden move toward electric to “Jumping without a Parachute”.  Have you ever at some point, or plan to make any sudden shifts in your style and mood?

 ST: For myself, making the leap from a career based solely on being a sideman performing for other artists to forming my own band where I write and perform original, genre-defying music was a huge shift and has completely redefined how I look at music in all aspects. As for the band, I can't predict what will happen for this group in the future other than to acknowledge that we have always been evolving this music from day one and continue to do so every time we play. We take risks that push us into unknown territory every night where our only "parachute" is each other and the trust we've built playing together as long as we have. If you were to listen to what we sounded like when we started out and compare to what we sound like now I'm sure you'd hear a world of difference. I imagine that will still be the case in the future. 

 P: A musician that can’t cook is just an absolute enigma, if your favourite artist or band is coming over for dinner, what would you throw together in the kitchen?

ST: I wouldn't even worry about what to cook for dinner. I'd just make sure that whatever we have there's a tantalizing, complementary and exotic tour of craft beers to go with it and to surprise and sustain them through the night!

 
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JON FOSTER (JON FOSTER GROUP) JAZZ RECORDING ARTIST / DRUMMER

P:  Who motivated or inspired you to choose such a dark and unpredictable career in music?

JF:  Calling it a dark and unpredictable career is by no means inaccurate but its the bright side of it all that is so attractive. I grew up watching rappers and rockstars on MTV and dreamed up the most amazing lives they must have had. Now that I'm all in for a life in music, I realize there are definitely less amazing times but nothing else can make me feel the way I do about making music and doing something I know is important.

 P:  Santana compared Miles Davis’s sudden move toward electric to “Jumping without a Parachute”.  Have you ever at some point, or plan to make any sudden shifts in your style and mood?

 JF: As a drummer, every next project I'm a part of is a sudden shift in my style and mood. This year alone I've gone from playing jazz festivals on the west coast with New Orleans style jazz bands to touring Australia with a folk band to touring across Canada with an indie rock band and even playing the Copenhagen Jazz Festival with an electronic jazz trio. And that was all before July. Tomorrow morning I'm gonna wake up and be on to the next move.

P: A musician that can’t cook is just an absolute enigma, if your favourite artist or band is coming over for dinner, what would you throw together in the kitchen?

JF: Lately I've really been into fish tacos. I would try to find a recipe from somewhere I've had them and loved them so I could share the goodness. Good food sparks good conversation, and if I'm having my favourite artist over for dinner, well then I want to get the conversation flowing!