Musical mashup of old and new

Local band Towodo blend genres, modern and traditional instrumentation

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Towodo, the self-professed “electro-infused psychedelic trip-hop” act from Winnipeg, formed in jam room 2-0-2 above the Goodwill Social Club in 2009.

The band formed with the intent of creating a rhythmic, hypnotic sound that would make people move – incorporating Xavier Rudd influences, a didgeridoo and dobro, and crafting songs heavy on percussion and bass.

Their evolving sound and changing music has been due to a changing line-up over the past two years, but Towodo is now comprised of six close-knit members: Mike de Groot (didgeridoo/turntable/electronic percussion), Stephen Barkman (bass), Chloe Shindruk (keyboards/vocals), Liam Karp (lyricist/rapper), Nick Turnbull (drums/vocals), Robert Turnbull (guitar), with Scott Campbell assisting with live projections at shows.

The collective sound of all six members’ musical expression can be heard live and on their debut album, The Depths. Writing on a spectrum from funk to hip-hop to electronica to jazz to psychedelic rock, Towodo’s inclusive sound has given all members the opportunity to bring their ideas to the table, and jam them out to see what comes of them.

The recording process for Towodo’s first album took place in three different Winnipeg locations. After whittling down their recording list to 11 songs, the members began to create the pieces they would soon puzzle together to create The Depths.

Band members and life partners Stephen and Chloe refer to their album as a “sonic journal.” Liam’s experience in Shilo, Man. on the Afghanistan-modelled set for locally filmed movie Hyena Road contributed to some of the lyrics for songs like “Ghoul Room Waltz” and “Fire Burns,” carrying themes of war.

Mike de Groot brings a lot to the table in Towodo, with bassist Stephen Barkman referring to him as their “secret weapon.” A percussionist by training, he applies his skills and knowledge to his turntable, drum machine, synthesizer, and didgeridoo. The influence of the electronic realm aided in the evolution of Towodo’s earlier organic djembe-and-didge sound to what can be heard on The Depths.

“His contraption or set-up – which we affectionately refer to as ‘The Coffin’ due to its large, ominous carrying case – has evolved due to his influences and the accessibility of new gear and programs which he explores,” Barkman said of de Groot.

With the members of the band starting young families, touring is not in their near future. However, they still plan to play summer festivals across Manitoba in addition to booking shows in the Winnipeg area to share their music.

Despite busy life schedules, they have allowed time for rehearsal once or twice a week and have been composing new music for another upcoming album.

“Recording The Depths really helped us hone our writing, arranging, and ability to craft songs,” explained Barkman.

“Lying in wait, we have a full wheelhouse of grooves, progressions, and melodic ideas that are just waiting to be spun into something. Our long-range plan is to start recording next fall or winter for our sophomore album, which we anticipate will continue to exhibit the traits of Towodo: a fusion of multiple genres and influences to create a unified sound that explores the depths of common human experiences including love, life, and death.”

 

Check out The Depths on Towodo’s Soundcloud or YouTube channel. Physical copies can be purchased at shows or by contacting Towodo at towodo.music@gmail.com