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L.A. Beat

Cassette mix tape club brings Albertan music community together

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Lethbridge musicians Jesse Northey and Jon Martin are revitalizing a long lost  ’80s memory — mix tapes.  And in the process they are creating a province-wide community of musicians.

 The subscriber series evolved out of a post show conversation between Martin, Northey (who has since moved to Edmonton),  Edmonton musician Doug Hoyer and drummer Clayton Smith about mix  tapes and all of the Alberta talent.Jon Martin is excited about the cassette mix tape club. Photo  by Richard Amery
“Jesse took the idea and ran with it. And we sold out the subscriber series even before there was any music,” Martin said, who is responsible for mastering all of the songs.

 Every month songwriters submit a song based on a theme provided in whatever style of music they are interested in. The results are put onto a compilation of 50 cassette tapes as well as downloads.

“ We get indie rock, indie pop, hard rock, sensitive ballads, alt country electronic eight bit and psych rock though we haven’t had any metal yet. Aaron Trozzo’s song sounds like ( ’70s progressive rock band King Crimson) “Court of the Crimson King”, which is awesome,” Martin said.

 The compilations feature many familiar faces from the Lethbridge and Edmonton music scenes like Doug Hoyer and Jesse Northey and Joe Nolan who was just in Lethbridge this week opening for Jeremy Fisher,  plus familiar Lethbridge faces like Lustre Creame’s Aaron Trozzo, Brenna Lowrie, Joel Stretch from the Utilities, Michael Granzow and of course Jon Martin who usually plays with the New Weather Machine. Word is spreading as they are starting to receive submissions from Calgary as well.

“ But what I’ve enjoyed the most about this project is getting to meet all of these people. I have new friends in Edmonton that I might not have otherwise met because of this project,” Martin said.


“ People are already collaborating with each other because they heard something in someone else’s song that they really like,” he said.

 They released the first compilation in September with the appropriate theme  “We’re New Here.”
 The October theme is “ the Apocalypse” and Martin is getting ready to put together the songs from November’s theme “Books and Authors.”
 “ I’m always interested to see how many angles they come up with for the same theme,” Martin continued adding the first theme inspired songs about everything from playing cards to new cement to newborn babies and one using “I’m New Here”as the title.
 He said the songwriters are taking the project seriously, writing for the theme.
“ They aren’t just reworking old songs,” he said.

“ Another thing that is very interesting is you can hear that every city has it’s own sound,” he said.
“ This is a chance to hear 15 different artists without buying 15 different CDs which can be expensive,” he continued adding the project also showcases different sides of the musicians are submitting songs in completely different songs than the bands they are known for.

“ These are people who are doing it just to create art and are proud to submit it,” he continued.
 He noted the themes are set for the entire year, so the musicians have time to think about them before writing their submission.
“But 80 per cent of the sings come in two or three days before the deadline or the day of or the day after,” Martin observed adding the submissions keep getting better.
“ I’m scared for next month because the bar was set pretty high for the first one and its set even higher now,” he said adding the audio quality is very good. Some people go into professional studios to record others  just record them at home or even on their phones.

“ We’re building relationships and it’s super gratifying,” he said.
Membership in the Cassette Mix Tape club is  $50 for a year which gets you a download each month of 15 completely different songs.

 Songwriters can submit their songs to Jon Martin at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jesse Northey at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it More information can be found on the club’s bandcamp page

 A version of this story appears in the Oct. 29, 2014 edition of the  Lethbridge Sun Times
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 October 2014 10:40 )  
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