Recently I got a chance to interview and sit in on a practice with Protokult in Toronto as they were preparing for their album release show for their brand new album titled No Beer In Heaven.
After a couple of beers and video taping the interview The members of Protokult invited me up their practice area which in one of the most creative rooms that I have ever saw before. They are based in an industrial section of Toronto and they have a room built just for them above a carpentry shop. I knew bands have had to go to a bit of a length to find a place to practice but I never imagined that a band would go to these lengths. Having the room “Custom” built for themselves they have a bit of insulation in the ceiling to try and keep the room at a decent temperature but today that didn’t seem to help very much even with the few fans that they had going on. The room is just big enough to fit everyone in I was told and even with the four of them in the room it was quite cramped, and then me standing in the door way and trying not to move around too much and being entangled in the cords and mic stands that were situated in the middle of the floor.
One thing that I learned quickly about Protokult and I find one of the advantages that they have over other bands in their genre is the fact that they all have different backgrounds and come from different countries yet have somehow all managed to end up in Toronto. Not only is their sound diverse in its own manner but they also slip in a few history lessons as well. Later on after the interview Dawid and over a couple of my redneck beers (which I’m pretty sure will be the first and last time that the band tries Keystone) he explained a few of the songs to me and really put a few of the songs into perspective for me especially “Flight Of The Winged Hussar”
Now here is one of the highlights for me of the night, not only did I get a run down of their wicked sounding first singe “Get Me a Beer”. To start the night off Martin now knowing that I came from Kingston he quickly went into a cover of “Tweeter and The Monkey Man” especially for me which I thought was pretty awesome of the band to kick into the cover.
Protokult had their set list already figured out and were just putting the final touches on songs and a quick run through the songs that they were still a little bit unsure of. Tonight Ekaterina had her hands full as she was singing vocals, her beautifully wood crafted recorders (which she gave me a quick history lesson on) and the synthesizer which was placed behind her. While I was sitting beside Ekaterina I was blown away by her amazing vocals. I was actually able to take them in before they came out of the monitor that they have placed on a shelf across the floor.
Now there is not a chance that no ones ears are not ringing by the end of each practice especially by how hard Mike hits the drums. This was the first time that I got a chance to test out my new ear plugs in and I’m quite happy that they worked out for me on this one. Now someway and somehow the sound still works out not too bad for everyone in the room, by having all of the speakers pointed to the middle of the room and with Martin standing right in front of one and he still has a small amount of room to due a few wicked looking spins as he’s playing.
Now if it wasn’t for work the next day I would have stayed for their entire practice but it was already pushing 12 and they still had at least another hour before they were going finish off for the night.