Overshadowing music culture

By James Keller

Playing off of a largely different style of music than most local bands, The Mocking Shadows are confident that what sets them apart, will be exactly what puts them ahead.

"It’s the kind of band you don’t see everyday," begins bass player Jory Kinjo, one of seven people in the band. "We have a lot of options because we have three horns and a B-3 organ–we can adapt to many different styles."

And Kinjo and co. are definitely different from most local bands. Steering far away from the trap of garage rock band, they offer a blend of rock, swing, jazz and funk, put together with clever style and class. It’s this style that’s garnered growing support, both locally and on the road. Unsurprisingly, two of the members, including Kinjo, are University of Calgary students.

"We get lots of support from the students," says Kinjo, adding that hopefully they’ll be able to play some campus shows in the future. "I’d love to play in the new Den because I loved the Den. I could see us going over really well."

Aside from gaining popularity locally, The Mocking Shadows are also pushing the national market as well. Their current CD, Long Way, was recorded independently and distributed by Factory Distribution.

"If somebody’s signed and they sell their CD, they get 10 cents but when we sell one, we get 15 bucks," says Kinjo. He says the only benefit of a label is the funding labels provide to actually make a record–something that The Mocking Shadows didn’t need.

Furthermore, this arrangement is still putting the record in major stores across Canada and setting the stage for national popularity. On recent tours the band travelled as far west as Victoria and as far east as Winnipeg. However, the band hopes to branch further out, while still keeping up interest in Calgary.

"We’re always on the road," says Kinjo. "We don’t want to wear out our welcome in Calgary. We’ve got a really good following here and we just want to keep the show fresh."

Although within their hometown, they’re finding it harder to break ground here than in cities like Winnipeg or Edmonton.

"Calgary is really a business-oriented city, so there’s not a lot of support for the fine arts," he explains of the difficulties. "You really have to urge [Calgarians] to go check out a live show. They’ll pay five bucks for a DJ, but they won’t give up cash for real musicians."

Fortunately, Kinjo sees the music scene in Calgary slowly turning around. If and when it does, it will mean more than just extended success for The Mocking Shadows and other local bands.

"There’s this need for culture and this desire for people to have cultural identification. I think they can get that from live music."

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