Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 13–19 this year, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.
Sara Froese (left) and Olenka Krakus (right) jammin’ during Canadian Music Week. Photo by Corbin Smith/Torontoist.
In a lot of ways, London, Ontario isn’t one of a kind. It’s a city that stole its name and most of its geographical markers—the Thames River, Hyde Park, Covent Garden, to name only a few—from that place across the Atlantic. And it doesn’t even have a palace. But out of this city of simulacra comes Olenka and the Autumn Lovers and their unique brand of Eastern European–influenced folk-rock. No stranger to the NXNE scene, this year marks the band’s fourth appearance at the festival. This time around the band will not only feature new tracks off their second album, And Now We Sing, but will also introduce some new faces that weren’t on the roster last year.
In anticipation of their set tonight at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, we caught up with frontwoman Olenka Krakus while she was in town Monday for a pre-NXNE visit.
Torontoist: Tell us why we should see you at NXNE, in 10 words or less.
Olenka: Are you serious? I’m a lit major. In 10 words?
[Counting on fingers] Because I am playing with the whole band again.
What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?
I’ve always really liked the Drake Underground, because the sound is really nice. I like the Gladstone too. Actually, it probably trumps the Drake. When I’m playing in a venue, I’m a lot more attuned to how the space is going to affect the sound.
Does North East beat South West, and why?
Of course. It’s in Canada.
From what I’ve heard, [SXSW] is even more of a whirlwind, and even more industry-geared. So if you’re not in one of the big showcases, you just kind of fall by the wayside. NXNE is more of a generous experience for bands that are starting out. As a festival, [NXNE] helps to nurture smaller bands.
Who’s going to be the breakout act of NXNE this year?
I’d say the breakout band, or at least the band deserving of the most recognition is One Hundred Dollars. Their new album is a real, honest-to-god gem, and sadly not enough people will realize how solid it is musically and profound lyrically.
What’s up next for your band?
A crapload of grant writing for the next album, which we will hopefully be putting together in May of next year. We’re also touring out west, and then we’ll probably go east in autumn to reconnect with our Maritime friends and do the festival circuit.