Who's Playing NXNE: TuZO
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Who’s Playing NXNE: TuZO

Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 13–19 this year, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.

With a dad like Fred Penner, it’s no wonder Hayley Gene is now a talented songwriter herself. But we’re surprised she still hasn’t picked up on proper capitalization. Photo by Corbin Smith/Torontoist.

With several of today’s politicians learning the hard way, sometimes it really is best to keep your private life and your professional life separate. But luckily for Toronto music fans and NXNE-ers, TuZO’s Hayley Gene and James McLeod chose not to heed that advice. Their first musical collaboration was a national commercial for McDonald’s for their employer, Eggplant Collective, which lead to more projects—professional and recreational—blossoming into what is now the electronic-dance-pop duo of TuZO. Named after a noted Canadian geologist known for his work with plate tectonics, head below ground level to The Drake Underground (1150 Queen Street West) this Wednesday at 1 a.m. to hear why Torontoist is lovin’ it.

Tell us why we should see you at NXNE, in ten words or less.
Guaranteed the best show at The Drake at 1 a.m.
What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?
As far as performing, The Mod Club. It’s one of the first venues we played at as a band. It’s really open, I love the space. The TVs beside the stage. The sound people are all really professional. It’s just a comfortable place to play. And it’s fun.
The Drake takes a close second, a really close second. I’ve played there a lot over the years. It’s really… it’s so intimate. A little, not dingy, I don’t mean dingy, but kind of like a secret underground layer.
Does the northeast beat the southwest, and why?
That’s a tough question because I’ve never been to SXSW… though I’ve heard that it’s amazing. But what’s nice about the Toronto festival is that you can get to nearly every venue by bike or walking. Like at these larger festivals, you don’t have to be cabbing all night. And now that it’s so beautiful out, it’s a great festival for people to just walk around at.
Who’s going to be the break out act of NXNE this year?
I really like New Country Rehab, they’re at The Dakota on Saturday. They’ve gotten so much buzz in the last year, mostly because they put on the most incredible live show. It’s impossible not to be dancing and singing.
Another one is Allie Hughes, that’s a totally different kind of show. She’s really dramatic. You know, she really puts on a show. Her voice is incredible, and I appreciate her showmanship. Plus we both do sort of electronic pop, so I like her style too.
What’s up next for you/your band?
Well, we’re always writing songs for our next album. I’m also working on a separate album [ed.—she’s a solo artist too]. But I’m actually living in London [England] at the moment, I’m only in town for 10 days. I’m working in Stockholm right now with some writers and producers, and yeah, the project has kind of a TuZO-ish style. And some is with James, too. So that’s kind of what I’m doing now.
Any last words?
Come to our show because… you should.