Arts & Entertainment

Ivytide launches musical career of McGill students

For Nathan Gagné, U2 Psychology, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Ivytide, an indie rock/R&B fusion group, making a living through music would be the perfect scenario.

“The school thing is a backup to [being a musician],” Gagné said. “If I’m able to…sustain myself by making music, that would be the dream.”

The group performed at OAP last Thursday Aug. 30 to an enthusiastic crowd.

Though he’s sang and played the guitar since the age of ten, Gagné’s musical passion grew after he graduated high school. Although he admits to having had an on-and-off relationship with the guitar for much of his youth, Gagné eventually put his nose to the grindstone, improved his guitar skills, and began work on original acoustic material. When he set out to record his solo work, Gagné met Jamie Snytte, B.A. ‘18, the co-founder of Avbury Studios and the future lead guitarist of Ivytide. The two began producing  EPs together, and soon realized that things could only improve from there.

“We really started to see that […] working together was great, there really was some chemistry here, so we were like ‘let’s pursue that, let’s create a band out of it,’” said Gagné.

Snytte recruited drummer John Zambito, who had also recorded at Avbury Studios, and two of his high school friends, keyboardist Adam Nutbey (B.S. ’18), and bassist Kyle Ruggierol (Concordia B.A. ’18), to create what is now Ivytide. On Aug. 24, the group released their debut EP, Bloom, which features their signature mellow mixes of R&B and hip-hop riffs with a slower-tempo, moody ambiance.

The band draws a lot of its musical inspiration from the work of Australian singer-songwriter Matt Corby, who uses a loop station during live performances to overlay recorded layers of  solo performance, resulting in what sounds like a full band.

“I bought a loop station [after I saw Corby perform] and was messing about with that for a while, and that’s what developed my song writing,” Gagné said. “ That’s when I finally decided to go to a studio and that’s when I met Jamie and all the other guys.”

While Ivytide has only begun experimenting  with looping techniques, the group has no trouble making their own unique music. Typically, Gagné begins by producing an acoustic version of a song, writing lyrics based on his own thoughts and emotions. He tries as hard as possible to infuse his own experience into the song to help fuel the pensive themes of Ivytide’s music. Gagné and Snytte then proceed to make a demo with complete instrumentation, and turn to the other band members for input on their respective pieces.

“Each [band member] adds their own element to the tracks as well, and that’s how we get this creation,” Gagné said.

Since the EP debuted so recently, the band’s current focus centers on promoting Bloom as much as possible before producing any new music.

“We’re gigging as much as we possibly can, we’re really trying to take all the steps to make the world know we exist basically,” Gagné said.

Ivytide’s next live performance will be on Sept. 21 at Piranha Bar, where they are opening for Wolves at Midnight. Their EP, Bloom, can be found on Spotify and other online streaming services.

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