By Ted Simpson –
The band SubFloor has been a long time in the making, built on connections made in the 80’s in Edmonton, in the 90’s in Wellington West and completed in the modern day on Kijiji and they are finally coming out for their first headlining performance this month at Pressed Cafe.
The group was founded by Mark Vidalin, singer, and David Macki, guitarist, who both started out playing music in Edmonton a few decades ago, never in the same group, but around the same scene.
Both went off and started careers and started families, and didn’t talk until they ended up passing each other on bicycles in Gatineau Park. Both had decided to come back to playing music after leaving it on a shelf for a long while and started jamming about three years ago.
Keyboard player Nick Roy was the last member to join the band, but his friendship with Mark goes back nearly Nick’s whole life. “I was almost two years old, living on Holland Avenue and Mark moved in across the street, he pulled up driving his immaculately restored, green MGA [a British sports car produced between 1955 and 1962],” says Nick. “When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with cars and I was stricken by this guy with the amazing car. So, I’ve known Mark for a long, long time.”
Chris Price, on the bass, and Ryan Benty, on the drums, came into the band by way of Dave and Mark’s Kijiji ads.
Chris arrived with the unique flavour of a stand up, acoustic bass. The instrument is amplified with an electronic pickup and patched through a board of effects pedals to create a fusion of old and new musical tech. “I played guitar very poorly for 20 years,” says Chris. “I decided to pick up the bass, I always thought it was pretty cool, but the idea of playing straight eighth notes seemed really boring, so I went out and found a jazz instructor who taught me how to improvise jazz bass lines.”
Ryan, another younger member of the group, came into the project looking to make a musical 180 from the heavy metal and punk he’d grown up with. “When I started playing with these guys I was looking for something toned down, something to challenge me,” says Ryan. As we’ve evolved the band has started to get a little noisier a little more rock and roll, it’s been fun to kind of find that middle ground.”
Nick has a deep musical background for a young man. He has a degree from Queens in music studies and has spent years as a music teacher, producer, and arranger. Westboro residents might know Nick as the band camp instructor at Dovercourt Community Centre. He also teaches brass and woodwinds at the Bluesfest School of Music and Art on Churchill Avenue.
When the opportunity came up to play in a rock band with an old friend, Nick jumped in. “Coming into a group that has such freedom to explore things, is a really important part of being able to feel well rounded in terms of everything that I’m looking to do,” says Nick. “Playing in this band and having that loosey-goosey feel and being able to play off each other has been a wonderful thing for me to explore.”
Subfloor is currently ramping up for their first headlining gig, February 7 at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave.).
Mark jokes about the long road that the band has taken over the past year to finally hit the level they have had in their sights this whole time.
“So far we’ve done a handful of oddball gigs, we played a fundraiser at a horse show and we played a birthday party at a lumber baron’s mansion,” says Mark. “We’re feeling like Pressed is our coming out party to playing in venues that are known for the kind of music that we want to do. Hopefully, this will be the start of us playing fairly regularly, maybe a couple of times a month.”
Check out a sample of their music at subfloormusic.ca/video.