Riggi Media

GRPWhat sparked your interest in pursuing a career in music, and what was your journey to becoming a musician or band like?
All members of our band had different contexts that brought them to music. All of us were drawn to music from an early age. Some performed in small talent shows or school bands when they were younger while others learned more on their own and didn’t start performing later. We are somewhat split into two groups; one being Luke (drums) and Hunter (vocals) who both attended St. Roch C.S.S in Brampton as a part of their Regional Arts Program playing together on many occasions, and the other being Ryan (guitar) and Carter (bass) who went to high school together in Thornhill and while they didn’t have an arts program at their school, they quickly joined together to play in some bands on their free time. Luke and Hunter both moved to Kitchener/Waterloo after high school and through a suggestion from one of Hunter’s former high school music teachers, he joined a band with Ryan and Carter in 2020. By early 2021 the three of us had moved on to form a new band, bringing in Luke as the drummer. From there we started playing together mostly in the Kitchener/Waterloo region and because of this we eventually came to the name Grand River Pioneers tying us to our starting point as a group (the Grand River passes right through the KW region).

Who are some of the musicians or musical acts that have had the most significant impact on your work and your sound?
While we all have slightly different tastes and styles, there is no doubt that classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin, CCR, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix had a large impact on our sound. More modern acts that we all draw influence from include Rival Sons, Band of Skulls, Royal Blood, and The Backseat Lovers. Additionally, Ryan and Carter are big Red Hot Chili Peppers fans.


Can you describe the progression of your musical style and what sets it apart from others in the industry?
Our musical style was established fairly quickly and has progressed more in the sense that our specific sound has solidified rather than changed over the past three years. Our first ever time practicing as a full band was quite like putting on your favourite pair of jeans; everything fit perfectly. We have a very organic writing style in that we often start with a small idea (i.e., a riff, melody, etc.) and then branch out from there with each member contributing their own ideas and working it out in real time. We like to keep every aspect of our band organic, for example, we prefer our recordings to sound as close as possible to what we play live and often times don’t record to a metronome. I would say this style of writing and performing does set us apart from some other musical acts. Furthermore, our balance of instrumentation in our writing style is something that we are proud of. Each member contributes an essential element to the song through their instrument and apart from some sections of our songs, there is not particularly one individual that is stealing the spotlight as we value the composition as a whole.

Can you share with us a particularly meaningful or personal song and what inspired it?
The first single we released was called Give Up. This song was a slight outlier from our typical writing style as the first half of the song, (up to the end of the second chorus) was written by Hunter rather than all together. It was about a past relationship that involved some infidelity and the song’s central message is that the person who was in the wrong kept trying to rekindle the relationship even after the mistakes they made and from learning their lesson the first time, the protagonist in the song is telling them to give up and move on. With that original idea presented, we turned to our normal collaborative methods and the remaining half of the song is full of different grooves and basically just a big jam outro which we like to think symbolizes that the first half (the relationship) is finally done for good and now is time for something new, different and exciting.

Could you discuss the evolution of your live shows and performances, and what you aim to convey through them?
Our live shows aren’t necessarily conceptual or have any underlying intentions other than to share the music that we love with anyone who is willing to listen and have a good time. We could describe them as very energetic and certainly loud. We like to crack jokes and have a welcoming connection with the audience rather than present ourselves as above the crowd. I think the main thing we aim to convey is that music in its essence is a connective tool, it allows us to meet new people, share a piece of ourselves with them and allow both us and them to have a break from the normalcy and routine they might feel from their typical day to day lives. It certainly helps us to feel that way.

Can you recall any memorable or unique experiences you have had while touring or performing?
While we are yet to go on tour, we have performed across many cities in the GTA and Southern Ontario and honestly most of them were very fulfilling but so far it is hard to say whether we have had any unique experiences that are distinct from other performers or bands. A typical technical malfunction here or there that keeps us on our toes is far from a unique experience as a performing musician. However, I’m sure in the years to come we will gather a bunch of unique experiences from our performances. In terms of memorable moments, we will definitely never forget the first time we had a crowd cheering our acronym (GRP).

What is your perspective on the current state of the music industry, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
We believe that the current state of the music industry is a double-edged sword. While it is easier than ever to communicate to our fans and create our music, it has also become increasingly difficult to be seen due to the mass saturation of the market. This has been one of the biggest challenges for us since none of us are heavily involved in social media individually. Furthermore, balancing between our everyday lives and our passion of music can be challenging since we don’t all live in the same town and can oftentimes struggle to create enough content for constant social media posts to gain a following. Some advice we have come across recently is to apply for grants through the multitude of government and other agencies that offer funding to upcoming artists. This is something we have been looking into to help us with recording and marketing costs, and we think they are fantastic and essential programs in today’s music industry to help smaller groups like us. In terms of the industry in the future it is hard to say whether things will change drastically, but a growing interest in indie bands from the younger generations who seem to stray away from the mainstream more and more every year could prove to be incredibly beneficial in the coming years for smaller groups like us.

Can you speak to the role that activism, social justice or charity play in your music and career?
Although I wouldn’t say we write songs specifically with the intent to spark change or promote social justice we have written some songs that are in our vault that do discuss societal topics, and we value the effect that music can have on communities and on the broader societal scale. We like to let the music guide us into the topic of our lyrics, so a heavier arrangement may lead us to feel anger or fear and in turn we may discuss something that makes us angry or fearful about certain topics in our society. Whereas a more upbeat arrangement may lead to us discussing what we enjoy about the current state of society and what people can be happy about. Ultimately, we focus on the musical elements first and foremost, and if the music compels us to bring up a topic of social justice or activism we will certainly do so and make sure that the message is something that we feel is important and should be heard.

How has your hometown or region shaped your musical identity, and what elements of it do you attempt to incorporate into your work?
While we started as a band in the KW region and have a connection to this area, we actually all grew up in different parts of the GTA and with different heritages, cultures and friends. For me Hunter, for example, I grew up in Brampton which is one of Ontario’s most culturally diverse cities. This allowed me to have an understanding and appreciation for many different musical styles and cultures. As a white cis male, if I were raised in a different town that wasn’t so diverse, I may never have found out about or have grown an appreciation for certain genres of music that are not pre-dominantly “white people music” that I now love and both consciously and I’m sure subconsciously influence my melodic and lyrical style of writing. I would say that rock music is the favourite genre for all of us in the band, but because we all grew up around the GTA we have an appreciation for diversity and are constantly searching for new genres to explore and new music to inspire us.

Could you share any exciting new projects or collaborations you have in the works?
We are currently working on our next single called Daphne Blue, which will be releasing sometime in
April 2024. It is much more laid back and in the style of indie rock rather than hard rock compared to our previous three singles. We are looking forward to sharing it soon!

Apple Music: Grand River Pioneers
Instagram: @grandriverpioneers
Spotify: Grand River Pioneers
Facebook: Grand River Pioneers
TikTok: @grandriverpioneers
YouTube: @grandriverpioneers

Feel Free to Leave a Comment