When called by the News, Brandon Paris is readying his bus for a cross-Canada summer tour.
In the background, through the phone, you can hear shouts and laughter from the other members of the Brandon Paris Band.
“We’re just installing beds in the bus now and we’re getting ready for a mural and graphic artist to do up the outside of the bus,” said Paris.
But that gussied-up bus won’t be pulling into Whitehorse, the first stop of the tour.
“We’re actually flying to Whitehorse,” Paris says somewhat sheepishly. “It’s pretty far and there’s not much before you get to Whitehorse.”
It’ll be Paris’ first trip up to Whitehorse to play what he and his bandmates have dubbed, “aggressive reggae pop.”
Paris is hesitant to compare their sound to other bands, but cited music influences ranging from Sublime and Nine Inch Nails to Bob Marley and Radiohead.
In addition to Paris, the band is fronted by Dagriff, the vocalist who gives the band its reggae edge.
Imagine, for a minute, what you would hear if you fused reggae with post-punk and post-grunge. That’s Brandon Paris Band.
Its last tour was in 2006, when its members were flogging the album On My Own.
“I guess it’s been a little bit long since our last tour, we had to do lots of restructuring.”
Rather than booking tours, Paris and his bandmates were busy building their image.
When its song Rewind & Start Again went viral, thanks to a professionally made music video that was played all over the ‘net, the band worked hard to make the songs on their second album even more recognizable.
“We charted in the top 20 with our last album, let’s hope that after this tour everyone in Canada knows who we are.”
Their last album was darker and more personal. This time out, Paris promises a more upbeat effort, dubbed Pocketful of Holes.
“I’m over all my problems now. This is a happier sounding album, except for the song Pocketful of Holes, which is the deepest and bridges the gap from the last album,” said Paris.
The song is about a guy struggling with a drug addiction who passes out on the floor and feels like there’s nothing left in his life.
“I guess you could say the name of the song is also a reference to how broke we are,” said Paris with a laugh.
Paris literally bankrupted himself putting out his first album.
“I spent every last penny I had on that album,” said Paris. “I couldn’t pay my bills and messed up my credit, so I’m hoping this time is it.”
Paris and his bandmates have made a calculated effort to get their music heard by as many people as they can.
“We came out with remix versions of some of the songs on this album so that other radio stations will play our stuff,” said Paris.
“We want to capture as much of the market to have a better chance at charting. We’ve all put our life savings into this, so it’s all or nothing.”
The band remixed the song, Can’t Hate You, by the same artist who remixed songs for Akon and Kardinal Offishall.
Next week, Much Music will start airing the original version of the song. It will be the third music video of theirs to receive grant funding from Much Music.
In December, the band signed on with Maple Music but hopes to get signed by a bigger label by the time the tour wraps up in August.
Until then, the bigger challenge is getting radio stations in Whitehorse to play their music.
“The radio station up there only started playing Can’t Hate You last week and it’s been getting radio play everywhere else for the last couple months,” said Paris.
“It’s kind of funny.”
The Brandon Paris Band plays Coasters Friday and Saturday evening and an all-ages show Saturday afternoon.
The band’s music can be found at www.brandonparis.com
Contact Vivian Belik at