Through her bite-sized interviews and experimental film portraiture, Zoë will put a different member of our community in the spotlight every month to get the inside scoop on what is happening in the scene from a teen’s perspective.
Teens in the Scene is a get-to-know-you feature series directed by our contributor, Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter.
This month, Zoë photographed her pal Jake Wynia, and chatted with him about his experiences in Ottawa’s music scene.
Some of our friends joke that they graduated from Gabba Hey. What is your fondest show-related memory from high school?
Jake Wynia: I remember the first show I ever went to at Gabba Hey was in the winter of 2015. Boyhood was having their release show for their album “When I’m Hungry.” Some older kids from my high school as Ladygirl were also opening for that show along with the band Monomyth from Halifax. My sister brought me along because she thought I would enjoy it. I’d never seen so many cool looking kids and adults having a genuinely good time. I don’t even think my sister had to stay with me while I was looking at the horribly lighted stage in that sketchy warehouse because I felt, for the first time in my life, really cool. That was the moment when I made it my mission to be a part of the all-ages scene in Ottawa.
You’ve recently moved to Halifax to start your undergraduate degree at Dalhousie. In what ways does it’s music scene compare to ours back home?
JW: I can confidently say that Ottawa’s music scene does not compare to anywhere else. When we were growing up I remember everyone just wanted to make music and put on shows. People from our high schools would just flock every weekend to the various DIY events that happened so frequently. The scene in Halifax doesn’t cater to people under the age of 19. Halifax, being a very strict city, does not encourage all age shows unlike Ottawa.
One of the best things about Ottawa’s music community is that it’s so close knit, but some people find it difficult to approach. Since moving to a new city, you’ve probably felt the same way. What are some words of advice that you could give to younger people interested in going to shows, but who might feel a little discouraged or intimidated?
JW: I would say that everyone that you are intimidated by was in your place at one point. Just get out and be involved in the scene. You just have to take risks, be who you want to be and get involved. If you want to start a band, then ask people and start a band. If you want to start putting on shows, then ask people about it and start to do it. If you make yourself known people aren’t as scary as you may think.
As someone who has been frequenting local venues for a number of years, you’ve definitely seen our music scene evolve in many ways.What are some changes that you hope to see in Ottawa in the next little while that would benefit the next generation of younger audiences?
JW: I hope younger people keep going out to shows. There used to be so many kids at Gabba Hey, Pressed and other venues every weekend. The last couple of years I’ve seen fewer kids show up to these events as people get older, move to different cities or just lose interest in the scene. I hope that kids get influenced the same way I did as a young kid and talk just as fondly and proudly about the Ottawa music scene as I can. I’d like to see more all ages shows and more venues that are willing to put on these events. As some of these venues cater to the 19+ audience less young people are becoming influenced the same way we were. All ages events are more inclusive, so young people can get exposure to more alternative music and art.
Who are your top #3 favourite Ottawa-based artists?