Teens in the Scene is a get-to-know-you feature series directed by our contributor, Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter. 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. This month, Zoë photographed her pal Ben Astorga, and chatted with him about coming of age in Centretown.
ZAH: How has living in Centretown during your teen years impacted your relationship with Ottawa’s music community?
BA: Living in Centretown has created so many possibilities for my social life. On top of being near so many creative and culturally vibrant communities like Chinatown and Little Italy, it has allowed me to easily access the different venues across Ottawa. Personally, my home acts as a liaison for the different social groups that go to different venues.
I can easily bus to the Glebe or Old Ottawa South and just as easily walk to Pressed for some music on a mellow Sunday evening. It has given me exposure and the leisure to choose between different experiences and music scenes, from calming shoegaze all the way to head banging punk.
ZAH: What venues have played a key role in some of your favourite memories from going to shows and why?
BA: The most influential of them all has to be Pressed. It was my where I first experienced a show with my sister and will probably be the last venue I go to in Ottawa. It has brought so many of my friends together, who may have never met because of the coffee house.
It was also a place where I discovered so many different bands and types of music that opened my eyes. Due to this I started playing guitar just to imitate the feeling of what it’s like to perform in front of a crowd at that venue. It’s a safe, friendly environment that I can’t thank enough for the unison it has brought to my life
ZAH: How has the Ottawa music scene changed in your eyes in the last few years?
BA: The Ottawa music scene is kind of like an eternal teenager. It has mood swings, from mediocre to great shows every weekend. Two years ago, when it was in its it peak I was out every Friday and Saturday with friends learning about new music and lifestyles.
Even when it is at a low, with shows once a month, it still acts as a reason to see friends and friends who have become family by bonding over music. Even if the shows have become rarer, it only makes them easier to savour and appreciate every minute.