SOCAN presented a “Cooking Beats” panel with beat-maker/producer Bijan Amir at the SOCAN-sponsored 2018 edition of IMSTA FESTA, a free, one-day music tech conference held in the Rogers Communications building at Ryerson University on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

Amir is a 21-year-old, Toronto-based, up-and-coming producer, who blends melodies of all genres with a progressive approach. His variable skill set has enabled him to work with both emerging artists like Sean Leon and Rory Fresco, and seasoned veterans like PARTYNEXTDOOR and Belly. Bijan’s inspiration for producing came from the influence of Lil Wayne, Boi-1da, Wondagurl, and T-Minus, leading him to create, and to pursue his craft.

Young beat-makers, producers, artists and managers jam-packed the room for the panel, moderated by SOCAN A&R Representative Aidan D’Aoust. Amir explained and demonstrated some of the technical secrets of his trade, breaking down the construction of the beats he created.

The fast-rising producer also preached the importance of patience. He met his most high-profile collaborator, Metro Boomin, in 2014 at a Battle of the Beatmakers in Toronto (where Bijan was a contestant, and Metro a judge). He introduced himself and then maintained a relationship via e-mail. After a couple of years, he sent Metro a beat pack and that eventually led to Bijan’s biggest placement, “Ric Flair Drip.”

Bijan also talked about the importance of time management as an aspiring producer – he mentioned going to university, and having to work his butt off both in the classroom and at home in the studio. And he chatted about his approach to production, which is that everything he makes is unique to his own sound. He doesn’t produce instrumentals that sound like other people’s beats, and in fact, dislikes when he’s in the studio and artists ask him for tracks “that Young Thug would rap over” or “like something DJ Mustard would make.”

There were also various other panels, booths, demonstrations, and master classes available to all attendees at IMSTA FESTA 2018.

Written with files from Aidan D’Aoust


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For two days at the 2018 BreakOut West festival and conference in Kelowna, BC, the SOCAN Song House provided 12 member participants the opportunity to develop the craft of writing songs. The session was led by hit songwriter/producer Brian Howes, and organized on-site by SOCAN A&R Representative Racquel Villagante.

The participating songwriters, all from Western Canada, were Rebecca Emms, Brady Frank, Scott Henderson, Zach Kleisinger, Rebecca Lappa, Olivia Lunny, Sam Lynch, Dylan MacDonald (of The Middle Coast), Sammi Morelli, Jacqueline Muzichuk, Aaron Parker, and Tatiana Zagorac (a.k.a.TallTale).

BreakOut West, SOCAN Song House, 2018The first day of the workshop they presented half-written songs and were given individualized feedback and critique by Howes. They re-worked these songs and re-presented them to the group. On the second day, they were partnered up, and co-wrote with each other to come up with new songs that fused their styles and strengths together.

All 12 SOCAN songwriters came away with new co-write connections, new songs for their repertoire, and a more comprehensive understanding of what it takes to write a hit song.

Sammi Morreli left the Song House saying, “I’m still buzzing from an incredible week at the #SOCANSongHouse! Sooo grateful for SOCAN providing songwriters like us with incredible opportunities to grow and connect like this! Huge shout out to Brian Howes for leading the workshop, and Racquel Villagante for making it all happen!”

Tatiana Zagorac, published by Cymba Music Publishing said, “Thank you so so much to SOCAN for including me in your Song House at Breakout West this year. I couldn’t imagine a kinder and cooler group of artists, a more fun and sassy organizer than Racquel Villagante, or a better mentor than Brian Howes. I’m gonna really remember this one.”

Dylan MacDonald said, “I just wanted to say thanks for a great experience this week through the SOCAN workshop. You did such a great job of facilitating a fun, comfortable and creative space. I have returned home feeling very inspired.”


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The song “Home for A Rest” – popularized by Vancouver folk-rock band Spirit of the West – was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame  during the 2018 Western Canadian Music Industry Awards, in Kelowna, B.C., on Oct. 13, 2018.

A simple song that humorously chronicles the perils of over-drinking, “Home For a Rest” has grown to become one of Canada’s most beloved party anthems.

When Spirit of the West’s John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly wrote “Home for a Rest” in 1989, it was just a throwaway Celtic tune about the Vancouver group’s booze-soaked tour of England. – At the insistence of producer Danny Greenspoon, the song wound up on the band’s 1990 album, Save This House.

Audiences soon embraced the song’s joyous spirit. “Home for Rest” became Spirit of the West’s signature song, and has since taken on a life of its own. It reached platinum record sales, and appeared on countless “best songs” lists. “Home for a Rest” has been covered by countless punk and folk bands, and even performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

When John Mann was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Jim Cuddy, Sarah McLachlan, Alan Doyle, and others recorded an all-star tribute cover of the song at a 2017 benefit concert.

There to accept the award was the song’s co-composer Geoffrey Kelly, along with Spirit of the West’s Vince Ditrich and Matthew Harder, and the song was performed at the event by Shred Kelly.

“It’s an honour for the CSHF to celebrate John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly’s skilled songwriting and Spirit of the West’s amazing execution of this iconic song,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“We wouldn’t all be here if it weren’t for songs” said Geoffrey Kelly. “I know this award would mean so much to John, because that’s how it all begins. At a kitchen table with a cup of tea, pencil, and blank piece of paper. A song is still the beating heart of the music world, and we’re honoured to accept this award here today.”


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