WHAT IS PULSE?

Pulse Music Journal is Saskatchewan’s hub for music indulgers. We ‘eat/sleep/breathe’ the music and entertainment industry – plug into our outlet while we highlight new music, recap live performances, and interview the biggest names, local legends, and the newest initiatives surrounding our local music scene. We are honoured to be a leading cultural staple in the Saskatchewan music and entertainment scene.

WE SUPPORT SASKATCHEWAN’S ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC SCENE

Whether it’s reaching out to a newly released project, musician or creating a spotlight for local talent to be heard on any of our stages, as well as opportunities to be heard opening for larger acts on our full-venue stage. We look forward to reopen and launch our newest concepts that strongly support the local music in our city. The local music scene is super important to us – we are a small city, but we have big dreams. Let’s grow and support each other – putting Saskatchewan on the map for premium music and entertainment experience.

TRAILBLAZING, CULTURE SEEKING, AND TREND SETTING – NOT LIMITED TO THEIR TALENTS. ALEX BENT + TEFRONDON ARE IN THEIR OWN LANE

Alex Bent + The Emptiness is the brainchild of multi-talented musician and creative, Alex Bent. Yes, his real name is Alex Bent – sounds like it could made up. Alex Bent has been creating music for along time now – you may know him from his hit “Vanilla Blue”, from his latest album ‘Baby’, or maybe you’ve been to one of his unforgettable ‘balaclava’ live shows. He is one of the most musical talented and creative individuals that Canada has to offer, and he is just getting started.

Ron Baldoza is TEFRONDON. TEFRONDON made his name in Saskatoon, SK by throwing well-curated and well-attended parties. A DJ throwing a party? Yes, Ron planned them – set them up then DJ’d. His local success made noise across Canada – now he’s calling Toronto a ‘home away from home’. TEFRONDON has performed worldwide, and has played opening spots in large venues for Lil Mosey, and Russ – to name a few. Ron’s ambition is one of a kind, we see big things from him in the future.

Alex Bent and TEFRONDON join us to discuss how they got their start in the music world, Trifecta Sound Co, their creative identity, influences, some of their favourite moments, what they have been working on, connections in Toronto, and their new ISO Radio Show launching this weekend. We also chat with Trifecta Sound Co’s founder Marvin Chan. Marvin drops wisdom, some history of Trifecta Sound Co and so much more.

TEFRONDON TOPS THE BEST DJs IN SK, YOU ARE JUST GETTING STARTED. 

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INVOLVED IN MUSIC? WHAT’S THE STORY OF HOW YOU WERE INTRODUCED TO THE DJ WORLD?

TEFRONDON: Music was exposed to me at a very young age. Earliest memory would be karaoke at a family friends place or secretly singing/rapping in the car with my dad. I would go to my cousins and he would put me on to a lot of different music whether it was alternative rock, j-pop/k-pop or hip-hop. My first CD I bought was Green Day’s American Idiot. I went through a lot of different phases with genres. In elementary, I was in band and played percussion. Later on my parents got me into piano lessons. Once MP3s and iPods started being a thing, I would hop of the family computer and go crazy on limewire and torrent sites. Years later after accumulating a good beefy eclectic collection of music, my DJ friends encouraged me to start DJing myself. The rest was history!

“A TRAVELLING CLOWN CAR OF MISFIT CHILDREN”

– MARVIN CHAN OF TRIFECTA SOUND CO

EXPERIENCING AN ALEX BENT + THE EMPTINESS LIVE PERFORMANCE

FANS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY YOUR LIVE SET WITH THE BAND (‘THE EMPTINESS’). YOU OFTEN WILL TAKE CONTROL OF THE DRUMS FOR A MASHUP WITH MR RAGER (DJ). YOU ARE AN AMAZING DRUMMER – WHAT IS YOUR STORY? HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC?

ALEX BENT: Thank you! I started on piano when I was really young and eventually made my way to drums. I was a metal drummer for most of my teenage years, got more comfortable writing and performing my own music as I grew up. Eventually that kinda just became all I would do and I’ve been able to combine a lot of my rock, hip hop and pop background into the music that I am making now. 

FROM “VANILLA BLUE” TO ‘BABY’

YOU HAVE GROWN INTO YOUR OWN GENRE. WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR IDENTITY IN MUSIC? DID YOU START TO FEEL MORE AND MORE COMFORTABLE BEING YOURSELF AS YOU RELEASED MUSIC?

ALEX BENT: Thank you again, haha! It is difficult to say what has influenced me the most. I am inspired by artists who are able to do their own thing and stay authentic. I am always trying to find a way to get the best and most honest version of myself in anything I make. I think once I started getting actual fans coming up to me and telling me that the music meant something to them, that’s when I was able to focus on being myself when making shit and performing. I was able to see for the first time that people actually liked something about me and they werent just being nice.

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FROM LIL MOSEY TO RUSS, PLAYING FOR PACKED ROOMS WORLDWIDE. 

YOU HAVE OPENED FOR SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES. HOW DO THOSE OPPORTUNITIES HAPPEN? TELL US YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENT.

TEFRONDON:Ah man, these opportunities happen through the homies and through the unexpected ‘right place right time’ situations. Seriously. Doors started opening for me when I worked at Momentum Clothing. Two of the staff members, Kidalgo got me first gig at The Spadina Freehouse and Brennan Elliott when he asked me if I wanted my first residency spot at Flint. Then I met Marvin (Merv xx Gotti of Samurai Champs), we met up at a Carl’s Jr and he talks me into DJing for Samurai Champs and asks if I wanted to go to Hamburg Germany for a music festival. I obviously said yes. I can never thank you guys enough for everything.

Favourite moment would be playing SXSW in 2017 with the bros, Samurai Champs. Representing Saskatchewan as the only hip-hop/r&b band in Austin Texas was a surreal experience for sure. I’ll never forget the shenanigans and artists we saw. Grabbing a backpack full of red bulls from the artist lounge, going down a very busy 6th street running into Nardwuar, eating that good barbecue and Jessie Reyez giving me the death stare. That’s another story for next time.

BEING PLAYFUL WITH YOUR CARTOON MASHUPS IN YOUR LIVE SETS, IMAGERY FOR YOUR PROJECTS, AND YOUR PRODUCTION METHODS.

YOU SEEM TO NOT TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR IMAGE. HAS THIS ALLOWED YOU TO EXPLORE OTHER AVENUES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN MUSIC WHILE BEING RELATABLE?

ALEX BENT: That has to do more with authenticity and being myself. My sense of humour is a pretty big part of who I am and I feel like if I can’t incorporate that, its hard for me to be comfortable on stage or whatever it is that I am doing. 

CREATING THE PROMO MATERIAL, PLANNING THE EVENT AND THEN DJING THE EVENT.

FROM START TO FINISH – YOU HAVE CREATED YOUR OWN LANE. DOING IT YOURSELF WITH THE HELP FROM OTHER LIKE MINDED INDIVIDUALS HAS HELPED YOU BUILD CONNECTIONS. HOW IMPORTANT IS THE COMMUNITY OF SUPPORTERS THAT HAVE FOLLOWED YOU OVER THE YEARS? YOU SEEM TO HAVE A GREAT SUPPORT SYSTEM.

TEFRONDON: The community is important because they push me to never stop flipping the norm. Cliché as it sounds. Saskatoon is small and running into people can be a lot, but I really do appreciate those who come up to me and say what’s up or ask me when I play next. It’s sweet to know that there are people that enjoy the music I play whenever I spin. Pre covid I used to fly back and forth to Toronto for opportunities with Trifecta and personal gigs. I just really admire their music scene and the local DJs. The style/vibe of the bars and clubs. The diverse music they play. I cry whenever I fly back home because I miss everything about it, but I feel inspired and motivated to bring some of the things I saw and heard back home. I pride myself on presenting my brand, the DJ nights I play as whole ass experience. To go back to why community is so important to me, I guess because I doubt myself all the time and they want me to shoot for the moon.

BABY DELUXE RELEASED IN APRIL 2020. THE BABY ALBUM RELEASED OVER A YEAR AGO. WHAT’S NEXT FOR ALEX BENT?

ALEX BENT: I’m not 100% sure haha. I have new music in the works that I am slowly taking my time working on. I have maybe 8 or 9 tracks that I am putting work into right now. We’ll see what they turn into. I’m hoping to share something with you guys in the foreseeable future though. Obviously the landscape for artists right now is pretty different so Im just adjusting as I go. Right now, I am really enjoying getting lost in what I am making and having fun with the creative process. 

LEADING INTO 2020 – YOU TOOK A BIT OF A BREAK FROM PLAYING SHOWS.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM TEFRONDON IN THE FUTURE?

TEFRONDON: Besides working my day job – I have been watching a lot of Netflix, skateboarding, playing ball and listening to podcasts. I’m still listening to a lot of music, still digging, still tapped in. I actually got the latest version of Ableton. I’ve just been messing around with making mash-ups, little edits and remixes. Trying to get into more production. In the future hopefully in a post covid world, I can DJ out in public again! I’m not really tripping on gigs right now, but maybe I’ll start spinning on Twitch. I don’t know yet. It’s been a while. 

Also, Trifecta Sound Co. and ISO Radio (Toronto) have teamed up – Alex Bent and I are launching our first episode of our monthly Trifecta Radio Show this Saturday September 5th 2020, 6PM CST.

WHAT IS TRIFECTA SOUND CO?

MARVIN CHAN: We’re an artist collective that grew out of Trifecta Music Festival, SK’s first free, multi-genre arts & culture festival. We wanted to build a platform where niche genres and artists of colour could stand proudly in SK, a province that has been largely known as an endless sea of “5 white guys in a country/rock band”. Today, we’re a collective of artists, DJ’s, and creatives, working to bring together SK’s coolest sounds and raise them to the rest of the world. We’re a music startup, researching new ways in which to build music and community in 2020. We focus on artists of colour, as the majority of our backgrounds root from 1st & 2nd gen immigration stories, largely from SE Asia. Last, we’re a band of introverts, a travelling clown-car of misfit children, searching for “The Sound of “New Canada”.

WHAT IS ISO RADIO?

TEFRONDON: ISO Radio is a community radio station broadcasting from downtown Toronto. Founded by DJ’s (Josephine Cruz) and Freeza Chin (Mike Chin), the online station holds 30+ resident hosts including DJs, producers, journalists, and artists who showcase an array of international sounds and unique discussions. Our artistic director, Marvin Chan, was in Toronto attending a music conference back in 2017. With myself, we ended up at Apt. 200 on Queen St., where I spotted Jayemkayem DJing. I’ve been following her on instagram and listening to her mixes, it was a trip seeing somebody you idolize IRL. Marvin then approached her, pointed me out then bonded over shots of tequila. The next day, Josephine took Marvin and I out for ramen. Being from Calgary, Josephine talked about her own experiences being a DJ, creative, and person of colour in the prairies. Since then, Josephine has been one of the main reasons how Trifecta was able to build a foothold in Toronto. She helped me get my first DJ gigs at Apt. 200 and Cold Tea Bar. She and her partner, Mike, were celebrity judges at Trifecta’s first official NXNE showcase. Once ISO Radio was formed, she invited Trifecta members regularly for interviews and DJ appearances in the station’s programming. All these led to our current project, one we’re most proud of – TRIFECTA SOUND on ISO Radio.

Trifecta Sound Co visiting ISO Radio in Toronto (pictured: Trifecta Sound Co members – LOA, Denise Valle, and Daigoro)

TRIFECTA SOUND CO LAUNCHES THEIR MONTLY RADIO SHOW ON THE ISO RADIO PLATFORM THIS SATURDAY. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?

ALEX BENT: We’ll be doing Trifecta Sound Co artist hosted episodes as well as guest DJ mixes, interviews and whatever else we are feeling at the time. I have always loved the radio format and I am excited to connect with our fans in a fun and creative way.

TEFRONDON: So the first pilot episode is going to be a supermix of strictly Trifecta artists. I’m excited for the show because I know Alex and I are so proud and stoked for everybody’s individual sound. You’re going to get hip-hop, r&b electronic sounds and more. As for future episodes, Alex and I are going to be showcasing a lot of music that we’re into, artist interviews and special DJ sets. Make sure to stay posted!

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE CONNECTIONS AROUND THE WORLD? AND SUPER SPECIAL CONNECTIONS IN TRIFECTA SOUND CO’S UNOFFICIAL HOME OF TORONTO, ON?

MARVIN CHAN: We’ve been blessed to have so many connections and opportunities from around the world, largely due to the export and touring missions of our artists. Samurai Champs toured to SXSW, and most recently, Singapore as the first SK band ever to play in Music Matters Live. LOA and VBRTR have toured from the UK to the Netherlands, performing in Europe’s largest hip hop industry festival, New Skool Rules. Our most recent artist additions, Denise Valle and Alex Bent + The Emptiness, have begun to tour across Canada, showcasing in Montreal, Halifax, and even the Yukon. We’ve been so lucky to tour the globe and share Trifecta’s story of SK-made culture to the rest of the world. Toronto has always been particularly special to us, because it was where this all started. In 2016, the last year of Trifecta Music Festival, Samurai Champs, LOA, & TEFRONDON, embarked on Trifecta’s first Canadian tour surrounding their performance at Toronto’s Canadian Music Week. From this first tour, Trifecta was able to start building connections to festivals and industry all over the world. Last year, during Canadian Music Week and NXNE, Trifecta had two full houses of +15 SK artists ready to perform in two Toronto festivals. From opportunities like these through Jayemkayem, NXNE, and ISO Radio, we were able to build our foundation in Toronto. This past February, after our 9th Toronto export mission, or “op”, as we call them, the city truly felt familiar, like our second home. We’re excited, once the pandemic dies down, to continue building the bridge between SK and Toronto. We can’t wait to return to Toronto for our 10th op, and to eventually relocate as a collective to Toronto, our second home.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TRIFECTA x ISO RADIO, VISIT ISORADIO.TO

UPCOMING EVENTS

WHAT EVENTS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO…

Nov 3rd

BUY TICKETS
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Nov 27th

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Dec 4th

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July 30th

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LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT’S TO COME…