Suppose you wanted to try something different in life. Would you brave the unknown and hitchhike across Canada? Would you take up playing a whimsical instrument? Would you become a busker? Would you start your own band?
For Paris Seymour, that’s exactly how it played out. The Vancouver Island native made her way to the Yukon, and is establishing her band, Ukes of Hazard, around the capital city.
At the moment, the Ukes have a steady gig at the Dirty Northern Bastard on Wednesday nights, opening for The Midnight Sons. They can also be found playing at Paddy’s Place.
Bassist Adam Cripps and drummer Patrick Docherty make up the rest of the band, while Seymour does vocals to accompany her one-of-a-kind ukulele sound.
“We just finished a demo tape, and we are hoping to get a full album out this year,” Seymour says.
However, the getting to this point was not simple.
It wasn’t until she embarked on a nationwide journey that Seymour discovered her musical gifts. While Seymour hitchhiked from Nanaimo to Halifax, she passed the time writing songs, and sometimes performing them in exchange for room and board.
“Over the past few years I collected the best of my originals, and that’s material Ukes of Hazard really enjoy playing,” she says
When Seymour arrived in Whitehorse she was determined to explore her musical talents fully. She spent many nights attending jam sessions at the popular musical haunt, the Boiler Room. After a few months, she began seeking out potential band mates.
“I had one solid jam night playing my original songs along with the drummer from The Midnight Sons (Patrick Docherty), and Jerome Belanger (local bass enthusiast). Thus, we formed our band, Ukes of Hazard,” she says.
However, shortly after the formation of the group, their bassist parted ways. It was up to Seymour to recruit another like-minded individual.
She came across Adam Cripps while at a recording session, and was convinced he would be the perfect fit.
“I wanted Adam. But knowing he was in pretty high-demand, I didn’t really approach him till I was confident enough to ask,” she says. “Adam being the groovy cat he is, responded with ‘yes’ when I finally did.”
With the Ukes complete, Seymour and her boys were prepared to launch their sound onto the Whitehorse music scene.
If you look around town, you will notice the self-made posters Seymour has created.
The performer is pulling out all the stops to get the Ukes noticed.
“I continue to try and book us gigs on a regular basis, so come check us out if you haven’t already. You may just be surprised at how cool ukulele actually is. What you can expect from Ukes of Hazard is a fun upbeat show, no doubt about that.”
On August 8, the Ukes are playing a special show at the Jarvis Street Saloon to launch their demo tape (show includes free CD give away).
Although Seymour is happy with their sound, she wouldn’t mind seeing the band dabble with a few other genres.
“I’d like to lean in a more reggae direction. But I have no expectations to meet,” she says. “I guess it depends on what songs we are playing, and what kind of songs I keep writing. But I personally find it hard to stick to one genre. I’d like to move into a reggae, gypsy, funk, punk, indie rock kinda style. And I think I’m almost there.”