Community Highlight // Apparatus
Apparatus is a rising local music company whose main mission is to assist local, growing bands in booking shows, recording and publishing their music. As an extension of their love for the local music scene, they are hosting an all-day Folk Music Showcase at the Irish Cultural Society located in the heart of Bowness on Saturday, April 26th. This festival will feature dozens of local artists and musicians and will be a great kick off to the summer!
We took the chance to sit down with Apparatus co-founder Drew Gusztak to hear more about their organization and the festival!
First things first. What is Apparatus, and what type of tools do you offer to local musicians?
We like to call ourselves an artist accelerator, for lack of a better term. Believe it or not, our business model – and many of our professional contacts – revolve around publishing artist’s music. Lately, we’ve learned the best way to know artists and their music is to promote shows, so we’ve been heavy in the promotions aspect of the scene. We have also been working with Spiral Compass studios to offer bands recording options as well.
Who are the creative minds behind Apparatus?
Brandon is the brains behind the operation. He hatched this idea many years back and was looking for enthusiastic people to help launch it in Calgary. When he offered the publishing idea to me, I suggested we jump right into promotions to start building relationships with more bands. In the last 8 months, Miriam Behman has jumped on as our booking agent, the three of us make up the core of Apparatus. Josh Mandrake, Jimmy Bundy, Robert Harms and Christina Bartlett are all extended family members. They have all been deeply involved in various recording projects that we’ve worked with and Christina has been our primary photographer for events.
What were some of your inspirations in starting Apparatus, and how has your role as a local musician helped to inspire some of your ideas?
I believe that a lot of young bands struggle on the management side of things. As a musician myself, and as the primary “manager” of my band, I’ve found value in being diligent in the scene and holding tight to relationships with venues, studios and other people running shows. Apparatus has taken full advantage of our relationships to help other bands use the same resources. There is a lot of good music in the indie scene in Calgary and we want to make sure people can enjoy it!
Can you tell us a little more about what people can expect at the Apparatus Folk Music Showcase?
The showcase is a full day event on Saturday, April 26th hosting 15+ artists. We’ve designed the showcase like folk fest, main stage event where headlining bands and tweeners rotate throughout the scheduled time. Music starts at 2:00pm and will run till roughly 1:00am the next morning. There will be food and drinks offered throughout the day, as well as roughly 15 vendors selling their goodies. We’ve invited bands who have all played at other shows we’ve been a part of. At the bottom line, the showcase is an artist appreciation event where we can host a bunch of the musicians we know to play for the community and strut their stuff.
Rumor has it that some of the proceeds from the festival will be going to “I Will Survive”. Can you tell us a little about this organization and why you have chosen to contribute to it?
IWS is an organization that aims to remove the stigma around mental health and suicide. They raise all of their support and awareness through musical events with local bands. Brandon and I both worked at The Mustard Seed where we were involved with many people with mental health and suicidal problems, so we both value what IWS is doing in the Calgary community. On top of that, we thought using music to generate good-vibes and money regarding such a heavy issue is pretty rad. We also wanted to make sure we were doing things “right” straight from the beginning. I believe that every business should have roots in supporting local charities and not-for-profits. We wanted to make sure Apparatus was doing this from the very get-go.
In your opinion, what are some local musicians that people should keep their eye on these days?
Rotary Park and I Am The Mountain have been killin it recently, I believe both these bands have settled into a unique and special sound that has a ton of potential – they are also so fun to see live! The Wisers is a band that could easily pick up where The Dudes left off… in my opinion, they are one of best rock bands in Calgary right now. I also like heavier music… so I’ve got my eyes and ears on Temple and Mammoth Grove. If you see any of these bands on a handbill or a poster, check em out!
What is one piece of advice that you would give any musician just starting out on their musical journey?
Just one? Hmmm… Smile when you’re performing. I learned this lesson from a friend, Rick Poltaruk, who used to turn to me when we were playing and whisper that I should stop looking so concerned and remember we were having fun.
How can we stay connected?!