James Rockso (Ottawa Showbox/Morning Metal) interviews Paul ‘Yogi’ Granger, co-founder of Ottawa’s sickest new arcade/venue House of Targ.
What are your favourite current and past Ottawa bands?
I love a lot of local bands – past favourites like Grave Concern, Furnaceface, Black Boot Trio, Feed and Brandon Walsh – seeing these bands when I was younger made me want to play in a band. Currently, the city is full of rising/dedicated talent in so many different genres – bands like Mothers Children, Asile, Monobrow, The Yips, Bearshark, New Swears, WW4 – the list goes on and on. We are very fortunate to have such a diverse/killer music scene in Ottawa!!
What band was the most fun to be a part of?
I’ve played in some fun bands – UKRAINIA! was always great, lots of traveling/touring adventures. Jake Lovetart or Chucklehead were the most wild shows – lots of props, themes, fire and smoke. Lately I’m playing with Klovenhoofs and Blackbread which fulfill my need for the “heavy”.
What is the one thing you miss from essentially having a house venue to now running a regulated venue?
The old place was kinda like the Wild West – I was never concerned about permits/licenses etc. that has changed but we strive to keep as much of our philosophy the same at the new place – community, respect and fun for everyone no matter who you are. I’m super excited that TARG now has a family friendly atmosphere that younger game/music fans can enjoy – this was impossible at the old space.
If you could get any arcade game to Targ, what would it be?
There are so many games I’d like to get my hands on!! Star Wars, Spy Hunter, Joust – we have started a wish list and hope to keep bringing in new titles as often as possible!
With Targ filling a big hole that existed for punk/metal kids in Ottawa, what else do you think this city needs?
I think there are a lot of awesome people working hard in our community. People like Antique Skate Shop building skate parks, small indie music festivals popping up, promoters working to support indie artists – zines like Small Talk Stinks. It would be great to have a weekly or monthly Ottawa publication curated by people who really care about what’s happening in our city and could communicate it to the public. Ottawa is not a sleepy boring town, there’s tons of events constantly being organized by motivated individuals – it’s important to support these ideas – they tend to grow into something we can all be proud of.
Where did the name “House of Targ” come from?
TARG is the first game I was given. It is a difficult fast-paced maze game – kinda like PAC MAN on speed. We fell in love with it and began collecting more and more machines, it started our obsession. The name came naturally after that.
What made you want to open a live venue in the first place?
I’ve been working with bands all my life. Recording/producing records, providing jam space, booking/promoting shows, playing in bands. I’ve been lucky enough to work in some great clubs like Zaphods, Babylon, and Barrymores. I guess it was just a natural transition to open a place where I could combine some of the things I love most in life. Music, games and food. I’m blessed to have two great partners in Mark McHale and Kevin Birger who share the same passions and loves.
Ottawa has been without a decent punk/metal venue for a long time – what bands are you really wanting to play a show at House of Targ?
We’d love to have Rush come play a set at TARG. That’ll be tough but we don’t give up easy 🙂 I’m working on new bands/shows constantly – you’ll have to check our schedule to see what we are getting up to!!!
With House of Targ becoming an incredibly popular venue for musicians, how would bands wanting to perform become apart of Targ?
The best way to be a part of something is to immerse yourself in it. Come by, hang out, play a game with others, meet the musicians in your scene – set up bills/shows, get active in promoting your friends bands just as you would your own. TARG exists to promote/foster musical talent of any genre – be cool, don’t sweat the small stuff and never give up.
If House of Targ had an official statement, a goal – what would it be?
Our main goal is to have Rush perform on our stage. Our secondary goal is to acquire a submarine and serve our delicious pirogies in international waters.
What is House of Targ’s most popular arcade game?
Our most popular game is probably Ice Cold Beer. It’s a very challenging machine. You gotta try it to understand it – warning – it is highly addictive!
What else is going to happen at House of Targ in the coming months?
In the coming months we will be serving up more great bands, killer games and delicious pirogies. We are having way too much fun. Thanks Ottawa!