By Andrew Elle
Elementals are a three-piece rock band from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Over the past year, the current line-up of Rick Vaughn (bass/backvox), Jamie Speck (drums) and Cody Smith (guitar/vox) have played countless shows with numerous bands, continuously improving their live set as each month passes.
Elementals was forged from the dissolution of Smith’s old band, The Apollohs. The Apollohs played shows around Ottawa and were well known for an intense live set. Smith’s honest take on rock and roll kindled a new light in many fans of honest music. After a quick EP as a duo, With An H, The Apollohs received studio time to record a follow up of B-Sides, alongside a new addition to the band, Kyle Code. After the success of those two records, a full-length album was soon to follow.
In the fall of 2013, The Apollohs hit Sonic Weapon Studios in Ottawa to start pre-production on the new record. After the tracks were laid with the assistance of Jason Koster (drums) and Kyle Code (bass), Smith went in to lay guitars and vocals. Unfortunately between the beginning and middle, The Apollohs dissolved, leaving Smith with a tough decision. Smith approached good friends Rick Vaughan and Jamie Speck from the boiled-down band, The Arcanes. The Arcanes’ project was slowing down due to a travelling member. The stars were aligned and Elementals was born.
Vaughan and Speck added years of live performance experience to the newly formed band, Speck also playing in Ottawa’s full action rock band, Pretty Little Death Machine, at the time. The new trio delivered an amazing first performance on January 31, 2014 at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa, alongside The Beaches (Toronto).
With a full album sitting in a studio in Ottawa, another tough decision laid in Smith’s hands – either proceed with the completion of an album with the old band members, or start fresh with the new members. When I asked Smith whether he would have re-started the project or felt pressured from production team to continue, he replied, “having Rick and Jamie lay down their own tracks would have been cool, because while learning with them they each added their own unique feel to the original tracks. But at that point I was just really looking forward to progressing and creating new music.”
Elementals EP is a 6 song record. The opening track, “Cali Sun,” takes you directly into the album with open arms. It’s rock, but you can’t help but feel good about it and dance. The second track, “Deconstructionist,” is the standout track on this EP. Smith’s gently soft and haunting vocals alongside Koster’s well-organized percussion takes you into the depths of the song. The third track is a unique little acoustic break called “Interlude” which was added to this EP and was not part of the original recordings. Track four, “King of the World,” stands out as it doesn’t represent the true nature of this band, but it’s a crowdpleaser nonetheless. Track five, “People as Flowers,” is an honest tune performed alongside Kara Askwith of Ottawa’s Tindervox. Track six, “Shapes,” added a perfect closure to the EP with a bass line to move your hips to.
This EP was constructed with only half the tunes which were originally recorded at Sonic Weapon Studios. Will we ever get a chance to hear them? Who knows? The truth is that Elementals are a poetic rock outfit that deliver an honest message to their listeners and fans. Rock is not dead, it has adapted. It is present in this EP. The newly formed trio will hopefully bring a new record in their own voice in the next year or so. Smith’s writing style we hope will continually be genuine and honest. With the amount of talent in this outfit, I do believe anything is possible.
Don’t forget to check out Elementals when they play Avant Garde Bar on December 13. Only $5