Volume 94, Issue 89

Friday, March 9, 2001


DJ emphasizes a need for change - Gears up for fashion show

What's a mustard plug?

Electric Shaman; a bunch of girlfriends

Want a new REM album?

Chambers returns

Electric Shaman; a bunch of girlfriends

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

As Jon Farkas, frontman for the Electric Shaman so eloquently states, "Having a band is like having three extra girlfriends."

With that in mind, imagine this tight knit group of "girlfriends" disguised as four regular guys from the Toronto area. On stage at the Embassy on Saturday night, the band is set to take their music to the next level with their first "real" gig.

The Electric Shaman consists of singer Farkas, bassist Nick Lanaro, drummer Dan Reiff and guitarist Mike Polera. Not quite the flashy, glamorous hard-rockers one would expect upon hearing their music, Farkas, Reiff and Lanaro all currently study at York.

Starting in London, the Electric Shaman hope to make their first big gig the beginning of an array of different shows, while the opportunity to take their show across Canada hasn't yet arrived.

"Maybe 10 years ago [being an up and coming Canadian band] would have been limiting. Now, with the Internet and mass media, however, we can be heard all over the world and we wouldn't even know it," Farkas says.

Though Farkas admits the band are definitely not celebrities at York, he says people do recognize him for his role with the Electric Shaman. "I'd like to get to the point where I can't go shopping anymore. I want paparazzi surrounding my house taking pictures all the time," Farkas exclaims.

Despite the dollar signs associated with such dreams, Farkas acknowledges the risks of the music industry. "It's definitely not a 'get rich quick' scheme. There's a lot of room for failure in this business – and we're prepared for that," he admits.

Farkas also concedes that money will always be an issue. As a totally self-managed and self-produced band, Farkas names morale as essential to continuous motivation, adding extra cash would allow them the opportunity to get into an expansive studio where they could really get into new stuff.

"I'm like the converter. I take the energy from the crowd and plug it into the band. I'm the energy source, I guess I'm the one usually pumping up the guys," Farkas explains.

To stay pumped, Farkas identifies the aids of things like "the liquid medium," but he also says the ambiance of live shows is a source of adrenaline itself. "Live shows are the most gratifying thing for me.

"You don't have a crowd cheering for you in the studio, he continues "I need something to feed my ego. It's a totally progressive thing on stage. Our energy depends on the mood of the room and what we're feeling like."

"We are of the 'hard rock' genre," Farkas said. "Our influences range from Zeppelin to AC/DC and Black Sabbath. We get influences from everywhere," he said.

As for the meaning behind the band, Farkas says their music doesn't carry a particular social message, they just want people to get out and have fun. "Anyone who likes rock music and high energy shows won't leave one of our shows disappointed," he explains.

So far, the Electric Shaman's career can be described as events that have "snowballed" from one lead to another. "I don't want to jinx it, but things are going really well. I mean, we'd drop everything and not even think twice if the opportunity arises. It's a one time deal – you can only ride it once."

Electric Shaman will bring their "electricity" show to The Embassy tomorrow night.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000