ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
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Like a rocket in your Pocket, these Dwellers bring the
|By Grant Donaldson
What has 14 legs, seven pockets and some of the meanest horns known to
The answer is the Pocket Dwellers, a Toronto-based band whose eclectic
style transcends all boundaries and nourishes all musical tastes
Gazette File Photo
.This highly-talented band includes guitars, horns, drums, keys, bass,
a DJ and a hip-hop MC. Diversity of influences and instrumental input
makes the Pocket Dwellers an oddity, but there is nothing odd about the
"We are all so different and a lot of us are into different scenes. We
feed off each other and what we listen to," explains guitarist Christian
This difference in taste accounts for their unique sound, which is a
combination of hip-hop, funk, rock, soul, drum 'n bass, jazz and anything
else that is swelling up inside them the night of a show.
While touring in support of their second album, Digitally Organic, the
Pocket Dwellers aren't taking the album's continued success lying down.
"We are trying to make the skeletal, bare bones of new tracks," McKibbin
says, explaining the band always aspires to provide new material for live
shows. And while a new album is still in its earliest stages, McKibbin
said they may put new stuff on their website shortly.
In the meantime, they continue to do what they are best known for – live
The band has played all across Canada, including the Dawson City Music
Festival in the Yukon, which McKibbin heralds as one of the band's most
memorable performing experiences.
The Pocket Dwellers offer a show that is simultaneously down to earth and
otherworldly. While they give off an energy that seems to lift them high
above the crowd, the group always makes time to chat with the audience and
thank them for coming out.
Onstage, the prominence of each Dweller provides a unique sense of
equality that has become a rarity in a musical world obsessed with lead
"We want to showcase everybody's talents," McKibbin says. "It's obviously
important to have some kind of central figure, but at the same time we're
allowing everyone to be an individual."
For the Pocket Dwellers, individual talent is at the forefront for several
reasons – seven to be exact. Each member of the extended family has a deep
and technical musical background, but, as McKibbin explains, they never
allow their personal talents to become stagnant.
"That's why we got into music in the first place, to keep learning.
Anything you do, you want to get better at your craft."
Besides individual talent and determination, keeping a level head in the
corporate music industry has allowed the Pocket Dwellers to become what
they are today.
"It's beyond money. It's a love for each other and a love for what we're
doing. And hopefully we can make a mark of what we're trying to do."
Adhering to words of wisdom from the earliest days of the band, the Pocket
Dwellers have lived up to their name. They continue to "play in the
pocket," keeping each groove as mind-shattering as the next.
"It's hard work and it takes a strong spirit to do what you really want to
do," McKibbin muses. "But, if you really believe in whatever you're doing
and you truly love it – do it – no matter what."
The Pocket Dwellers will be at Call the Office Saturday night. Tickets are
$7 at the door.