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This article can be found in Issue 4 of Vhcle Magazine.
2010: Dirt, Grime, and Poetry...
 
 
 
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2011
DIRT, GRIME, AND POETRY – A LOOK AT THE MUSIC SCENE IN BRANTFORD, ONTARIO
 
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WRITER
ANDREW WHITSON
 
Dirt, Grime, and Poetry – A Look at the Music Scene in Brantford, Ontario,
2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, Music
When it was open, the Ford Plant brought bands from all over North America into Brantford’s abandoned downtown streets. Tim Ford speaks about the decision to ultimately close the doors on the storied venue. “We realized [as members of The Racoon Wedding] we were doing two things half as good as we should. The Ford Plant has far succeeded any dream or desire we had when it opened and now we want to try and reach our goals with The Racoon Wedding."
 
Although Brantford will surely miss the popular venue, the underground and independent scene that Ford and Wilson helped foster will surely continue to thrive. Ford said the Racoon Wedding had no plans to relocate to another city. “Brantford is our home, and we feel confident about our abilities to make it as musicians here, and in this city,” he said. And Scott Wilson echoed these words by stating how important it is to stay true to your home. With a tour planned in the coming winter months, and a new full-length album hitting the shelf in January, the Racoon Wedding are staying true to their word and putting one hundred percent into the growth of the band while continuing to maintain a relationship with the city.
 
As the Racoon Wedding continues to keep pace and show promise within the city, bands like the widely successful Ohbijou show a different form of dedication to the city of Brantford. Although Ohbijou is now located predominately in Toronto, the indie pop band largely started out in the quiet streets of Brantford, with sisters Casey and Jennifer Mecija.
 
Despite having left the city they still hold on to their hometown pride, and frequently stop in on tours in an effort to help the scene that has so graciously helped them. Casey and Jennifer can't escape the history they have in Brantford, and are now good friends with the boys in The Racoon Wedding (you can even hear the sisters singing background vocals on various Racoon Wedding tracks). Ohbijou may be located in Toronto, but as so many bands have come to realize, you can't ever truly leave a scene like Brantford. As the historic Ford Plant closes its doors, it is bands like The Racoon Wedding and Ohbijou that are continuing an environment for future bands to grow.
 
As the dust settles on Brantford's crumbling downtown streets, the music scene continues to rise and breathe life into a hardened city. With the Racoon Wedding vowing never to leave, and Ohbijou continue to show all the support it can muster, a new crop of raw music is primed to emerge, ready and willing to foster in the next group of underground and independent Brantford music.
 
 
 
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Andrew Whitson is a recent graduate at Western Ontario, he’s written for the University newspaper, covering art and music-based events throughout Canada. He hopes to continue writing for publications in an attempt to break into the wide-variety of careers in the journalism market. 
 
 
Read Andrew Whitson’s article from Vhcle Issue 3:
 
 
 
 
Brantford, Ontario – a downtrodden and somewhat forgotten city, deep within the heart of Southwestern Ontario. A city met with division, from the prosperous north-end with its shopping malls and businesses to its distraught west-side counterpart. The quick drive down West Street charts both the structural and financial changes within the city. An aging downtown core seeming to fall to pieces amongst a backdrop of old nightclubs, pubs, and abandoned buildings. And yet it is this very same downtown sector that gives Brantford one of the most interesting and independent musical hotbeds in the Southwest.
 
The town has been fortunate to see a variety of influential bands rise up amidst the crumbling core. The development of Brantford's underground and independent music scene started with bands like The Vermicious Knid and the Sourkeys, and continues to see up-and-coming bands like The Racoon Wedding and Hey Brother. The influence of the downtown center has been an important stomping ground not only for these prominent indie bands, but also for budding individuals like Casey and Jennifer Mecija of the now Toronto-based Ohbijou.
 
The desire to stay in an independent market has rightly been supported by downtown venues like The Ford Plant and Alexander's Tavern, places that have always been in favor of supporting local talent and promoting a hard-working and dedicated music scene. Both venues were instrumental for local and regional musicians to continue a Brantford tradition of gritty and emotionally-charged music that not only caters to the citizens of the downtown streets but directly reflects the city itself.
 
The unpolished sound that many of these bands employ is not for lack of skill or style, but creates a bond between the musician and the Brantford surroundings that influence this sound. Sacrificing the clean radio-friendly pop sounds, bands like The Racoon Wedding and Hey Brother have used this theme to give their music a personal touch that so many of the current, carbon-copy industry bands lack. With this mantra and outlook, it is these bands that make Brantford truly an interesting fusion of dirt, grime, and poetry.
 
The current state of Brantford's rising music scene is largely due to the impact of Tim Ford and Scott Wilson. From 2002 until 2010 Ford and Wilson operated and ran The Ford Plant, organizing shows and providing a place for any local band to perform. With The Ford Plant now shutting its doors, the duo have turned their attention to another project - the touring and promotion of their indie rock outfit, The Racoon Wedding. I had the privilege of sitting down with Tim and Scott to talk about their new projects, the impact of The Ford Plant, and of course, the importance of Brantford, Ontario.
 
The rise of the Racoon Wedding in Southwestern Ontario is already well documented with glowing reviews of the bands first release [Gather Gather Bones Rattle Rattle Truth], praising the use of both raw energy and hometown pride. When asked about how the city of Brantford affected the song writing on their current release, Scott Wilson replied: “We didn't try to add Brantford to the album, it wasn't meant to be a concept album at all... we are constantly influenced by our surroundings, and Brantford will always be a huge part of our inspiration. I think the city is in some form a part of every song." The album makes multiple references to the downtown and the aging infrastructure that defines a Brantford forgotten amidst the rising industries and commercial enterprise.