Last week Happenings on the Scene caught up with Trevor Crook to notify him that he and his brother Nathan — now known as Dalton Crook — would be getting the honour as our Manitoba Music Makers for the month of June.
Among the subjects we discussed was what the guys are up to now, but mostly we just chatted about our favourite thing — music!
Frank: First off, thanks for doing this. Long time no chat and congrats on getting this month’s spotlight feature as Manitoba’s Music Makers.
Trevor: Thanks for having us to do the interview and the Music Makers feature is very cool. We miss out West lots!
How long has it been since you guys moved east?
We have been in Toronto for just over two years now — since February of 2012.
What sort of music-related things have you been doing?
We have been busy with the "Dalton Crook" project, playing festivals, shows and developing a name for ourselves here in the Toronto music community. In our spare time, we have been co-writing with many artists such as Noel Johnson, Missy Knott, Erica Schiopu, Jean Paul De Roover and many more that we have had the pleasure of meeting during our time here in Toronto. I sang on an album for a track by a band called Painted Lions and was drumming with three projects — The Hollow Bodies, Black on Black and Noel Johnson. Nathan has been playing guitar with Noel Johnson, doing session work with many artists, teaching guitarand also plays in a band called For Esme, who was voted a must-see band at this year’s Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
Take us through your typical day as a full-time musician.
Waking up, having coffee, walking the dog-type stuff. Most of the day is spent thinking of lyrics and licks for new tunes. When we practise, we do a lot of lyric and music-swapping and work out new ideas and tunes.
What are your short-term goals — things that you can accomplish within the next five years with your music?
We plan on making an EP in the near future and cutting a full-length album shortly after that. As with most musicians, a five-year goal includes lots of tours and festivals. Time can only tell what the future holds.
What is your ultimate goal as a full-time working musician?
To live a comfortable life doing what we love most — playing music.
At what age did you decide that music was going to be a major part of your life?
Music has been a major part of our lives for as long as we can remember. Our dad, Tom Crook, played in bandswhile we were growing up so we’ve been surrounded with it from a young age. Our mom, Janice Dalton,was involved in music theatre and our sister, Hannah Crook,is currently a music agent in Toronto.When we were old enough to play ourselves, we couldn’t picture doing anything else.Music is something that is so natural and feels so good that it’s hard to imagine a life without it.
When and where was your first public performance?
Our first live performance was for the Festival of the Arts in Minnedosa when I was 11 and Nathan was 13. I played the drums and Nathan played guitar, accompanied by our friend Eric Baily on acoustic guitar.
What song did you perform?
We played a cover of Oasis’ "Wonderwall" and an original called "I’ll Try". We practised for months before the show.
How often do you practise these days?
Nathan and I get together a couple times a week to collaborate and we individually practise a few hours a day.
Here’s a fun sort of "what if" type of question — if you could tour in support of any artist or group, who would it be?
I think if we had the opportunity to tour in support of any group, we would both happily choose Half Moon Run. They are an amazingly talented group of artists and it looks like it would be so much fun!
I’ll have to look up some concert footage of them. Speaking of which, how old were you when you saw your first concert? Who did you go see?
Our dad took us to see Our Lady Peace during the O.L.P Clumsy tour. Everclear was the opener. I was nine and Nathan was 11. We got to meet the band before the show and we found them to be super intriguing. That’s when we decided we should start a band of our own.
Are they still a major influence in your music?
Our Lady Peace will always be a major influence in our lives as you never forget your first concert, or the first cassette you own.When a song comes on the radio like "Clumsy", weturn it up.
Who were some of your other early musical inspirations?
Our mom played a lot of Tracy Chapman and Chrissie Hynde. Our dad played a lot of Van Morrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Tracy and Chrissie definitely brought out the soul in our writing and Crosby, Stills ,Nash and Young inspired us to write harmonies.
What do you mostly listen to now?
I listen to bands like Half Moon Run, Arctic Monkeys, JP Hoe and Craig Cardiff at the moment. Nathan is into Derek Trucks and Donovan Woods.
What was the latest concert you took in?
The last major concert I went to was Muse at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and Nathan went to Derek Trucks at Massey Hall in Toronto.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
The best advice we ever received was from our parents: to follow our dreams and never give up, that it takes practice but that it’s worth it because you’ll be happy doing it.
What sort of advice would you offer to any aspiring musicians out there?
If you love playing music, never stop and practise every day. Play things out of your element and be open to all styles of music. It will only help you grow and you’ll never stop enjoying doing it. Dalton Crook will be touring through western Manitoba next week. Formerly known as Crook, this will be their first trip back to the Prairies as a duo, and includesstops at their hometown of Minnedosa, Brandon, Clear Lake and Dauphin Countryfest.
Currently based in Toronto, the brothers — Nathan on electric guitar and background vocals and Trevor on acoustic guitar and lead vocals — have also been writing and recording for the debut Dalton Crook EP.
Their ‘indie-pop’ sound hints at a myriad of influences from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s harmonies, to the energy of the acoustic Foo Fighters albums, and dynamic guitar parts echoing the Dave Matthew’s Band.
"We put a lot of importance on where we come from and how we were raised," says Nathan, a sentiment echoed by Trevor.
"It’s important to go back to where you grew up every now and then," he said. "It keeps us grounded."
June22 at the Purple Room, Winnipeg (with special guests Sebastian Owl)
June 23 at Comrie House, Minnedosa (house show)
June 24 at the Double Decker, Brandon (with special guests Slow Spirit)
June 25 at the Fox Tail, Clear Lake (with special guest Logan Mckillop)
June 26-29 at Dauphin Countryfest
Dalton Crook perform "She Doesn’t Want (To Be Alone)" Liveat Coalition Music: youtube.com/watch?v=ecv8UkghB2s
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.