By Heather Adamson
VANCOUVER — Victoria’s homegrown Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra (TMO) are celebrating ten years as a band and they are going on an anniversary tour to celebrate. It’s quite a legacy for any band to make the decade mark and these five musicians appreciate everything they’ve gone through to get here. “It’s hard for bands to stay together,” says vocalist/guitarist Kurt Loewen. “Ambition, distance, inspiration, and creative differences can work against you but we are grateful for what we have.” Three of the five are original band members and the current five-piece have been playing together for the past five years. Now spread out living in various parts of the country, they reunite to create and tour together three to four months out of the year, a healthy balance they have struck between those that would be happy touring all of the time and those that don’t want to be on the road much at all. Apart for much of the year, they place a lot of value on the time they set aside to continue their collective artistic pursuit. “Aside from creating more music together, our main focus is to be really good to one another because that is what got us here in the first place,” says Loewen.
Having toured across Canada and internationally, Loewen spoke of some of the places they have lived and performed in over the years. Berlin, Spain, Yukon, and Montreal, to name a few, are places and experiences that have influenced the constant evolution of the band’s music. Their reputation for being collaborative, spontaneous, and endlessly creative has led to many opportunities and they plan to harness this energy for their upcoming tour to share with audiences.
The band will be performing in Vancouver on January 12 at the Rickshaw Theatre, a show being curated by Ruhamah Marie Buchanan of Rogue Spade Arts. “Seeing TMO perform during the Sunday night closing set at Kaslo Jazz Festival this past summer was incredibly inspiring,” says Buchanan. A huge fan for years, Buchanan has been waiting for the timing to align to showcase the band in a certain format and the tenth anniversary was the perfect occasion. “I enjoy creating multi-media immersive environments by inviting musicians, circus performers, and visual artists of different mediums to perform collaboratively,” says Buchanan. The night is set to include performing arts troupe Omnika in Motion, as well as local troubadours The Tailor, and MEGANG, along with a few other surprises. “We haven’t even met Ruhamah yet,” says Loewen. “She reached out to us and we were so grateful. We want to honour her impressions of us from our performance in Kaslo by embracing improvised collaboration, spontaneity, and openness on the stage. It has always been about the performance for us.”
After a decade of performing and touring together, the Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra is more like a brotherhood than a band. “Other than my immediate family, they are the longest relationships I have had in my life,” shared Loewen. “It is heavy and beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra perform at the Rickshaw Theatre on January 12.BC, British Columbia, Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra