Drumming up Success

King’s grad makes his way at the Pop Explosion

By Frances Dorenbaum -October 28th, 2011

Dunfield has come a long way since he began his musical career in elementary school playing the piano and the drums (because the xylophone wasn’t an option). At 22, he is already the drummer in two bands, a sound engineer, and most recently, he is the Assistant Technical Director of the Halifax Pop Explosion. The creative and musical environment of King’s, coupled with Halifax’s vibrant music scene, provided the ground for Tynan’s musical lift-off.
“My first year (at King’s) was when I got the biggest exposure to the Halifax scene. I’m from New Brunswick, so I knew about a lot of bands, but I didn’t really understand how independent music worked until I got into it,” says Dunfield.
The self-taught artist knew he eventually wanted to have a career in music, but wasn’t ready to formalize his training in university.
“I was really into English and sociology in high school,” says Dunfield, “I never had the drive to do composition at Dalhousie. I kind of just like to play in bands and play drum kit.”
So Dunfield came to King’s in 2007.

With his interest in recording, he brought all of his gear to res, and quickly got to work. He played several open mics in the Wardroom, and met many friends who shared his passion for music.
“In first and second year, I was really into recording over playing instruments for a while,” he says. “After first year, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Along with one of his friends, Ian Gibb, Dunfield has been recording Take Away Shows since his time at King’s. The two did a series of recordings and videos called “Roof Top Sessions.” Now, the duo makes them for Codapop, a recording studio on Quinpool, and for HPX promotions.

Now a member of the indie scene because of his contributions to festivals like FollyFest, Evolve, and Long Live the Queen, his numerous recording gigs, and his membership in Dance Movie, an indie pop group, and Writers’ Strike, an indie rock group, Dunfield is a pro at juggling projects.

Writers’ Strike has been working on a new album for the past year and a half. The EP is set to be released soon, and the LP in 2012. The album is a collaborative effort with “substantial producing,” and is being recorded in Sonic Temple, adding Writers’ Strike to the list of Canadian favourites such as Joel Plaskett and Matt Mays, who have recorded there, too.
Dance Movie, fronted by Tara Thorne, released an EP in September called Ladycops. It includes four tracks, which Thorne taught the band in four hours the day before recording. Even more impressively, it was recorded in just three hours.

On top of playing in two bands, Dunfield continues to pursue his main musical interest: recording. With a job at Codapop, a studio that supports emerging artists, and with a living room full of equipment, he continues to diversify his skills. Dunfield’s approach to recording, of creating a comfortable environment for the musician, displays his maturity and perception as an artist himself.
“When I’m recording and someone is taking a long time, I have so much sympathy. In the studio, you’re under the microscope,” he says.
He has recorded many of his friends because he feels that in terms of working with an audio engineer, “it’s nice to have someone you know.” This allows the group to the group deliver an honest performance because they don’t feel like they’re working with strangers.

Dunfield has truly found his place in the Halifax scene, so much so that even when Dance Movie was playing North By North East in Toronto, Dunfield says, “It was like Halifax in a bar…As soon as we got to the show that we were playing, it was a bunch of other bands we know, and it was neat to see a big room full of people from Halifax.”
Although Dunfield was only at King’s for a year, he has not forgotten the lively musical community. He has returned to the Wardroom, recently played at Dal’s Grawood, and has worked at CKDU. Although Writers’ Strike canceled their Frosh Week performance due to a member’s work conflict, he warmly states “We really want to come back to King’s soon.”