Arts & Culture

Finding Providence

A band founded on fellowship falls apart.

by Heather Ross – Feb. 17, 2011

For a while, they were huge—at least at King’s. In 2008, 10 first-year King’s students met up, found kinship through music, and formed New Providence.
On their own, each member could play three instruments, but together they could fill a room with warmth and sound. They produced and sold an independent EP, their photo made regular appearances on CBC Radio Three’s website, and with a membership in the double digits, they still managed to all be friends.
But by the end of second year, things had changed.
As students in the Foundation Year Program, they all had the same schedule in their first year. But in their second year, scheduling between 10 people became nearly impossible.
“It was so ridiculous getting together for a practice that we wrote down all of our schedules on acetate and laid them on top of each other so we could see where the empty spaces were,” said Andrei Mihailiuk, who sang and played guitar and the glockenspiel.
Then there were the band members who lived in the same house. They had time to create music they were excited about, and some members felt left out.

New Providence, once united

“It wasn’t for any exclusionary purpose,” explained Marc Blouin, who sang and played clarinet, sax, and guitar. “It was just that you weren’t in the living room of the house on a random day of the week where one person says, ‘Hey, I’m going to pick up my guitar and play something.’”
The great part of big numbers is big ideas, but the band slowly realized that not all of their ideas were the same.
Some members wanted to experiment with new music. Others wanted to start marketing New Providence seriously.
“They were playing with different kind of instruments, more electric stuff, and that was never something I was really into,” said Blouin. “We were trying to record an album and that was such a nightmare… Everyone wanted it to be perfect. That, for me, defeated the purpose in the first place. We were just supposed to be fun, and loud, and live.”
Mihailiuk agrees. “I feel as though the whole project was started because we just wanted to have a lot of fun, and just be this pirate band,” he said. “People started thinking about it a lot more seriously. It wasn’t nearly as fun as it once was.”
The final blow came when they tried to make an LP to follow up from the success of their self-titled EP. At this point, they were still holding biweekly rehearsals and doing monthly shows with a loyal following of King’s students.
And when a friend who was enrolled in the sound engineering program at the Centre for Arts and Technology talked about recording the band for free, it seemed like a godsend. “It was really exciting at first,” said Mihailiuk.
But then the conflicts came. Equipment broke down, schedules didn’t match up, and when the process bled into the summer, some members had to leave. Nathan Ladovsky, their drummer, recorded all of his beats before leaving for Israel.
“We tried to record everything else on top of that,” said Kate Connolly, who played flute and piano and sang. “We went into a month of recording to find that there was an extra beat in a song. So there were some songs we couldn’t work on, or tried to work on, or tried to rerecord drums.”
Eventually, the project was abandoned. In April, they agreed: it was time for New Providence to come to an end.
Thomas Hoy, who created the band and who declined to comment for this story, ended up finishing the album on his own computer, but more as a memento for the rest of the band.
Connolly appreciated the effort.
“When it was sent out to us it was more of a, ‘This is what we did. It may not be the best, but this is all of our efforts over the past couple of years and this is how we did it.’”

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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