NXNE starts in three days!! It kicks off with a 100 percent free videogame extravaganza in Yonge and Dundas Square from the 16th to the 18th. Then immediately afterwards, the city turns into Club Land where a ton of awesome Canadian artists – like Shad and Ian D’sa from Billy Talent – curate local bars where they introduce their favourite budding artists.
But the main event is Port Lands where, for three whole days, bands from all around the world from every single genre you can imagine all get together and fill your ears with loud, proud, a sweet sounds. So what would a Toronto music festival be if you didn’t discover and support the local talent this city has to offer? Here are eight Toronto based artists you need to check out at NXNE.
EMP are the first letters to each members name in this progressive hip-hop trio. Eestbound is the group’s producer who also managed to snag a gig co-producing Travis Scott’s song “Antidote.” Milly Mason, who’s been making music with Eestbound for a handful of years, has been writing raps since he was seven years old – and it shows. Pree is the smooth but powerfully voiced vocalist of the group. All of them make music together thanks to living only a couple minutes away from each other in Brampton.
In an interview with VICE’s Noisey the group said they want to represent the new face of Toronto’s musical vibe. They have managed to capture that vibe in a bottle and release it into a recording studio. You can hear it live on the first day of NXNE on the Skyline Stage.
Bobby Lo and Kara Lane met in a Mississauga high school where they smoked cigarettes and dreamed about their desires, and now they write songs about those things. K.I.D. combines the melodic upbeat sound of indie pop and the attitude of punk rock to fill listeners with angst and care-free happy feels.
The duo started out playing open mics around Toronto and eventually took the hobby professionally in 2014 when they released a self-titled EP under Virgin Records Canada. Now they continue making music with a label based in London and L.A. but, you can catch them at the Skyline Stage on day two.
Straight from Mississauga, John River started with his first EP title “The Calm” where his low-fi beats paired perfectly with his high-energy flow and progressive lyricism makes a unique style not heard from the Toronto area before. River writes songs to express his life in Mississauga and the extended Toronto area with frequent representation of the local scene.
In an interview with CBC he said his message is to help people understand the young black community better through his music. Those in need a dose of understanding, or who just want to see a wicked rap show, can check him out on the Canal Stage, day two.
Think Rage Against the Machine with trap influence, now you’re listening to Grandson. With a crazy mix of blues rock and roll with hints of effected drums beats to the tune of trap music, Jordan Benjamin makes a powerful sound.
He was born in New Jersey but he grew up in The Six where he learned to play guitar, piano and rap. While attending McGill University in Montreal he started recording demos – and now he’s playing the Skyline Stage on NXNE’s third and final day.
Soulful, low-fi, and groovy as heck. River Tiber, aka Tommy Paxton-Beesley, began with music by learning cello, guitar, drums and even the trombone at a very young age in his hometown of Toronto. He’s made beats for Jazz Cartier and a number of other big names including Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang clan. He released his first EP in 2013 and has been improving on the style since.
You can find yourself moving to his music on the Skyline Stage just before Grandson.
Ferraro are three brothers with a Toronto dynasty behind them. The Ferraro family owns Toronto’s own Cameron House which allowed the three brothers to be around iconic performances and creative minds since they were born. They’ve been jamming together since they can remember and it’s naturally progressed into what they are today.
The band got their first EP out in 2013 and debuted an album three years late in 2016 with more refined and unique sound. Ferraro is an old school rock and roll band headed by three modern, young dudes. Catch them on day one at the Skyline Stage.
Their self-titled EP was recorded in a cabin by the lake in the backwoods of Ontario. Their latest single – released earlier this year – wasn’t but, it still capture the right sound. With an atmospheric flurry of guitars, airy vocals, keyboard melody, and intense build-up drum beats Midday Swim creates a fun environment for all.
The latest EP, Climbing out of Caves, was just a couple days ago. So if you like what you hear on the band’s Soundcloud you might as well hear it live when they play the Skyline stage first on the final day of NXNE.
Ebhoni takes her incredibly soulful voice and applies her range and rhythm to an extensive collection of trap inspired R&B tracks. It’s high energy when it needs to be yet calm and moving at the same time.
Since the age of ten, when she posted her first video on YouTube, Ebhoni has found herself in the circle of talented individuals who found their fame online. She released her first original record at the age of 12 after getting her own studio time around the city. Now just on the cusp of 18 years of life she’s to open the Canal Stage on day two.