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THE CARBONS (+ A Bus Named Carol)

Alumni Feature

Paul Minor’s band ‘The Carbons’ have been getting lots of publicity about their ‘pop up’ tours, played out of a tour bus called ‘Carol’. Paul is a CAT Audio Engineering and Production graduate; we talk to him about the band, the bus and all the buzz.

CAT: When did you graduate from Centre for Arts and Technology?

PM: I graduated from CAT in 2014. I took the Audio Engineering & Production program.

CAT: What have you been up to since then? Or did The Carbons happen right away?

PM: I have been teaching drums for the past 6 years. I was teaching at Wentworth Music, but I am now starting my own lessons at Arc House Studios. Which is operated by Adam Wittke, who is one of the studio instructors at CAT. I’ve been with The Carbons for about 3 years now and it’s been a blast!

CAT: You have been getting loads of publicity recently for the concerts you are doing across Canada in your bus. How did the concept for buying your bus and performing pop-up concerts come about? And how did you happen to name her Carol?

PM: We got the bus for many reasons, the main three are that we needed a place to rehearse, save some money and have our gear set up at all times. We also needed a new touring vehicle and lastly, we were tired of having our gigs cancelled due to the pandemic. So we wanted to find an innovative way to still pursue our dream and revive live music in our town and now the country!

We had plenty of names for the bus until we talked to a friend and since we were knocking on people’s doors to give them a free concert; she recommended that we name the bus Carol because we’re basically ‘carolling’. We thought that was the perfect name!

CAT: How many gigs have you done this way?

PM: We have done 50 gigs just in BC; we’ve played all over from Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops to Vancouver. Let’s say we had a busy summer of playing shows – which has been amazing.

CAT: How do you get the word out about your pop-up gigs? Do you get good turnouts?

PM: Mainly we get the word out on our social media. Carol is also on our website, where it has all the information on what we’re trying to do. We created a Kickstarter campaign to help pay off the expenses and within a month we raised $11,000! We had donating tiers ranging from $10-$2000. Anyone who helps donate gets something out of it, like getting their name written on the bus, all the way to us coming to their homes and playing a show in their front yard.

Another way we’ve been getting the word out is by playing as many pop-up shows as we can; for example, hitting up breweries, beaches and parks. That’s where Castanet and CBC found out about us and wanted to do a story on Carol which led us to get on CBC’s ‘The National’!

I would say it’s about 90% great turnouts and the other 10% is a small group of people. But we don’t mind because we’re just happy to shine some light on these dark times and put some smiles on people’s faces.

If it wasn’t for me taking my course at Centre for Arts and Technology, I wouldn’t be here talking to you or even be in this band. Not only did I learn about audio engineering, CAT helped me network with other musicians and industry professionals who have helped me get to places I never thought I’d be.

Paul Minor

CAT: Any that were particularly fun or memorable?

PM: There are plenty of memorable moments with doing these pop-up shows. One is that we were doing some gigs in Golden, BC and afterwards we were headed to our friend’s place to stay the night. We ended up missing the turn and got stuck in a big construction traffic jam and it would’ve taken us an hour just to turn around to get back on route. After sitting for about 10 minutes we decided to pull off on the side of the highway and played a show for everyone that was waiting. So, yes, we played a ‘Traffic Jam’. It was very spontaneous and successful.

CAT: Who are The Carbons?

PM: The Carbons are a 3-piece band – Tomy Thisdale is the lead singer/guitarist, and we have a new bass player named Brett Hornall and myself. I play the drums and do backup vocals.

The Carbons On Tour (L-R): Tomy Thisdale, Tomy’s brother Alex Thisdale with his son Lucas (Alex hired The Carbons to come to Quebec to play a bus show!), Brett Hornall, and Paul Minor.

CAT: How would you describe your music?

PM: Our music is what we call Renegade Rock. We’ve been compared to Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s very groovy and rockin’, we will make you dance no matter what! We strive to put on a great performance for anyone we play for. Whether it’s one person or 1,000 people, we like to put on an awesome rock show!

CAT: What do you like best about being in a band and creating music?

PM: I love playing in a band because I get to create with two other individuals who share the same passion as me and you truly become a family at the end of the day. I would literally go to war for these guys! It’s exciting to see new places, share our music with complete strangers and see the positive responses to our original music, there’s no better feeling!

We’re privileged to be doing what we love and to make a living off it as well, I remind myself that every day.

CAT: How did your program at Centre for Arts and Technology help you get to the place you are at today?

PM: My time at CAT and learning the science and theory of audio recording has helped me greatly. We have everything in Carol set up with pro live audio gear and using my knowledge from my course to set up and dial in our sound really made our operation smooth and easy. Also when it comes to recording it’s helped me understand how to have good etiquette in the studio. End of the day if it wasn’t for me taking my course at CAT I wouldn’t be here talking to you or even be in this band. Not only did I learn about audio engineering, CAT helped me network with other musicians and industry professionals who have helped me get to places I never thought I’d be.

CAT: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians and/or CAT Audio students?

PM: If there are a few pieces of advice that I can offer to anyone who wants to pursue the music industry whether you’re a musician, producer or audio engineer is that you need to be adaptable as the industry is changing every day. You need to be driven and hungry for every opportunity and not get complacent. There’s going to be lots of situations or times where you’re going to feel uncomfortable but I want to express that it’s okay to feel that way and it’s normal so embrace feeling uncomfortable and turn it into an opportunity!