In partnership with ATB Financial, Vignettes has introduced a new element to the Design Showcase this year: sound design. Each musical track that has been paired with the 14 showcase designs, dubbed the ATB Soundscapes, features the works of some of Edmonton's most revered musical artists. These spotlights give us a closer look at each artist's history, their experience building their craft in our city, and what they think about engaging in new creative collaborations.
Nik Kozub, the Edmonton based musician and producer who is best known for his work in the band, Shout Out Out Out Out, is lending his musical talents to the competing design teams. Nik can be found writing and performing his own work as well as co-running a record label based in Edmonton. As an avid supporter and contributor of the Edmonton arts scene, Nik indulges Vignettes on his view of the growing community.
hat was it like trying to become a successful artist in Edmonton and what were some of the challenges you faced?
I didn’t necessarily try to become a successful artist in Edmonton. I was involved in making the music that I made and people seemed to like it. It grew pretty organically, especially with my band Shout Out Out Out Out?, which is what I’m best known for. We started on a really small scale playing small parties, art galleries and small venues. And every time we played, it sold out, so we started moving up to bigger and bigger venues. We realized that the buzz we created within Edmonton had spread to other markets and other provinces–and even into the US. It was time to start touring the project. It all happened really organically and really I don’t feel like we made a real effort to break out. It just sort of happened.
Since becoming an established artist, how has the Edmonton music and art scene changed?
The Edmonton music scene is constantly changing, and it goes through waves of what is popular, how many bands there are and what venues are available. The music industry is also different from the time our first album came out versus our third album, and the way that music is consumed. Album sales aren’t really a thing anymore, and it’s [now] more about streaming and live performance. Everything changes all the time, and it’s what keeps the industry and local scenes interesting.
I really love living in Edmonton–I think it has a strong arts community and is a really positive place to be in. It is not necessarily internationally recognized as a hub of music (which I actually think it should be), but there is a lot of really high quality stuff that has come out of here.
How important is it to you, as a musician, that Edmonton has events like Vignettes that aim to strengthen the art scene community?
I think it’s crucially important. I mean, you have to have culture for a city to be livable and I think the more arts and culture events that are happening, the better [it is] for everyone. Having opportunities like this, where it is multiplatform [and] you have designers and visual artists pairing up with musicians and sounds designers, gets everyone’s creativity flowing and [makes] for an immersive, unique experience for people.
In your opinion, why do you think it is beneficial that artists of different fields collaborate on projects like the Vignettes Design Series?
I’m generally involved with writing and performing, and I know just having to meet with the designers of the vignettes that I’m working with–talking with them about their concepts and visions for the projects–makes me think about what I’m doing in a different way. That different angle is going to allow my own thought process to writing music to grow, and it is pretty refreshing to me.
What do you think is the best way for Edmontonians to support the growing art and design community in Edmonton?
Go to things. Go to events. The way to sustain it is to attend. That’s all there is to it. If there is something interesting, it is only going to keep going on if people seem interested and go. Maintaining continued support of the arts is what keeps it alive!
What are you most looking forward to about being involved in the ATB Soundscape and what kinds of new opportunities did this present to you as an artist?
I’m most looking forward to it all actually happening and seeing what people’s reactions are. I’m looking forward to what it is going to sound like when there is a whole bunch a music pieces playing at the same time in a concrete box. I’m hoping that the sound pairs well with the visual and that it all is a good experience for everybody.
Nik’s impressive musical talents and experiences ensure that he will provide an amazing contribution to the ATB Soundscapes. Nik’s musical creations will be revealed September 22 at the Vignettes Design Series VIP Opening Gala. To learn more and to purchase your tickets, visit vignettesyeg.ca.
Written by Breanna Moffat. Image courtesy of Avenue Magazine.