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Spotlight on local music: The Release


Members: Tom Heuckendorff, on vocals, Hammond organ, sax, and flute, Brendan Ladner on vocals and guitar, Derek Stembridge on bass, and Benny Schuetze on drums and vocals.

Pique: Where did the name come from?

Brendan Ladner: The Release is the state of mind that we’re trying to achieve within the music, when your mind can be free enough to be lost in the moment; then there is nothing left but the release of the music.

Pique: What are your musical backgrounds?

B.L.: While Tom was listening to punk music, Derek was listening to Fear Factory and Rush, Brendan was listening to The Beatles and the Black Crowes and Benny was listening to Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

Pique: Where are you all from, and what brought you to Whistler?

B.L.: Tom – Aurora, Ontario. Snowboarding

Derek – Toronto. The mountain life.

Brendan – Vancouver. The pow

Benny – Vancouver. The Release

Pique: When did you form your band, and what inspired you to make music together?

B.L.: It really began on the road with Kostaman and the Vibrations — Tom was playing sax and Brendan was playing bass in Kostaman’s band. We would play guitar and flute on ferry decks and beaches, getting to know each other’s material. We shared the jam band connection. We found ourselves some acoustic shows around Whistler and it was after an evening on Merlin’s patio that Derek was asked, “What’s in the case?”

Pique: How do you describe your music?

B.L.: Original funky jam rock/psychedelic groove rock. It’s a full spectrum of music — mellow to intense, inspired by all genres. It’s an unintentionally unique sound — it’s not jazz but hints to it — that is simply the music that we write. It’s not always clear where the songs or melodies appear from. We allow enough freedom to allow musical exploration and uncover deep grooves. We have played some sets that were more that 50 per cent improvised.

Pique: Do you play covers, or original material?

B.L.: All originals. Until we run out of our own new ideas when are we supposed to find time to practice other people’s music?