Stories From Home - Tim Shia

Every week, we ask a different local artist to provide their unique perspective on the pandemic experience from a musician’s point of view. Through words, video and music, each musician will share their story, along with an audio or video sample of a recent project, and a link to purchase their music so that you can support their work.

This week, drummer and educator Tim Shia presents his unique perspective on fine tuning his production skills, being grateful for those around him and what has been a busy period of music-making.

"Well, given that I play in a band called the Worst Pop Band Ever, I'm not sure it has been any worse than normal...Seriously though, it's been an interesting time, with lots of time for introspection and honing other music related skills like mixing, video editing, and finding vinyl deals online. Like every other musician, I watched as first a few shows, then tours and then finally clubs disappeared, however I was fortunate in that I was able to continue working in novel ways with different artists. Now unlike some, I haven't felt compelled to write any new music about the pandemic, but who knows, maybe in a few years I will write a musical called PandeMonica - about a blues harpist that survives the pandemic by learning to play a harmonica behind a mask and is rewarded with a lifetime supply of Kirkland Toilet Paper.

Hmm, in terms of music, I learned: a) more about the Mics and DAWs that I own; b) how grateful I am to the various Arts Councils (Toronto, Ontario and Canada); c) how to play with musicians remotely despite internet lag and d) how much I hate video editing. What's been more interesting is seeing the best and worst of humanity play out in various areas over the pandemic. It's made me question how humanity has managed to stay alive for as long as it has, while at the same time made me grateful and more appreciative of so many things in my life. As a whole, life hasn't been too bad and while I will never admit it to them, my wife and kids have been amazing. I feel almost guilty saying that as I know some have suffered terribly and I just hope that everyone is able to make it through as there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel...for now.

I've had the good fortune of playing a number of online festivals with my band, WPBE, and great artists like Donne Roberts, Amelie and Les Singes Bleus, Sophia Perlman and Fred Spek, as well as a number of online shows through Syncspace run by Adrian Cho, where amazingly I've gotten to play in real time from my home with folks in Montreal, Ottawa and Antigonish like Peter Hum, Petr Cancura, Kenji Omae and Paul Tynan. I also produced 4 free educational youtube videos for kids with support from JPEC and artists like Allison Au, Adrean Farrugia, Dafydd Hughes, Chris Gale, Drew Birston, Fraser Melvin, Raha Javanfar, Michael Herring, Kevin Barrett; and I edited a number of jazz videos for James Sandilands and St. Paul's Anglican Church with folks like Stacie McGregor, Shannon Butcher, Marie Goudy, Bill McBirnie and Elena Kapeleris. I was privileged to write and/or record with artists like Rebecca Hennessy, Dave Clarke, Rob Ritchie, Nick Zubeck, Christian Overton and Mark Laver. It was also nice to play some of the venues - when we've been allowed to - like the Rex, Drom Taberna, Reposado and the Jazz Bistro. Finally, the WPBE actually wound up releasing a weird video/story album that we initially did live for the Markham Jazz Festival and later online for the In the Soil Festival, about the last days of a department store portrait studio, on Bandcamp and Youtube complete with puppets and moody teenagers."

Support Tim by purchasing his music from Bandcamp: wpbe.bandcamp.com

Here's Tim and the Worst Pop Band Ever performing his original tune "Love is for Losers", along with Sophia Perlman and Rebecca Hennessy, released in November, 2020: