A Labrador band started as a way to find new ways to make a living during the Covid-19 pandemic already has two EPs worth of material — and two Music Newfoundland and Labrador nominations.
For Wabush musician Scott Neary, the quest to find new ways to support himself brought him home from Ontario. He planned to use his time to record his own album, but the pandemic had other plans.
“The pandemic forced me to leave Toronto and come back here and try to make music in a way other than a big city. And that’s where I met Matt and Jane.”
“Matt” is Matt Soper, and “Jane” is Jane Edwards. Nearby, on guitar and vocals, began playing with them in local bars — originally as a duo, but later as an acoustic trio. One of their first sessions was a live streamed concert
Back home, Neary started playing with Matt Soper at some local bars. Same with Jane Edwards, a musician who teaches dance in Labrador West.
After performing as a duo, the three teamed up as an acoustic trio, with one of their first sessions being a live stream concert at Iron Rock Brewing Co. in Labrador City.
Soper – drums, guitar and vocals – said the trio knew they had something special.
“Jamming with two musicians like Scott, Jane — it was a real thrill,” he said.
The next step is coming up with a name. They wanted a local name with a twist, so they combined the ptarmigan — a bird found throughout Labrador — with, well, Armageddon. And Ptarmageddon was born.
The group has played many local venues, taking requests and covering songs from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Soper jokes he is responsible for their original songwriting decisions.
See Members of Ptarmageddon talk to CBC’s Darryl Dean:
He said, it is completely my fault. “I was having a bad week at work and I called Scott and I was like, ‘Man, I’m taking a week off and a week off. Let’s be like, let’s get together and write some songs.’
That week they wrote a new song in one day and by the end of the week they realized they had the material to record their first EP. The resulting recording, an EP with six original tracks, was called Holding Patterns and was released in 2021.
Jane Edwards, vocals and keyboards, said the band wanted to keep the momentum going.
“We love playing together, so we just wanted to keep it going and keep the show going,” he said. “So then we decided to apply for a grant from ArtsNL and they funded our second EP and our first music video.”
that video Gravity Party, inspired by their love of snowboarding, was filmed atop the Smoky Mountains in Labrador last winter. A haunting photo of them came out at the end of October.
In August, Ptarmageddon received two Music NL nominations: Alternative Artist of the Year and Rising Star of the Year.
Soper didn’t believe it was true.
“When Scott sent me the screenshots of the two nominations, I thought he was making it up. I thought it was a Photoshop joke,” she said. “But yeah, it was a pretty big surprise.… A fun little project that we started is now a two-time nominee.”
Following Saturday’s awards show at Corner Brook, next for the group is the launch of their second EP at the end of November. While the first one was made with the mindset of having a good time without any expectations, things are different this time.
“It was a little harder to put together because it felt like there was a little bit more on the line this time,” Neary said.
Dream Logic will be released on Spotify at the end of November to coincide with their show at the Labrador West Arts & Culture Center on November 25, where they plan to play all original songs.
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