Once-local legends riding wave of success

From left to right: Chris Anthony, Melanie St-Pierre, Neil Bednis and Fraser McLean of Casper Skulls. (Photo By: Chris Borges)
From left: Chris Anthony, Melanie St-Pierre, Neil Bednis and Fraser McLean of Casper Skulls. (Photo by Chris Borges)

BY MATTHEW CLARK

Toronto band Casper Skulls is one of Ontario’s greatest exports. With half of its members from Sudbury and the other half from Oakville, the garage-y post-punk band has had a following in the town of Oakville since the addition of members Chris Anthony and Fraser McLean by original members Melanie St-Pierre and Neil Bednis. Anthony being one half of Oakville promotions duo Little Men Promotions, he gave the band a much-appreciated link to the town of Oakville. The addition of McLean and Anthony helped make the band what it is today.

The band recently relocated to Toronto, but members haven’t forgotten their small-town roots. “I think seeing really cool bands growing up in Sudbury informed the music we make. Bands like Varge opened our eyes to the different kinds of sounds you can get. For Fraser and Chris their Oakville friends inspired them to go start bands so they could play music in their community,” vocalist and guitarist Neil Bednis said.

Now Casper Skulls have hit it big, signing with up-and-coming Toronto label Buzz Records back in April and finally releasing their debut EP for the label at the end of last month. “Buzz has a really great team who are all good at their jobs. We’ve been offered more opportunities since we’ve been signed (to Buzz),” drummer Anthony said.

The label is also home to Toronto stalwarts Dilly Dally and Greys, with the bassist of the latter band, Shehzaad Jiwani, helping to produce Casper Skulls’ latest EP, Lips and Skull. It was a chance meeting with Jiwani at a show in Hamilton that led to the band being signed in the first place.

“We played a show in Hamilton with the Dirty Nil and Fake Palms and Shehzaad, who works for Buzz, was filling in on bass. A couple weeks later we played with Fake Palms in Toronto and Ian (who is the owner of Buzz) was also at the show. Shehzaad approached Mel (St-Pierre, the band’s other vocalist and guitarist) after our set and said that they wanted to meet with us,” says Bednis.

Since their signing, the band has embarked on a U.S. tour and released a video for the song “Love Brain” off of their new EP.

Listen to Lips and Skull here, and watch the video for Love Brain below. To keep up to date with all things Casper Skulls and Buzz Records be sure to like their respective Facebook pages.

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