After award-winning success as an independent artist, Toronto’s Alistair Blaik Bundale has made the transition to the award-winning success as part of Toronto’s new Indie/Rock Band “Donalyn“.
Donalyn features Alistair Blaik Bundale on vocals and guitar, Jen Benton on bass, and Brian Williams on drums.
I had first met Alistair in the mid 2000’s when he was making the rounds at open stages, and now had a chance to chance to catch up with him.
Ryan: Let’s start with Music City North (festival). How did you end up hearing about the festival?
ABB: Jeannie, who is one of the creators I believe, approached Jen about applying for the festival. We had originally met Jeannie when we played a show last year at Czehoski’s.
Ryan: This is the first Music City North event the band is playing?
Ryan: And Donalyn’s first time at the Tattoo Rock Parlour?
ABB: Yes (pause) I can always elaborate as well on the answers if you would like!
Ryan: Let’s say the festival show goes great and all of the band decides to get tattoos after….. which band member gets which tattoo?
ABB: Haha you know I have to be careful here with my answers, because neither Jen nor Brian are present for this conversation, and I wouldn’t want to say anything that might get them too riled up. Chances are one of us would end up with a butterfly on our lower back, and it probably wouldn’t be Jen.
Ryan: Back to the band info. I don’t know if you read the Dave Grohl quote about the next generation of musicians (pause). Was Donalyn a form a band and work at it scenario OR was this an ABB solo transition to playing in a band?
ABB: I think it initially started as a solo project adding percussion, but slowly morphed into its own independent project. I think that when Jen joined the band about 2 years ago, that’s when things really started to shift for us. As any band transitions from individuals to a unified group, there is a sort of creative growth that occurs, and when that happens it takes bits and pieces from each individual and the end product becomes not that of me or Brian or Jen, but of Donalyn as a band.
Ryan: Would say there was a point where you were, a band. (one word answer is ok)?
Ryan: (and I’m trying to get a mental image) Was there one of you who said, we need a band name? and where did Donalyn fit into it?
ABB: When me and Brian initially formed the band, it was sort of because I had won a free recording session for a 6 song EP from an Indie Idol competition I did with Indielove Radio. So we recorded the album and then realized we didn’t have a name, and didn’t want to go by my name. So as a joke one day, Brian asked me what my mom’s name is (Donna). His mom’s name is Lynn. He said Donna-Lynn. We laughed but after 2 weeks it was the only name that made sense, do we shortened it to Donalyn.
Ryan: I’m betting your moms are proud. Do they get on the guest list for the show(s)?
ABB: Haha most definitely! The shit they had to put up with while we grew up? Definitely
Ryan: How many Donalyn shows have there been now?
ABB: Quite a bit. We generally try to play a show every month in Toronto and recently have been getting more shows out of town. We just played a show this past Friday in Montreal at a place called Divan Orange as part of the Sonoteque Soirees Festival
Ryan: When you’re playing that many shows, how much rehearsal time is needed? And do you all manage day jobs?
We’re all still working day jobs, generally try to rehearse twice a week. It can definitely get tough trying to juggle working full time, playing in a band, and maintaining personal relations all at the same time, but you just have to try and stay positive about it all.
Ryan: Last questions then (I hope): we had met a number of years ago, when you played solo, and you’ve told me about the project morphing into a band, when you are working on songs now, does it start with band all together (or in mind)? do you ever go and say, it’d be great to write a solo piece?
ABB: It often starts with me writing a song in my living room then bringing it to the band after, sometimes we kind of just jam it out at a rehearsal, or for example last week we were recording our new EP at Porcelain Records in Hamilton with Greg Kusiak, and a few good things came out of just messing around there.
I’ve often thought about doing solo stuff on th side, playing a few shows, maybe record an album, but to be honest, i am sort of a firm believer of putting all of your eggs in one basket. I believe its better to devote all of my energy and song writing to Donalyn. I also sort of feel like if I went and did my own solo stuff it would sort of be like cheating on Jen and Brian haha
Toronto’s Music City North Queen St. Festival runs from May 8-12 at Cameron House, Cadillac Lounge, Cherry Cola’s, Czehoski’s, The Sister, and Tattoo Rock Parlour..
Donalyn plays the Tattoo Rock Parlour (567 Queen St. West) as part of the festival. Their set begins at 10:20pm.
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Stream/Download/Buy Donalyn on Bandcamp
All the Music City North Queen St. Festival dates:
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