Phreeagent is a creative outlet for my beats, images, words and design – also a place where I can champion, promote and work with artists I believe in. Gone are my days working at a major label in the music industry but I’m still listening to new music and keeping my ear to the ground for great Canadian talent. I’m still exploring, still learning and still inspired. Today, I’m still a hack on the guitar and I just started learning the bass but I love to head into the studio and jam away on song ideas. I’ve never stopped writing since the day I fell in love with it back in grade two. I listen to music daily and always in search of new music. Thanks for visiting and if you have some new music you want some passionate ears to listen to. Let’s talk. Lead with Love.
The day I was born Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, Jackson Five and Badfinger, held the top spots in the charts. My earliest memories of music were going through my parents vinyl and 8 tracks in their funky bar/stereo system. There I would discover Elvis & Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Also in the collection were Portuguese albums my parents would listen to, especially on road trips. Roberto Leal was one of the biggest Portuguese artists in the world and then there was Quim Barreiros, who I would compare to some of the musical comedy acts who have come out of Newfoundland. All his songs were hysterical and shocking, a lot of sexual innuendos and play on words. My parents and relatives would be crying and once I got older and understood more I realized how edgy that stuff was – especially for an accordion player!
But it was one trip to Quebec to visit family that the music bug really hit me. While everyone was in the living room having a good time I could hear sounds coming from down the hall. Some of my older cousins were doing their teenager thing and not hanging out with the rest of us kids. So I went investigating. Walking down the dark corridor a dim light came from one of the bedrooms. As I got closer to the source a door was open and I slowly walked in. Lights from the stereo and equalizer flickering and the sounds of Led Zeppelin coming through the speakers. I was amazed with all the equipment my cousin had and those sweet sounds.
So of course radio would be the next source for me. In fact that was the first job I remember wanting – I wanted to be a radio dj on CJBK. First my trusted transistor radio went everywhere. Especially attached to my bike and then next to me as I fell asleep each night. Who can forget making mixed tapes from setting up a cassette recorder next to the radio? They would do these “Name that tune” thing too where they’d play a couple seconds of a song and you’d try to guess it to win concert tickets. The first time I won was recognizing the first couple notes of ‘Hang on Sloopy.’ True story.
So by high school I knew I wanted to be in the music industry and so I would just do whatever I could do to gain some experience in London. I would help out on assemblies, dj where I had opportunities and always be glued to the kids in the school bands and helping them set up. One of those guys was Trevor Morris – a bit of a musical prodigy on the piano to say the least. He’s a composer for Hollywood now, maybe you’ve heard some of his scores. You’d think I’d be a musician by then too but no. I tried keyboards but it lasted 3 weeks. My biggest high was always finding new music and turning people on to it.
So it was finally in university where I was able to find more outlets for music. I joined the university radio station CHRW 94.7 that opened a lot of doors. I had a morning show, I produced a music news program “Station2Station” and spearheaded the CHRW Music Search contest. The winners were the Elevator Bugs who would then be called the Gandharvas. I became the production manager at school booking all the bands and dj’ing all the school events. Together with some friends we dj’ed for 48 hours straight raising money for Aids Research.
Around this time I read an article in the local paper about an actual record company in London. It was called AUTO RECORDS which sadly was an unfortunate name as most calls we got were people looking for an auto wrecker. Nonetheless, Peter Brennan was a great guy and he gave me my first shot. Anyways, here I was living the dream. Out and about looking for bands and listening to demo tapes. I was in heaven. Some of the bands from that time…Fishpants, Buckshot Enema, The Others, The Droogs, Finnegan’s Treehouse, and Grandeur. Grandeur was my first signing and my first time in the studio watching Dan Broadbeck produce. I was getting ready to graduate and had exhausted all my music aspirations in London, so I sent out resumes to all the big record companies.
After a few interviews I was finally hired by PolyGram Music Publishing where I would be looking for new talent – songwriting talent. Yes, I really didn’t know much about Music Publishing but from that day on I became a sponge and by the end of my time in Toronto I would know a lot about music publishing and the music industry. So this was one of the greatest times in my life. I signed my first bands Thinktank Fish, Victims of Luxury, Bluebeard, DDT and the Rainbow Butt Monkeys who were 16 at the time and would go on to change their name to Finger 11. But our biggest signing of that time was Jann Arden who would go on to have a huge hit INSENSITIVE which was written by Anne Loree, one of our writers too.
After five years in Toronto it was time for a change. After a year or so I would meet the girl of my dreams, pack up the car and move to Vancouver, BC. Where I continued exploring my creative side in writing, design and video and starting the short lived Phreeagent Creative Group before moving to the Okanagan.
But around 2015 almost 20 years after being in the music industry, my friend Jeff introduced me to his talented kids and their friends who had a band. Over the next few years I would work with them, eventually managing and finally crossing off one of my musical goals. I was able to co-produce the band’s ep TALK PEACE TO A WOLF with them. Very proud of what we accomplished together in a short time. They now go by DAYSORMAY you must check them out.