Nick Bendzsa’s new project, Dormitories, opened for Bleu and Property Friday night at The Ship, and if you missed it, you can catch them Thursday night during their Lawnya Vawnya show with the Catalina Reapers (Mark Bragg, Chris Donelly, Bill “from the Ship” and Josh Ward!) and a band from Halifax, composed of veterans from that city’s music scene, called Not You, who call their genre “Slipper Gaze.” That show is The Ship, 10pm, for $10.
Bendzsa’s been locked away in his bedroom with a loop pedal for over a year. After playing a few house shows last summer, he decided to go back and further develop the sound and his songs. As of May 2017, he’s premiering the work on Soundcloud and at shows.
“The intention was always to perform live and play in a band, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I always feel as if I need to sit with my music and build up my songs,” Bendzsa says. “I’m taking it out now, because playing as a part of Lawnya Vawnya gave me a deadline to work towards, and I’m heading to Vietnam a few days after the festival, so I wanted to get involved as much as I could beforehand.”
Dormitories’ unique sound is in part the product of circumstance. “I didn’t know how to use recording software, nor did I own a laptop, so I used a loop pedal as a recording medium for fully orchestrated band parts. I guess this took on aspects of styles that I listen to, like slacker rock and dream pop, but I’m not entirely sure how I ended up falling into the genre, I just followed what sounded good.”
He calls what he ended up with, “a very personal style” for him, “with light and reflective vocal lines, often over yearning synth lines.
It’s definitely synth-forward music, and that much is intentional. “For me, synthesizers fill up the space that a guitar usually takes up in a band. In my music, I often have one acting in a rhythmic sense, and the other playing melodic lines.
“They provide such versatile sounds, and I find that they project a comforting sound, allowing intensity without being too much in your face. I often start my writing process with a bass line, then add synthesizers to give colour and density to the mix.”
Dormitories is a four piece “disco-synth driven band,” comprised of two synths, a bassist, vocalist and drummer, “with a focus on bright energy and nostalgia.” The name Dormitories is based on a nostalgic vision of time spent alone in big places. It is sort of a reminder of how many people share the planet with me, and how small it makes me feel. The concept is a touch stone where identity is formed.
His project has grown to incorporate some friends he met in other bands and at school. Jacob Cherwick is playing drums, Patrick Stokes is playing bass and some synthesizer, and Emily Finch is playing synthesizer. Jacob helped me record some of my early demos.
“While much of my music has roots in synth disco, I haven’t really been following any guidelines for it, so some of it has evolved into synth based bedroom pop/rock.”