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A Mad Flow of energy: band of DHS students makes great gains through CBC Searchlight contest

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Performing their third gig of the week at Ristorante, March 8, local band Mad Flow, including Jhustin (Fez) Czajkowski (left), Alex Lugli, and Josiah Penner (right), made great gains in recognition with the help of a CBC Radio contest that helped showcase their music. Photo by Chris Marchand

Last week was a particularly big one for Mad Flow, who emerged from the relative obscurity of the halls of Dryden High School to become the darlings of the regional music scene in the CBC Radio Searchlight competition.

After several rounds of online voting, the group’s song Brasil, breezed into the final round — a top-five in which they found themselves rubbing shoulders with strong offerings from Sioux Lookout’s Nick Sherman and Shy-Anne Hovorka.

As the band capped off a week of performances around town at the Ristorante, Friday, member in absentia Tyler Wood joined the party via Skype from Brazil where he is spending a year as an exchange student. Wood was responsible for penning the lyrics for the song at the centre of the group’s Searchlight success.

“It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve gotten a lot of good exposure,” said the band’s 16 year-old frontman Alex Lugli.

The final winner in the CBC Searchlight competition was Shy-Anne Hovorka whose First Nations-inspired song ‘Awakening’ garnered the most votes, making her a Northwest Ontario representative in the national competition.

“She deserved it 100 per cent, said Lugli. “That song is solid, soulful and it has a really strong message. I hope she goes far.”

It doesn’t hurt to butter up Hovorka, who sang Mad Flow’s praises upon her Searchlight win. She will also be a judge at the upcoming Thunder Bay’s Got Talent competition. The band has been asked to do a live audition for the competition on March 20.

“It’s a top prize of $3,000 and we could really use some of that,” said drummer Josiah Penner, 17. “It would be a great consolation prize.

After getting a taste of the recording process, tracking a three song EP last summer at Winnipeg’s Groove Jungle Studio, the group are longing to bring new material to the studio environment, but it’s an expensive proposition.

“We’re putting it (money) towards our CDs — making more copies of our EP that we made last summer. Potentially we’d like to put it on TuneCore which will distribute our music online through iTunes and Amazon things like that,” said 18 year-old bass player Jhustin (Fez) Czajkowski.

While recording resources are certainly available to them at Dryden High School and in basements across town, finding someone with the expertise to do it right is a big consideration for the group.

“The recording process takes time and we only had one day to do it our first time,” said Lugli. “People go to university for that kind of stuff. I think this time we’re going to be more prepared, have a lot more songs and more experience.”

 By Chris Marchand

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