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Couple navigate naptime and homework to record latest albums

Challenges make rewards all the sweeter for local musicians Kate Maki and Fred Squire

Recording their latest albums wasn't exactly a piece of cake for Sudbury musicians Kate Maki and Fred Squire. But that's only made reaching their goal all the sweeter for the married couple.

Both put out albums in the last few weeks. “Spooky Action at a Distance” is Squire's third album and “Head in the Sand” is Maki's sixth. 

They're holding a joint album release party tonight — June 3 — at Cosmic Dave's Vinyl Emporium on Kathleen Street. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show is at 9 p.m. There will be two sets with a full band.  

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For advance tickets, visit Cosmic Dave's, email or phone 705-222-9387. 

Before getting married and moving to Copper Cliff, Maki and Squire were both well established in the Canadian music scene.

Squire is co-founder and songwriter of the now-defunct rock band Shotgun & Jaybird, and his solo debut, “March 12,” was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2011. 

Two of Maki's previous albums were awarded Album of the Year at the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards.

But as it has a funny way of doing, life has recently thrown them new adventures. The couple now have two young kids — Finn, 4, and Kae, 2. Squire has returned to school, and has just finished his second year of mechanical engineering studies at Laurentian University.

All of that upheaval obviously made recording challenging, despite the fact they both secured grants from the Ontario Arts Council. There were times, in fact, that Maki felt like they'd never complete the project.

“It was just really difficult to have newborn baby, and be breastfeeding, and my mom can only take them so much,” Maki said. 

“You put them down for a nap, and then you're like, be creative. It's really tough to push yourself to be creative when you're not inspired.”

Then there's the fact that they recorded in their own basement studio on equipment straight out of the 1970s, eschewing modern technology.

“We use a reel-to-reel analog tape machine — no computers or anything,” Maki said, adding that she feels the equipment gives the albums a better sound.

“We'd get going, and that would break down, and that would eat up naptime.” 

The songs on their respective albums were mostly written prior to the kids' birth, largely because they don't have much energy to write these days. 

Squire performs on most of the songs on Maki's album, although she doesn't appear on his album. When asked if they might consider recording a duo album in the future, the couple said it's a possibility.

In fact, they've formed their own duo act, Hurt Protector (they got the name from something little Finn once said). Squire and Maki are performing as Hurt Protector at the River and Sky Music/Camping Festival July 16.

Their solo music will also get some exposure at Northern Lights Festival Boréal on July 9, where they're both booked to perform. 

After taking time off for family and education, Squire said he's looking forward to rubbing shoulders with other musicians. “Festivals are a place when we bump into people we haven't seen in a long time,” he said.

Maki and Squire's latest albums are available on vinyl — not surprisingly, given their fondness for older technology — for about $20, CD for about $10 and digital download for less than $10.

Their albums are available through websites such as iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp, at local record stores (including Comic Dave's) and at the couple's upcoming performances.

And, if you happen to run into Squire at Laurentian, he jokes he has a locker full of CDs and records there available for purchase.



Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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