Were you a fan of bands like Green Day, Alexisonfire, and Rage Against the Machine growing up? Did you make it your mission to go to Vans Warped Tour every year even though you were probably way too young to be there? Did you ever go through a punk phase in high school and try to dye your hair blue, but it ended up being a horrendous blonde with a green tint? That last one was just me? Alright, well, if any of the above sounds like you, then I found your new favourite band: GROWERS.
GROWERS is an alternative rock band from Toronto made up of lead vocalist Charlie Joy, guitarist Matt Raitt, drummer Chris Raitt, and bassist Cameron Pinnington. It all started when the brothers, Chris and Matt Raitt, began writing for a new project called The Family Reunion in Fall 2018. Matt soon reached out to Charlie in the Spring of 2019, and after hearing their demos, Charlie was keen to join the boys on this new project. Shortly after Charlie joined, they wrangled Cam to join their new family as well. All four members have been involved in music and garage bands since grade school. Still, now they have solid goals for this group (one of which is getting signed to a label, and I’m predicting right now that that’ll happen sooner rather than later).
An enormous feat they’ve already accomplished within being together for all of nine months is coming in 1st place in the Authentic Initiatives Battle of the Bands Championship. “We had a feeling we’d do well. We thought we’d probably finish in the top 2 or 3…The other bands’ music was very well composed. There was definite competition there.” Joy stated when asked if they thought they’d win. Some bands were signed, some bands had over 20,000 followers on Instagram, but in the end, GROWERS came out on top and won two days to record at Hapi Hipi Studios. Compared to the multi-track recording studio in the Rogers Communication Centre at Ryerson, this was a significant improvement, to say the least. During their time at Hapi Hipi, they were able to record two full singles that will ultimately be mastered at Cylinder Sound with Brad Nelson. The band noting that they have complete faith that these new singles are “label ready.”
You may know this high energy band from the number of GROWERS stickers plastered around the RCC, or you might know them for the infamous red jumpsuits. This idea started back when they did a Step Brothers themed photoshoot. They wore this button-downs with sweater vests and later did their first show at the Cameron House in the same outfits, but this proved to be a little too hot and sweaty, so jumpsuits it was. Matt wanted the band to have a cohesive look that people would recognize, and at the price of $20 for virtually a shirt and pants, who could say no?
When it comes to songwriting, it’s no longer just the Raitt brothers doing the work. The songs they have now come from previous work Matt and Chris had done as well as some of Charlie’s originals as well. But since they’ve worked through and recorded most of them, they’re finally at a spot where they can start collaborating as a group for new material.
I was fortunate enough to be able to see these boys live at their Horseshoe Tavern debut, and wow, did they deliver. The opening bands consisted of The Jones, Greenhouse, and Substrata, all of which are incredibly talented. But no one had the energy that GROWERS did. Not only is this band just as good if not better live than recorded, but they know how to engage an audience. The dynamic between the bandmates is entertaining, but the way they interact with the crowd is electric. As I was watching from the sidelines, I can genuinely say that GROWERS gave as much energy to that small venue that I’ve seen some headliners give to Budweiser Stage. I don’t think I saw anyone sitting down or not taking part in the mosh pit that developed halfway through their set, or not screaming along to the two Billy Idol and Smash Mouth covers.
This band is new, but they’ve already accomplished so much. From being Authentic Initiative Battle of the Bands Champions to working with Brad Nelson and Peter Letros to their first single I Can’t Help It getting 1.1K streams on Spotify within one weekend. I, personally, can’t wait to see what’s coming next for them.
You can stream I Can’t Help It and their new single My Little Lady (available February 14) here.
You can find them on Instagram and Facebook @growersband.