Tell us about yourself and your music
My name is Kenneth Ermter. I have been singing and performing since I was two and a half and had my first television spot at the age of 11. I love attention so the entertainment industry was a perfect fit for me lol! I have been performing all over the world for the last 35 years and writing music since I was 15. I have written over 600 songs, composed and produced over a dozen albums, played in many bands covering every genre, and have shared the stage with artists like Prism, National Velvet, Rhymes with Orange, Damn the Diva, Barney Bentall, Phil Dwyer, Jim Byrnes, David Gogo, Alison Crowe, Paul Laine, David Ruis, and Nickleback. It is my passion to play, but I desire to share and impart the musical experience that drives me to teach and help produce other musicians, in whatever way they want to be shaped. I have been providing specialized vocal/song coaching to people young and old for 16 years including, songwriting, arranging, recording, producing, mic control, and performance training.
I was born on the 15 days of July 1969, in the cowboy city of Calgary Alberta, Canada. Moving to Vancouver Island at the age of 15 however, gave me the inspiration to begin songwriting and at the age of 17, I produced my first full-length album entitled “R and K” (Rhythm and Ken) with Rainer Willeke. After graduating from high school, and testing the “cover music” market with bands like “Obsession” and “Push Push” I pursued the idea to form an act that would only play original music compositions – and what better place to develop this new idea, the Malaspina College music program.
Collage became the stepping stone for meeting new musicians which is where I first met Jason, Christos, Denos Gramas(the Gramas Brothers) and Murray Atkinson (The Odds), whom at the time was a guitar player/song writer born with the same vision as me – to play original music. To hone their skills as well as have some fun, they formed the cover band “In your face” with Andy Poystila, Scott Robertson, and B.K. Bernard and played anywhere and everywhere they could gain experience. By 1991 they had finally put together a 5 piece original music group with singer/songwriter Christopher Hardman, guitarist/songwriter Rick Bloudoff, and short term drummer Michael Kemp. After a short stint of local original gigs, Kemp was quickly replaced by at the time cover band “Hangman jury’s” drummer Keith MacKenzie. As we hit the local “Scott Littlejohn’s” studio to record our first single “Ain’t my time” written by Ermter, Amrit Prasad and Pete Stenkavick of “Detroyer” the music scene was quickly changing from the old 80’s glam rock to the new 90’s grunge sound. So with the success of our first single, we went back into the studio to record “We know you’re out there” a song dedicated to missing children, written by Paul Laine of “Danger Danger” and myself, which not only was a successful second single but also raised money and brought awareness to the “Missing Children Society of Canada”. The song itself was inspired by Micheal Dunahee, a missing child who is sadly still missing.
The next step for our new original group was to record an EP, this took us off the island to Vancouver, BC to record with Paul Silveira. Manager / Head Engineer at Armoury Studios which also helped project the bands’ new music to be played and critiqued on Vancouver’s C-FOX radio.
During this pursuit for original freedom, I was playing with former drummer Michael Kemp, Richard Nott, and Chris Zamba (R.I.P.) in the cover band “Wet Gremlins” and two other original bands “Joker’s Wild” and “Unchained” with Benny Doro. During my time with Bennie, a recording deal with Paul Stanley’s label was on the table, however, as the offer to sing for Joe Satriani and Prism, this was just another opportunity to perform someone else’s music and I quickly moved on to continue pursuing my original career.
In 1994, bassist Christopher Hardman left the band to pursue a solo career while I and the band, now with newly recruited bass player/singer/songwriter Lance Lapointe, recorded the album “Echothrash” with engineer Al Vermue at the late Yaletown Sound Studio, produced by Jerry Wong from “Damn The Diva” and mixed by the master himself Drexel Moliere. The album was never officially released, but it quickly gained a huge cult following which lead us to be discovered by Producer Mark M. McLay of Velvet Records Toronto, Canada. which gave us a publishing deal for the bands’ second album “Professor Wiggly”. It was at this point that guitarist Atkinson left the band to also peruse his solo career and was replaced by David “James” Pittet (Almost Johnny Cash) of whom I and Lapointe had been performing within our other cover band “Boomstick”. After a year of performing throughout the Toronto area, the band returned to Vancouver Island to take a break and regroup. During this time I reunited with former drummer Michael Kemp and formed the original band “57 Monkeys” with guitarist Brad Donkersly, bassist Brian Kehoe of “Gypsyland” and berry sax/keyboardist Colin Perry of “Wonderbread”. In 1998 “57 monkeys’s” recorded their first album “57 Monkey’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2”. During this time I also strategically merged the current “Monkeys” band with the Toronto band “Professor wiggly” and pulled off a performance with newcomer Sheldon Bordel for Terry David Mulligan on Much Music’s ‘Much West’. After the show, Terry was reported saying “I don’t even know what that was…”.
By the approach of the new millennium, I had written over 500 songs, recorded and produced a dozen albums including the double-length CD “Headphone music vol. one and two” and, co-produced the music video “Humpty Dumpty did crack” with Triton Films for Much Music, which brought back together with the original band members Christopher Hardman, Lance Lapointe, Keith MacKenzie, Murray Atkinson, and Rick Bloudoff from the “Echothrash” project.
In 2002 I took to the stage with Mark Bottomley (Ramfunktious), Marc Robichaud (The Robi Show), and Damian Graham (Albert Collins, Buddy Guy) and recorded life, an improvisational music project now known as “The No Name Band” aka “The Big Kahoona’s.” The Band performed 6 full hours of fully extemporaneously created on the spot live music and released it all over two compact disks. I also involved myself in the awareness events aimed at eliminating the stigma attached to mental health issues along with side The Open Minds Open Windows Society for Mental Health and started The Beautiful Minds Choir. The choir which continued until 2012, performed at 8 of the 9 concerts presented at the Port Theater Nanaimo, BC Canada sharing the stage with Jim Byrnes, Allison Crowe, Rick Scott, David Gogo, Lindsay Martell, Phil Dwyer, Shari Ulrich, Deborah Pitre, Joelle Rabu, and Bill Hicks.
In 2005 I partnered with Chris Walker (Loco’s Studio) and The Castle Multimedia Group to produced the album “Afterlife”, followed up by three music video’s from the album – “Intensity”, “The glass wall” and “Like I love you.” The album was released in 2006 and included the seductive vocal power of Deborah and Ashley Pitre.
In 2007 I produced a compilation CD of local and abroad talent filled with more songs with a spiritual element including Richard Sales, Malichai, and french entertainer Claude Philippe. And between 2008 and 2012 after taking a year off from producing and performing music, Deb Pitre and I journeyed to India and performed for thousands of people in seven rural villages and a massive 10,000 person concert on the beaches of Vizag with Uday Alanda and the band A2J. This led to producing A2J’s second CD to be released in India and many other live projects including The Laundry Room Sessions with Deb Pitre which included eight new original tracks.
In 2013 I took a turn at Hip-Hop, producing my most intimate and revealing work to date. Released in 2014, “Ever on the side of right-side A” included eleven tracks asking hard life questions, revealing a deeper, more political side to my life. “Side B and C” are songs written with my students and friends including a track written by Murray Atkinson. “Side C” is a mix-tape of heavy thrash metal songs and stories produced by me over the last 30 years. Alongside these releases, I produced a second CD for A2J in India titled “Carpenter”, Brian West’s debut CD titled “Don’t Give Up” and mastered “Yes Men Jr’s” self-titled alternative album released on cassette tape.
In 2015 I released The Best of Kenneth Ermter with publisher Mark McClay from Velvet Music in Toronto which included a few of my favorite records over the last 30 years.
I felt like I needed to close a long chapter of my life to be able to move forward with new material and open new doors to my musical future.
Talk to us more about your latest release
From 2015 – present, my new approach to making music was to write without filters. I learned to do this by getting out of my way. Write it, put it down, and walk away. Don’t rethink it, don’t change it for anyone, just write whatever comes out at the moment. Purposefully walking this road has resulted in organically leading me down two separate project pathways.
The first is Camel Juice. A five-piece, all original, guitar-driven Rock/Funk band with melodic rap style lyric, all jammed out and made up on the spot featuring myself on acoustic guitar and vocals, Captain Kevin Campbell Camel on lead guitar, Don Varey on Bass, Chris Walker on Drums, and Joel Spillete (BBC Canada) on Piano/Keys. We have produced 4 full-length albums, 25 music videos and currently working on our 5th album for 2020.
The second and most recent project called ‘Deja vu’ is more Hip Hop in style based around memories and stories from my childhood. It is closer to my heart than anything I have previously produced and continues where I left off from Ever On The Side Of Write from 2012. I examine my life through my lens asking tough questions regarding the state of the world today compared to the world 30 or 40 years ago and what does this new future reality going to look like. I have released two records as a preview for this 12 song LP which I’m hoping to have completed later this 2020.
What inspired you to write this release?
My age and my kids are what inspired me to write this series of songs. A few years back my Mom gave me her memoirs in the form of a book and that was cool but not for me. I thought why not present mine to my kids in the form of music and media. So that is where this project comes from.
Describe the writing and recording process
I have always been an archivist. This means that I have kept 90% of my writing, recordings, videos, and pictures since birth. As I began to organize all this information for my kids, songs came out of memories, and stories came from old pictures, and the deeper I explored the more all this stuff turned into music. That is when I decided to write and record project “Dejavu”.
So typically this type of music for me comes from the lyrics first, then I create the beats and background music after the fact in an attempt to capture the vibe of the story being told. That is not how it always works, but most of the time it comes out this way.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
At the moment we are in an unprecedented time with Covid-19 leading the way to our new future. When things calm down and we can get back to playing life again, I do plan to take this latest release to the world.
For the time being, we are streaming live every Monday night, taking requests, telling stories, and performing our original music for the world at large. Follow the link below to join us live.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
Perhaps my music is a bit edgier while trying to maintain a commercial value. I have many different genres and styles presented to my listeners as opposed to only releasing one specific style of music. So I would have to say I am more variety driven, giving my listeners a wider selection of songs and feels so that there is more to choose from when it comes to listening to my music.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I have been listening to Eminem’s newest release Music To Be Murdered By and Billie Eilish mostly. I spend more time writing and producing than I do listening to other artists as time is valuable so, if I go driving I will play something new for myself after listening to recent mixes of course… always mixing!
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are Rush, Yes, Saga, Dr.Dre, Royce, Em, Supertramp, Queen, Styx, Eagles, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, and David Wilcox.
Tell us about your passions
My passion is writing and producing music and video editing. There isn’t too much more than that for me other than getting out and hiking a mountain or something to clear the head.
What else is happening next in your world?
In my world now I am transitioning from being alive, touring musician to having an online music presence. Streaming every Monday night for 4-7 hours is maintaining my sanity because going from touring the world to being restricted to only performing in your living room or studio is a shock to the system, to say the least. For now, I will continue to write music as I do more publishing and licensing from home and work on the projects that had begun before this need to isolate had begun. My Eagles tribute band ‘Eagle Eyes’ has almost finished writing an Eagles type original album that we had planned to release during our 2020 tour on vinyl and figure some time for the studio to finish the Camel Juice album #5. And of course, I am working every day with 4 other writers recording parts and producing collectively, and of course, finish my latest release ‘Deja Vu’.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Kenneth Ermter
Connect with Kenneth Ermter
Website: http://www.ermter.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/ermtermusicgroup/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nermterTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/ermterLastFM: https://www.last.fm/music/Kenneth+Ermter/The+Best+of+Kenneth+Ermter+1985-2015,+Vol.9Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzDsdE4MuYzXkIP1hAmni0wLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenneth-ermter-45664810/Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kenermterReverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/kennethermter
- Profile: https://www.artistpr.com/members/ermter
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ermtermusicgroup/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nermter
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ermter
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1qFnR4enYBEzwK5Vi0jWbC?si=DwcKzvBzQF6H3eKwGwYE5w
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/kenermter
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/KennethErmter
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ermter
- Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/ermter
- LastFM: https://www.last.fm/music/Kenneth+Ermter/The+Best+of+Kenneth+Ermter+1985-2015,+Vol.9
- Website: http://www.ermter.com
- iTunes: https://music.apple.com/ca/album/the-best-of-kenneth-ermter-vol-9/id1461001643
- Bandcamp: https://nermter.bandcamp.com/album/is-there-any-way-to-change-the-world
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Kenneth-Ermter-Vol/dp/B01J2AEUL8