These hard-edged Manitobans come from very unique and humble origins. Often setting themselves apart with their high energy performances, Left of Centre forges ahead with a tremendous work ethic, four studio projects, and hundreds of live shows already under their belt. The group has recently had their brand of rock played on US Networks including ABC and TeenNick, as well as TSN, YTV, and Spark here in Canada. As Alan Cross has written regarding Left of Centre, “just because you’re from the middle of nowhere, doesn’t mean you can’t be good.”
Left of Centre was founded in the small rural town of Hamiota, Manitoba. Cory, Travis, and Ben jammed in their parent’s basements and garages for years, honing their skills and tightening their sound before ever performing in the public eye. They credit the lack of early formal direction as a contributing factor to the unique sound that is now Left of Centre. Once the members were of age, the band began gigging on a semi-regular basis at regional bars in the area, and garnering a loyal fan base.
After a high-intensity performance at the University of Manitoba, it became apparent to the band that they had developed something special. It was at that moment where they pushed the ‘casual musicians’ title aside and started considering a career in music. Left of Centre focused more heavily on song writing, resulting in an extensive slate of original material. However, the band felt that they were missing that one piece that would complete them as a performing act. They began canvassing the area in search of a lead guitarist who would not only thicken their sound, but add to their already unique live intensity. They found exactly what they were looking for in Alex, an aspiring young guitarist who had become known to the band after attending their live performances. The newly formed group wasted no time in expanding their repertoire of original music. As university classes finished, Left of Centre hit the road to share their unique brand of rock with the region. After countless live performances, Left of Centre had put their name on the map, so to speak. The summer culminated with a pair of sets at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa, a large rock festival held yearly in western Manitoba. At RFM, the band was fortunate to earn an opening gig for Colin James, a major Canadian figure in the music industry.
The following spring, the band made arrangements to record a demo at Studio 11 in Winnipeg with producer James Humberstone. The resulting tracks impressed the band so much that they decided to turn the project into a four-track EP. That summer was spent in a similar fashion as the last, infusing their sound into more and more venues throughout the province. The band had become a fixture in both the Winnipeg and Brandon music scenes by the time the ‘Pushover’ EP was officially released. In addition to the expanding fan base, LOC managed to win the Rock-Off competition at that summer’s RFM festival, giving them the opening slot for Bif Naked and Wide Mouth Mason.
Impressed with the response from their new fans, the band completed a western Canadian tour in support of the ‘Pushover’ EP the following summer. To date, the ‘Pushover EP’ has sold over 750 hard copies and many more online, due largely to the band’s dedication to travel and play live. The EP’s singles, ‘Halfway is a World Away’ and ‘Left to Burn,’ garnered college radio airplay in both Winnipeg and Brandon. ‘Halfway is a World Away’ was also re-released as a prominent track on 272 Records’ compilation disk, ‘Riot on Sunset vol. 21,’ which was distributed among many US college radio stations.
Investing their experience and funds from the tour, Left of Centre got to work recording their first full length album at Private Ear Studios in Winnipeg. They once again enlisted the help of James Humberstone to aid in the recording process. The goal was to create an album that captured the band’s greatest asset; the raw energy of their live performance. The group focused heavily on the purity of their tracks, trying to achieve a replication true to their live sound. After pushing through the last of their university schedules, the band finally had their album. The group quickly began promoting the disk with a number of regional CD release shows. Left of Centre followed this up with the international release of ‘Hwy 21’ through iTunes and Amazon.
While recording the studio tracks for ‘Hwy 21,’ the band was introduced to Dorian Paszkowski, formerly of Sick City (Trustkill Records). Dorian invited the band into Empire Studios for a fresh recording session. With Dorian as producer, the band laid out plans for their most ambitious project to date. They emerged from Empire studios in Winnipeg armed with the potent new single, ‘Let This Die.’ The band immediately focused their energy on creating the accompanying music video; a first for Left of Centre. Both the single and the music video for ‘Let This Die’ were released internationally on April 9th, 2014. ‘Let This Die’ has already been picked up by numerous rock radio stations; including much of Western Canada, two in Los Angeles, one in Wisconsin, and many more international online stations. This new-found energy and exposure has already earned Left of Centre opening slots for bands such as One Bad Son, The Lazys, Trooper, and Harlequin.
This new exposure has also led to both national and international TV placements. During the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships, TSN featured ‘Let This Die’ during the opening montage of the tournament, prior to Canada’s opening game on Boxing Day. A few months later, Left of Centre’s track “Left to Burn” was used in an episode of the new television series ‘Open Heart,’ which airs on YTV & Spark in Canada, and ABC & TeenNick in the US.