Oh My What a Fine Gem, Behind Sapphire

In weeks leading up to our Launch Party on April 16th at the Laurel Packinghouse we’ll be featuring some of our local friends who will be taking part. This is music week and we’ve already shared Thomas Kjorven and Fields of Green, so today we’re moving on to Behind Sapphire!

Six years ago, the then-four-piece Behind Sapphire squeezed into a dusty crawl space in Vancouver, British Columbia with nothing but wide-eyed ambition and embarked upon their first flirtations with writing music. Inspired by Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit,’ they wrote and recorded their first song within weeks of their voices dropping.

Matthew Mazankowski, Grant Cassell and Matthew Tomkinson came together as an after-school pop-punk experiment, unsure and full of awkwardness. Jump to now, with more than a half-decade’s worth of musical exploration under their belts, and Behind Sapphire is an unlikely artistic outpouring of folk-pop with a fantastically woven live show that spills over with quirky energy and intense celebration. Think: “Patrick Watson backed by Hey Ocean!” fused with the grandeur of Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Ros.

In early 2010, Behind Sapphire recorded and released a self-titled CD, with drummer Steven Ward coming aboard as the group’s new rhythm section. Built upon hundreds of home recordings, they reached out to Tom Dobranzski (The Zolas, Said the Whale, Hey Ocean!) with the best of them. One by one, friends and family jumped into the fold with their own musical talents and tastes, adding layers of sugary harmonies, brother and sisterly spirit and a sense of improvisation and collaboration that marks the record in a truly positive way.

The album is carried by rollicking backbeats, sweeping orchestration and outsized arrangements that borrow the nostalgia of Walt Disney, nod to The Beatles’ flights of fancy and carry the croon of Billie Holiday and Jason Mraz.

In celebration Behind Sapphire took to the stage, backed by a 35-piece orchestra composed of their old high school band, good friends and family. We had the exciting experience of getting to know these guys a bit better during the second season of the PEAK Performance Project and we know you’ll see why we love these awkward dweebs so much at our party. Between the awkward talking between sets of We Are The City meets some wild and crazy outfits on these stylish gents, we dare you to not fall for them they way we have. Focused primarily on their child-at-heart agenda, Behind Sapphire’s ambition to capture your imagination will surprise you with every new step into their world. With an upbeat, quirky and fun-loving nature, Behind Sapphire is certain to find a home within your heart. We’re excited to share them with all of you!

Listen to Behind Sapphire’s song ‘Crazy Critters’ now!


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