Alumni Update: Andrew Beg, Music Performance & Technology (Guitar Major)

Andrew Beg, a 2016 graduate of the Music Performance & Technology (Guitar Major) program, will soon release new music under his artist name Havens. For the past two months, Andrew has been working on three singles with two fellow MWI graduates – producer Ian Madden and drummer Tim Oxford (Arkells). The upcoming tracks follow Havens’ debut EP ‘Daybreak’ which came out last year.

We caught up with Andrew about his recent work and his musical journey so-far.

Can you tell me a little bit about the new Havens music and your experience working on it?

I’ve been busy for the past two months working on three singles with producer and fellow grad, Ian Madden, at his own Fretted Studio. Ian has been a great collaborator and has brought elements out of my songs that I didn’t know were there before. Another amazing thing Ian brought to the table was drummer Tim Oxford from one of my favourite bands, Arkells. Tim plays on all three tracks and it was both an inspiring and educational experience working in the studio with someone whose music has been an influence on me since my teen years. Like most of my previous work, the songs all deal with love and relationships, but each song looks at the subject from a different standpoint. The first single to be released in May, a song entitled ‘Peace In Darkness’, is about those summer nights when you’re out on the town with someone you’re crazy about. You don’t want the night to end, but in your heart you know that the beautiful moments in life can never last forever. You cling to the memory and try desperately to relive it, and if it involves someone you’re no longer with, the memory is even more bittersweet. The lyrics reflect this and are set against a synth and guitar-laden dance rhythm, punctuated by Tim’s authoritative drumming, making what we feel is a perfect song for dancing away those hot summer nights. The other two songs I’ll be revealing more about in the coming months, but I can’t wait to release ‘Peace In Darkness’!

Have you had any other interesting jobs or worked on any significant projects that you would like to share?

In addition to the indie/alternative rock I play as Havens, my other love is ’50s jazz, swing and rockabilly. I have a side project under my own name I perform this type of music with a band and play all sorts of parties, corporate events, and public performances. The band on past occasions has included fellow Metalworks grads Dan Turner on bass and Seth Isaac on drums, but I have also had the pleasure of performing and recording with local jazz greats such as David Restivo, Morgan Childs, Artie Roth, Tom King and John Maharaj, among others. I have also been working at a guitar store in Toronto where I sell and repair guitars as well as help manage the store’s music school. I sometimes teach lessons there as well. In 2015, I spent part of the year working for music tech company Roland as a member of their Street Tribe, demonstrating amps, pedals, and multi-effects processors to customers and staff at a variety of music stores in the GTA.

What has been the most helpful aspect of your Metalworks education?

Learning the differences between music production and songwriting was eye-opening for me and made me approach the creation of my music in an entirely different way. Once I really got a distinct understanding of the two, I started writing much better songs and had a much clearer handle on producing them.

Any words of wisdom for current students or your fellow graduates?

There were times at Metalworks I felt so overworked that I wanted to quit, but I persevered, and it has payed off. Getting ahead in the music business is a lot tougher than studying at Metalworks, so if you want a career in music as badly as you say you do, a great test is if you can get through your program. If you’re truly passionate, you won’t give up. Another thing I would say is to make use of every industry contact you make. Even if you don’t think they will be able to offer you anything, reach out to them and just start a conversation; you may learn something or it may lead to something, even if in the future. In fact, the way I got connected with my producer, Ian, was through reaching out to my old Metalworks instructor, Alf Annibalini, who referred me to him. Stay in touch with your fellow grads too, they may be moving on to big things and you can help each other out along the way.

Check out Andrew on social media @musicbyhavens, and if you would like to see him live, he has a few upcoming shows in Toronto:

April 14th – Havens is opening for FXRRVST at the Rivoli.Get tickets.
April 22nd – Andrew’s Jazz Band will be performing at Jazz Bistro. Get more info.

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