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Local band paves way for Calgary music scene

August 21, 2014

White Chocolate Thunder play Cowboys Dance Hall on Friday. The band were signed last May to Blackstream Records and are heading into the studio in October to start their debut full length album. Photo by Mary McComish/Notice Magazine

White Chocolate Thunder sees a bright future for the pop-punk genre in Calgary. Mary McComish thinks they are a band worth watching.



Story and Photos by Mary McComish

I know talent when I see it and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for White Chocolate Thunder.

I’m not the only one who sees their talent. In May, White Chocolate Thunder, was signed to Blackstream Records, a Canadian indie label. It was a small victory for Calgary’s music scene.

White Chocolate Thunder is a four-piece rock band that met in high school and, after a few failed previous bands, started up in early 2013. The band consists of guitarist Jordan Tavares, drummer Tanner Statham, vocalist Johnny Molyneaux and bassist Braeden Riehl.

“I was playing in a band that fell apart and Jordan here kind of decided, ‘hey, I’m gonna join your band’, and then it proceeded to fall apart and then Jordan and I branched out on our own,” says drummer, Tanner Statham.

Statham and Tavares then recruited bassist Braeden Riehl and vocalist and guitarist Johnny Molyneaux and White Chocolate Thunder was born.

They were playing a show at the Blind Beggar Pub in February and a music scout happened to be watching who contacted Blackstream Records and the label quickly got in touch with White Chocolate Thunder.

“There was a Facebook message from Blackstream Records and I was like, ‘What? Who are these guys and why do they have any interest in our crap?’ But it played out,” says Molyneaux. “I’m beyond excited, it’s definitely, absolutely, a dream come true. It’s unreal, especially for a Calgary band. Like, because the scene is only just rising, there’s not a lot here right now so it’s unexpected, absolutely.

Regarding the local scene right now, Molyneaux also says that while the pop-punk scene is small, it’s on the rise right now. “It’s on the rise for sure, a lot of more bands getting out there. Right now it’s kind of starting so hopefully it’ll get bigger and bigger.”

Hopefully with White Chocolate Thunder getting signed, there will be more of an interest and an influx in all-ages venues in Calgary, something that’s been lacking since The New Black Centre for Music and Art closed their doors last year.

The band, a self-proclaimed love child of All Time Low and Rise Against, are going into the studio in October to work on their debut full-length album. The band’s been in the studio before, albeit for a rushed three-day session, to work on their EP, No Pants, Just Dance.

“I’m excited about the studio because there’s going to be a lot more available to us,” says Molyneaux. “More time so we’re gonna have more things to do. It’s gonna sound a lot better which I’m happy for. Quality wise, I’m excited. Product wise, everything should be good. So I’m very excited.”

Statham wants to create an album that appeals to everyone; from pop music fans to those who like the heavier stuff. “We want to go in with a really high energy output album that never really stops.”

How does Molyneaux want it to sound?

“Not bad.”

I made my way to Cowboys Dance Hall on August 8 for the club’s Fresh Meat Concert Series to interview and photograph White Chocolate Thunder. As a music fan and having known some of these guys from previous bands, I was excited to see their new project live in action. It was my first time at the club and while it initially appeared dead, as soon as the band went on stage, it became full of life and they hopped and head-banged their way into the crowd’s hearts. The band played its own music as well as several covers including Simple Plan’s Jet Lag and All Time Low’s Weightless.

I know I’ll be watching this band to see what they do next. If you’re a supporter of local bands, you should too.


2 years ago | Comments ()

  • MassiveAudience

    I’m still not totally sure about pop-punk, but I’m all for supporting Calgary musicians! I hope WCT kicks some ass and gets all the recognition they deserve.