A few weeks ago Katie and I got out to S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival and were treated to sets from two awesome Niagara bands: Lambs Become Lions and Theatre Crisp. We shared the experience here on EmbraceNiagara.com
This is the second of 3 parts in a series of articles that explore the Niagara music scene. You can read the first part here.
We recently sat down at Mahtay Cafe in downtown St. Catharines with Timur Inceoglu, founder of the Niagara music label Indoor Shoes.
Niagara is rich with musical talent and boasts a generous mix of diversity and genres.
There are all kinds of theories when an area becomes known for being a music incubator and of course I have one of my own. I have always believed that a creative community has success when the most talented of the group give hope to those that are coming next, sharing their knowledge, challenging them and opening up opportunities for them to find an audience. Niagara has been fortunate that such a passionate and generous group of musicians have been willing to play a mentor role.
The other key component in this region getting such a strong foothold with its music scene has been because of people like Timur Inceoglu and Indoor Shoes.
Indoor Shoes is a small local music label that started in 2010 to help talented artists with the various tasks of finding venues, marketing and promotion and producing/distributing their recordings. Their current roster consists of an array of talented musicians of various genres, including Elk, Red Birds (formerly Julianna Riolino), Fiver and Lambs Become Lions.
Timur is first and foremost a passionate fan of great music and secondly a believer in the importance of providing venues and access to both the artists and fans of all ages.
Timur grew up in Oshawa but moved to St. Catharines in 2006 to go to school at Brock University. He was specifically motivated to move to Niagara because of his affinity for the all-ages local music scene and particularly the work of Joel Carriere (Dine Alone Records and Bedlam Society). The massive popularity of Carriere’s acts like Alexisonfire necessitated his organization moving to Toronto about the same time as Inceoglu moved here.
As Timur went to school and networked with the local music scene he evolved into a very vocal critic, particularly online regarding the state of the Niagara music scene. Finally, the people he respected began to challenge him to do something about it and he did.
While still in school, in 2009, Timur with the help of local friends rented a store front at 73 St. Paul and began to book acts for live performances there.
Over the year to follow, Timur was allowing any band to come in and perform and those bands were making a donation to cover the costs of the venue. It was a dry space, all-ages, no drinking, no smoking, the sign as you entered stated their philosophy: “Just gimme a scene where the music is free and the beer is not the life of the party” (lyrics from Is Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me!).
Some of the artists featured during those 12 months included: Abandon All Ships, Attack in Black, Burning Hell and just about anyone who was doing the Ontario music circuit at that time. They also were a participating venue for S.C.E.N.E. Musicfest that year.
Finally, a letter arrived with a deadline: there were not to be any further shows scheduled as of February 12, 2010, or they would face a significant fine. The days of 73 as a music venue was over within 12 months of starting.
School was wrapping up, jobs were scarce and the doors to 73 were officially closed.
However, the Niagara music scene wasn’t done with Timur and his promotional experience with 73 and a solid booking relationship with Mansion House evolved into a job with the respected local music venue.
In addition to Dine Alone Records, the other major musical influence in Timur’s life was from before his time, the artists (Joy Division, New Order, Etc) and the formation of Factory Records in Manchester in the late 70’s. When Juicebox (a record label out of Toronto) released a compilation album in 2010, Timur was inspired to try his hand at creating an artist/music driven record label and follow in the footsteps of the Factory Record guys.
The role of Indoor Shoes then and today is to be a friend and partner to musicians, to help them with advice and offer services to promote, market and publish. He recognizes how hard it is early in the life cycle of a musician and is trying to help them take the next step and refuses to make a dollar at the expense of someone else.
Currently, Indoor Shoes is producing albums and booking venues for local talent in the hopes that they can continue to grow this proud tradition of local music acts and make them accessible to music lovers in Niagara or wherever they may be.
Timur is proud to announce that they have created an online portal at their official website to include bands beyond those they represent. In addition, you can check out news, their artists and shop their store (Timur would urge you to choose vinyl if it is available, but a CD is fine if that is all you have) all from their website.