by Scott Roos
pic supplied by Joel Gaudet
When it comes to getting bands and artists on the collective Sask radar it's really hard to put into words the extent to which Joel Gaudet and Mark Poppen do it because they go to great if not even impossible lengths at times. First off their The Sit Down podcast is pretty friggin' great. They essentially invite artists onto, as Gaudet would call it, their "pod" and have random conversations about anything and everything - sometimes the music takes a back seat to the side trails they go on. It's ingenious really, because you sort of get to know the artist in a more non-traditional way. It's not just a "wash rinse repeat" formula of scripted album release, writing process, when is your next show/tour series of questions. On The Sit Down, you REALLY get to know the artists as people first and musicians second.
Secondly, for the past two years these guys have booked an amazing rock n roll fest in the small, middle of nowhere hamlet of St. Isidore de Bellevue of all the damn places. Made up of bands in the "Funky Moose Family", it's turning out to be a first rate party and with the third installment in the works for the summer of 2023, I'm sure things will continue to be on an upward trajectory for them.
Finally, the lengths that these guys will go to support the artists within their sphere is astounding. They go to a lot of shows, like shit tons, even ones in other provinces, to support those artists which is crazy nuts but they do it because they love music and they love the indie scene in Saskatchewan. Honestly, it's likely because of Poppen and Gaudet that many bands in the province are even on the radar of the general public to begin with. Did anyone know much about The Hourhand, Seven Mile Sun or The Radiant until these boys showed up and started waving their proverbial pom-poms and doing silly little flips to get our attention? That would be a good discussion to have that would namedrop NSMZ at the same time. But, since we can't give ourselves the award it easily, without question, goes to our dear friends Mark Poppen and Joel Gaudet. Congrats boys!