By Will Yannacoulias
Doylefest photos by Tracy Creighton/Copperblue Design
The August 7th Moosefest concert in Bellevue SK went off without a hitch. Seven Mile Sun, League of Wolves and The Steadies delivered a night of high energy rock and roll to an audience deprived of live music for far too long. Between each headliner a mysterious tattooed Man in Black swaggered onstage, acoustic guitar in hand, and played a heartfelt set of original songs while the audience caught their breath. After the show I approached this lone figure, looking for quotes for my Moosefest coverage and wanting to include everyone. Introducing himself as Kitchener Langfield, it took him less than 60 seconds to convince me that a second interview was in order. Whether working as a tattoo artist, splitting time between his homes in Vancouver and Saskatoon or performing his songs with his two bands Cadillac and Old Sols, this African-raised ex-military surf bum may just be the most interesting man alive.
Langfield was born in Vancouver in 1992, but grew up in Gambia, on the west coast of Africa, where his mother worked for the World Health Organization and his father worked for the British government. The family returned to Canada just before his twelfth birthday, where the complete corruption of rock & roll lie patiently in wait. Langfield recalled that “my parents forced me to take classical piano when I was a kid but I hated every second of it, I’d hide the cable for the electric piano, hide the sheet music, whatever I could do to get out of it. It was after the move to The Sunshine Coast I discovered rock & roll, started listening to heavier music, playing guitar and that was it. Later I had a bunch of friends who were into the music scene, we were all just shitty skateboarders with shitty garage bands.”
Langfield began songwriting not long after. “I can remember listening to music and feeling like I wanted to be a part of it, getting lost in these bands that made me feel alive” he recalled. “Listening to the Stooges, or Search & Destroy, and feeling that energy coursing through my veins. I recall coming up with these simple Iron Man/Seven Nation Army style riffs and riding the school bus with a notepad writing songs, ripping off Zeppelin lyrics. Later Social Distortion and Hot Water Music became an inspiration, I recall thinking ‘I can do this, and that’s how I want to do it.’ Social Distortion had this fluidity that showed me your music doesn’t have to be just one thing. That rigidity was something I didn’t like about the punk community. Keeping things not pinned down to one specific label is my happy place.”
Langfield’s winding road led him to the Canadian Armed Forces in 2009. “I was in the infantry for three years, in basic training a month after I graduated from high school” he shared. “I come from a military family, my dad was Special Forces, my mom was in the Signal Corps, grandfather WW2, great grandfather WW1. A lot of people told me I wasn’t cut out for it, but spite can be a real motivator. I think half the things I’ve done well in my life was because someone told me I couldn’t do it.”
In addition to being an accomplished songwriter and collaborative musician, Langfield is a professional tattoo artist with a decade of experience. His introduction to tattooing was during his time in the army; Langfield recalls that “This guy came in, the most tattooed person I’d ever seen, all homemade, done with guitar strings or sewing needles, just absolutely covered everywhere. I’m 18 years old and it seemed like the greatest thing in the world. He offered to hang out, get a case of beer, he’d teach me how to make the machines and we’d tattoo each other.” Langfield paused, laughed nervously, then offered the following disclaimer. “I’m going to recommend nobody ever does this! It’s a miracle none of us got hepatitis or MRSA. Soon I was tattooing guys on lunch breaks in the barracks. After the military I knew I wanted to do this full time, so that’s when I went to university, studied fine art, got a tattoo apprenticeship. Years later I eventually got to this shop called Craftsman in White Rock, that’s when I really got broken down and began my actual tattoo education. I’d say everything I know about tattooing today came from that place.”
After leaving the army Langfield settled in Kamloops where he studied fine arts, immersed himself in the vibrant punk rock scene and resumed playing music. Langfield recalled fondly that “I met a bunch of guys in the Kamloops music scene, one of them was Nick Gauvin. We hit it off really well and began a punk band, Second Day Sober. Second Day Sober recorded an album in a basement for $400, and we played a whole bunch of shows in Kamloops. Nick moved back to Saskatchewan, I chased tattooing to Victoria for a couple years, Vancouver a couple years.”
Like every event in Langfield’s life, his Saskatchewan sojourn in 2019 has a great story behind it. “Every winter I go to Tofino by myself for a few days, I call it ‘going on walkabout’, like Crocodile Dundee” he explained. “I like to go out, turn off my phone, no social media, no contact with the outside world, and just go surfing for a few days. The last day I was there it was eight in the morning, stormy, waves beating the shit out of me, and I had this crystal clear thought pop into my head; go get Nick.” A phone call later that day led to Langfield arriving in Swift Current six months later, guitar in tow, and the formation of Cadillac.
Plans in the Prairies did not extend far past connecting with his former bandmate, Langfield explained. “Initially my only intent was to get him, start a band and it would all work out from there.” They began the band Cadillac, who released their first EP El Dorado last March. The Cadillac EP led to Langfield’s friendship and collaboration with Aspen Beveridge, who operates Skullcreek Studios when not playing with his band League of Wolves. Langfield shared that “when we wanted to record our first album, right from the start Nick said ‘Aspen has to be the guy to do it’. When Aspen and I finally met in person we hit it off. That group of people, we’re all like minded individuals who love the same kind of things. Similar taste in food, activities, music, we’re all on the same page and we’re just interested in helping each other out and trying to find what we can do to make things better for everyone.” Langfield and Beveridge went on to start a band, Old Sols, who played several dates in the summer and fall of 2021 and have begun recording their debut. “We’re not in any rush to put anything out. You only get one chance at your first album. We want to turn heads with this, and if that takes a little more time, why not. We’ve got a full set of original tunes. The plan is to hit the ground running in the studio when I return in the spring.”
Following Old Sols performance on September 27th opening for Seven Mile Sun at Saskatoon’s Vizzy Stage, Langfield hopped on a plane to spend the winter working at Boulevard Tattoo in Surrey, BC. He is eagerly anticipating his return to Saskatoon in 2022, participating in a music scene he describes as “so genuine, and full of awesome people” and recording and releasing Old Sol’s debut. NSMZ is looking forward to spending another hour with Kitchener Langfield this spring, discussing the new album and whatever adventures find him this winter.
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