Orillia’s Bleeker finding fame globally with chart-topping tune
Breakout single entered Top 10 in the U.S.
by Frank Matys (Orillia Today)
Bleeker, an Orillia-based rock group, is finding fame with its latest release, “Erase You.” The band’s third full-length album features the chart-topping single “Highway.” – Steve Carty photo
Bleeker has toured Europe, recorded in L.A. and garnered accolades across the globe for its hard-driving brand of rock.
Regardless of the welcome success, the group remains firmly rooted in Orillia, says frontman and vocalist Taylor Perkins.
“I’m never going to leave,” Perkins, 28, told Simcoe.com during a recent interview. “I love this place.”
The band formed 13 years ago as Bleeker Ridge, but dropped the second half of the name during a lineup change — Ridge having too much of a country ring for a group of rockers.
“We wanted to kind of match the music a little bit more,” Perkins says.
Brother Cole Perkins handles guitar duties and bassist Mike Van Dyk covers the low end. Chris Dimas, of Regina, Sask., fills the drum slot.
Though small in numbers, the group produces a massive sound.
“Cole and Mike know exactly when they need to stay in the pocket or need to sometimes overplay to make up for other stuff,” Perkins says. “They know exactly what they are doing.”
“Highway,” a recent breakout single for the group, shot to the No. 1 spot in Canada and landed in the top 10 south of the border, cracking five million Spotify streams along the way.
Propelled by fuzzed-out guitar, hand claps and throbbing bass, the high-octane cut is included on the band’s third full-length album, Erase You.
For Perkins, a tune’s feel is as important as its message.
“I love lyrics, but if the song doesn’t have the right vibe then it’s not going to work,” he says. “It could be the same song and just be recorded a different way and lose that vibe.”
Recorded in Los Angeles in 2016, Erase You earned the group a Juno Award nomination for ‘breakthrough group of the year’.
“We didn’t expect it at all,” Perkins says. “We woke up to a message from our label and thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy’.”
While indie-rockers The Black Keys stand out as an obvious influence, Perkins points to Joe Walsh and Jimi Hendrix as personal favourites who prompted him to take up music and perform at local venues.
“We used to play at the Second Last Call all the time,” he says of the long-defunct club. “We’d go to blues jams and things like that.”
Perkins later discovered The Beatles and says the experience “changed my life.
“When I finally sat down and listened, it blew my mind,” he adds.
That Perkins and his bandmates would pursue music professionally was “a no-brainer for us.”
Mercifully, their personalities are such that time spent on the road hasn’t resulted in the friction that many bands face in close quarters.
“Somehow we found people that can get along well together travelling months on end in a van,” he adds.
The band has toured Germany, the U.K. and France and plans to return to Europe in November.
“A big thing for us, too, is the food,” Perkins says. “We get to try different foods and beer. We try to make the best of that.”