Interview with The Alter Kakers
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
A: I got into music because my friends were into it. My first record was Signals; I could really relate to the song Subdivisions growing up in North York.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
A: I recently got into cameras and lenses, and I’ve been able to use them for making our videos.
How long has your band been around?
A: I always forget, but it's been since 2009.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
A: We’re based in Toronto. I’m not sure if Toronto in particular has influenced me, but Canadian songwriters and musicians have for sure. Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, etc.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
A: Alter Kaker is a Yiddish term that basically means old fart. When we named the band I thought it was funny because we we’re already in our late 30’s at the time. So the joke was we were already past our prime especially for the music business. But the name has served us well, there are quite a few sympathetic Jewish folk in the business.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A: Our first show after the pandemic was great; it was at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto and was being filmed for a music documentary we are going to be in called Path to Creation. It was a full house.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
A: In the beginning, we used to play the Drake Hotel in Toronto quite a bit; that was a nice stage with great sound. We want to play everywhere, anytime!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
A: In the past? Isle of Wight with Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, I’d be laughed off the stage.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
A: We always say the biggest obstacle to success is not staying together. Keep at it!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
A: Practice more and don't wear shorts on stage; you're not pulling it off.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
A: I really love our recent song, Stopped Being in Love. I just love the laid-back feel of it, but it still has a great chorus, and the slide guitar is the best thing I’ve ever played. Also mixed beautifully by Dean Marino. We really took our time with the video to film a story, and we are very proud of it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
A: I always like playing our quieter songs, like Every Word, but that doesn’t always go well energy-wise. We have a song called Treading the Boards that everyone loves.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
A: Generally, I will come up with a riff or musical idea first, and if it gets stuck in my head, I’ll try to develop it. I’m inspired to write music so that we have something new to play.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
A: Anything is fair game. Songs about relationships are obvious, but we also have a song about an art movement (The Great Upheaval) and the Occupy movement (Running Through My Brain).
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
A: Yep. We get along well 98 percent of the time, and we’ve been together long enough that when it comes to blows, we just get over it and get on with it.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
A: Our current song, as I mentioned, is called Stopped Being in Love, but we have new singles already in queue for September 12th and November 7th.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
A: We’re pretty active on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thealterkakers/. We also post news on our website, https://thealterkakers.com/news, and we’re available to stream on most platforms.