A Regina-based blues and rock and roll band has a connection to Kamsack and a signature look: tailored jackets, leather overcoats, denim tuxedos, silk scarfs, bell-bottom trousers, ripped jeans, leather boots, collared shirts and Converse.
The group is comprised of six young musicians, five of Saskatchewan and the sixth of Manitoba, and call themselves Dead Levee.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Rylan Klapatiuk, 23, was born and raised in Kamsack, and is sometimes referred to as “the boss man” because he easily assumes a leadership role in the band, according to information found on Facebook.
Klapatiuk admits that he writes the majority of the original lyrics and music for the band, but adds that everyone contributes.
“We just click as a band. I may come up with ideas, but everyone contributes to the final product,” he said.
“Our music is gritty and edgy rock and blues, inspired by old school 70s music that we have given our own new interpretation.
“We exude attitude in our performances, and each member is in the spotlight during our performances.”
Dane Von Hagen, 23, of Weyburn is the lead vocalist. Rylan Dusyk, 23, of Montmartre plays both rhythm and slide guitar. Parker Cochrane, 23, of Odessa is bass guitarist and Preston Laschuk, 23, of Regina is drummer for the band.
The newest, and youngest member at 22 is Taylor Morgan of Carman, Man., on keyboard and vocals.
The band had released a self-titled, full-length debut album in June and are working on a second. “The album was produced independently, said Klapatiuk. “We had lots of material from working in a previous band called Outskirts. We have a friend in Regina, Chris Dimas, who has a home studio and we had time booked. So we recoded three songs in December, three in January and three in March. Our album has nine songs which can be purchased through Apple iTunes, or played on streaming services like Google Play and Spotify.”
The nine songs on the album are: Wash Your Hands, Train Song, Transistor Love (In Those Days), Outside the Lights, Retrospective, First Offence, Ballad, Girls Like You and Between the Sheets.
“We had some copies pressed but mostly rely on people to stream our songs from Internet sites,” Klapatiuk said.
“We accumulate royalties when our songs are purchased through iTunes. We support ourselves and our band by playing live shows and doing odd jobs between gigs.
“Our first big gig was opening for the band Whale and the Wolf, a group based out of Edmonton that is getting a fair amount of radio play in Regina. The venue was the Exchange, a live music club in Regina.”
“Whale and the Wolf plays a style of music that it calls ‘erotic rock,’ which is just as well since the sound is seemingly drawn from enough places as to make it difficult to pigeonhole,” said information found on the Internet. “It’s one of those musical designations that you need to hear before you get it, and it’s part of a list of things that makes the band stand out.”
“This summer we played at the Montmartre Folk Fest,” Klapatiuk said. “The crowd was fantastic and they were very receptive to our music.
“On September 21 and 22 we played at the City Limits Inn in Yorkton to a full house both nights. For me it was the closest venue to my hometown that we’ve played and it felt good to see the great response from the Kamsack people who took in our show.
“We were literally booted off the stage on Saturday night because it was time to quit playing and the crowd didn’t want us to stop,” he said.
Although the band was only formed eight months ago, members are proud of their accomplishments so far, Klapatiuk said. To have released an album with another on the way is keeping them in line with their expectations which members of the group first outlined when they got together this past December and formulated a business plan.
Klapatiuk says the name Dead Levee was a fluke and has no particular meaning other than it just “sounded right” when someone said it during a brainstorming session. “Our music is reflective of old school rock yet incorporates a new feel.”
Although Klapatiuk has lived in Regina for the past five years he was raised in Kamsack. His parents are Janet and Tracy Klapatiuk of Kamsack, and he is a middle child with two bothers and one sister who have grown up and left the community.
“Kamsack was a great place to grow up and I have a lot of good memories,” Klapatiuk said. He attended Victoria School and graduated from Kamsack Comprehensive Institute.
“My interest in music started when I was 13. I had to work all summer to buy my first guitar. I took lessons from Kevin Gorwill for 6 months, then I decided I just wanted to make music. I teamed up with a classmate, Joel Dietz who was a drummer and we played for events and functions including school dances and at the Veregin Shishliki event.
“I would love to play at a function in Kamsack if the opportunity presented itself,” he said.
The group expects to release album number two early in the spring. “We are working with a new label out of Regina called Blue Wave Revolution. They have plans to sign a lot of artists, make a lot of connections and reboot the Saskatchewan music scene.
“We’re going to record our second album at the CBC Studio in Regina where artists like Colter Wall and Dead South have recorded,” Klapatiuk said.
The group will be appearing as special guests at the Hourhand EP release party on November 1 at the Revival Music Room in Regina.
More information about the group Dead Levee can be found on Facebook and Instagram.