A natural new sound 

Duo creates fusion of folk and roots with an island flair

click to enlarge Keeping Time Jon and Roy bring their laidback rhythms to the GLC. Photo by Erik Brown
  • Keeping Time Jon and Roy bring their laidback rhythms to the GLC. Photo by Erik Brown
p class=Style1>Who: Jon and Roy

When: Friday, May 16, 10 p.m.

Where: GLC

Tickets: $10

Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer are Jon and Roy, a diverse musical duo based out of Victoria. But don’t let the simple name deceive you — with a blend of rich vocals, melodic guitar and a mellow beat, their sound is layered and somewhat reminiscent of classic folk, with a slight reggae feel.

Middleton and Vizer first met up while studying at the University of Victoria and started jamming together, learning new instruments along the way.

Now, with Vizer on a full trap set and drum kit, and Middleton on acoustic guitar, bass and the ukulele, their sound is rounded out by laid back, easy rhythms and vocals.

These boys tap into a few different musical genres to create their own sound — they draw on folk and roots, with a bit of reggae to liven things up.

“Reggae is a very integral part of our music, though we don’t really play strict reggae at all… just the overall rhythms,” Middleton explained.

They also enjoy listening to a lot of folk, like Bob Dylan, and still try to incorporate some global influences, like African and Cuban rhythms, into their music.

And don’t forget the lyrics — Middleton is the man behind the poetry of Jon and Roy.

Though he draws on a combination of personal experience and larger global issues, Middleton explained his real inspiration comes from listening to good music.

“If I’m in a zone where it seems like there’s a lot of good music out there and I’m listening to a lot of good stuff, it definitely influences me,” he said.

But their music really is a collaborative effort.

“I’d say writing, I’m constantly just playing my guitar and coming up with new things, and I just really enjoy that,” said Middleton. “If something comes along that I really like and kind of sticks in my head after a couple weeks or a month, then we’ll start trying to put lyrics to it, and then from there, I just bring it to Roy, and the drums come in.”

To bring some free-form elements into their live performances, other musicians playing the mandolin, harmonica, melodica and bass regularly join the duo.


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