Blackout Orchestra


Blackout Orchestra’s ‘evil mastermind’ Ben VanBuskirk was going through a transitional period after years of ups and downs. He found himself at the end of a troubled relationship, two musical projects (the critic-approved death- obsessed shoegaze-pop band The Dearly Bereft , and feminist grunge provocateurs Green Girl) and at the end of his rope.

Depression, anxiety and alcoholism had him in their collective grip and on one dark but brightly lit night, literally staring down the tracks at the lights of an oncoming train, he wasn't sure he wanted to get out of the way.

Spoilers... He did. With the help of some close friends started to manage these issues that once seemed unsolvable. He got sober, he got counselling, and he got writing. And then, as things started to happen... everything stopped.

With Lockdown meaning the time and money no temptation of local dive bars and rock venues, he started recording his songs on the only tools available to a self-professed Luddite — a guitar, a cheap Yamaha keyboard, and his BlackBerry cell phone. Instead of learning to bake bread or crochet, he spent his quarantine learning music production and putting together an album documenting his own fall and rise over the last years and months, respectively.

Now, Ben is joined the luscious tones of Morgan Thompson-Reid, also of Toronto’s unorthodox rock band Starship Experience.

“What’s great about Morgan is that though there is some overlap, we generally have very different musical tastes. She’s a real “singer” – and also likes a lot of pop music, bluegrass, and folk. I’m more into sad bastard music, and loud rock and also hip hop and electronic music. So I’ll write with my own frame of references and then ask her to add to it – and it’s always something that I never would have thought of on my own."