In 2009, the universe has proved bountiful for Saskatoon brother-sister synth-pop band Violent Kin, composed of Maygan and S.J. Kardash. After a summer tour jaunt, the Saskatooners found themselves with a residency in New York, where the "small-towners make it in the big city" cliche was born.
"We did a residency in a place called Fontana's, which is on the lower east side-slash-Chinatown," says Maygan, who sings and plays keys in the band. "It was great because we got to build a crowd and it was also a microcosm of the world."
In a place like Saskatoon, which is a fairly small city of 200 thousand, people always run into one another. There's a certain je ne c'est quoi to the simple, breezy life that's been featured on shows like Corner Gas. Kardash insists that she found, surprisingly, the same kind of atmosphere in New York.
"The thing about New York is that it does have a small-town feel as well in a good way," she says. "It's a real community there. A lot of [our] meetings turned out to be cyclical. We would meet one person and a chain of events would happen that led us back to them. We had the weirdest things happen to us that made us feel like New York was even smaller than Saskatoon.
For instance, helping a girl wake up her roommate led to a later chance encounter. It's surprising, but even in "New York, New York" you're able to randomly run into people on the street.
"One time there was one girl who was stuck outside of her apartment and she was kind of throwing rocks at the window and stuff," says Maygan. "So, we helped her a bit trying to throw rocks at the window because her roommate would not answer the phone. I ended up climbing the fire escape to wake up her roommate and so [the girl] was super thankful and she was a designer, so we exchanged information."
Two weeks later, in a completely different neighbourhood, the siblings found themselves having an extremely serendipitous meeting. This was thanks to just trusting their instincts and going with the flow, something that Kardash says she and her brother have done often and almost always ends with great results.
"Me and my brother have this thing where we say, 'Okay, the universe is going to show us something amazing,' " says Kardash. "We get off the subway and there's no one there and it's kind of residential. So we decide to ask the next people we see where to go. There's two girls and we strike up a conversation with them, what they're up to and what's going on in the area."
This is where things get weird. The great cycle, which they experienced often in New York, chugged along and they ended up meeting someone who recognized Maygan.
"It comes up that we're in a band from Canada and one of the girls asks, 'Um, this is a weird question, but, you wouldn't have happened to climb a fire escape recently to save someone from being locked out of their house?' which I respond to [with a]yes. It turned out that it was the sleeping roommate that I woke up. Isn't that nuts?"