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Three guys, ten+ instruments, one dream

Not all people have this thing called passion. It’s a powerful force that lies within. It forces you to face your fears, pushes you to success, and brings you an indescribable and overwhelming sense of joy.

Left with nothing but the drive to succeed, 3Versatile, a Toronto-based band, have committed their lives to the hopeful future of their musical careers.

“We quit all our other jobs that we had on a full-time basis,” said band member Alexander Arthur. “We are in the studio from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day.”

While they all have bad-ass degrees in their back pockets, Alex Saloomi, another band member, said these credentials are basically last resorts.

“Although we have great backups, our plans are definitely not to use them,” said Saloomi, who has a degree in economics and management science.

Drawing influence from myriad genres, 3Versatile’s eclectic sound defies comparison, and watching the band’s multi-instrumentalist members switch instruments in the middle of compositions is impressive.

What’s available of them on their website offers a unique mix of tracks, including an interesting cover of Tool’s “The Pot”, complete with haunting vocal melodies.

 

As I spoke with these three twenty-something guys, I wondered why people don’t always go through with their passion, wholeheartedly and balls deep. We always hear people say ‘I wanted to be actor’, or ‘I wanted to be a dancer’, so what happens in between the dreaming and the reality?

The answer is fear (also a powerful emotion), and one that 3Versatile brushes off and attacks full force.

“There’s always a fear of failing, its just a matter of putting your head down, shutting up and working,” said Saloomi. “The fear is there but it shouldn’t be in your mind, what should be in your mind is ‘There’s a goal in my future and I’m going to work hard to achieve it.’ The fear pushes us forward.”

“Everyone always says music is really hard to get into and to make a living, but it’s like every other business,” said 3Versatile member Thomas Arthur. “You have to put all of your effort into it.”

“If something goes badly, we know it’s our fault for not trying hard enough. Everything is in our control and it’s our responsibility,” said his twin brother and band mate, Alexander. “[Failing is] an uncontrollable thing that could happen to us, but that would mean we didn’t give it our 100 per cent.”

A survey of recent graduates conducted by Experience, Inc., which runs post-secondary career resource websites, found 70 per cent of respondents (all generation Yers), left their first job within two years. It goes on to say that of the Millennials (people born from around 1980 onward) surveyed, 60 per cent are currently looking for other employment, despite 57 per cent being happy working their current job.

Going by this study, it seems generation Y is actually a generation of overachievers and dreamers.

“I think we are very much a part of generation Y. Our parents say why can’t you find a steady job, but also pushed us to do what we love,” said the Arthurs, who both have a degree in kinesiology.

“We never went [to school for music] because we didn’t think it would be a full time career. It was essentially a hobby that continued to grow into a more powerful passion, to the point where we ended up knowing that our degrees would be nothing but backups,” said Saloomi.

But with no steady income, the band faces many obstacles and will probably continue to make financial sacrifices on behalf of their dream: making it big as 3Versatile.

They all agree that the problem with hobbies is they require money, especially pricey hobbies like learning music and building a band.

Luckily for them, they seem to have been born with the gift of being naturally musically talented. Alexander Arthur took basic guitar lessons in the past but also plays bass, drums and the clarinet, all of which are self-taught. Thomas Arthur learned to play the flute and keys in high school but taught himself how to play the accordion and drums. Saloomi self-taught himself everything he knows, whether it’s vocals, on drums or playing the guitar.

“We’re always offering something new, and that new element to us is that we are a multi-instrumental band,” they said. “We switch between instruments while we play during a show and sometimes when we play during a song.”

“We don’t know anyone with superstar status with that before. We know Walk off the Earth does a little bit of multi-instrumental stuff but no one does it quite like us with the emphasis on the switching,” they said.

The attitude expressed by 3Versatile is that whether or not they succeed in their musical journey together, happiness will always overwhelm them when they pick up the guitar, drum sticks, mic, clarinet, accordion, or flute. They feel that no failure can take that away from them.

That is the power of passion.

“It’s an exhilarating feeling [to perform]. It’s very much an interesting mix of happiness and concentration,” said Thomas.

“When we rehearse it’s a controlled environment. It’s never similar to a show where there’s random people involved, mixed with alcohol and drugs. There’s pressure involved but in the best way possible,” Saloomi said.

“During rehearsal, you’re not sharing the magic,” they said. “It’s some next level stuff. It’s like we are communicating with our fans and our fans are also communicating back. It’s an unexplained level of communication,” said Alexander.

When asked ‘why do you love music?’, Saloomi wrote back via email, (in the most poetic way possible):

“Music is a universal language that has no boundaries or limits. It can take you as far as you want to go, and as fast as you want to get there. My passion for music has resulted in an itch; an itch so deep in my veins that no object can seem to scratch at.”

It’s become a passion so powerful, that I long for it when I wake, and crave it when I sleep. Even as I write this right now, I can feel my soul rattle as I know the second I press send, a pair of drum sticks are going to be in my hands, and a guitar melody in my head.”