Jamie Shields is best known as the keyboardist of the groundbreaking instrumental electronica group the New Deal. He played more than 1100 shows with the band, performing alongside Herbie Hancock and The Roots, among others.
Although Shields knew from a young age that music would be his life, as a five-year-old, he begged his parents to let him quit piano lessons. Ultimately, the folks prevailed; Shields continued with classical piano, theory and harmony training until he was 20. Around that time, Shields’ launched his professional career, balancing cross-country touring with his studies, eventually earning a history degree from McGill University. Upon graduating, he formed the short-lived but legendary funk-improvisation band, One Step Beyond.
In 1998, Shields co-founded the New Deal. Before long, the band signed with the record label Jive Electro, with Spin magazine dubbing them “the Kraftwerk of the new Millennium.” Until their final show in January 2012, the band toured widely, appearing in festivals alongside Moby, The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx.
Shields’ ability to coax a stunning range of sounds from his Moog Prodigy synthesizer became a New Deal signature. He is, however, a proficient multi-instrumentalist; for StudioCat, he plays guitar, bass, and even the Hohner Melodica, a harmonica-piano hybrid.
Shields has been nominated for two Gemini Awards and one Juno Award.
As a composer, producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist, Adam White has worked with a range of distinguished musicians, including The New Deal and Dragonette.
In his childhood home in Fredericton, New Brunswick, if the Beatles or Chopin weren’t playing, then White’s parents likely were – mom on flute and dad on guitar. At age seven, White started piano lessons, embarking on a rigorous decade-long conservatory education. As a young teen, frustrated by the limitations of his classical training, White taught himself guitar, working through Cat Stevens’ and Neil Young’s catalogues.
After earning a BSc in biology at the University of Guelph, White enrolled in the production and engineering program at Toronto’s Harris Institute for the Arts, and then worked as an assistant at Louder Music and Sound Design. In 2003, he connected with The New Deal, where his obsessive attention to detail created an affinity with the band’s keyboardist, Jamie Shields. The pair worked closely on the engineering and production of the band’s music.
When composing for StudioCat, White plays a range of instruments, from a Gibson Southern Jumbo guitar and Wurlitzer electric piano to a Slingerland drum kit and beyond. He currently plays lap steel guitar in the Toronto band, The Parlour Brothers. He also operates as a freelance sound recordist at Bloor Street Sound.
White has been nominated for two Gemini Awards.
For nearly three decades, David Wall has been a prominent figure in the Canadian music scene, fronting a pair of influential bands, and collaborating with such luminaries as The Barenaked Ladies, the designer Bruce Mau, and filmmakers John Greyson, Catherine Annau and Avi Lewis.
Wall grew up with music in his blood. His grandmothers were both professional pianists and his parents, who were also accomplished musicians, frequently quizzed a young Wall on classical music trivia. When he was 12, he collaborated with the Canadian roots music legend Ken Whiteley. Wall played spoons in a jug orchestra; Whiteley was the conductor.
Through the late ’80s and early ’90s, Wall toured relentlessly with The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, a seminal R&B-tinged rock band. Since then, Wall’s pursuits have been as eclectic as they’ve been ambitious: He collaborated with the filmmaker John Greyson on “Fig Trees,” a multi-media doc-opera exploring AIDS in Africa, named the best documentary at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival; he studied Hebrew, Yiddish and cantorial singing; he sang backup for The Parachute Club; and he co-wrote the Big Sugar song, “The Scene,” which reached number one on the Canadian rock charts. Presently, he fronts The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, a Juno-nominated world music ensemble.
Wall’s work has been recognized with nominations for four Gemini Awards and two Juno Awards.