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Peter Elkas builds up his reputation online - Metro US

Peter Elkas builds up his reputation online

Perhaps you’ve heard his soulful, memorable singles Fall Apart Again or Wall of Fire on the radio.

Or maybe you caught him earlier this year when he played a rockin’ show with Joel Plaskett at Capital City Music Hall.

It’s possible you even remember him from his days with Montreal-based rockers Local Rabbits.

But if the music of Peter Elkas is familiar to you, chances are it’s because you’ve checked it out on MySpace or YouTube.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many musicians these days build careers out of successful online promotion, but as Elkas candidly explains, there are a few drawbacks to a world where the masses choose to get their music through the Internet.

“I’m happy whenever people are listening to and enjoying my music,” says Elkas. “The bummer of it is that unfortunately we’re still working in an industry where record sales matter, and not just as a kind of trophy, but because you become eligible for funding when you’ve sold a certain number of CDs.”

Needless to say, despite great reviews for his recently released sophomore CD Wall of Fire, and the endorsement of respected artists like Ron Sexsmith, Elkas isn’t exactly a household name yet. And he certainly isn’t getting rich of his art. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Elkas is in this biz for the money. He’s been playing music since high school when he first discovered his love of the blues and knack for making mad sounds come out of his harmonica.

And even though he didn’t really see himself as a serious artist until he released his first solo CD in 2003, after years playing with the band Local Rabbits, it’s clear Elkas was meant to make music.

The care and effort that goes into crafting a good song, or producing a polished album, or making an entertaining video, are important to him. Which is another reason why he’s at odds with this Internet age. “It’s such a gluttonous era that people are totally satisfied with having more and more and more and don’t care about the quality of mp3s or videos on YouTube. But you don’t want to lower the production standards because hopefully the medium will catch up with what we’re creating.”

In the meantime, the best way to grasp the depth of Elkas’s lyricism and melodies — and catch a glimpse at how funny and charming he can be — is to watch him play live.

Peter Elkas and his band, along with openers James McKenty & The Spades play tonight at Zaphod’s, 27 York Street. Tickets are $10.

kim.mannixvermette@metronews.ca

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