Every year, Shawn Rompré holds a birthday bash for himself and his brothers in Wakefield, Quebec. Soon after he began studying at Humber College’s music program, he met five gifted musicians and invited them to help catapult that year’s Rompré Stomp into the kind of party that invitees were anticipating. The Digs holds the title as one of Toronto’s go-to “party” bands, but there is much more to the group than a sound worth two-stepping to. The six talented musicians are building their repertoire and their reputation with fun and dynamic originals that are sure to boost them to a higher level of recognition.
A fun-loving attitude is clear in The Digs music and among the band members themselves, “We’re up for turning anything into a fun tune,” says Shawn. The group makes every show a party. “Almost every week we have a set list…we never stick to it” says bass player, Chris Virtue. They feed off the excitement of their audience and are constantly tailoring the music to the way the crowd responds. “You can feel an audience. It’s almost like they’re part of the process,” says Joel Visentin, who plays the keys in the band.
This ability to turn great music into a great time has brought success to The Digs, allowing them to have a residency at the Drake Hotel every Thursday night. In addition, the band is set to release their EP, Homegrown, on November 1st, and will be available for purchase on iTunes. It seems as though The Digs’s hard work has paid off. After the completion of their EP, the band received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to record a full-length album. “[We are] pushing forward and trying to transition from [a] party cover band to creating amazing and inspiring music,” says Rompré. “Without losing the party,” Joel quickly adds.
As The Digs moves into a new chapter, the band members remain conscious of the fact that their music is a group effort. “We’ll [each] bring things in, in different forms of being finished and try arranging them more as a group,” says guitarist, Heather Crawford. Nothing about The Digs’s creative process appears ego-driven. They recognize that each musician in the group is incredibly talented and adds a certain flare to the collective. “We all take the opinion that songs are kind of alive… they have a life of their own and a recording is just a snapshot in time,” says Joel.
While The Digs has already built a great reputation, the band has no plans of stopping. Each of the six musicians is constantly evolving; together, they create a product greater than the sum of its parts. And as Shawn promises, “there’s a lot to expect from us in the near future.”
WORDS: TIM LUTHER
PHOTOS: ALEX BROWNE