PASSPORT RADIO:"If little communities can make a change that big, might as well try to do something"
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
By Juliette Coleman
We spoke to Alex Fecioru from Passport Radio about their newly released single 'Moving on' and what it means to part of community.
Could you tell us a bit about Passport Radio?
Okay, well Passport Radio is a lot of things. First of all, we wanted to be a band that kind of shows that it's cool to be goofy and that it pays off and so whenever we're on stage we act the same as we do off stage. We're just trying to make people feel comfortable in their skin. We're kind of just writing from our perspectives, trying to be as intimate as possible and trying to get it to feel as close as if you were just talking to a friend or something. Also, we want to help the community a little bit if we can, if not, that's okay.
When we first originally started, we were more of a garage rock band because that tended to be the sort of sound in Toronto at the time. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Motown and Soul records and I thought, wow, this sounds amazing, and it's more about the feeling than anything. The garage rock was like that too but it was angrier. I wanted to see what else was there and see how else we could express ourselves. So we're trying a little bit of a lighter or soulful approach.
What does it mean to you to be a part of a community and how does it impact the work you create.
See when I say community, at first it really did start with just the music community but now it's just about anybody that we can reach out to. But yeah, growing up in this community there were a lot of characters that I met that were kind of shady and there were a lot of things that nobody told me we're a part of the music community that I was like, "Oh, this is so weird." And if I can kind of create a space where those things don’t happen; like the way promoters behave towards acts or, you know, just this whole thing about how exclusive being an alternative youth can be. How people can be like, "oh, we're not the main norm but we accept everybody" but really what it comes down to is having to dress a specific way or having to act a specific way.
We're trying to show people that that's not really the case, I don't know, I want it to feel more like... we're just chilling. And there's also a lot of small bands coming up in Toronto right now and if I can give anybody any advice, I'm sure going to do that because if I could have avoided half the stuff that I did, that would have been great. And also, there's a lot of other great talent, like I've been getting to know a lot more of the R & B, Hip Hop and Rap part of the community, also kind of learning more about the electronic community. And I've been thinking, you know it's a little weird that we're all in these separate little pockets and even sort of the alternative community too, it'd be nice if we all kind of got together a little more, you know.
When you were starting out, did you have someone or a band that was teaching you about the industry?
Not really. I just tried to do things that made sense to me, and honestly everything that I did made just about as much sense as the things that an 18 year old kid in college would do. You know, poor marketing decisions, or like for the longest time the band fund was literally just like a Ziploc bag with coins and bills just tucked into my mattress. So that just tells you how I was doing, really. So, if you're in a new band, or you're a new act in Toronto, feel free to contact me. I have a lot of experience now with quite literally everything as far as the music industry goes I can definitely lend a hand. I'm even thinking about making a little video series, kind of going over the little things because when I got into this industry I just wanted to make music and have a good time. And yeah, turns out there's a lot more to do.
You posted a video about a couple weeks back talking about Toronto Tiny Shelters. What was the motivation behind that post and why was it important for you to share this information on your platform?
Yeah, well even before the pandemic, I was working as a sound tech, and I'd spend a lot of time, you know, in the Annex or in little Portugal. Meanwhile, walking around, hanging out I would meet a lot of people who happen to live on the streets and I would talk to them and get to know them. I became friends with a handful of them. You know, I'd help out with whatever I could and so when COVID hit, it's definitely something that I thought about a decent amount, and now seeing as Tiny Shelters and ESN are doing such great work, it inspired me to kind of get that word out. During the pandemic I have gone back downtown and I've seen a couple of people that I used to talk to and you know, they're not doing too bad, they're doing all right, and that makes me happy. Obviously they're not doing as good as me and you, but yeah all things considered, I'm glad they're still here. And I just want to keep that in the forefront of people's minds because, you know, it may be uncomfortable to be inside during COVID and all that, but shelters are over packed and unsafe, and people are living on the streets, especially in the winter, it's really unfortunate. Especially that the city isn't using its resources to help those people. I'm just trying to get some more information and I'm gonna try to post some more content kind of talking about this and bringing it to people's attention, the stuff that's going on in our community so they can help from home. Just by, you know, donating if they can.
Why do you think it's important for musicians and artists in general to use their platforms to talk about these issues?
Honestly, a community is what it is, regardless of the size, and the smallest communities often make a huge amount of change. I mean, just looking at Tiny Shelters and ESN; it's a relatively small team of people but, you know, they've made a huge change and I would go as far to say quite literally saved lives this winter. So I thought, you know if they can do that, I can at least make a video talking to the people that I can extend to, you know, we got about like 800 followers on Instagram I might as well use that wisely. With that video, I didn't want it to look derogatory or anything but I just wanted to show how easy it really is to just send an email to your city councillor or MP or the mayor. And I've seen a lot of positive trends take off in the music industry, especially in our community, you know, I've been seeing a lot more compassion towards people from all walks of life, regardless of how they identify or what they look like, which is really great. So, you know, if little communities can make a change that big, might as well try to do something about this.
Can you tell me about your new song that was released on March 27th?
Yeah, so this newer release is the first song I wrote after seeking help for my mental health and I just wanted to write a song that's kind of hopeful and I don't know, just made people feel good. A lot of our other songs are more focused on the darker sides of being a young person. I thought, you know, why don't we make a song about how moving on is actually not that bad. Just because a phase of your life is ending it doesn't mean that the one coming isn't gonna be just as good or even better. So it's kind of about, just going through life and being like, "I'm okay with this, this is great. I had a great time with the people in my life, and it's the gift that keeps on giving."
Did you know what the song would become once you started writing or did it develop during the writing process?
I think it started out kind of being that way, I've always been a huge fan of Broken Social Scene and I wanted to see if I could do something kind of like that where it's this sort of faster, positive track and it's kind of lush and beautiful. So it started like that from the beginning but also those songs definitely underwent a lot of changes. I mean, it sounded completely different before we went into the studio with Nixon Boyd of Hollerado. I think we basically told him what we wanted, and he just went, okay, and made it sound good. Yeah, so that's a beautiful thing.
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