Lights, Camera, SoundSpeed

Published: August 10th 2010
in Culture » Music

Shane Kippel (far right) is the drummer for SoundSpeed
Pic: Joe Fuda

It’s no secret that the stars of Degrassi continue to thrive. Shenae Grimes stars in the revival of 90210, Nina Dobrev is cashing in on the blood-sucking craze with The Vampire Diaries. And of course, who can forget about Drake? 


While all of these performers have gone solo, one group of Degrassi stars have stuck together and formed a band. In fact, at one point they were all jamming together on the hit Canadian show. SoundSpeed’s members include Ray Ablack (vocals), Jamie Johnston (guitar),  Dalmar Abuzeid (bass/ vocals), Sean Farquharson (guitar), Scott Paterson (keytar) and Shane Kippel on drums. 


Is it art imitating life or life imitating art? Toronto’s Shane Kippel explains. 




How did the band get started?


Jamie, Ray, Dalmar, Scott and I all worked on Degrassi together. Four of us actually were in the Degrassi on-screen band Stüdz, and Ray kept speaking of this guitar god of a best friend he had, Sean, who had lived next door for four years. We talked about all getting together to jam one day, and [when] we did, found out that we had a lot of chemistry and got along outside of work very well. And so we developed SoundSpeed. 


What drew you to percussion?


When I was young, I was always somehow involved in music (piano, violin, alto tenor and baritone saxophone, to name a few), but in junior high our music class had a drum set. I rarely got to play it because the older kids always were on it, but one day I got my chance and I never looked back.


How would you describe SoundSpeed’s music?


It's very eclectic to say the least. Jamie Johnston comes up with many oxymoronic off-the-wall analogies for it but I'd say it's a sound clash of classic, funk, rock, punk and reggae. Making it alternative, haha. Get all that?


How did you guys come up with the name?


Coming up with the name was one of the easiest and coolest parts. Since most of us are actors, and since starting the band, Sean has made an appearance on Degrassi, so technically we are all actors now, haha. Film and audio are recorded on two different tracks in film production, and when the boom mic operator is ready to record sound, he yells "sound speed!" And the play on words also has its musical connotation, hence, SoundSpeed, for the musician and actor in all six of us.


Being a band of actors, do you find it hard to fight the actor-turned-musician label? 


Obviously there have been many who've gone through the transition, and saw success or massive failure. All we can do to overcome it is grind out the best tunes we can, keep our heads up and push forward. We'll let our music speak for itself.


If you could choose a SoundSpeed song as a theme for your character on Degrassi, what would it be?


I'd say “I Want to Love You,” because it's light, fun and energetic -- which are all Spinner [the character he played on Degrassi] characteristics, and it's also about getting with ladies, which Spinner did very very well, haha. 


What's on your iPod right now?


Tough question. Everything from Metallica to Jack Johnson, Meat Loaf to Underoath, Spice Girls to No Doubt. I've got it all, 4,500 songs in and around. My biggest influences would have to be Incubus, Tool, Alexisonfire, A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Three Days Grace, System of a Down, and of course, some Dave Matthews Band.   


Drake, another Degrassi alum, has also crossed over into music. Do you still keep in touch with him?


Related articles: (Degrassi, music, Shane Kippel, SoundSpeed, Canadian bands)

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