ABOUT SCRAP ARTS MUSIC
We start with some SCRAP...
...then 'transform' it through the ARTS of sculpture, choreography and film, to create an unforgettable live MUSIC experience.
Five athletic musicians perform with 145 mobile invented instruments -- all hand-made by co-founder and composer Gregory Kozak.
The result? Unexpectedly beautiful Experimental Pop Percussion that is intricate, playful and powerful, and that delights the ears, eyes and heart.
Scrap Arts Music is a unique Canadian project honoured to receive invitations to perform across North America and around the world, for diverse audiences from all walks of life.
1. An internationally renowned, athletic next-generation percussion ensemble.
2. An earth-friendly, Vancouver Island-based company that creates unforgettable performances using mobile instruments artfully crafted from industrial scraps.
3. Five extraordinary, virtuosic and innovative drummers.
4. The group that transforms “scrap” into “art,” and “arts” into “music”.
Children of Metropolis launched!
Children of Metropolis is the latest production by Scrap Arts Music. A multi-year creation supported in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, it features over 145 sculptural instruments, eleven new music compositions, Scrap Arts Music’s signature action-choreography and now a full-screen movie of our own devising that plays while the musicians perform.
With a retro-futuristic, sci-fi vibe that takes visual inspiration from German films of the 1920s, Scrap Arts Music’s Children of Metropolis is a fast-paced, all-acoustic percussive bonanza with five musicians bringing an original score to heart-pounding life.
“★★★★★. High kicking, virtuosic and adrenaline-packed. Kozak just may have single-handedly performed a million acts of green. Who knew that scrap yards and dumps were treasure troves for the makings of new and marvellous musical instruments?”
“Energy in spades!”
“Humour, wit and genuine subtlety. The result? Pure Magic… An accomplished and hugely engaging company.”
“This quintet have the total package. Even for the percussively jaded, this group is a knock-out.”
“Kozak’s sense of unfolding form is flawless and his ear for the imaginative layering of propulsive rhythms is impeccable.”
“Fantastic visual and aural display of percussive precision full of energetic gymnastics and vibrant vitality. Original music expertly played and choreographed into a remarkable show.”
“Scrap Arts Music mesmerizes! A rhythmic circus.”
“Emotionally stirring music. Recycling can pay rich musical dividends!”
“This group is perhaps closer to the American maverick avant-gardist Harry Partch than anything in American popular culture.”
"It was very surreal!”
Founder + Creator
Gregory composes music for quintet & orchestra, creates innovative instruments, and choreographs movement.
He is both an ensemble musician and a concert soloist. He directs a world-class five-member touring ensemble, Scrap Arts Music, that exclusively plays his 145+ invented instruments and his original repertoire at leading international festivals and theatres around the world.
A musician schooled in jazz and world music who draws inspiration from the avant-garde composers of the 20th century, Gregory learned the art of metal fabrication in order to create instruments that could give voice to his unique musical vision.
When not performing, Gregory is exploring compositional ideas on piano and drums, following world events, running around Mt. Tolmie, taking Arrow on walks, and helping Justine in the garden.
Founder & Creator
As co-artistic director, Justine is involved in project conceptualization, instrument design, and all facets of art direction (costumes, lighting, stage craft). Justine is also involved in stage direction, music critique and future developments.
Justine has always had a love for the natural environment. At university and during work placements, a passion for Environmentally Sensitive Design and Material Culture Studies developed. She became fascinated with vernacular architecture — buildings and environments built by people lacking “formal” training, yet brilliantly employing materials and traditional processes of local know-how, culture and environment.
Justine is an avid organic gardener, tending habitats for the creatures she shares her perch with on Mt Tolmie.
Musician Chris Blaber is a percussionist dedicated to presenting collaborative, interdisciplinary, improvised, and contemporary works. He’s passionate about incorporating multiple elements of performance – including choreography, narration, singing, and acting – into unified, innovative productions.
Holding both a Bachelors in Fine Arts with distinction in Music Composition from Simon Fraser University (British Columbia) and a diploma in percussion performance from Douglas College (British Columbia), Chris also performs as a freelance percussionist in Vancouver with numerous groups including orchestras, musical theater, rock groups, jazz, and Javanese Gamelan ensemble. He is the a founder of both Ecstatic Waves and Kinetic Percussion.
Chris started playing music in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet marching band at age 12, when he was told, “you look big enough to carry a bass drum!” Since then, he’s moved from ‘just’ a bass drum to playing anything classified as percussion. His favorite traditional instruments include marimba and vibraphone.
Chris studied classical percussion performance with Robert Caldwell, Martin Fisk and Dr. Daniel Tones; as well as jazz vibraphone and improvisation, computer music improvisation, collaboration and interdisciplinary performance, music composition, and computer music composition with various leaders in these fields.
Athletics are a huge part of Chris’s life. An avid runner, he has competed in triathlons, biathlons (skiing & shooting), and soccer. He bicycles for transportation as much as possible and is currently training for his annual cycling trip, during which he’ll try to average 100 km per day for two weeks or more – while carrying all his gear!
Music has always been a big part of Alex’s life, performing and writing in numerous groups since he was a youngster. He’s been playing professionally for the better part of a decade, touring extensively throughout Canada and recording & performing with many esteemed artists. His involvement with the highly-acclaimed band, The County Line, has garnered significant praise and keeps him on his toes, playing 106 shows last year alone! Alex has also been teaching for many years at music schools around Victoria (British Columbia), including West Shore Music Academy and is a member of jazz-pop group, Mildly Wild.
At Toronto’s prestigious Humber College, Alex had the privilege of studying with world class musicians. While there, he immersed himself in jazz, fusion, and myriad styles of world music. He has studied with the likes of Bob McLaren, Mark Kelso, Murray Creed, Steve Mancuso, Pat Kilbride, and Ron Thaler, among others, and currently continues his studies with Andreas David (aka Ydna Murd). After Alex’s time at Humber, he returned to his West Coast roots to deepen his love for music even further – and passion for all things percussion.
As a drummer, Alex is known, above all else, for his musicianship and musicality behind the kit. He’s worked in multiple genres and performed at events like Canadian Music Week, Rifflandia, Sunfest, Rockin’ River music Fest, Boonstock, Big Time Out, and many others.
Fitness-wise, Alex was a rower in high school and, since then, has been practicing yoga regularly and hitting the gym to row, swim, and do weight training. He points out that his arms get a decent workout, anyway, from drumming around 40 hours per week and doing Scrap Arts Music rehearsals!
Originally from upstate New York, Kristen Klehr comes to us by way of Los Angeles.
She was born into a musical home, surrounded by jazz and classical LPs, 1920-1940s folk/popular tunes played on banjo, hammered dulcimer, and other eclectic tunes. This unique blend of musical influences has shaped her approach to musical interpretations and the cultural value within music. She jokes that this is why she’s never been able to settle on playing only in one genre of percussion!
Classically trained at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (Ohio), she has a broad musical background, including orchestral percussion, marimba, world music, drum set, new music, and vocal training. Kristen has studied primarily with Josh Ryan and Joel Smales, and is proudly endorsed by DREAM Cymbals and Gongs.
Kristen loves diving into the immersive performance experience and challenging traditional concepts on ‘what a concert should be’ with her LA-based company, Produced by BEAR. She holds a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University and, prior to launching BEAR, Kristen spent seven years as an arts administrative professional helping numerous music festivals and non-profits launch, expand, thrive, and strengthen their own missions.
Within the fitness realm, Kristen is a running coach and specialty fitness instructor exclusively for Equinox. Her athletic background also includes modern dance, tennis, basketball, powerlifting, rock climbing, rigorous hiking, and cycling, having most recently completed the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Born in Vancouver, Canada, and moved to Salt Spring Island when he was six, Malcolm began to study the drums at age 16, which quickly become an obsession.
A member of Scrap Arts Music since 2000, Malcolm took sabbatical in 2007 to start his own family and to establish a water-bottling enterprise called Saltspring Water Co., purveyors of Saltspring’s Finest Natural Water.
He rejoined the ensemble in 2011 and was part of tours to Germany, the Netherlands, USA and Canada. With his deep familiarity with Gregory Kozak's compositions, Malcolm is the official "swing" for Children of Metropolis.
In 1995, Malcolm and older brother, guitarist Roderick Shoolbraid founded the Carrot Revolution - a unique live trance/break-beat/ambient sound.
More recently, in 2016, Malcolm Shoolbraid and his wife Jette Leimbigler (bass) had a listen to the polymetric patterns of Thigma, (self-described as "an ultra forward-thinking metal band living on an idyllic little island caught in the past") and joined forces as a mega-rare married rhythm section.
In addition to a rich musical career, Malcolm worked as a house-builder, logger and commercial fisherman. He is probably dreaming about his next surf-camping adventure.
Malcolm played soccer for thirteen years, seven of which were as goalie. It was then that he developed and fostered his love of jumping... a skill - for better or worse - he continues to use in Scrap Arts Music.