On the day after Halloween Matt Dunae got word that he won a Sunrise Records contest in which the record store chain would print and stock its national shelves with 500 vinyl and 500 CD copies of his next album. But there was a catch: he needed to submit a demo within 24 hours.
The Nanaimo rapper, who goes by the stage name Sirreal, immediately called his producer, Rob the Viking of Swollen Members.
“I said, ‘Man, I need to get this record done by tomorrow,’ and he goes, ‘Sorry man, I’m booked tomorrow … but what about right now?’” Dunae said, looking back.
“And I was like, ‘What do you mean right now?’ And he’s like, ‘Right this second.’”
So Dunae ran over to Rob’s Nanaimo studio, The Chamber, armed with a year’s worth of material in his head. He emerged 16 hours later with a nine-track demo for his album, In the Nick of Time.
After getting the OK from Sunrise, Dunae continued with the album, and he said the recording sessions have been “magical.” The record is named after Dunae’s brother Nick, who died by suicide, and his guitarist is playing Nick’s guitar on the album.
“I brought my vocal coach in, two of my really close friends, a couple other collaborators and my bass player and my guitarist and we just went in there and just created this, what I consider to be a timeless album,” Dunae said.
“And that’s not a play on words.”
With Sunrise taking care of distribution, Dunae began a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help cover other expenses. He started with a $5,000 goal but finished with more than $25,000 raised.
“It was insane. I can’t believe the amount of support that not only the community of Nanaimo, but B.C. in general has given me,” he said.
That support will help Dunae take his band on a 19-date cross-Canada tour. The third stop on that journey is the Queen’s on Friday, April 20. He will be performing directly above the studio where In the Nick of Time was recorded.
“It will definitely be meaningful because, first of all it’s in the city where I live, it’s always going to be dedicated to my brother, but here I have all the players that are on the album and I get to play with them all here,” he said.
WHAT’S ON … Sirreal’s In the Nick of Time CD release concert at the Queen’s on Friday, April 20. Doors at 10:30, show at 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.