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In Conversation with Brett Harris from The Maladies of Adam Stokes


Guelph alumnus chats about music, U of G, and this year’s NXNE set

The Ontarion recently sat down with Brett Harris, bassist for Toronto indie band The Maladies of Adam Stokes and former University of Guelph student.

The Maladies of Adam Stokes are very popular in downtown Toronto, and usually play at venues like The Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace. They are emerging within Toronto’s indie music scene, and are set to play in this year’s NXNE festival in Toronto.

The Maladies of Adam Stokes came out with their album City of Trees back in 2012, and received a solid response from fans. Although Brett did not really get involved in performing music until after he had graduated from Guelph, he still loved the city and all it had to offer. He chatted with us to talk about the band’s album, how he started playing, and what he loved about attending the U of G.

Danielle Subject: You can start off by telling me how you got into music in the first place, why you started playing?

Brett Harris: I actually started playing guitar when I got my first electric guitar from my cousin Kohji [Nagata], who is also in the band. I started playing bass when he asked me to join this band. Him and Mikey [Hill] – our lead singer, used to played in sort of a hard-core band, and they decided to branch off and start something in a different direction and asked if I wanted in, I said sure, and that’s when I first started playing bass. Now, 4 years later, still doin’ it and lovin’ it. Pretty much how I got into music.

D.S.: How did you get involved in The Maladies of Adam Stokes?

B.H.: It was at a family dinner, actually. Kohji was telling me about this new band that he was starting and said they were looking for someone to play bass ‘cause the guy who they originally wanted to play bass ended up playing drums, so he’s now our drummer. I basically said yeah on a whim, like, I’ll learn to play bass for the band.

D.S.: Tell me more about the name The Maladies of Adam Stokes – I realize there’s nobody in your band named Adam.

B.H.: There isn’t. Mikey is a doctor, and during med school he read a book that was written by these two doctors Adams and Stokes and he sort of just jotted it down in a notebook, The Maladies of Adam Stokes. I think the book was entitled The Maladies- or something along that line – and he thought it was poetic, we wrote it down, and when it came time to forming this band he drew it out on the table and we all said sure. There’s no actual Adam Stokes – that we know of anyway.

D.S.: And you went to the University of Guelph.

B.H.: I did, for 4 years.

D.S.: What did you love about attending the university?

B.H.: I loved the small town atmosphere –it is for me. It’s like the best thing in life. I loved walking around campus and you end up seeing everybody that you know, and same thing going downtown to the bar. Everything was close by, unless you’re going to the outskirts like the farming part of Guelph. I just loved everything about it- there wasn’t one thing that I didn’t like.

D.S.: Finally, are you excited to play in NXNE this year?

B.H.: Yes. I love playing in NXNE- last year was a lot of fun too. I’ve never played at the bar or club that we’re playing at – The Tranzac – so that’ll be interesting. We’ve got a great set time. Hopefully we’ll have a couple new songs ready to send out when we’re there.