Connect with us


On The Comeup: Mantar Bhandal



(Originally posted on Steemit)

I’m Carson Hoy, a musician and contributor to Surrey 604, I’m 20 years old and so obviously I know EVERYTHING. Well not everything, but one thing I do know is it’s important to stay in touch with people you have faith in.

Mantar, is one of those guys.

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward” – Steve Jobs

– meaning that you can’t plan out how your life is going to go, you can only connect the dots looking backward and understand how they led you here… Well sorry Stevie, Mantar’s dots are connected til’ the friggin crypt as far as I’m concerned.

Over the past year I dove deep into the minds of the rich famous and successful, studying their mindsets and life stories. So what did these people all have in common?

  • They find a passion
  • They dream BIG
  • They work HARD

Over the years I’ve known Mantar he has been displaying all those traits, I just didn’t know it yet!

Mantar is a multi instrumentalist and vocalist as well as a producer
and sound engineer, his debut EP “Side by Side” was fully produced by himself.

A graduate of BCIT, he now broadcasts live on radio for Q101.1 Merritt and does play-by-play commentary for the Merritt Centennials hockey team… At age 20! I fully expect to see Mantar on Hockey Night in Canada or winning a Juno Award. His work ethic and overall mindset leads to me to believe there’s much more to come.

Let’s catch up with Mantar!

Bold print – Carson Hoy
Italic print – Mantar Bhandal

“So, Tar. Tell me, what was the first experience you had with music?”

“I’d always been a shower-singer growing up, in fact I was super into Punjabi music when I was a kid. I remember being in elementary school, and my aunt used to walk with me to school. I used to sing punjabi songs and pretend it was the radio. She would switch channels mid-song sometimes, and without missing a beat, I would start singing another song! I even convinced my mom to buy me a DVD with punjabi music videos, and that thing never accumulated any dust. I played the hell out of it haha.”

“Man, that’s so cool. I’ve always seen you as confident and outgoing like that, not worried about people seeing you jam out. Sounds like your family was on board with your love of music, that’s important. I was in band with you at school so you atleast had a performance background then, but had you ever picked up an instrument before that?”

“I remember that, you were one hell of a drummer haha. Well, at the time saxophone was really one of the first instruments I’d played, But, with that being said, I did actually play an indian drum growing up called the dhol. It was like a conga, but sideways. It had a shoulder strap for it, and one side had a synthetic head, and the other was a leather skin head. You had two sticks, one L shaped stick that was heavy and you held in your dominant hand, and a long, skinny stick that was light and whippy that you held in the other hand. So, you’d use the big stick for the leather side, because it was the bass drum, and the smaller stick for the other side which was kind of like a snare drum. That was probably the first instrument I’d ever played. I haven’t played it since, grade 4 I think? Yea grade 4.”

“Oh yeah! I see guys rippin those at Bhangra shows. I always wanted to give one a go! So who was the first artist that really got you excited when you heard them?”

“Oh boy, way to drop a heavy question. Um, when I sort of phased out of punjabi music I was in late elementary/early highschool. Around then, I discovered Linkin Park. I was like, wow, when I heard them. They blew my mind, they were soo good. I loved singing along to their songs, there was so much emotion, and passion in their music. Lyrically, it was so good. Sometimes I would cry listening to their music. It was so beautiful.”

“I remember you listening to them in class sometimes. I feel a lot of teenagers could relate to the messages in their songs. I love the production and hiphop DJ elements infused with their tracks too. We were in a deep conversation before this interview about your radio experience and being on air. How much has your experience at BCIT and radio broadcasting applied to this project?”

“Oh man, BCIT has been probably the biggest, if not only, reason this EP came to existence. BCIT made me grow so much as a person, I learned so much. I could go on for days talking about it honestly. Best decision of my life. But through BCIT I met people who were likeminded. I drew inspiration musically, developed my craft production-wise, and it all came together. I started playing guitar and bass at BCIT too. I learned the base of my skills, and with time and experience I began to refine those raw skills. I really turned into a DIY guy at BCIT. I learned a lot of other things that would help me in other ways, like graphic design. I would say had I not been to BCIT, this EP wouldn’t have happened.”

“That’s so dope man, I’m stoked hearing that. You had lots of raw passion for music and production in highschool and when we talked, I thought “This guy just needs to go for it, he’s got the drive” You could talk my ear off about music and I was “The Music Guy” being out-talked about my own thing! I’m happy you had your place in BCIT to experiment, lots of people don’t get in the headspace to allow themselves to just muck around. I hear so many stories about how going to school didn’t do much, but you get out what you put in! So for this EP, you’ve told me there’s going to be a lot of different styles involved like hip hop and metal influences. What would you say is your all time favourite genre of music and why?”

“Yea, there’s a mix of different flavors, like Dr. Pepper. Basically, the main influence is metal, but there’s other things that you’ll pick up that’ll remind you of metalcore, punk, alternative, and yea even hip hop! My all-time favorite genre would have to be metal, just due to its diversity. You have the fast side, like Slayer (all-time favorite), you have the slower stuff like Sabbath. You’ll have things that other people will think ‘that’s not music, that’s ****’ but to you it’s the best thing in the world. There’s bands that will use just pure emotion, some will use the ‘smack you across the face sound’, like Converge, there’s just so much in the genre. The genre will make you feel epic (bands like Iced Earth), will make you feel angry (Pantera), there’s just so much. It’s probably the most diverse genre out there. If you don’t like metal, it could be that maybe it’s just a select style that you don’t like.”

“I grew up on Sabbath, Slayer, Pantera.. I totally get what you’re saying. Metal has it’s own universe musically, it’s own culture too and yeah, often it’s taken the wrong way! Non-metal people don’t see it as a genre to express deep emotion which is funny because you’ve told me the project was inspired by a friend’s outlook on life. What made his ideas so impactful on you?

“Look at you, Mr. Research! Yea, you’re right. This entire EP is inspired by a buddy of mine. It was a combination of his ideas, his experiences, and his outlook on life. He’s actually featured on track 4, ‘Tears of Man’. That was a track I’d been working with him on before I decided to make the entire EP. That was inspired by an episode he had when he was young. There’s that standard that men don’t cry, they’re supposed to be stones, pillars, what have you. What happened to him was that when he was young, his father told him, ‘Real men don’t cry’. From then on, he was so desensitized, he was a robot. He told me that story, and that was the inspiration for ‘Tears of Man’. Other than that, he went through a terrible relationship, and you and I both know that stuff changes your life. That was inspiration for tracks 1,2, and 3. He was the victim of a scam artist, and he went out of that the bigger person. The girl’s reputation was pretty much tarnished, because the truth got out really quick. I won’t go into more detail, but everyone knew that his version of the story was the right one. He came out of that situation with an amazing mindset on things, never complaining, head always held high. I think that great things happen because people get inspired to do them. He inspired me to do this EP.”

“Been there. Men can be victims in relationships but their stories can go unheard, has to do with the same “Real men don’t cry” mindset that your buddy’s dad had. I haven’t seen many artists go there with their lyrics. If you were to sum up this EPs message in a sentence or word, what would that be?”

“Oh boy, way to stump me jeez. Well, man, really gonna have to think about this one. As long as you’re inspired, only you are your limits. How about that? That sums up my EP I’d say.”

“I asked Shrek if he thought that summed up the EP well and he said “That’ll do Mantar. That’ll do”
Are you considering releasing a full length album having put together this EP?”

“Oh, God yes. Yes, yes yes yes. I will DEFINITELY be working on an album. This EP was to see what I had, and there’s another song that I made literally 2 days after the release that I wanted to get on the EP, but couldn’t. It’s actually my best song haha. But there’s a whole bunch of other things I’m working on at the moment. I’d love to work with a label for a full-scale release. I’m thinking like, 10-12 tracks. Maybe throw in a few more covers.”

“Definitely seems you have the knack at theming a body of work, I await that album. You had said you recorded and mixed the EP yourself, I gotta know, what track was the nastiest to complete editing wise?”

“On it again, haha. All of the songs were 50+ track projects and took days to make. The nastiest was definitely the opening track. ‘Side by Side’ was an absolute bitch to produce. I think it turned out ok. I mean, there’s professional engineers out there filling up notepads with things they would’ve done way better and totally picking it apart, but I think it turned out ok. There were just so many different things I had to do on that track. I had over 30 tracks for just the vocals. The vocals! That one took a long time to produce.”

“OH MY GOD. I’m dying thinking about editing that hahaha I was reading that saying “Ohh… OHHH!” out loud. (To anyone reading this who doesn’t know how hard it is to edit THIRTY vocal tracks on a song. Imagine walking up a 300’ down-escalator bare foot that someone spilled legos on, while holding all of your mom’s fine China.)
Who’s an artist you think everyone needs to listen to?”

“Rage Against the Machine. Linkin Park is a close second, but, Rage Against the Machine. The musical genius, the lyrical genius, the raw emotion, passion, drive, it’s not something you’ll find in other places. Listening to them, maybe your perspective on life will change, maybe you’ll find something in your life to live for, and if not, well, you have a reason to dance like mad and kick over trash cans. They were a transformational band that will never, ever, have another band like it ever again.”

“True. Rage goes raw, makes you look at your life without a filter. From talking to you I’ve always had the impression that you’re not afraid to follow your passions and others opinions have little effect on that. I find it hard not to listen to the naysayers sometimes, what advice would you give to those struggling with chasing their passions?”

“Just think, what would your life be like otherwise? When it’s your time to go, and you’re looking back on your life, are you happy with what you did? Think of it this way, I went out of my way, I set myself up for completion or nothing. I didn’t sleep some nights, all to work on this. I know what I have to do. Remember, if you pour your heart and soul into something, and it doesn’t work out, you’ll have no regrets, because you know, that it was the right thing to do.You’ll have to go out of your comfort zone to get to where you want to be. Nothing is permanent. When people say you can’t do it, chances are, they might be scared that you can do it. Why should you listen to them? In the end, it’s your decision. Not theirs. You control what you can, or can’t do. Not them. Use it to perfect your craft. Use their words as motivation. Think of not wanting to prove them wrong, but rather to prove yourself right, that it was worth it. If you can’t have the right mindset to do something, you’ll never be able to do it.”

“Daaaamn Mantar, back at it again with the deep raaants. I encourage anyone reading to keep an eye on Mantar and the tracks he’s releasing. Mantar, it was awesome talking to you and getting some insight on your musical journey! What are some links we can give the people to check out your music and more about you?”

“Yea man this was awesome! Was a pleasure chatting with you as always. My EP’s out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, everything you can think of. Just search Side by SIde – Mantar Bhandal. You can check out some of my other side projects on my soundcloud, I got some covers and collabs up there. Check out my website at Follow me on twitter, @MantarBhandal and @MetalManny89, add me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever floats your boat! I’m on Youtube too, but I don’t do too much on Youtube. Carson, I really appreciate you havin me on man, this was awesome. Make sure you follow Carson too! He’s one talended-ass dude. He’s on his way to big things.”

Thanks Mantar for doing this interview!

Get a peek at Mantar’s debut EP “Side By Side” below
Check out Mantar’s official website

Carson Hoy and Austin Neighbour are "DETH KLOWN", Surrey's own Teenaged EDM DJ Krew. They perform for many Surrey events, youth shows and doing their own parties with their Deth Skwad. DETH KLOWN's exclusive Surrey604 video series, "DETH KLOWN and Friends" takes you into the backwards minds of DK, and shows their friends and local talent mucking about in Surrey.

Community Board

Help Canadian Artists Get Played



Canadian musicians have a great opportunity to get radio play right here in Vancouver. Mary Kirk of Durham Radio has applied for a Vancouver license. With a new, local radio station artists will have a greater range of options to be heard, played, and paid for their music.

Durham Radio needs our help to get their application accepted. I’m reaching out to all musicians to send a letter of support for Durham Radio’s application.

Here is a message from  Mary and Doug Kirk:

Dear members of our Wave artist family,

We at Durham Radio Inc. have applied for a new FM license to broadcast The Wave on 98.3FM in the heart of Vancouver, Canada’s second-largest English-speaking market and a perfect backdrop for Canada’s Smoothest Groove!

Our application was publicly posted Monday, March 22nd on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s site (CRTC).  In order to be successful, we now need huge public support, especially from our wonderful Wave family of artists.   We hope you will add your own letter of support, documenting your past experiences with The Wave and with us personally, emphasizing our commitment to our artists, especially our Canadian vocalists and instrumentalists. If you have a personal story that will illustrate the impact the Wave has had on your career in the music industry, we would so appreciate your sharing it with the Commission.

Please begin your letter with a clear statement of support for our application.   Then explain why you think that our “Smooth Groove” format would be a welcome addition to the Vancouver market. You may have some thoughts beyond the obvious arguments that we’ll be adding diversity of choice for listeners and a new fresh sound, primarily from artists who do not get played on any other stations in Canada. Our dedication to live music around town and major show production will of course continue, once attending concerts is allowed again!

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts to make “Vancouver’s Smoothest Groove” a reality!  Our West Coast Wave will play an even balance of instrumental and vocal music and will be 40% Canadian in content. We are eager to get all our artists back on FM radio in Canada and introduced them to so many new fans.

With your help, we hope to be able to report on a favourable CRTC decision by late summer.

To mail your support: CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2 To fax your support please send to 819-994-0218 for further instructions contact Cat Levan at


Many thanks for your support,


Cat Levan



Continue Reading


Surrey-local Ranj Singh’s Restless Nights Pulls At Heartstrings Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic



Visuals and animation done by Peca Petrovic of Smile Magnet.

The winter months have proven to be some of the toughest of the Covid-19 pandemic in British Columbia. Many people have been faced with loss, some for the first time. It is hard to comprehend the thought that a loved one is just not there anymore. But you are not alone. And Ranj Singh’s Restless Nights makes sure you know it.

Restless Nights is just 3 weeks old now, premiering amidst some of the highest Covid-19 related deaths that British Columbia has seen. With our province also under strict pandemic restrictions, many of us spent the holidays alone. Restless Nights came at the perfect time. The song speaks to the difficulty of not being able to be with the people you love, whether that separation be due to distance or loss. Many people have felt this hardship this year, including Singh himself.

“Over one year ago, I lost my older brother and wanted to write a song that would capture my grief. I am sharing Restless Nights in the hope that it may bring comfort and closure for those of us who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one, without getting to say goodbye. I want to reach out, especially during these COVID-19 days, and let you know that you are not alone,” he says.

This loss shines through in Singh’s vocal and lyrics. The raw vulnerability that he sings with holds an authenticity that cannot be replicated without having to navigate the firsthand experience of losing a loved one.

Singh’s lyrics and musicianship are complimented by visuals and animation done by Peca Petrovic of Smile Magnet. The video shows Singh walking through an empty park, playing his guitar. Other images flash by that are meant to draw our eye, whether they be memories of his own family or the prominent image of Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix at their daily address.

You can watch Restless Nights on YouTube now.

Continue Reading


New Christmas Originals CD from Vancouver Singer-songwriter Cat Levan!



Vancouver Singer-songwriter Cat Levan
spreads the love with “The Joy of Christmas”

Produced by Billboard chart-topper Steve Oliver, her new EP dropped on Nov 6

Longtime Vancouverite Cat Levan’s second album (EP) “The Joy of Christmas” released November 6th, breathes fresh feeling into the much-loved classic “Silent Night”, and introduces two new favourites that will have listeners craving snuggles and hot cocoa by the fire. Her sultry tone brings an intimate feel to #1 hitmaker Steve Oliver’s engaging ballad “Watching the Snow Fall”. The idea for her self-penned, softly-rhythmic title track “The Joy of Christmas” sparked earlier this year when she spotted a tiny Christmas tree in the studio where she was recording her first album “Double Life”.

“I love Christmas, not just the tinsel, lights and gifts, but the whole idea that there is a time of year when people give a little more, care a little more and open up their hearts to others. Maybe we can’t all hug right now due to Covid, but I hope this song feels like I’m giving you all a big, warm, hug!” offers Levan.

As a lyricist, she is a storyteller who writes about love, connection and the warmth of family, which suit the vulnerable qualities inherent in her ethereal voice.

“The Joy of Christmas” is dedicated to my Mom who always made Christmas so special, and to those who’ve lost someone and really feel that loss at this time of year,” admitted Levan who has also launched two videos on Youtube to accompany the album release: The Joy of ChristmasWatching the Snow Fall .

Levan found that remembering family times helped her let go of heartache. “The memories spark traditions which in turn, keep the memories alive. It’s a wonderful way to honour those who are no longer with us,” reveals Levan saying that the song “Watching The Snow Fall” is “about the holidays becoming even more wonderful when spent with your special someone. Creating new memories with them can once again make this a magical time of year. It’s about feeling the love as you watch the snow fall…”

She brings a solid groove to “Silent Night”, a well-known traditional Christmas carol. A subtle gospel rhythm speaks to the soul and gives an ancient song new life. Her voice gently caresses the lyrics and brings renewed meaning to the words “heavenly peace”.

The “The Joy of Christmas” EP contains the following songs: “The Joy of Christmas”, “Silent Night” and “Watching the Snow Fall”. Curl up with a glass of wine and listen to Levan as she casts a Christmas spell with “The Joy of Christmas”

About Cat Levan:

A former professional kick-boxer, restaurant owner, clothing designer, marketing director, illustrator – and mother, Cat Levan finally realized her long-held musical dream this past spring when she released her debut album, “Double Life”. The Vancouver-based artist teamed with Billboard Top 10 hitmaker and guitarist Steve Oliver to write seven original songs for the 11-song recording produced by Oliver in his Southern California studio.

Her Canadian countryman and brother-in-law, contemporary jazz saxophonist Walle Larsson (married to her sister, Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriter Melanie Chartrand), guested throughout the collection that finished production just prior to the closure of the border due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tracks from the CD have been played by host Nou Dadoun on “The A-Trane” Vancouver’s longest-running jazz radio show and are now charting in regular airplay rotation on smooth jazz radio stations across the USA and UK, as well as on “Wave FM” Canada’s main smooth jazz station located in Southwestern Ontario.

Levan’s quest for music brought her to the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir, where she was a soloist, and Soundscape A Capella group where she discovered harmonies. She has been a guest artist with blues bands and classic rock bands but decided it was time to explore her own music.

Levan’s friend Chris Thornley, who plans the annual Blues for the Bank benefit concert in Surrey who like Levan is also a singer and marketing professional, said he’s impressed by Levan’s musical efforts. “The quality of production, arrangements and songwriting are all first-class.”

For more information, please visit

Continue Reading


Surrey-based Jazz Artist and Entrepreneur, Natalia Pardalis, Defies Western Beauty Standards Through Music, Fashion and Beauty



By Navreet Dhaliwal

Surrey-Based Jazz Artist and Entrepreneur, Natalia Pardalis is using music, fashion, and beauty as expressions to challenge western beauty standards that she has been faced with since her younger days as an emerging artist and entrepreneur.

“Breaking stereotypes since 1979” has become a part of Natalia’s rhetoric because of her journey as an artist and her mission to go against the grain of what she was told to do in order to be a more successful artist and entrepreneur. Natalia states how a woman’s age has come to define her in the music industry. Natalia got her breakthrough into the music industry in her late 20’s, which could be considered as a “late start” by music industry standards. Natalia’s reps at that time would go on to tell her she is in luck due to the fact that she looked so young.

For years, Natalia stuck with the narrative of being perceived as young just so she could find success with what she loved to do, which was play music. Overtime, Natalia states “I didn’t feel authentic as an artist and did not like playing along to the narrative of being younger than I actually was.” Overtime, Natalia did what she does best, which is to break stereotypes and start stating her actual age to let her audience know about her journey as an artist and the hard work it took her to get to where she is.

From the get-go, Natalia was often told that she needed to lose weight and be a specific body type in order to garner success as a musician and entrepreneur. Growing up with this negative narrative and witnessing it being instilled in female students that she was teaching, Natalia chose to speak out against body-shaming through her ventures and the online platform that she has come to build as an artist. Once again, Natalia is on her mission to break stereotypes as she weaves strong messages of body positivity in her body of work and her online platforms, Natalia states “no one’s body affects who they are, their music, their voice, and what they can do.”

Natalia admits that her journey to go against the grain of western beauty standards has not been the easiest thing to do. She states “life has been hard but it’s also been beautiful.” She has been able to discover herself through her journey and come to the fact that it is not okay for anyone to be turned down opportunities simply due to the fact of who they are and how they don’t fit into a cookie-cutter image of success.

Using her music, her lifestyle, and her beauty brand, Natalia wants to build a community of like-minded individuals who feel like they are not alone as they figure out who they are and not feel like they are stuck at a disadvantage because they don’t fit into a certain “ideal” image of beauty.

Natalia released her newest single “Mr. Slowpoke” in June, which can be found on Spotify. If you want to keep up to date with Natalia’s journey as an artist and entrepreneur, she can be found on @natavivi on Instagram and on Facebook as Natalia Paradalis Music.

Continue Reading


Legendary Canadian Band HONEYMOON SUITE Hit the Top 30 Rock Charts for the First Time in 19 Years



“Find What You’re Looking For” Latest Release Previewing New Album, Their First Since 2008 | Watch “Find What You’re Looking For” via YouTube Here

36 years on, that headline above makes the fact all the more impressive. Canadian classic rockers Honeymoon Suite hope you “Find What You’re Looking For” in this, their newest single – available now!

The newest preview for the iconic band’s forthcoming album, “Find What You’re Looking For” has been eagerly ushered in by fans and critics alike, hitting the Top 30 rock charts in Canada in no time flat. It’s their first chart-climber in 19 years, and follows late 2019’s “Tell Me What You Want” – their first single release since 1992.

The two tracks lift the curtain, revealing the latest in what’s to come from the band who’ve long made themselves a household name. Early listens show the release has an unmistakably fresh energy to it, while still keeping true to the classic Honeymoon Suite sound fans have loved for nearly four decades.

First formed in 1981, Honeymoon Suite first broke onto the scene thanks to hit single “New Girl Now” taking the cake in a ‘Homegrown’ radio station contest put on by Toronto’s Q107. Founding members Johnnie Dee and Derry Grehan would soon be joined by Gary Lalonde, Dave Betts, and Peter Nunn, and go on to win a JUNO Award for ‘Group of the Year’, countless nominations, and continued International recognition over their near-40 years.

“Sometimes you just know when everything starts lining up, and sounding really good early on,” says Honeymoon Suite. “This new album will be the strongest new music we’ve released in a long time.”

“Find What You’re Looking For” is available now.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Designed by Binary Souls.