Watch Out of Office on our YouTube Channel

Up Close and Personal with 2018 Notable Awards Headliner and Phenomenon Award Winner Dwayne Gretzky

Notable Awards are right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited to jam along with Toronto’s cult-favourite party band Dwayne Gretzky, the headliners of this year’s awards.

Dwayne Gretzky will also be presented with the PHENOMENON AWARD at this year’s Notable Awards. This honour recognizes the innovation the band has brought to the music scene with their fresh take on everyone’s favourite classics. We sat down with them to find out what separates a good cover song from a terrible one, and the craziest house-party they’ve ever been to. The Notable Awards were created to recognize young professionals that are thriving in their respective spaces. Whether it be fashion, digital innovation, or athleticism that brings you to the Notable Awards, they are designed to be the Oscars for young professionals and the ultimate networking event and party of the year. This year new categories have been added and there are over 50 awards up for grabs!

The 2018 nominees have been announced! Click here to vote for your favourites NOW! Voting closes Friday, November 16th. Early bird tickets are now on sale for $69! Your ticket includes open bar, Instagram content zones, premium food from your favourite Toronto hotspots, as well as a $10 Lyft promo code to get you home safely. This year’s #NotableAwards is also hosting iYellow Wine Club’s #HolidayWineJam, which means we have not 1, not 2, but one-HUNDRED wines for you to sip on all night long with the who’s who of Toronto. This is an incredible opportunity to celebrate and socialize with Toronto’s most #Notable humans at the ULTIMATE THROWBACK HOUSE PARTY OF THE YEAR!!!

Tell us about how you met and decided to start making music together.
Tyler and I grew up in Lindsay, Ontario and reconnected when we both moved to Toronto in the early 2000s. We played in a band called Sweet Thing together for several years and then started Dwayne Gretzky as a fun covers side-project in 2011. In the seven years since the band has really grown both in membership and repertoire. In addition to performing a lot in the Toronto area, we’ve also had the good fortune of playing everywhere from Provence, France to Montana, from Mexico to Alert, Nunavut.

You’ve been known to cover everything from Beyonce to Tom Petty. What separates a good cover song from a bad one?
I suppose any good song is a good cover song as long as you can pull it off. A bad cover is something banal or trite and/or one you can’t perform well enough. One of the things we try to do is surprise people with songs they love but forgot they love. It’s all about keeping it interesting for ourselves and hope that energy is contagious for the audience.

How do you choose which songs to cover?
Generally, we just choose songs we love, that also play to the band’s strengths. We try to steer clear of tunes that are too obvious and overplayed, so you’ll likely never see us play Brown Eyed Girl or Don’t Stop Believing for instance. Over the years we’ve challenged ourselves to tackle more and more ambitious tunes, like Bohemian Rhapsody or Blinded by the Light – songs that are difficult to pull off and most cover bands tend to avoid. It’s all about curating a night of music that has energy, variety, a few surprises and a bunch of bangers.

What’s a song that’s been stuck in your head recently?
Well, I just visited my cousins in Vancouver who are aged 2, 4 and 6 and they really wanted to listen to Hands Up by Ottawan on repeat for hours as we danced around the living room. And I haven’t really been able to shake that song ever since.

This summer, you organized a labour day music festival, Camp Dwayne. What was the inspiration for creating this festival?
We’d played a couple private gigs at Camp Timberlane near Haliburton and were struck by how great the facilities were. It’s on a lake, with a bunch of cabins, some indoor and outdoor performance spaces – it just seemed like the perfect place to host our own music festival. So that’s exactly what we did and it was such a wonderful time. For me it was definitely the best weekend of the summer, the whole thing exceeded my expectations and I think everyone who was there really enjoyed it.

What’s something unexpected you learned from that experience?
Any time you try something new and it goes well it’s always a pleasant surprise. Especially when you plan for the worst and hope for the best, which is generally the way to go. I’m just grateful people took a chance on a new thing and gave it a shot. But I suppose the most unexpected part was watching my dad do yoga on the beach in full denim.

You’ve played to audiences all across Canada – do you notice anything different when you play in different provinces?
I think generally speaking audiences across Canada are pretty similar to one another. Everyone’s just looking to have a good time and see a great show, and are appreciative when you give them that, especially when they’re drunk. We’re always excited to go too far off places and meet new people and see cool things, it’s one of the best parts of our job. Recently we were in Whistler for a gig, and the drive from Vancouver is pretty spectacular. In September we were in Fredericton doing an all Tragically Hip set at the historic and very well run Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival which was also great.

If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing instead?
I think maybe we would just buy a big plot of land up north and start a commune together? Grow some vegetables, sell them at a local farmer’s market, and gradually get more and more on each other’s nerves.

You’re headlining this year’s Notable Awards – which is going to be the ultimate throwback house party. What’s the craziest house party you’ve ever been to?
In my first year of university, I went to a house party and drank three Mike’s Hard Lemonades too quickly and threw up on the porch so I had to go home. Does that qualify?

The 2018 Notable Award nominees have been announced! Check them out below and make sure you head to to vote for your favourites!

Notable Life

Canada’s leading online publication for driven young professionals & culture generators.