by Elena Gritzan
TK Dallman fell in love with music early thanks to his family environment, though it has taken him years of mixed influences and experimentation to lead him to his current synth pop project, Make Haste. “My parents were always musical growing up,” he says, “so I learned to sing from them. And when I was in grade two, my grandparents suggested I join the church choir so I could sing, because I loved to sing … that was really kind of my intro to music and harmony and all that fun stuff.”
The church may have exposed him to the building blocks of music, but it was his older brother who opened his mind to heavier instrumentation. “[He] took me to my first show when I was about seven years old, and it was this grunge show in Hamilton for this band called Smoother … They let us in and my brother was a crazy partier and he knew the band, so we were sitting on top of the main speakers, my other brother and I, and he was like, ‘hey, just make sure they don’t fall into the mosh pit.’”
Dallman picked up a bass to join his brother’s band in grade seven, “but then realized you cannot write a song on a bass guitar.” He started learning acoustic, and began to record his own music towards the end of high school. A music industry-focused program at Fanshawe College in London threw him into an environment where he was surrounded by people as enamoured with the idea of creating music as he was.
It was around that time that he first began fooling around with electronic music. “I think it was actually Justice’s album that really got me into electronic music,” he says. “Until then, I thought it was all .. stuff you’d see on Electric Circus on MuchMusic. And I was like, this isn’t really my deal. And it wasn’t until I heard stuff [like Justice] that I was like, ‘oh wait this stuff can actually be really cool and interesting.’”
As time went on, Dallman fell for an increasing number of electronic artists. The Make Haste bandcamp page states that he takes “influence from such artists as Crystal Castles, Junior Boys and Passion Pit.” Dallman explains, “I don’t think you can really make dark electronic music in Toronto and not be a fan of Crystal Castles, or at least not owe them a hell of a lot for opening up the floodgate from Toronto and basically showing the world that Canada has great electronic music … [For those groups] I think a lot of it comes down to the melodies. Even if those songs weren’t electronic dance songs, they’d still be amazing. I think at the end of the day it comes down to the songwriting,” a fact emphasized by his dancing-averse friends’ willingness to come along to live shows on the strength of the music alone.
Dallman, though, loves to dance at shows, and was excited to find a DJ scene in Toronto where much of the audience feels the same way. “It amazed me, like everyone here is dancing! And it just kind of saddened me when I’d go to electronic bands and no one was dancing to them. I have no idea how to do it, but I want there to be a way to bridge that gap between that kind of dance world where everyone’s dancing and the band world.”
With Make Haste, Dallman is taking a solid stab at bridging said gap, something especially audible in newest single “Should Have Left,” which is dancier and harder than his debut EP. The dance angle will come across readily in the recently re-worked live show. “Previously I was doing more of a song-by-song sort of thing,” he says, “but I’ve revamped my whole set so it’s all electronic now, no drums or anything, using a whole bunch of pads and things like that so it’s all trigger-based. Actually my set is slightly more like a DJ set now where each track kind of fades into the next and has elements of the previous one in it.”
Dallman hopes to release a series of singles in the future, and loves the idea of collaborating with other artists to complement his own artistic vision. “I am blessed that I know so many talented people and I want to get them in on this,” he says. Since he has always been “split up between electronic TK and acoustic TK,” his dream collaboration would be with Sufjan Stevens, though he admits, “I don’t think that would ever happen in my lifetime.”
Then again, it is hard to know where any musical project will take you. “It’s hard to set goals for something like this,” Dallman says. I think the way you do it is you start something and you’re like, ‘oh, let’s just see where this goes.’ And if it leads to something, awesome, and if it doesn’t, it was a great time anyway.”
Make Haste is a great time for audiences too, something that you can find out at our second co-presentation with Crosswires, taking place at Handlebar. Join us on May 12 and bring your dancing shoes.