Name: Chris Wynters
Occupation: Executive Director of Alberta Music
Location: Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Peace River, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Jasper, Banff, Fort Macleod….well…Edmonton, Alberta…when I’m in the office.
First Job: Paper route for Daily Herald Tribune – Grande Prairie
Best Job: Other than this one…I was (and still am) a founding member of the proudly Albertan band, Captain Tractor (20 years old this year); one of Alberta’s most successful indie bands ever. Seven albums (with combined sales of over 100,000 units), nine videos, dozens of awards, numerous border crossings and international excursions, tons of fast food and least twenty non-stop Canadian tours. Captain Tractor’s tag line used to be: ON TOUR – ALWAYS. It’s been quite fun to say the least.
Greatest Professional Challenge: To grow this organization, to expand its reach throughout the province, including more staff and a new office in Calgary, while at the same time finding financial stability and greater means to do more for our members and our industry.
So how did you get this awesome gig anyways? I had to run through fire! Well, not exactly fire, but there were quite a few interviews involved where my temperature got quite high, and I did do a PowerPoint presentation…which was pretty hot!
What do you like best about what you do? I love listening to music recreationally again. For that past twenty years, as I’ve been working as a writer, composer and producer of music, I’ve constantly had to be listening to music from a purely analytical perspective. Not all the time, of course, but things were often busy and it felt like I was always just referencing mixes, fixing guitar tracks, editing string arrangements…it was great…don’t get me wrong! But it wasn’t simply listening to music. Now I listen to music all day. CBC R3, CKUA…and a host of fine Alberta recordings that come through our office all the time.
Any special skills required? Time manipulation. Fitting 10+ hours of work into a 7.5-hour day.
Favourite experience on the job: Just about to get into it…but I think I’m going to enjoy being on the ground for our members and help to represent them in their endeavours at festivals like Canadian Music Week (Toronto, ON), SXSW (Austin, TX), The Great Escape (Brighton, UK), Reeperbahn (Hamburg, Germany), Folk Alliance (Toronto, ON) and BreakOut West, which is in our very own city of Calgary this year!
Advice for people who want your awesome gig: Learn how to use QuickBooks.
Favourite Canadian music venue: As a kid that grew up on the west coast of Canada, my favorite venue would have to be the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Captain Tractor got to play there once before it closed its doors in the 1990s and it was a fantastic night. Now it’s open again, restored to its former glory. I was there for the finale of the Peak Performance Project in November of 2012 and it was amazing to be back in that space. Oh…and I miss the Sidetrack, too…and I used to love playing the Horseshoe in Toronto.
Favourite record at the moment: So many. Wool on Wolves – Measures of Progress, Boreal Sons – Bedtime Brier, Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur, AC Newman – Shut Down the Streets. But my all-time favorite has to be Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned. It’s perfect.