When Toronto-based record label Arts & Crafts celebrated its tenth anniversary, the home to the likes of Feist, Broken Social Scene and Dan Mangan didn't just make a giant cake and have a party.
Today the label released "X," a unique duets compilation featuring artists from its roster. But the label has been doing non-music anniversary projects, too. The label is hosting a short story contest with House Of Anansi, brewing its own beer for the forthcoming Field Trip Festival, and of special interest to us, showcasing photographer Norman Wong's intimate and exclusive pictures of various artists for the "Norman Wong x Arts & Crafts" exhibition.
Wong's iconic black-and-white photographs of artists like Kevin Drew, TRUST and Gentleman Reg will be on display from May 23 to June 15 at 1093 Queen St. W. Unit 2 in Toronto. More importantly, Wong dug into his personal archives for 10 special photos from Arts & Crafts' past for HuffPost and told us all about what was happening in them.
Click on the slideshow below to find out about Kevin Drew's proudest moment and to glimpse at the gateway to where all the Broken Social Scene magic happens.
Leslie Feist at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (2005)
I started off being Broken Social Scene's junior videographer sometime in 2005, and I started to try out photography right after. This was one of my first photos I've taken at the start of interest.
Broken Masics Scene in Toronto (2006)
One of Kevin's lifelong dreams when he decided to become a musician was to play next to J Masic's of Dinosaur Jr. I framed this photo for him as a gift that year to mark that achievement.
Brendan Canning (2007)
I have a very special relationship with Brendan as him and his partner at the time Sarah Haywood were the ones who introduced me to the A&C family. He is definitely family to me. I would hang out a lot at his house during this period and would often watch him play his piano and spin his amazing collection of hip-hop records.
Broken Social Scene (2008)
Broken Social Scene did a special last-minute friends and family rehearsal jam session at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto. This photograph was taken then and later was used as their main press photo for a while. It's one of my favorite photographs I've taken of them and I believe it best represent them as a group in their comfort zone. Members of The Police were right behind Andrew Whiteman watching show.
The Hidden Cameras (2009)
This was one of my first full commissions from A&C, for The Hidden Camera's record "Origin:Orphan." It was one of the more frustrating, but also the most rewarding experiences I have had working with a band. Joel Gibb became a special friend after this production.
Broken Social Scene at the Harbourfront on July 12, 2009
This was a monumental home show for the band, which reunited the three girls (Feist, Amy Millan, Emily Haines) for the first time in a while. It took place during the 2009 Toronto Garbage Strike, and was made into "This Movie Is Broken" by Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar. It was the best show I have personally ever seen the band play. This is a photo of Kevin, who jumped into the audience to watch his army of friends slam their anthem "Ibi Dreams Of Pavement." He is a proud man and I am, too.
Charles Spearin's Backyard Garage (2010)
This is a photograph of the entrance to the rehearsal garage where everything is done. This is what home to Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think looks like. Charlie is the grounding force behind the band and I admire him very much.
Last Day of Chemo (2011)
In 2011 I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. At every moment when I needed it I had my family and friends around me. This was my last day of chemotherapy, and three of my good friends (Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning and Aaron Kopff) were there to help me ring that bell. Broken Social Scene and A&C are definitely friends who stuck by me during hard times. I can't be happier to have a clean bill of health.
Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski made one of my favourite records of 2012. TRUST is one of many acts I love in Toronto today that represents a new chapter and generation in the thriving music community. This was a photo taken from a session I did for one of my favourite music magazines called 'SUP.
A&C 10 (2013)
This year I was asked to showcase my work for A&C to celebrate the label's tenth anniversary. We just launched a major photography exhibition showing all of my black and white portraits of the A&C artists over the years and also a major archive section showing all the intimate and performance shots over the years. I knew I had to sneak in a portrait of Marty Kinack in there to make fun of my own work and to also give the family of A&C a little treat. He is the man behind the sound for many of the A&C acts, mostly Broken Social Scene, Hayden, Stars and Feist.