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Denman Island’s ‘Occupied’ with music

Compilation CD features a broad range of sounds from community
Avro is one of the acts on the Occupied Denman CD. Photo supplied

Denman Island has almost 1,400 residents, according to the latest census.

It turns out more than a few of them are musicians, as a number of them have banded together to put out a compilation CD.

The result, Occupied Denman, was released this year to offer a sample of what the musicians, singers and songwriters have to offer, with everything from roots music to electronica. The Denman Ukulele Ensemble even contributes a song in honour of their home.

“There’s a lot here you wouldn’t expect,” says Adam Percy, one of the producers. “We did all the recording here with them.”

At the helm with Percy were Chris Wardman and Eli Hason. All three operate Secret Clubhouse Sound, and set out to record some projects with which they are involved as well as the work of others in the community.

“We’ve been doing our studio for a few years now,” he says.

The three all have roots in the Canadian music scene. Hason is a sound engineer and touring DJ, Wardman was a member of the Toronto new wave band Blue Peter and played with or produced many acts over the years, while Percy has, among other things, played with artists like Econoline Crush and Bif Naked.

Despite their varied paths, each ended up on Denman, where they found a music scene that was a little under the radar to some.

“We all just kind of found ourselves on the same island,” Percy says.

As well as producing, the three take part in some of the tunes, such as Percy’s involvement with Avro where he joins forces with singer-songwriter and poet Megan Rose.

All three show up for the piece “Ole Denmanistan,” as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Some artists have more experience, while others are relatively new. Case in point is Ocea White, who was known to have a great voice but, Percy says, also turned out to be a great songwriter. She is still in her teens and was a newbie to the recording process.

“She’d never been in the studio before,” he adds.

So far, the response to the CD has been positive and not at home.

“We’re getting a lot of attention outside Denman,” Percy says.

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Though there isn’t a club on the island, events like open mike at the hall offer people the chance to hone their skills, and Percy says the whole Comox Valley provides opportunities, often through some of the smaller music festivals like Woodstove, for regional artists to build a bit of a following.

The compilation also features cover art by painter Kari Wasylciew. It is available for sale on the Bandcamp website, across digital download services and streaming services.

Physical CDs can also be purchased at Abraxas Books on Denman and other record shops. For more information, go to

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Occupied Denman offers a musical slice of life from the island. Image supplied
Conrad Campbell contributed the song “Silver Stars” to the CD. Photo supplied