Fanshawe MIA alumnus makes a massive impact on the Canadian music industry
Credit: LLIAM BUCKLEY
Fanshawe Music Industry Arts (MIA) grad Tom Meikle, gave MIA students a chance to be inspired while sharing his musical journey under the stage name Mappe Of.
Meikle, who graduated from the MIA program in 2015, is the mastermind behind the musical venture known as Mappe Of.
Meikle’s wide range of musical influences, ranging from folk to metal, make it difficult to place his stylings into any specific genre.
He self describes his music as “ethereal Avant-folk” and similarities can be drawn between artists such as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Half Moon Run. However, Mappe Of’s music is certainly something truly unique.
With lyrics that draw upon both personal experiences and stories Meikle has encountered in his life, Mappe Of’s debut album A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone is a thoughtful, inspiring collection of poetry, set to music that pulls the listener into the stories and worlds it weaves.
Although the album was released only earlier last year, it’s been in the works for quite a while now.
“[One song] was written before [I] was even in MIA so that stuff has been kind of gestating for a long time,” Meikle said.
A large part of the album’s recording process was done during Meikle’s time in the MIA program. Meikle spent many hours in the program’s recording studio facilities, creating the soundscapes that make up A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone.
The majority of the instrumentation heard on the album was arranged and performed by Meikle along with a friend of his, Amelia Fraser, adding instruments such as flute and violin to the tracks.
Meikle continued to work in the space upon graduating, collaborating with several students enrolled in the MIA program after him.
Until the album’s major release, Meikle remained anonymous, retaining an air of mystery around the music he created.
Meikle had thoughts to share about the album’s initial release. “It was a positive reception from the community around me and sort of a handful of strangers, but it’s not like it was blowing up or anything,” Meikle said.
Meikle said how things really started to snowball for him and his music once receiving an offer and signed to the label Paper Bag Records.
Once signed and a re-release of the album planned, Meikle was required to put together a touring band to promote his music in a live environment.
To achieve this elaborate task, Meikle assembled a group of four friends as a backing band, all but one who have gone through the MIA program in the past.
They consist of Rowan Grice on Electric Guitar/Keys/Vocals (2016 grad), Kory Ross on Electric Guitar/Samples (2014 grad), Jason Brum on Bass/Synth/Vocals (2013 grad) and finally, Zach Cockburn on Drums/Vocals.
“They all know what they’re doing in a variety of fields…[and] if there’s any group of people that can make this happen it’s gonna be these guys,” Meikle said.
In order to re-create the otherworldly sounds heard on A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone, each musician plays more than one instrument and their stage is riddled with synthesizers and effects pedals of all kinds.
The five musicians drove in the horrible weather this past December all the way from Whitby, Ont., to share their unique live show with the MIA students.
The group is currently in the process of performing across North America and have already opened for musical greats such as Martha Wainwright, receiving support from major companies including CBC and Massey Hall along the way.
In between songs, Meikle shared tales of his musical endeavours and said how his time at Fanshawe impacted his career and offered advice, gained from his exciting years of experience in the industry.
Students were left in awe of the magical live show he shared and inspired to undertake their own musical dreams, no matter how ambitious they might be.
Mappe Of’s debut album can be heard on all major streaming sites such as Spotify and Apple Music. More info on Mappe Of and upcoming performances can be found at MappeOf.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/MappeOf