Updated: Mar 3
Born and raised in Burlington, the second-year saxophonist finds inspiration in his psych-rock and jazz idols.
Alex Pedherney was encouraged to get into music by an elementary school teacher.
"I started getting into music around grade 7," said Pedherney. "My teacher Jane Taylor decided that in order to learn a reed instrument, you always have to start with the clarinet. I hated the clarinet. With a burning passion. I couldn't play any notes. I ended up picking up a saxophone, and it was just this whole different world."
Alex's artistic nature was fueled by his parent's support.
"I grew up around a lot of art, my parents are pretty artsy people- that definitely reflects on my life now," said Pedherney.
"Growing up, my dad would show me music- he bought a couple Stan Getz records, Pink Floyd, The Blues Brothers, Led Zeppelin, a mix of classic rock and jazz. There was a period where I actually put down the sax and started playing the guitar, learned a whole bunch of Pink Floyd songs," said Pedherney.
"That summer I became interested in building guitars in wood shop- instead of learning how to build roofs, or birdhouses, or bubblegum machines. I made two that year, and one was actually a recreation of David Gilmour's guitar. I might have a slight obsession with Pink Floyd," said Pedherney.
"My parents both had a pretty big vinyl collection, and recently we finally got it all on shelves, bought some really nice speakers, and I got our turntable repaired," said Pedherney. "I started collecting vinyl of my own recently and the collection grew rather quickly. I generally only go to Looney Tunes Music in Burlington- the owner, Paul, always has the coolest stuff in there, especially for jazz! Some of the music I listen to now, I discovered through a good-looking cover. I pride myself in my constant growing collection."
The saxophonist is in his second year studying jazz at Mohawk College.
"I had a teacher who went to Humber and UofT, who was teaching me saxophone. When I started applying for schools, I followed his advice, but I didn't get accepted into UofT, and only got accepted into the prepatory program at Humber- but that didn't change my mindset, because I only wanted to study music," said Pedherney. "I started looking at Mohawk, which he had also attended, and he brought me to a few recitals. I loved how friendly everyone was to each other here, compared to other schools. I really love working with everyone at Mohawk. All of the teachers are super supportive and really want to see you succeed."
Alex is excited to be working within Hamilton's growing music scene.
"Hamilton is awesome," said Pedherney. "So artistically inspired. There are so many art festivals- it's a very supportive city. It really makes me feel welcome."
"Music is the strongest way I can express myself. When I'm feeling down, I'll play. When I'm happy, I'll play. When I'm bored, I'll play. If I'm tired- I probably won't play, but I'm still listening."
As well as studying, Alex routinely gigs with a couple of different acts.
"My early influences definitely had an impact on what I make now, especially in my one band, Wooly Mantis. I just recently joined, and I'm so crazy excited to be a part of it. My friend Matt Woodcroft is the drummer, he was kind of my in," said Pedherney.
"I also play every Saturday night from 6 to 10pm at Loch Side bar in Burlington, I serve/bartend there as well," said Pedherney.
As far as the future goes, Alex hopes to spread out into different genres.
"I'd love to start a soul band. I love that soul/funk vibe, and people love getting up and dancing to it," said Pedherney.
"I'd like to do everything- be a part of bands, do some of my own stuff, and of course touring. There's nothing like travelling the world and doing what you love at the same time. Showing other people your music and having them receive it with open arms, that'd be a dream come true," said Pedherney.