“This is more than mere brand recognition or a comeback of sorts. This is a band that has found it's way home, and we can't wait to hear more...”
- Brian Lush - Editor - RockWired Magazine
Dali Van Gogh are a guitar driven hard rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia. With a sound that has been described as "rugged and rugged and vibrant, reminiscent of early years AC/DC and Led Zeppelin" (Stewart Rankin). The band has received worldwide radio play, and have officially released 5 records: Verbal Warning (2010), Mask Identity (2012),Wild Blue City (2012), and most recently From Ashes (2017), and Under Her Spell (2019).
Founded in 2009 by guitarist Isaac Kent, the band evolved out of Isaac's previous project, the pop rock band Eight Days To Saturday. With a passion for guitar, and the business sensibility and drive to create something special, Isaac set out to form a hard rock band in his own image and style.
Guitarist and founder of Dali Van Gogh.
In early 2008, the first lineup of the band came together featuring Shawn Bray on vocals, Megan MacKenzie on Bass, Lee Dauphinee on rhythm guitar, and Nason Scribner on drums. The band set about writing & tracking songs, and began to rehearse for the stage. They produced an unreleased EP titled White Noise, before vocalist Sean Bray chose to leave the band to spend more time with his young daughter. Shortly after, Lee left the band to pursue a career in web design, and the remaining trio set about to find a new vocalist.
In spring of 2009, the group found a video of the then little known vocalist Marcel McNeil on Youtube. Discovering that he was from the city, they immediately contacted him and within a few days Marcel had joined the band.
The foursome quickly set about re-writing the songs from the days with Bray, as well as some new material that would become their debut demo release Verbal Warning. This record marked the bands first forway into the wider music scene, both in the Maritimes and beyond. The band's very first ever appearance on air was on the 5 time Music Nova Scotia award winning station CKDU, on the radio show The Most Maple Mourning hosted by Freddy Webber. Both the station and the show continue to support the band to this day, and will always receive the debut of new DVG material.
It was also in this time that the band was contacted by 272 Records out of Hollywood California to be a part of the label's compilation release to radio across the US. DVG's single "The Demon" was selected and played on more than 100 stations coast to coast.
Dali Van Gogh's first live performance: Opening for Nova Scotian band Red Star on September 18th, 2010.
Left to Right: Jeff Parks, Nason Scribnet, Marcel McNeil, Megan MacKenzie, Isaac Kent.
A short time later guitarist Jeff Parks joined the band who then embarked on a run of shows throughout Atlantic Canada, promoting the newly released Verbal Warning. This included an event to help launch Halifax based alternative radio station Live 105. Parks left the band a few months later over disputes with the group, and now performs with Nova Scotian band Carry The Lost. DVG continued on as a 4 piece and was invited to take part in the Roger's (Mobility) Battle Of The Bands, a nation wide contest to find the best up and coming artists in Canada. Winning the provincial contest by a landslide in February of 2011, the band moved on to the National finals, placing 3rd and winning a large scale marketing campaign through Supernova, a music publicity company founded by Kim Mitchel.
In fall of 2011, Nason Scribner and Megan MacKenzie left the band, wanting to persue goals outside of music. Nason is now a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada, and lives with his wife and child in PEI. Megan is working as an animal care specialist with Hope For Wildlife here in Nova Scotia.
With bookings through the winter, DVG immediately replaced it's lost members with long time friends of the band Sean Sawler on drums and Scott turnbull on bass. The band completed it's 2011 dates and began eyeing future opportunities.
In late 2011, Dali Van Gogh was contacted by A&R Select out of Los Angelos (California). The company was interested in signing the band to a publishing and promotion deal, however, in order to do so, the band would have to re-record and master the material from Verbal Warning, as it was highly saught after by the company which was only completed to the demo stage. With short deliberation the band signed with A&R, and began to re-track their old material, as well as several new songs. With a much more seasoned and polished sound, the band completed the recordings, and released the radio singles Not My Worst, Weight Of The World, and Sober in a major radio campaign across Canada and the US, as well as the digital EP Mask Identity, featuring the songs.
With regular play on more than 400 stations, the time was right for the band to fully launch their new sound, With the release of Wild Blue City LP, the band catapulted into mainstream radio success. The title track from the album debuted on the CMJ charts at #166, and climbed as high as number #67 in the following months. Locally, the band sat at the top of the Reverbnation rock charts for Halifax, Nova Scotia, for 27 weeks straight, and "Wild Blue City" was ranked #16 on Q104's top Nova Scotian songs of 2012.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, the band performed and promoted the release live, on air, and online. Expanding their global reach, the "Wild Blue City" single received play on thousands of radio stations around the world, including the launch of Skunk Radio in London, England. They were featured in numerous magazines, blogs, and other publications, as well as nominated for several awards both in Canada and the US. The band played shows and festivals throughout the Maritime provinces, and began to plan a US tour. But that was not to be.
Dali Van Gogh live at the Spring Music Blast 2012 in Eastern Passage.
Left to Right: Isaac Kent, Marcel McNeil, Scott Turnbull
On November 1st, 2013, the band played what would be their last show for some time, at the Cunard Center in Halifax, NS. The event was part of the Rock For Dimes annual charity fundraiser for children with disabilities. The band blasted through a covers heavy set in front of 2000+ music fans, and detonators to the cause. A few weeks later, vocalist Marcel McNeil announced he was leaving the band, siting irreconcilable differences with the band members. This effectively ended any touring plans until the band was able to find a replacement.
In early 2014, after several unsuccessful auditions, the band decided, after several years of continuous work and performances, that it was time to take a break and pursue other projects until the right vocalist turned up on the scene.
Dali Van Gogh 2017 Lineup
Left to Right: Devon Roberts, Jaad Stewart, John Scotto, Isaac Kent, Cyrus Robertson-Orkish
Guitarist Isaac Kent went on to expand Dali Van Gogh Music (the business entity behind the band) into a full fledged record label, while the other former members of the band move on to various other projects.
Dali Van Gogh Music garnered success throughout 2014, signing and producing several artists both from Canada and around the globe, continuing to spread the name Dali Van Gogh. However, in spring of 2015, Isaac Kent's home and recording studio caught fire. Within 5 minutes the building was a total loss, including all musical and recording equipment, every computer, every master disk, as well as all the contents from the rest of the house and Isaac's Family's life. Nearly nothing was recovered. Needless to say, this brought the advancement of the business to a near halt.
This earth shattering event brought Isaac to the realization that It had been far too long since he had taken the stage under the Dali Van Gogh name, and he began planning the band's come back.
Over a year after the fire, with renewed drive and focus, Isaac reformed Dali Van Gogh with a new lineup, and began pre-production on the long awaited followup to Wild Blue City. The band continues to feature Isaac Kent on Guitar, with new members Jaad Stewart (previously of Musical Affair) on Drums, Cyrus Robertson-Orkish on Bass (previously of Keith Moon and the Wrecking Crew), Devon Roberts on Keyboards / Synthesizers (previously of Division Of Self), and John Scotto as the new Lead Vocalist.
Dali Van Gogh returned to the stage on Oct 7th at Montes Showbar, the de facto home stage of the band for many years. In front of a packed house the band performed selections from their upcoming record (From Ashes), a few covers, and the classic DVG songs “Heavy Living”, “Sober”, and “Wild Blue City”. Bell TV1 was on hand to capture it all for a future special on the band, as well a photographers and music press from across the city of Halifax.
Through fall of 2016 the band embarked on a Homecoming Tour that hit all corners of the Maritime Provinces and accepted a residency at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, sponsored by Molson Canadian. The band's first single in several years, God Help Me I Like It, climbed to #13 on the European Independent Music Charts (all genres).
On March 25th, 2017, Dali Van Gogh released their new album; From Ashes. Featuring 11 brand new songs from the band, From Ashes is largely inspired by the 2015 fire, and is representative of a band that is back on the fast track. Described “a band that has found it's way home” (RockWired Magazine), Dali Van Gogh toured throughout the Atlantic Provinces promoting the new album, and made their way through central Canada the following summer, returning home to a slot at Riverfest. Capping off the year, Dali Van Gogh headlined the historic Marquee Ballroom and competed as a finalist in the Jim Beam Make History Talent Search.
Dali Van Gogh's latest single: Arms Race (2019)
ISAAC KENT - GUITAR
Isaac is the founder and driving force behind Dali Van Gogh, and thus his story is largely that of the band.
Born in 1990, Isaac began his musical career as a saxaphonist at age 12, and came to guitar late in life at the age of 17. Shortly after attending a Guns N Roses concert, Isaac received his first guitar as a Christmas gift from his father, who challenged him to learn 10 songs of his choosing by the following Christmas or the guitar would be returned. Including reasonably difficult songs for a brand new guitarist like the GNR hit Sweet Child O' Mine, and Metallica's Enter Sandman, Isaac had every tune learned from beginning to end by the summer. He joined his first band, a power metal group called Black Rose in the summer of 2007, as well as helped to form the pop rock trio Eight Days To Saturday that winter.
Wishing to find the balancing point between his metal guitar skills and his pop and country song writing sensibilities. Isaac formed Dali Van Gogh in 2008. He is also the owner of Halifax based record label HouseFire Records.
Black Rose - 2007
Eight Days To Saturday - 2007
Love, Hate Love
JOHN SCOTTO - VOCALS
John Scotto is the front man and lead vocalist for Dali Van Gogh.
Born in 1981 on Prince Edward Island, Scotto (as the band calls him) studied musical theatre on the island before moving to Nova Scotia to persue a career in music. He spent years as an aspiring singer/songwriter, frequenting open mics across Halifax, before joining Dali Van Gogh in spring of 2016.
Various Solo Projects
JOHNNY MOORE - DRUMS
Nova Scotian drumming phenom Johnny Moore hails from the small town of Elmsdale, Nova Scotia.
Johnny joined the band in late 2018 during production on DVG's new record, Under Her Spell, bringing with him over 10 years of percussive knowledge and song writing ability. Johnny is no stranger to the stage, having performed the breadth of Nova scotia with past projects, including the historic Acadia Theatre with Outlawed Beloved.
Outlawed Beloved - 2016
Session drums on various other works
CYRUS ROBERTSON-ORKISH - BASS
A multi instrumentalist, Cyrus pumps the low strings as bassist for Dali Van Gogh, and also lends his voice to the band's ever expanding harmonies.
Born and raised in Cape Breton, Cyrus began performing at an early age when John Campbelljohn invited a 5 year old Cyrus on stage to play the tambourine. He hasn't stopped performing since.
At the age of 7 Cyrus began playing the piano. Shortly after he began playing saxaphone. However, it was not until the age of 13 that he picked up the guitar, and soon after, the bass.
Cyrus has been involved with numerous projects over the years prior to joining Dali Van Gogh. Most notably he has been a founding member and guitarist of Keith Doom and the Wrecking Crew, and a performer at the Grafton Street Dinner Theater
Yelling in the Colour Yellow - 2012
Every Other Aspect - 2013
Keith Doom and the Wrecking Crew - 2014
Various Solo Projects
Rachelle Moreau - Keys
Long time associate of Isaac Kent, and former singer for Eight Days To Saturday, Rachelle Moreau is the latest edition to the DVG Lineup.
Rachelle joined the Dali Van Gogh in January of 2019, just as the band were finishing up the recording process for Under Her Spell. Lending her considerable vocal presence to the already rich harmonies of the band, as well as bringing nearly 2 decades of performing chops on the piano, Rachelle is a natural fit to round out the sound of Dali Van Gogh.
Eight Days To Saturday - 2007
After an extremely successful 2017, DVG retired to the Studio through the winter to begin pre-production on a new album. Returning to the stage in the spring of 2018, the band released a music video for the single "Outside Looking In", which lead the band to a victory in the Garrison Brewing Battle Of The Bash competition. Awarded a slot opening for the Glorious Songs, Dali Van Gogh used this opportunity to announce a 3 month long summer tour through the Atlantic and Eastern/Central provinces from June through September of 2018, including dates at Riverfest 2018 and Music Mountian Rock Fest 2018.
Following the summer tour, drummer Jaad Stewart, and keyboardist Devon Roberts both decided to leave the band to spend more time with family. Not looking to miss a beat, Dali Van Gogh quickly picked up young drummer phenom Johnny Moore, and seasoned keyboardist Rachelle Moreau.
Early 2019 marked another new beginning for the band, who launched their lasted album "Under Her Spell" to a sold out crowd at the renowned Garrison Brewery in Halifax in March. The album has gone on to receive wide spread praise, including a glowing review in London, England's Fireworks Rock and Metal Magazine. The band's latest single, Arms Race, has received over 100,000 views, making it the band's most popular single to date.
Dali Van Gogh 2019 Lineup
Left to Right: Cyrus RO, Isaac Kent, Rachelle Moreau, John Scotto, Johnny Moore