Keivan Hirji is one of the biggest music fans around, and he wants to help others connect deeper to the music they listen to.
“We connect more to music when we know about the musician’s life and the experiences which have led them to write a song,” said Hirji. “One of the coolest experiences is to go backstage to meet a band after seeing them perform under stage lights and in front of a crowd just moments before.”
Hirji is one of the driving forces behind Portside Live, a new online concert and interview series in partnership with Daily Hive.
Portside Live will profile popular and emerging artists while giving viewers an opportunity to get to know the band beyond the stage. And Hirji shared that the team is ready to share the series with music lovers across the country.
“The Portside Live team consists of myself as executive producer and host, William John as producer and showrunner, Matt Di Pomponio as producer and director of audio engineering, and Josh Larson as producer, lead editor and visual director,” explained Hirji in an interview with Daily Hive. “It’s a great crew, and it’s been a lot of fun to put our heads together to bring the idea to fruition.
“Getting a production like this off the ground is no easy task as a lot of effort goes into pulling it off. But teamwork makes the dream work.”
Portside Live began as John’s brainchild, with the team envisioning the series becoming the “Tiny Desk of the North” inspired by the long-running NPR concerts.
“We loved the stripped-down charm of Tiny Desk, but we wanted to offer viewers at home content that made them feel as though they were front row at a concert,” shared Hirji. “What we landed on was an intimate concert-like experience where we can accommodate full bands.
“We also couldn’t do it without our production assistants Cindy McIsaac, Josh Percy, and Brandon Corness, who show up hours before each concert to help set up and ensure a smooth production.”
Each episode of Portside Live features intimate performances with interview questions in between each song. Hirji asks the artists about their musical influences and their experience with music growing up, with answers ranging from comical and inspiring to incredibly interesting.
The interview and concert series is filmed in a waterfront studio in North Vancouver, BC, that can accommodate around 20 guests in addition to the team and the artists. Musicians, singers, and bands that are interested in being featured on Portside Live can apply online.
“We have consistently heard from musicians about the challenges of bringing their music to new audiences,” said Hirji. “While Vancouver has great concert venues, the surrounding ecosystem to support and promote musicians is lacking. We are excited to be working with Daily Hive to fill that void and help artists and bands share their music on a national stage.
“We’re also starting to gain some serious interest from touring bands and musicians that want to stop into the Portside Live studio and perform a concert while in town. It is exciting that this is shaping up to be a known tour stop in Vancouver like TinyDesk is to Washington, DC or KEXP is to Seattle.”
Portside Live has been filming episodes since the start of 2023 and plans on releasing them throughout the next several months. Artists that will be featured include Hotel Mira, Teon Gibbs featuring Kardias Quing, and Michaela Slinger.
“Stay tuned for the first episode with Ivan Hartle featuring Matt Storm, which will be dropping in the next couple of weeks. Ivan and Matt have such a crisp and clean soulful sound, I could throw that episode on and listen to it on repeat all day.
“We also have a number of big-name concerts lined up that we will be announcing soon, including a platinum-selling Canadian icon who we are filming next.”
Hirji is looking forward to fans getting to know the artists and bands on a personal level, learning about their songwriting process, and hearing the stories behind their music.
“It makes you appreciate music in a much more impactful way, and we love that viewers get to hear some of that content during the episodes,” he said.
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