Five Minutes With: Toronto Indie Electro-Shoegaze Band Jo Ryder

Jo Ryder is an audio-visual project from west end Toronto that was born from a chat between two old friends reminiscing about their involvement in the DIY music scene in Toronto in 2009 (ish), It’s a collaboration between two unique artists with interdisciplinary minds, who continue to use their time in the scene as inspiration for songwriting and video concepts, essentially writing love letters to the Toronto indie music scene circa 2008-2012.

Jo Ryder


Jo Ryder


Indie Electro Shoegaze



Last Single:

Fictional Dreamer

Last Video: 

Favourite musician growing up:

Owen Norquay: Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I was a young bass player in the late 90’s so I was one of many bass players from that era to be influenced by Flea. Les Claypool was also a favourite.

Lauralee Sheehan (LL): Has to be the Beatles. The White Album was the only “pop” album in my Dad’s collection of vinyl when I was growing up, in the midst of lots of opera and classical, so I ended up listening to the White Album A LOT. It was fun to put on the album and when I was little I didn’t really know how bananas it is as a complete work of art.

Favourite musician now:

Owen: Impossible question. If I had to answer I would say Joel Dalton of The Idaho Stop, Dan DeMaria of Simple Sailor and Lauralee Sheehan of Jo Ryder. These are the lead songwriters for the projects that I am currently involved in, representing a wide range of styles, perspectives and talents. They are my favourites because I feel so blessed to be a part of their projects and love working on music with them.

LL: Awww, that is so sweet! Owen and I were in bestie bands back in the day and always wanted to write together. We finally made the opportunity happen with Jo Ryder. I honestly thought I wouldn’t write music again, I took many years away from the whole thing and I needed that time but I also didn’t feel like myself without it in my life so writing all these tracks together in Jo Ryder is so, so meaningful. And to actually answer the question, I have to say Frank Ocean, as a constant soundtrack to my life. So many good musicians that I respect so deeply, it’s tough to answer this question.

Guilty pleasure song:

Owen: Miley Cyrus: Flowers. This song absolutely kills, super catchy, awesome production and I love the super subtle string arrangement that comes in late in the song.

LL: Ohhhh, that’s a good one, that song is insanely catchy.

Live show ritual:

Owen: A good stretch and a moment outside the venue in the fresh air away from people.

LL: Don’t really play live at the moment but when I did, my ritual was trying to get into the rockstar mindset on the day of the show which kinda looked like wearing sunny’s all day, working out, practicing each track so I would feel less nervous about forgetting notes on stage, stuff like that.

Favourite local musician:

Owen: There is a dude who sometimes plays guitar on the pedestrian bridge that I take every day on my way home from work who is great. I don’t know his name but I try to toss him a few bucks when I can. He brightens my day and boosts my mood every time I hear him play. Buskers are the sound of a city, we need more of them.

EP or LP?

Owen: LP. Take me on a journey…

LL: Same. Especially these days.

Early bird or night owl?

Owen: I used to be a night owl but now I’m an early bird.

LL: I’m both at the same time somehow?!!

Road or studio?

Owen: Studio unless something I am a part of becomes popular enough to support a profitable road tour. There is a big difference between being on the road and making money and being on the road and losing money. At least the studio is a place (for me at least) that never feels like a waste of time when I’m there.

LL: Studio. The creation process is something so special and so intimate, in a way. Yes, you can video and document the process but it still remains a little untouchable. You’re bringing something to life without having any clue what that thing is when you start. That real artistic process is a true pleasure to have in my life.

Any shows or albums coming up?

Owen: We are working on an album of sorts right now with Jo Ryder. The project was never meant to be a live project but you never know.

Where can we follow you?

Website | InstagramSpotify


Rapid Fire Toronto Qs:

Favourite local restaurant:

Owen: Fat Bastard Burrito.

LL: Little Sister on Portland + DaiLo on College.

Favourite street in Toronto:

Owen: Geary Ave.

LL: Palmerston.

Favourite park in Toronto:

Owen: Trillium Park.

LL: Don’t hang out in a lot of parks but, would probably say Bellwoods.

Favourite music venue in Toronto:

Owen: The Cameron House.

LL: Right now, Tonight Bar in Parkdale, I check out lots of shows there. It reminds me of the 2010 indie days when I was either playing or going to shows constantly, practically every night of the week.

Favourite music store in Toronto:

Owen: Long and McQuade aka The Bank of Canadian Musicians.

LL: Haha, what Owen said.



About Demian Vernieri 624 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.