Friday, July 19, 2024

New Music Monday: Charis Tazumi embraces connection in debut album ‘In Subtle Ways’


Victoria and Vancouver Island have a lot of musical talent, and Victoria Buzz wants to highlight some of the best and brightest local artists and bands.

Every Monday, there will be a fresh ‘New Music Monday’ article to help people find and support local artists and bands that are up-and-coming, well established or hidden gems!

For this endeavour, Victoria Buzz has partnered with our good friends at CFUV 101.9 FM, UVic’s campus radio station, to find and select the musicians and bands for this regular column.

This week, Charis Tazumi is the New Music Monday highlight!

Charis Tazumi is a singer-songwriter and frontwoman to a band which performs a mix of indie, folk and pop under her own name. 

Tazumi grew up on Vancouver Island in Campbell River and moved to Victoria in order to attend UVic. There she says she fell in with many people involved in the local music scene through a club at the university. 

“Basically what they do is put on all different types of events for all levels of musicians; open mics, songwriting workshops and more,” Tazumi told Victoria Buzz. 

“That type of environment is so conducive to making beautiful collaborative music with people.”

Through the club, Tazumi met her producer, Brendan Wong, as well as her bandmates, Leo He, bass; William Roberts, electric guitar; Kristof Szojka, piano and keyboard; and Matt Seale, drums and violin. 

Together, they collaborated on Tazumi’s songs to create her debut record, In Subtle Ways.

She says she wrote the songs featured on the record over the last year and brought them to the band, who then helped her fill them out and give them a life of their own.

“I started writing these songs but I had no intention, when I was first writing these songs, for it to be for a project,” Tazumi explained.

“I still love to write songs, that’s my big love of my life.”

Tazumi says the songs were largely inspired by the things she has gone through as she navigates entering the music scene, being raised in a religious household while not being religious herself and finding new friendships and connections. 

“Creating new friendships and relationships with people is a huge theme of the project,” she said. 

“I’m a pretty shy person, but I think music and this project have really pushed me to go out of my comfort zone and connect with people.”

When asked if there was one song she could pull back the curtain on and explain the story behind the music, Tazumi thought immediately of the first single from In Subtle Ways, “Eyeline.”

“It was the first song that I really started workshopping with the band and all their parts are so unique to them,” Tazumi told Victoria Buzz.

“A funny story about that one is that in the final breakdown of the song, it gets really big and really loud and it’s because there’s just layers and layers of screams happening.”

She laughed while explaining she had all her friends and bandmates scream for the layered tracks, only to realize that her neighbours must have thought something horrible had been happening, so she invited them to come scream on the track too. 

Lyrically, Tazumi said this song is specifically about what it feels like to be perceived by many people at once for the first time. 

“‘Eyeline’ is all about coming to terms with the fact that someone or people are noticing you and being uncomfortable with that,” she explained. 

“It kind of just links back to my personality, being a bit more shy, but music and performing for people automatically puts you on a certain stage. It’s about feeling noticed but also, not shying away from that feeling.”

Preview In Subtle Ways below:

To listen to In Subtle Ways in its entirety, check out the album on Spotify or Apple Music

Tazumi and her band have a busy summer ahead with several shows coming up in and around Victoria. 

On Friday, June 21st, they will be playing a virtual live show available to anyone with a radio or access to the internet via the  CFUV Basement Closet Session 3 p.m. Those interested can tune into CFUV at 101.9 FM or find it on their YouTube channel.

They are also playing the Folk Music Series at the Cameron Bandshell at Beacon Hill Park on Tuesday, July 30th at 7 p.m. This is a free show being put on by the City of Victoria. 

Tazumi and her band will be at the Filberg Festival in Comox on Saturday, August 3rd at 1:30 p.m.

Right here in Victoria, she will be playing Upper Fort Street Fest on Saturday, August 10th at 1 p.m. Admission is free to this show.

Lastly, you may be able to catch Tazumi playing her songs solo at a myriad of farmers and makers markets throughout the city this summer. 

Follow her on Instagram to stay in the know for when and where she has upcoming shows.


CFUV is a non-profit campus and community radio station that plays a ton of local music of all kinds across Vancouver Island. If you like to support local music they are an amazing resource with a plethora of new local tunes in their arsenal. 

“As a student, I have seen first hand the way that CFUV supports local art and also uplifts independent musicians whether it be through their radio programming or putting on incredible shows,” Tazumi said. 

“They really care about their musicians and about music and it really shines through.”

Tune into CFUV 101.9 FM on air or online!

Let us know what you think of Charis Tazumi in the comments below.

Curtis Blandy

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