With a brand new EP and growing fan support, "Degrassi" star Mike Lobel and his band "Boys Who Say No" are on the verge of a breakthrough.
"We feel like we've finally paid our dues, and it seems like other people are finding a passion for the music," Lobel tells CTV.ca.
"Doors are flying open."
"Boys Who Say No" is a four piece indie-rock/folk outfit from Toronto that exudes a playful on-stage presence in their raucous live shows. The band includes Lobel, Luke Corriea Damude, Frank Cox-O'Connell and David Stein.
Lobel first joined "Degrassi: The Next Generation" in season three as bad-boy Jay Hogart. But fans of the show may not realize that while he's found success in his acting career, his first love was always music.
The actor actually first enrolled in Toronto's prestigious Etobicoke School of the Arts (fellow alum includes members of critically-acclaimed Toronto band Broken Social Scene) as a music major, and later switched into the drama program.
Lobel describes his current role in "Boys Who Say No" as "multi-instrumentalist," switching between ukulele, melodica, keys, and some percussion.
The band formed about two years ago and has recently landed high-profile gigs opening for Two Hours Traffic and Chad VanGaalen late last year.
After playing all over the city, Lobel feels like the band has finally found its footing as a live act.
"There was one show that we had, where we got off stage and we felt like we had graduated. We felt like last year we found ourselves on stage," says Lobel.
Now the band hopes fans will starting picking up on that energy they've perfected onstage with their new six-song EP, recently recorded at Chemical Sound in Toronto.
The band will celebrate the release of the EP with a CD release party at the Whippersnapper in Toronto on January 31 with Woolly Leaves, Provincial Parks, and The People of Canada.
Degrassi rolls on
As Jay Hogart continues to creep in the shadows of "Degrassi," Lobel says he feels like a "senior" on the show.
"There are so many new cast members now and it's weird -- they revere me a little bit, and ask me for pointers and tips," says Lobel. "It reminds me of when I joined the cast in season three... I was awestruck by Snake and Spike."
Catch new episodes of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" Sunday nights on CTV. The show is currently in its eighth season.