RPM 2013 Info for Newfoundland and Labrador

This is the Challenge

Record an album in 28 days, just because you can. That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.

Don’t wait for inspiration. Taking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You’ll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day’s quota of songwriting. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other.

Anyone can come up with an excuse to say “no.” So don’t! Many of you are thinking, “But I can’t do that. I don’t have any songs/recording gear/money/blah blah blah.” But this album doesn’t have to be the album, it’s just an album. This is an artistic exercise. Do your best with what you have to get it done. If you have a four-track, become a four-track badass! Have an iPhone, a PC or Mac, a Walkman, a tape recorder from the 80s? Use it! Do your best. Use the limitations of time and gear as an opportunity to explore things you might not try otherwise. If you can afford studio time in a ‘real’ studio, that’s fine, but let’s be completely free of any lingering idea that good records can only be made in a studio. Well written, honest music is compelling and undeniable, no matter what it was recorded on.

February will come and go whether you’ve taken the challenge or not. Do you really want to be left out?


The Details

• This is not a contest!

• This will be fun!

• There is no fee!

• Record 10 songs or 35 minutes material, and burn it to CD.

• Burn your album to a CD (high quality mp3 CDs are okay) and mail it, postmarked by March 1st at the latest, to:

RPM Challenge
c/o The Scope
PO Box 1044
St. John’s, NL A1C 5M3

If you’re in St. John’s you can submit your disc to our drop-off box at Fred’s Records, 198 Duckworth Street, by 1pm on March 1. In Corner Brook you can drop your disc off at Brewed on Bernard, 93 Mount Bernard Ave.

• Recording can only be done in the month of February. No prerecorded songs.

• All material must be previously unreleased, and we encourage you to write the material during February too, but it’s not against the rules to record previously written material.

• Registered participating bands and musicians can make their own page at www.rpmchallenge.com. You also blog away to your heart’s content, or post to the discussion board where you can swap ideas, resources, and the ability to e-mail and private message other participants.

• When the month is over, there will be local listening parties where at least one track from each completed album from NL will be played.

• All the completed albums can be uploaded to the jukebox on the website. If you’d rather not share your work with the public, then no one needs to hear it but you. But what’s the fun in that?


Kick-Off Party (January 31)

Come meet some of the other participants, sign up, and find out more. If you’re on the fence about it all, or just curious, come on down to Fixed Coffee, 183 Duckworth Street on Thursday January 31 between 7pm and 9pm.


Workshops (Throughout February)

Four free workshops presented by The Scope and facilitated by Lawnya Vawnya to help you grab February’s RPM challenge by the horns and make the best record you can! No registration is required, just show up.

Basic Music Theory with Alison Corbett (February 4)
Get confused by music theory jargon? Well, join Alison Corbett as she explains some terms, concepts and ideas to help you understand music theory better. Monday February 4th at 730pm at Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive.

Songwriting for Beginners and Beyond with Joanna Barker (February 8)
Come out for a crash course with Joanna Barker in how to write a song. While all are welcome, beginners are especially encouraged to come out! So pick up that guitar and learn to write a song. Friday February 8th at 730pm at Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive.

Home Recording with Jake Nicoll (February 13)
So you’ve never recorded your music before? Well, don’t fret, Jake Nicoll is here to show you how it’s done. Join Jake for a talk on home recording. *This is part of the Second Space Series. You are encouraged to bring your lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided. Wednesday February 13th at 1pm at LSPU Hall (Cox & Palmer Second Space), 3 Victoria Street.

Album Artwork with Jud Haynes (February 24)
So you have your record all done and it is sounding great. Join Jud Haynes for a workshop on how to put together album artwork for your masterpiece. Sunday February 24th at 3pm at Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive.


Online Help

This February you can ask our panel of special guest experts and Scope community questions you have about finding musical inspiration, overcoming technical hurdles, staying focused, and anything else related to the RPM Challenge. Visit www.thescope.ca/wha to ask a question.


Album Drop Off Finish Line (March 1)

You’ve completed your album! Congratulations! Join the masses at our annual finish line event at Fred’s Records on Friday, March 1st from 12 and 1pm. See The Deets section for other ways to get your album to us.


RPM Internet Radio

Throughout February and March there will be a pop-up internet radio station for NL RPM music at thescope.ca/rpm.


Listening Parties (April 14)

At least one track from each completed NL album will be played at one of the free, open-to-the-public parties on Sunday April 14 at Post Espresso (all ages) and The Ship Pub (19+).


Last Gasp Open Noise Jam (February 28)

35 minutes and you have an album! Bring your spoons or kazoo or accordion or guitar or paper towel tube or gong. We’ll record a 35 minute noise jam, snap a photo, come up with a group name, burn a CD, and call it an RPM album. DONE. No need to register in advance. Open to all.

St. John’s: Thursday, February 28, from 7pm to 8pm at the Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive.

Corner Brook: Thursday, February 28, from 9:15 to 10:15pm at Gary Bennett Music, 93 West Street, Corner Brook. (Coordinated by The Cornerbrooker.)


Quick facts about the RPM Challenge

• Started by alternative newspaper The Wire, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2006.
• The Scope signed on as local hub in 2008.
• Newfoundland and Labrador RPM Challenge albums submitted by year:
2008: 22
2009: 70
2010: 86
2011: 103
2012: 139


For more information

For more information or to sign up, visit www.rpmchallenge.com. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email Elling at elling@thescope.ca. Visit www.thescope.ca/rpm for updates throughout the month.


  1. NEWFIE HULK · February 2, 2012


  2. Kat McLevey · February 2, 2012

    If we are signed up on the site from last year, do we need to re-sign-up this year?

  3. damian · February 2, 2012

    Yes. Just log into your RPM profile – click “update info” which would be right under where the log-in box would be after you’ve logged in – click “your details” – go to “edit” – click “update profile” – and check the “Sign up for RPM 2013” box at the top of the BAND INFO page. Hope this helps.

  4. Dot Hacker · February 2, 2012

    Question: Is RPM allowing re writing of songs in familiar aires? Would rewriting the words of traditional airs still be considered “original” or “previously unreleased”.

  5. damian · February 2, 2012

    not sure what you mean by “traditional airs” – but basically if you or a member of your band/collective did not write it than it’s not an original – Duncan Cameron got disqualified last year for recording a beautiful album of a capella traditional songs which he did not write but certainly did interpret uniquely – point is – you have to write it yer self…

  6. Dot Hacker · February 2, 2012

    ahh gotchya thats exactly what i wanted to do actually acapella trad. airs like ballads. Alrightyy thanks again!