I am thrilled to have had a chance to chat with Splash’N Boots, who in 2012 were crowned Canadian Children’s Group of the Year at the SiriusXM Indie Awards. Being hailed as ‘The Canadian Wiggles’ and ‘The U2 of Children’s Entertainment’, this musical duo has already released six albums, two full-length DVD’s and have performed live in over 1,500 theatre and festival shows. Their music videos are frequently featured on the children’s network, Treehouse TV… as well, Splash’N Boots are very involved in their philanthropy with such organizations as SickKids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.
We were introduced to Splash’N Boots, I believe, in 2008 at our local fair. I remember walking by the stage as they were performing, and it didn’t take but a moment for us to be drawn in to their incredibly interactive and entertaining show. My son was instantly a fan… and I have to admit, as parents, so were we!! To this day, we remain as such. Not only do Splash’N Boots have genuine talent, but with their passion, it’s so clear that this couple is truly doing what they are meant to do!
So without further ado… I would like to introduce you to Splash’N Boots!
Q. How did you get your start and where did the name Splash‘N Boots come from?
We started Splash’N Boots when we were at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Nick was taking drama and English and was in the concurrent education program all set to become a teacher. I was in drama and music and really had no idea what I wanted to do, although I did want to work with kids in some way. That summer we were hired to a part of Barefoot Players, which is a theatre group that performed in schools, parks and libraries. It was the ultimate summer job experience. We fell in love with the idea of singing songs for children and there was no looking back. We jumped right in and Splash’N Boots was born. Looking back it’s funny to think about how we had no idea what we were doing but we just told everyone that was our full-time job and that was that. HA!
The name Splash’N Boots came later, when at our first show it was POURING rain and kids showed up in their yellow rain boots.
Q. You songs are unique and fun for the kids (and yes, parents too)!! Where do you come up with all the zany lyrics and ideas? Is it a collaborative effort?
Many things inspire us when it comes to writing songs. Sometimes it can be a simple phrase someone says to us for example our new song, “Just Try One Bite. You Might Like It”. Or while we lived in Kingston we thought it would be great to write a song about a pirate that lived on Lake Ontario, which turned into our song “Treasure of Gold”. We also have lots of nieces and nephews who help us come up with ideas and we also sometimes ask our fans. Our entire last album “Coconuts Don’t Fall Far From The Tree” was created from titles our fans picked! Check it out here:
Q. I love the fact that you are proud Canadians!! You even write about Canada in a few of your songs. You perform all over Canada, but do you, or have you done shows in other parts of the world? Have you noticed a difference in what it is like performing in those countries?
We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to perform in Australia, the Middle East, Bermuda, Italy and Spain. It’s funny actually because before the shows we are always nervous – its a new culture, they don’t speak English, new place, new situation and I always worry that they won’t like it as much, but we have realized that kids are kids and music is universal and no matter what, they always love to dance, and have a good time. I am always overwhelmed by the response; even if they only speak Italian, they are still jumping up and down!
This picture is performing in Dubai:
Q. For those that have not had the opportunity to see Splash‘N Boots live, how would you describe your shows and what kinds of things can people expect to see at one of your performances?
I think the biggest thing that sets our show apart is that it is SO interactive that no two shows are ever the same. We make up the set list depending on what the audience is into, and it changes as we go. It’s all very organic – trying to figure out what kind of crowd they are and tailoring our show around that. Our shows are also very high energy – the kids are up on their feet singing and dancing and being involved in every aspect of the show. We really aim to create a show that all members of the family will enjoy so always throw some stuff in for the adults too. When it all comes down to it, kids are looking for the same things adults do in music: Quality music with catchy lyrics and musical hooks. So we set out to write songs that can be enjoyed by all ages and create a show that parents and their children can enjoy together.
Q. Can you tell us what a typical day looks like in the life of Splash‘N Boots?
Well if we are working from home we usually get up and start the day with tea (Boots) or a coffee (Splash). Usually we have business stuff to attend too; emails, contracts etc, or we have creative things like song writing, designing, rehearsing new songs, or recording or filming. Those are my favorite days – the ones where we get to create new material! Plus no day is complete without a good run with the dogs….
Meet Lily and Buddy!
Q. It is exciting news that Splash‘N Boots has become quite popular on Treehouse TV and you have also been involved with Roll Play Live! What’s that been like for you? Has this had an impact on your careers thus far?
We were sooooo excited when we were chosen to be the hosts of Roll Play Live. It was such a great opportunity to really get out there and get exposure. It’s always been a goal of ours to get our own TV show, and being on Roll Play Live and also having our videos picked up by Treehouse was an important step in that direction! We have found that kids recognize us now….like in the airport the other day at 7am (having slept very little and dressed in almost-pajamas!) I hear “MOM IT’S BOOTS!”
Soooo funny! It was great though we had a good sleepy visit before the flight!
Q. Can you tell us what ‘Kitchen Jams’ are? Is there a story behind how you came up with this idea?
Kitchen jams are basically when kids write in and request a song, then we write a song and sing it for them in our kitchen. It’s sooooo funny because it inspires us to write songs we wouldn’t have thought of and also because they are all kind of random and fun ideas (like: I want a song about a purple robot who likes to eat ABC Noodles”!) The song “For The Love of Dance” actually started out as a kitchen jam requested by Emerson from Kingston, a little boy who’s mom wrote in and said can you write a song about Emerson and his love of dance?! We loved the idea so much that it went onto our album and then was the first music video ever picked up by Treehouse. THANKYOU Emerson!!
For the Love of Dance Kitchen Jam
For the Love of Dance Music Video
About six years ago we got an email asking us if we would come and play a birthday party in Bahrain. After debating whether this was a joke or not, we decided it couldn’t hurt and wrote back that we would love to! Two months and several emails later we found ourselves in first class seats headed to the Middle East. I could probably write an entire book about the plane ride itself it was so extravagant! We arrived and were greeted immediately upon stepping off the plane by the family who had hired us. They whisked us off to the hotel and as we were standing in the lobby the dad looks up at the picture of the King on the wall of the lobby and says “that is my father” – I almost choked on my sparkling water – we had no idea we had been hired by the Royal Family to play at the Grandson’s birthday. And what a birthday party it was! More food than you see at most weddings, and a little two year old birthday boy in a gold suit. The hospitality was amazing and the family was so kind to us. We even got a chance to play for the King himself. After the show we did on the stage outside, we were ushered into the house and found ourselves standing smack dab in the middle of a huge room lined with couches filled with various royal family members. There were zero kids to be seen. “Sing!” someone said. We looked at each other with big eyes thinking “what do we sing?!” Minutes later we were singing about the Pirate of Lake Ontario to the King of Bahrain. Luckily two of the cousins who had been at the show ran in mid-song and started dancing along with us. The King started to clap his hands! Saved! We knew he was happy when he invited us to his camel farm the next day and were chauffeured around the island by a private guide.
Energetic… Happy… Creative
Q. One of my favourite things about your shows is the interactive way that you perform. The kids love it… and I know the parents have as much fun at your shows as the kids! I think of the number of times we’ve laughed so hard we’ve cried… and that’s from a parent’s standpoint!! Do you have a favourite memory (although I am sure they are all pretty amazing!) that stands out while interacting with the kids?
Ya, it’s always sooooo funny what happens in shows – and I love that it’s not scripted because it keeps it fresh and fun for both us and the audience. Plus you never know what kids will say! We had one kid say his favorite animal was a piggy bank, and I remember once when we were performing in the Arden Theatre in St. Albert this kid came up on stage to sing all by himself and he looked straight up at the lights over head and said “wow the sun sure is bright in here”.
Q. I’m sure many would say that you have the dream job… traveling, performing… I imagine it’s all pretty exciting! So when you aren’t on tour what kinds of things do you both like to do for fun?
Ya, to us it does really feel like a dream job mostly because it never feels like work. Everyday is a new adventure – meeting new people, traveling and getting opportunities to create new things. We have two dogs and when we are at home we love spending time playing with them – taking them on hikes and runs. It’s also nice when coming home to be able to spend time with friends – we always like a good sing-along BBQ!
Q. Does anyone or anything in particular influence your music/shows?
The reaction of kids is our biggest inspiration. Seeing them laugh, smile and dance inspires us to create more and keep doing what we do!
Q. Out of all the songs that you have written and performed… and I know there are a lot… do you each have a favourite? I’ll start… my favourite is ‘Treasure of Gold’… the story of the Lake Ontario pirate…
Boots: I Love You The Most (because I love watching parents and kids sing this song together – makes me cry… a good cry!)
Q. I know that you are big supporters of SickKids Hospital. Can you share a little bit about your experiences with the children when you visit?
We performed at the SickKids Hospital for the 1st time many years ago. We were incredibly moved how amazing this place was. From the staff to the brave children and parents we met, we wanted to do something to give back. We started performing free shows there on their closed circuit TV so all the children can watch from their rooms. We do it kitchen jam style so kids can call down from their rooms and request a song about anything at all and we will sing it for them on the spot. It ends up being pretty funny, and it’s great because the kids get customized songs for themselves.
SickKids is an incredible place that we hope no one ever has to pay a visit to. Everyone who works there makes that place feel magical. Proud to be associated with this Hospital and foundation, and love being able to write them cheques from our album sales. I hope we make them millions of dollars one day. Here is a great link to buy gifts for kids:
Q. If you could perform with anyone in the world… dead or alive… who would it be?
Sharon Lois and Bram
Q. If your life story was made into a movie, what would it be called? Now, do I dare ask… who would you chose to play yourselves? Or maybe I should ask you to make that choice for each other?!
Oh – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for SURE!
It would be called: When Splash Met Boots
Q. Alright… if it’s OK with you… let’s have a little fun. If I give you a phrase, can you fill in the blank…
Without music, I would be an: organic farmer
My music makes me feel: alive
Right now I’d really like a bowl of: spaghetti
In my pocket, there’s a: guitar pick
In my kitchen I usually: sing with the kitchen jam band!!
Q. Where can people learn more about you and your music?
Wow that’s a lot of social media….
Q. So, what does the future hold for Splash‘N Boots?
We have some exciting things happening on the TV horizon that we are really excited about (to be announced!) We hope to expand our touring into the United States and basically become like The Wiggles (have got to dream big, right?!) But the main thing is, no matter what ends up happening professionally we feel so so lucky to get to spend every day doing what we love and meeting so many incredible kids and families.
In ending this interview I find myself thinking back to the shows that we have enjoyed… the shows that our son has been a part of… and the wonderful memories that we have from each and every show! If you ever have the opportunity to see Splash’N Boots live, I would highly recommend it!!
I would really like to thank Splash’N Boots for taking time out of their busy schedule to chat with us! Keep on rockin’ you guys! We sure look forward to your upcoming TV announcement and wish you all the best in both your personal and professional lives in the future.
Be sure to stop by Splash’N Boots’ website: www.splashnboots.com!
Until the next time….