The Trade-Offs front-runner, Josh Qaumariaq has been playing music since he was eighteen. Born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut, which he still calls home, Josh and co-founder Jeff Maurice began a collaboration that back in 2012 led to the formation of The Trade-Offs. “When we finished our first EP,” Josh shares. “We would sit together after rehearsals and name possible band names.” Drummer, Kris Mullaly came up with the original idea as the basis of the band was giving each other ideas and playing music together. “We’re trading off.”
Inspired by the likes of Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Buddy Guy and Gary Clack Jr, Josh draws on his experiences from Nunavut and the struggles they face to write his soulful songs. With a mix of English and Inuktitut, The Trade-Offs sing the Arctic blues about universal themes such a light and darkness, closeness and isolation, as well as addressing more difficult topics that the North face every day.
Josh’s last name – Qaumariaq – roughly translates from Inuktitut to “lighten up” and ended up being the title song that Josh wrote for their 2016 album to address suicide as it is no small issue in the Nunavut Territory, where the suicide rate is ten times the national average. Josh hopes to share with those suffering that you can get out there and find your dream. He hopes it will inspire others to figure out what they want instead of getting lost.
His favourite part of the music industry is getting up on stage and performing. “I forget about everything when I’m on stage.” Although it has been a hard year for live performances, many people await the day they can attend another show with The Trade-Offs. “It can be hard living in Nunavut with having to travel but I think as a musician you have to get used to the travelling to get to new audiences.” Josh shares the balance he finds between music and his home life, adding that despite the difficulty travel can bring, “I love living in Iqaluit.”
Josh Q and the Trade-Offs got their first pair of Blundstone boots when they agreed to be a part of the Blundstone Playlist Volume 4. And although new to the brand, they were quick to join in the hype. “They are one of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn.”
Their playlist contribution, “Dancing With The Wind”, showcases their self-proclaimed Arctic Soul style with blues and rock and roll sounds echoing from the dept of the Northern Tundra. Head over to the Blundstone Playlist Volume 4 now to get lost in their soulful lyrics and be swept away by the sounds of Nunavut.