By KATHARINE SEALEY
When Mississauga musician Christian Stepien decided to release an album, little did he know it would become a group effort.
Just over a year ago, Stepien started Ego Trip Records, an independent label based in Mississauga, to release his own solo material.
"I didn't want it to just say independent," he said. "So, I started my own company, just for myself. Then other bands started asking for my help and now here we are, going to the Rivoli."
Stepien, 20, is presenting a showcase of some of his favorite Mississauga bands tonight at the Rivoli, located at 332 Queen St. W. in Toronto.
On the bill are Shifty, Little Clever, Fur Merchant, the Meligrove Band, and Stepien's own group, Brodie.
Stepien picked bands he has played with in the past, or that he's heard good things about.
"We all know each other," said Stepien. "We're always playing all over the place, so I thought it would be cool if we could get everyone together in one venue for one night. The whole idea of the show is Mississauga invading Toronto, exposing our local talent to the Toronto scene".
Mike Small, the bass player for The Meligrove Band, is happy to be involved.
"There aren't really a lot of places to play around here," he said. "It seems like a good time to get exposure like this. A lot of the old bands have broken up or moved on to better things. That leaves the doors open to younger bands like us."
The Meligrove Band is named for a teacher all the band members studied under at Father Goetz Separate School.
Stepien said the bands, who perform pop, rock and alternative music, picked a good time to join the music scene.
"It's great right now," said Stepien. "There's not one set style. People are really experimenting."
Stepien is hoping to expand the number of bands signed to his Ego Trip label. At the moment, it's just a part-time project for Stepien, a second-year English student at York University.
"My life is basically school and music," said Stepien. "Oh, and occasionally work to pay for school and music. If this show goes well, I could be really busy. That's fine by me."
Stepien's business load was lightened a bit when he was joined by Daniel Parker, a former band mate, in September. In addition to helping him run the label, Parker teamed up with Stepien to form Brodie. The two-piece guitar and drums outfit will be playing tonight.
Stepien said his small band faces an extra challenge.
"It's harder to find music for just those two instruments," he said. "We try to work with it. We like the limitations. It forces us to be creative."
On the spring schedule for Ego Trip Records are three new releases: a split ep featuring local punk and ska bands Agent 69 and Bikes; a split ep featuring Brodie and SKG; and; Brodie's first full-length album.
The Rivoli show is restricted to those aged 19 and older. Admission costs $5. The show begins at 9 p.m.