The Edmonton arts scene had a project nearly two years in the making come to a completion this past August
EGO is a collaborative digital magazine that showcases local musicians by producing live performance videos, thorough interviews, and photographs all published on Instagram. Volume I of EGO featured 15 musicians and bands, and the magazine dedicated an issue to each artist.
On the magazine’s Instagram account, EGO (which stands for Edmonton Goes Off) describes itself as a “virtual publication dedicated to uplifting the Edmonton arts community.”
The project was spearheaded by creative director Tom Tunski. Tunski and his collaborative partner, David Madawo, took the experience and knowledge they had gained from curating previous projects and concerts, and directed their focus towards creating the EGO platform as both a continuation of the pair’s work in the arts community and as a way not to let the COVID-19 pandemic stifle their creativity.
Tunski, who came up with the idea in February 2020, and the creative team behind EGO which includes photographers, designers, videographers, and an audio engineer, “first spent probably five months just building the idea, building the format, and building the branding.” The next stage of the project was acquiring and renting the equipment, connecting with the artists they wanted to feature, and then filming and shooting all of the content. The creative crew shot the content for “all 15 artists in just nine days, followed by four months of editing,” Tunski said.
“Before people saw anything, it was probably about eight months,” Tunski estimated. The first issue of EGO was published on Instagram on Nov. 20, 2020, and the last issue of Volume I was posted on Aug. 13, 2021.
Volume 1 of EGO officially wrapped up with an in-person release party on Aug. 28. The concert featured performances by some of the artists showcased in the magazine, and a physical version of the magazine that included over 30 pages of previously unreleased material and content was distributed.
The musician showcased in issue #13 of EGO is the singer Lise. Talking about her experience working with the EGO team, Lise said, “honestly, they made me feel very comfortable.”
“When I was doing the interview, the performance, even the photos after, I just felt the vibes from everyone there, and it was really nice,” Lise continued.
Lise released her debut EP on Sept. 25, which you can find on all major streaming platforms. The EP consists of four songs that Lise described as a “darker pop sound, with some influences of alternative and afro-beat.”
Arlo Maverick, a hip-hop artist featured in issue #5, shared a similar sentiment as Lise in EGO’s behind-the-scenes documentary. Maverick praised the EGO team, saying they “made the artists feel like artists. We don’t really have platforms like that here in the city.”
For Tunski, these comments from artists signal that his mission was a success. “I want more people to do what we’re doing. We’re trying to show people that you can make an investment in your community, and it’s cool.”
“If people can learn one thing from EGO, it’s that you’re capable, and you can do something that actually changes people’s lives and affects them. You can do it in Edmonton,” Tunski said.
The EGO team is currently planning for Volume II, and more creative content is expected to be released in 2022.