All your words directed by James Xander, Cinematography by Roozbeh Peykari
music produced by Rob hillstead of dark gems media.
I directed the video on the saskatchewan prairies watching allysia van betuw once again light up the world, i produced the track with relative impunity, i performed the bass and guitars while wrestling with the finer points of life with michael van betuw, i drank cokes at grind central studio with chris dimas while recording it, i chatted with david roman about mastering it while racing off to work on a film set, i argued about it with jeremy pilon who reminded me that art's never detached and impersonal. This is one of my finest and proudest pieces.
Allysia marie of youtube channel "pianotv" is the mastermind behind the music of The Criminal Kid.
COVID comeback: The Criminal Kid is returning after a 10-year hiatus
The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a perfect time for Regina singer/songwriter Allysia Van Betuw to release her first music in a decade.
Regina’s Allysia Van Betuw found her rhythm during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ten years after releasing her first album as a vocalist for The Criminal Kid, Allysia has resurrected the alternative rock band’s name in preparation for her first solo effort. The debut single, Persephone, is to be released Friday (Jan. 14), followed by a full-length album, Dear Disaster, on March 18.
“A lot of creative people got back into the studio or doing things during COVID just as a way to cope with the lack of being able to do anything,” said Allysia. “I had some difficult things going on in my life as well, such as a divorce. It was more just a way to process the challenges of the moment in a productive way.”
Some of the material for the album has been in Allysia’s head for several years. She just needed time to put it all together.
“(The pandemic) simplified a lot of things,” she noted. “When you normally release an album, you have to think about playing live shows and touring and doing that whole shebang. But I have a life. I run a business. I have a four-year-old. If I would have had to imagine doing the whole touring thing, I might not have even written an album. (This way) I could just make music without worrying about the whole heavy-duty promotional aspect of it. It just felt more doable.”
The Criminal Kid — originally a four-piece band — released an album in 2012: These Blue Walls are Faking Freedom.
However, the band members went their separate ways shortly thereafter.
“I went through a lot of turmoil trying to decide if I should keep the name or not just because it was such a relic of the past,” she said. “But sometimes the name you’re given is the one that means more to keep. The Criminal Kid was a name that came from an industrial metal band before I even joined them back in the day. The nature of the music has evolved quite a lot since then.”
The new single — with an accompanying video produced by Saskatchewan filmmaker Rob Hillstead — is Allysia’s attempt to “capture a kind of dissatisfaction or blah feeling of life.” It’s also about finding a balance through the realization that life can still be good even if it isn’t as “epic” as you imagined at a younger age.
Not only is the album symbolic of a personal evolution, she has also grown as a musician over the years, leading to more “nuance” and subtlety in the material.
It’s also “a little darker” than The Criminal Kid’s previous work.
“I have a friend who did one of my videos for the second single; he called me up after he listened to it and he was like: ‘Are you OK?'” she said with a laugh. “It’s definitely darker. I feel a little more comfortable writing about the angst and pain of life as opposed to the (lighter) stuff that I might have written about 10 years ago.”
In addition to reviving The Criminal Kid, Allysia maintains her day job as a piano teacher. She has a popular YouTube channel (pianoTV) with almost 130,000 subscribers, offering pre-recorded courses which complement her live online sessions.
“I was actually pretty fortunate,” she said. “I was already working from home and I was already teaching online back when (the pandemic) started so I didn’t even have a lot of changes to my life compared to a lot of people.”
As for what the future holds, Allysia hopes to continue making music.
However, she wants to find a way that’s “sustainable” and doesn’t require a lottery-ticket dream of becoming famous.
“I don’t have anything like that in my mind,” she said with a laugh. “I feel I’m a little more realistic about that than when I was younger. But I feel like I’ve managed to find a good equilibrium with my life and with my online business. I can have the time to create music and also the finances to create music, because it isn’t cheap to produce and create an album. I hope to keep doing it. It’s definitely my plan.”
That plan also includes returning to the stage — ideally this summer. She has already assembled a “loose band” comprising local musicians who helped her with some video recording sessions for SaskMusic.
“I don’t want to get too ambitious but I definitely miss being part of the local scene,” she added. “Back when we were a band a decade ago, we played a lot of shows in Regina. I do miss hanging out with all of our friends from different bands and stuff like that. I’d love to at least get back in the local space again, even if that just means Regina, Saskatoon and area.”

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