This recurring series will highlight many of our Coca-Cola associates here in Canada who agreed to share what makes them happy outside of work. This series was brought to life through our Coca-Cola Europe team who was sharing these stories internally. The stories can be inspiring, fun or thought-provoking and all are worth being shared with the world.

Meet John Bottineau. By day John works for Coca-Cola Canada as Director of Large Store Sales out of our King Street offices here in Toronto. By evening however, under the glare of a stage spotlight, John becomes something else entirely, John becomes a rock idol. I recently caught up with John to hear more about how this part-time rock star got started.

What is your band’s name?

The name of our band is Dark Horse. The band is quite literally family to me, it is made up of myself, my sister, two cousins, and a very close family friend so we are an incredibly intimate and close-knit group. When it came to picking a name for the band, we decided to go with the name of a little pub we all used to hang out at when we lived out in Bloor West Village. Given the closeness of our band, it was obvious to go with a name from a shared experience and time that had us all together.

When did Dark Horse start playing together?

As a family band the roots were established at a pretty early stage, I’d say it mostly started with family house parties originally. In terms of playing real gigs, Dark Horse started performing about 15 years ago officially. Dark Horse has been my one and only band, before it the only other band I played with any frequency with was this group my dad was part of when I was growing up.

What style of music does Dark Horse play?

Well we started out as more of an exclusively Celtic band, playing that Irish folk style people tend to associate with Atlantic Canada. I’d say now though we’ve evolved into more of a “party band” so our appeal is much broader but we still have a fiddle, mandolin and guitar so the Celtic influence is still there.

When did your interest in music begin? What keeps you playing still?

My parents started me off with violin lessons when I was six years old. Music has always been the focal point of our family functions and get-togethers so quite honestly I have always been around music.

Music is such a huge part of my life, I can’t image not playing. It is still a ton of fun to this day. We play a lot of pubs and other venues as well as weddings so every gig is a blast and every crowd is different. All the fun aside, I also find playing with the band to be a great mental release as well as an excellent creative outlet.

Would you say playing with your band helps with your job or managing your professional life in any way?

Oh absolutely, it is a great example of the value of teamwork. There is no better example of the adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” than playing with a band. Collectively we are able to do so much more and deliver such completely different sounds than we could if we were all just playing solo.

Additionally if something does happen to one of us, we get sick and are unable to make it to a gig, we all pull together as a band to make it work. We all step up to fill in the gaps and make sure the show goes on. It is never as good as it is when we are all present mind you, but we still pull it off.