Interview with Mike Isacson of Crashing Into Things

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

Crashing Into Things is an art/garage band from Victoria. Isacson is the singer, bass player and primary songwriter. The EP ‘Smaller Than Death’ is their latest release.

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If someone was to ask what Crashing Into Things is about, what you say?

Working class art rock. The words should be poetry, the music should groove, and hopefully it all has some usefulness to the world beyond making money and feeding our stupid egos. Neither of which happens much, so our plan must be working.

The new album has a definite theme, despite being put together over a period of time. Can you comment?

The central theme is facing our mortality. I developed some health issues while my friend and bandmate Mihkel Kaup’s longstanding heart problems were worsening, finally leading to him receiving a heart transplant last November (he recorded his parts for the album when he snuck back home from Vancouver for Christmas against doctor’s orders). Only the last song, “The Show,” was created entirely within that period, but all the songs reference our mortality in one way or another, and ripened around the same time.

What’s the craziest show you’ve ever played as Crashing Into Things?

Probably playing on a flat deck trailer in the middle of a BMX rally on Pender Island. The Gulf Island shows are always interesting, we love them.

You have a rather unique vocal style. Did you develop it or is that simply your natural singing voice?

I just sing the songs like I hear them in my head. I played with my voice a bit more on this recording than any of the others I think, both in the singing and the recording process, with more overdubbing and effects.

What’s up in 2019 for Crashing Into Things?

The EP was the main thing, it’s our first extended release in over 3 years. We’ve played quite a bit already this year, and have applied for a few festivals. Once we hear back from those we can plan other shows. (We are playing The Loft in Victoria with Standard Issue Pleasure Model March 23rd). And we’re always working on new material.

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Interview with Winnie Richards

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan


Winnie Richards’ music started appearing in 2018. Since then she has released several albums of material, recorded primarily with collaborator Willie Mink.


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There’s an eclecticism to your music. Is there a way to describe it?
I think its just different variations on pop music. though, not necessarily what is popular now, or with many people.

 

Are Winnie Richards and Willie Mink real names?
Of course these names are real! There are many people around the world with these names. I found a lady in Texas who is an award winning horticulturist who grows the most beautiful roses with the same name. 


Aside from Willie Mink, you seem to create most of the music yourself. Is this true? Do you perform everything yourself?
I’d say about half the things we’ve put on these albums have been performed by just Willie and me. 
The other half have a bunch of musicians playing, including : Damon Henry (The Ruby Karinto), Andres Vial (solo jazz pianist, The Barr Brothers), Andrew Barr and Brad Barr (Barr Brothers, The Slip), Ken Kempster (Shovelhed, The Hanson Brothers, NoMeansNo) and Glen Hollingshead (The Northern Pikes). 


How long have you performed as Winnie Richards?  Were you involved in music before that?
I put out the first Winnie Richards record in August of 2018. 
Yes, I was involved in music before that. I played with a number of different types of groups. I’ve played in all kinds of venues – dive bars, school gyms, all ages shows, hockey rinks. I put out 7″ singles and CDs with these groups and toured around Eastern Canada and USA. I don’t think any of these groups became that well known in Western Canada.



You are based in Victoria. Does your location impact your music at all?
I think it does. Mainly, in logistical ways. For example, in Montreal, where I lived previously, rehearsal spaces are plentiful and cheap. This is not the case in Victoria. So instead of having a big room where I can loudly play my drums and Willie can play loud electric guitar, we are usually working in a tiny room with drum machines and synths trying not to bug our neighbours. 


What are future plans?
Well, its been a productive past few weeks, we’ve been recording almost every day. So I think when we have enough good ones, we’ll see if there are any old ones that might fit with the new songs and then make an album from them. 
I’d also like to play the Cameron Bandshell at some point, on a sunny afternoon. But thats more of a future goal than a plan.


Briefly with Flying Hórses

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan
Flying Hórses is the musical project of Montreal’s Jade Bergeron. The recently released ‘Reverie’ is her second album to date.
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The first album was recorded (partly?) in Iceland. How was that experience?
 
​All of the piano, celeste, bells, vibraphone was recorded at Sundlaugin Studio in Iceland, yes. It was a truly wonderful experience. It felt really natural, there were moments when the studio door was open, and you could hear old Icelandic men chatting outside. You could also see horses out the back studio window. I felt at home at Sundlaugin. I worked with Biggi and Petur, and it the actual recording process wasn’t very long at all. It’s the most magical studio I’ve ever recorded in.

 
How does the recording of the second album compare to the first?
 
‘Reverie’ had a much longer journey, in regards to pre-production and production goes. The record travelled from Iceland to Banff, Toronto, Bath, Ottawa and Montreal. I wanted this record to breathe and so I incorporated more instrumentation than my debut. Overall, I feel that ‘Reverie’ takes listeners on more of a fluid journey, there’s more space to offer the imagination.
 
Although beautiful, your music has a dark element. Is that reflective of the mood you are creating?
 
Possibly. I grew up listening and playing heavy music and I wanted this album to reflect some of my own musical influences. I didn’t study classical music, nor do I feel connected to the classical world. When I’m writing or composing I’m trying to lay feelings out onto my piano, a lot of the time, it comes out a bit on the heavy or melancholic side.
 
What are your plans for 2019? 
 
I’m working on some shows and I’ll most likely play some festivals. The record seems to be connecting with listeners, and I finally feel like instrumental music has a place in the world. I’m excited to see where ‘Reverie’ takes me.

 

 

 

Interview with DenMother

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

Sabarah Pilon records as DenMother. Her music is lyrical and personal. Performing with minimal electronic accompaniment, she creates airy, atmospheric sounds that keenly focus attention on her heart-felt words.

Originally from Ontario, Denmother now makes her home in Fredericton, NB.

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When did DenMother start?

Since 2010 or 2011. I first started out as Orphan but I outgrew that project. There was a small label in Maryland I was working with and she had the name DenMother sitting there and kind of gifted to me. It worked really well because I felt the DenMother took care of the pet orphan aspect of it. So I morphed into it. 

Is DenMother about a certain style?

People always ask me what genre I play and I have no idea. We decided to go with electronic/vocal because I don’t know what else to call it. The feelings come through the words. I’m trying to explore and learn more about electronics, but it’s always been pretty minimal — my style. 

What are your plans?

I’ve never really set goals for it. Whatever comes to me, that’s what I’ll roll with. I’m playing more shows live, getting more comfortable with it. Every show is different. I act like every show I play is the last one. Because maybe it will be!

I’d like to do more visuals. With the album ‘Victoria’ I had a music video in mind for every song as I was writing it. So, that where I’d like to go and maybe incorporate those visuals live, but right now it’s just me, a microphone and a vocal pedal. That’s it. 

Is DenMother a separate persona?

For a while I tried to separate the two. DenMother was a character for a long time. Then I re-evaluated it and thought, “why am I hiding behind a character?” Do I not stand behind what I’m putting out there? So, I realized that I am DenMother. DenMother is Sabarah and Sabarah is DenMother.

https://denmother.bandcamp.com/

PREMIERE: “West Arm” by Elura

Irregular Dreams is pleased to bring you the premiere appearance of the album “West Arm” by Elura (Victoria’s Nick Roland).

“West Arm” represents a high-water mark in Elura’s career, being Roland’s most poised and complete work to date. The album contains both the struggle to express oneself and the executed expression itself. Dark folk is at the root of the music but it’s as if Roland cannot find satisfaction beneath that mantle and so he twists the form. The opening track “Return to West Arm” has melodic beauty but it is trapped within a mournful shroud. “Build a Nest With a Broken Wing”, however, is actually lightened by the addition of tinkling electronics. Elsewhere you will here americana, shoegaze, and even folk pop, but none of it is straight-up and predictable.

“West Arm” is dark and personal. It is also extremely rewarding for the adventurous listener.

 

A Few Minutes with future star

future star (“tiny band big heart”) is a individual performance artist from Vancouver

 

 

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Why the name “future star”?

Originally it was Where You’ve Been That’s Where You’re Coming From. Then around 2012 someone said “That’s too long!”. So then it was future star. Something short and snappy.

What kind of venues do you prefer to play?

I prefer smaller shows. Like house shows and little DIY spaces. Whenever I’m on a big stage I just feel there is so much space to fill. But sometimes it really works and it becomes even more intimate —  because of the space. 

Your lyrics tend to be observational. Is future star a way to express yourself?

future star is a tool for me. To do something that I enjoy — which is songwriting — and also work out things in my life. It’s a way to take control over problems and tell a story the way I want to tell it. Or the way I want to think about it. 

Where did future star’s “style” come from?

I studied jazz in university. After I graduated I really struggled to find ways to enjoy music and enjoy making music. So future star was a way for me to say, “F&%k all these ideas about what I feel I’m SUPPOSED to be doing and just do something I CAN do. With time and resources that I have.” So future star is very much a project that exists in a context and exists within constraints. It’s like pop performance art.

I still wouldn’t call future star exactly mainstream.

The way the world is today it’s more and more important to have the freedom to create new spaces and spaces that exist outside of mainstream society. I think that’s very important.

 

Briefly with Mallsex

Mallsex are the Vancouver duo of Sean Kenny and Stuart Galloway. ‘Discreet Services’ is their debut album.

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How long has Mallsex been around?

We have been making music together since 2015.  At first it was more post-punk — bass, guitars, drums — all acoustic. We wrote a bunch of songs and tried to find other members to fill out the band. One day we decided, “Why don’t we just do this ourselves?” And that’s what probably started it.

Do you create music specifically in mind for Mallsex?

There is an aesthetic we are going for. When we are writing we are wiring for Mallsex. Whether we start writing on synths or guitars it tends to be Mallsex material as far as post-punk. 

A lot of your material tends to be instrumental, but then the vocals add something different.

The vocals add another layer. It’s another instrument, basically. We both focus on the music and making sure it’s something we’re both proud of first before we even begin to tackle vocals and lyrics. 

When can we see Mallsex live?

This is our debut album, so we are just getting ready to do our first show. We’ve been preparing the whole time, getting our live show up to snuff.