Off The Vine

Music

Jam in Jubilee 2017: Week Four



By Mel Spady

Award-winning, female-fronted, indie blues band the Burn Ins is comprised of Kristine Lyall, Aaron Mokry, and Aaron Lyall. They tour almost constantly — but I caught up with Kristine (vocals, bass) via e-mail to talk influence, burning out, and the new album on their horizon.

What challenges does your touring schedule pose to you as a group? Do you ever get burnt out while you’re on the road?
Kristine Lyall: Haha, yes! Quite ironic that the Burn Ins would get burnt out! It can be hard sometimes — for the last six years we’ve been living on the road and made music our full-time job. We stay with friends and family, or get put up in accommodations by whatever venue we happen to be playing. It’s strange sometimes not having a place to go to be alone, but we find ways to stay sane. We actually had the opportunity to live in Toronto in March and April, taking the Artist Entrepreneur program with Canada’s Music Incubator. We loved it!

What would you say is the biggest influence on your work, musically and lyrically?
Lyall: I’d have to say that our biggest musical influence is probably the Black Keys, followed by Jack White and Alabama Shakes. We write about things we are passionate about, things that happen in our lives or things that happen to people who are close to us.

On The Inside has a strong theme of emotional turbulence, but also a sense of catharsis that expresses sadness without making the music feel sad itself. Was this an intentional move or did the album come together naturally that way?
Lyall: I like to describe our previous album On the Inside as a delightfully dark journey into a foot-stomping good time. It’s true, I’m an emotional writer who loves the blues, so it seems I most often I write about sad things. Maybe it’s a bit of therapy for myself. So you could say it was naturally intentional.

What can listeners expect from your new album, which you’ve described on your website as “meant to … start a fire under people”?
Lyall: Our new release, Start A Fire, has a more upbeat vibe intended to get people up on the dance floor. If you’ve always wanted to be that one person who gets up to dance at a show, but have always been too scared to — now is the time. There is a fun song about depression as well as a song inspired by the Highway of Tears, so there are many different topics but the message is consistent: create change — do something different!

How would you describe your live show?
Lyall: Our live show is raw, authentic rock. No tracks, just the three of us and our instruments.


by Joe Johnson

Known for their lyrical punch and high-energy sound, Casinos is made up of Ken Ditomaso, Kier Junos, Mitchell Trainor, Skylar Bartel, and Zack Keely. With the recent release of their single “Sean” and a new EP on the way, they’re set for a return to the Jam in Jubilee stage.

Are there unflinching, bedrock Casinos sounds that don’t change? What about areas that you guys feel you’ve evolved in?
Zack: I think something that’s characteristic of our sound is really between the rhythm guitar and the lead guitar. There seems to be this tendency to write lead lines that really cut through everything else. As a guitarist, the thing I’ve been working on since I started playing guitar with Kier is keeping up with him. That’s my goal as a guitarist, is to keep up with Kier.

Kier: I think certainly, we’ve matured as musicians. That’s just natural. I think we’re writing songs that are more becoming of us. I feel like the material that we’re writing now is just something that fits us better, and that we’re happier to play. The old stuff is just being naturally obsolesced.

Ken: What remains always true is that, the bedrock kind of thing, most Casinos stuff is really high-energy. There’s slower stuff, but when we’re playing slower we’re also playing more intense and heavy. It’s very rare that there’s a chill moment… for the most part, the slower parts are eventually building to some big high-energy thing down the line in the song. I think that characterizes a lot of Casinos stuff.

What’s the long-term vision for Casinos? Are you guys just playing and seeing how it goes and enjoying it as it is or does you have ambitious goals?
Kier: I want Casinos to be more prolific. At the very least, I want have this album released, but not have it stop there. Let’s keep writing. Let’s keep recording. Let’s put more time into it. Let’s not have things fall into a dip where we stop writing for a bit. I’m not confident that we’ll have as much time as we’d like to tour but that just means we’ll have to put our resources elsewhere. We have to be more active in online communities and things like that to have our music known, and be able to specialize there instead.

What’s next for Casinos?
Kier: We have more music coming. We’re still writing and putting stuff out. Besides that, we’ve been tracking demos for the new EP.

Zack: For the summer at least, we’re looking at playing a lot more shows. You can expect to see more dates from us.


By Dessa Bayrock

Self-described as a “bold, woozy, spacey, and fuzz-ridden experience,” Little Wild’s sound is just that — wild. This garage/psych musical project is comprised of Jake Holmes, Mitch Trainor, and Zack and Layton Keely.

So, you’ve been in the local music community for a long time. How would you say it’s grown or changed?
Layton Keely: Well, it ebbs and flows. It just always depends on the venues and bands at the time. At some points in that time, there were lots of bands and cool places to play, and there were other times where every- one broke up, or there was nowhere to play.

But Abbotsford has always had a strong music scene; it produces a lot of artists, a lot of bands, and I would say it’s always going to be strong. I hope it’s always going to be strong. It’s up to the younger bands and the newer bands coming up, is what I’ve noticed. It’s a developing period, I think. And the bands that are coming up are pretty cool.

And you’ve just put out a new record: Bodies. I was listening to it yesterday, and it’s a fun one.
Keely: Thanks! I like this record the best, out of anything we’ve ever put out. I think it’s one of the strongest. We recorded it in my garage, with Corey Meyers recording — he did the Cheap High and Loans records as well — and he has a style where you only get three tries for every part that you’re recording. He doesn’t cut and paste; he leaves the mistakes in and just finds the best track. It’s a great sound.

We played Abbotsford in March to release the record, and we played at Carport Manor, which was a lot of fun, and then the next time we’ll all be playing together is Jam in Jubilee, which should also be a lot of fun.

Are there any other bands playing at Jam in Jubilee that you’re excited to see play?
Keely: Casinos! [Lead singer] Kier Junos is a great singer, and an intense performer; I like bands that sound really tight, and I’m really into bands who really make it a show. Kier’s quite an eccentric that way — a real performer. It’s great to watch.

There are some bands playing at Jam in Jubilee where I’m not necessarily into their kind of music… but music’s music, you know? And you don’t just go for the music; you go to see people you haven’t seen in a long time, so I’m excited for all the nights. I’ll be there for sure.


By Kristin Witko, Jam in Jubilee Volunteer

For four Thursdays a year, Jubilee Park is the site of a free festival that draws thousands of Fraser Valley residents to enjoy local entertainment and community. For the other 361 days of the year, the park is home to 25 to 30 people who are other- wise homeless.

Ward Draper of 5 and 2 Ministries, an organization that advocates for the homeless and other marginalized individuals in Abbotsford, says most of the park’s residents have lived in the area for many years, and represent some of the Fraser Valley’s most vulnerable people.

“They are First Nations, persons with physical disabilities, people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, mothers, grandmothers… you name it,” Draper says, noting that with limited to no income and skyrocketing housing costs, many people are forced to find shelter and community outdoors.

When Jam in Jubilee’s fence goes up and the security protocols that go with it come into play, Draper says the people who live there “have to go and find some bush somewhere else.” While Jubilee Park is not the only place where this vulnerable population gathers, the concert held there each summer inevitably intersects with Abbotsford’s growing homelessness problem, and the need for solutions, which goes beyond just the need for a roof.

Read the full Jam in Jubilee zine here.

Music

Jam in Jubilee 2017: Week Three



By Jess Wind

This will be Jackson Hollow’s first time on the Jam stage, but far from their first time in front of a crowd. The four-piece bluegrass band has been active for nearly three years and has performed all over BC, including at the Envision Concert Series and Cloverdale Rodeo, and recently won the BCCMA Traditional Country Award for the second year in a row. Working with a revolving cast, each member is a highly talented, and decorated professional musician in their individual careers. Mike Sanyshyn placed top 3 in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championships and toured with country A-listers including Aaron Pritchett and Der- ic Ruttan. Lead vocalist Tianna Lefebvre is a 4-time BCCMA Award winner, including Female Vocalist of the Year. No strangers to performing, these artists bring impeccable vocals, instrumentation, and a traditional country vibe to this year’s concert series.

What’s your experience with Jam in Jubilee or other series like this?
Mike Sanyshyn: This is going to be our first time at Jam in Jubilee. Our bluegrass band Jackson Hollow has been active for going on three years at this point, and we’re made up of all professional musicians that have quite a history of performing live music all across BC, throughout Canada, and abroad.

How do outdoor concerts like Jam di er from other venues?
Sanyshyn: The weather and temperature can affect our instruments. Tuning is quite sensitive for acoustic instruments like we play. We’ll be paying more attention to our tuning and our surroundings. The wind, the temperature, the elements can be a little distracting to performing, but we do our best to just make do with whatever comes our way. That’s really just the main difference.

Describe your experience playing in the Valley and the music community here.
Sanyshyn: People seem really receptive and warm. Generally, it’s been a positive experience playing in the valley. The music community is growing. It’s quite active as far as I can tell. It seems like there’s a lot of music happening in the Fraser Valley, which is great.

What is it about the Valley scene that you can’t get anywhere else?
Sanyshyn: In general my experience is that the audience — they’re more of a listening crowd. They seem to be more attentive. More into maybe traditional music, I would say. They’re more of a traditional crowd, where they can appreciate bluegrass, roots, and fiddle like we perform.


DOUSE

By Nick Ubels

Alea Clark is the vocalist, lyricist, and guitarist in Douse, an art-rock project from New Westminster. The trio is completed by guitarist Patrick Farrugia and drummer Jeremiah Ackermann. Their critically acclaimed debut LP, The Light in You Has Left, has just been released on 12” vinyl by Kingfisher Bluez.

Did you always envision this project turning into a band? How did you get from your original more folk-inspired sound to where you are now?
Alea Clark: I wasn’t really thinking about an end goal. I initially started out thinking, “I want to be a solo artist, because I want to have control over what’s happening.” But the more I played with the guys, the more we felt like there’s something happening here that’s really good and we all want to be represented in that. I became interested in different things introduced to the guys’ influences, and Patrick [Farrugia] started bringing a lot of ideas. It looks kind of drastic, but it just kind of happened slowly over time and it made sense as we went along. Everything has changed from what I initially wanted to do, but it has definitely been for the better.

You’re still the chief lyricist and songwriter?
Clark: Songwriting is kind of a split job now, but I write all of the lyrics and my vocal melodies and my guitar parts, for the most part. I won’t let the guys touch the lyrics, but my guitar parts are open for changing and a bit more fluid. But the vocals are very rigid in what I want and that’s still very much my vision.

Do you find there’s certain themes or topics you’re consistently drawn to?
Clark: It ends up being a lot of work- ing through di culties with people I encounter or phases in my life sur- rounding di erent people and how we’re pushing each other, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad. So that was a lot of the themes of the last album, and moving forward I’m trying to separate from that and not write so much from this… I’m very hung up on writing from an empowered perspective, but I’m also interested in exploring some stu I’ve been dealing with that’s been a bit more detrimen- tal to who I am as a person. I want to tap into that a bit but I haven’t had a chance to. That’s where I want to go, direction-wise.


BLESSED

By Alex Rake

Dark indie post-punk? Artistic math-rock? Blessed, featuring Drew Riekman, Jake Holmes, Reuben Houweling, and Mitchell Trainor, doesn’t easily fit under any description, and they like it that way. With their sardonic guitar licks, brash vocals, and a tight, unrelenting beat, one thing is for sure: their set is not to be missed.

Let’s talk labels: Post-Punk. Indie. What do these words mean to you? What does “punk” mean in a post-Post-Punk world? Or “indie,” in a post-major indie label world?
Drew Riekman: The only time we feel a need to use labels on what we create is when people ask us what we sound like, and even then it seems easier to mention influences rather than genres. People attribute certain characteristics to certain genres, that we might not when using those words (e.g. post-punk, etc.). We create what we like to create, regardless of sound. We try to not let perception from others constrain what we feel the band is capable of sounding like.

You guys are a touring band. You do it often and for long stretches of time, at least compared to many other Abbots- ford bands. What is it about touring that compels you?
Riekman: Touring is a great way of making the world feel a lot smaller. When you’re now so easily connected to everybody, everywhere through social media, touring provides a great opportunity to take advantage of the internet and create real, face to face interactions and friendships with artists doing similar things as yourself, or with similar ideas and ethics, globally. At least, globally eventually, as long as you continue to tour and build. I think most of what com- pels us to tour is meeting with old friends and creating new ones.

Do you have a mission or vision state- ment as a band?
Riekman: The band doesn’t have a mission or vision statement per se — at least that’s not our perception, but it could just be se- mantics that we feel uncomfortable with, because when I say this next part, it defi- nitely comes across as a mission or vision statement I suppose. [laughs] We just want to create records that we’re all proud of and share them with our friends and peo- ple who are interested. Playing shows with our friends around North America and the world. The satisfaction that comes from finishing a recording, be it an EP or record, and then releasing it, playing it, and see- ing people react to it, is massive. I believe we’ve made the right choice in dedicating ourselves to the project, as it’s provided a lot of opportunities we already hadn’t expected. And we’re eager to see where the next couple years take us.


By Valerie Franklin

West Coast indie dream-rock quartet FRANKIE features Vancouverites Nashlyn Lloyd, Francesca Carbonneau, Samantha Lankester, and Zoe Fuhr. The band has travelled everywhere from Haida Gwaii to the Southern Baja, and the musical influences of their travels shine through in their beachy, atmospheric rock, laden with layered guitar and ethereal harmonies. Ask them where the name came from and they might tell you it’s a guy they all dated. Or maybe not.

So, you guys just came back from a tour of Vancouver Island. How was that?
Nashlyn Lloyd: It was great. We did really well in Tofino — I think it’s our surfy, laid-back vibe. We always get a great turnout there. And then we played in Victoria too at a biker bar called Wheelie’s, and had such a good time. We’re actually not playing many shows because we’re working on an album right now.

How did you guys decide to play dream rock?
Lloyd: It actually just sort of happened. It was like all the stars aligned. Francesca and Zoe had one show booked, and then we all joined in within a couple of weeks, and then we played whatever songs were written. Our sound hasn’t really changed since then. Our musical preferences outside the band are a bit different. I have a solo project outside the band that’s more electronic, but with four people in a band with equal say, it’s a combo, it’s a piece of everyone, and that creates a whole new story in itself.

You guys are from Vancouver. What’s your connection to the Fraser Valley?
Lloyd: We’ve played at the Basement in Abbotsford before. I remember one of the other bands we played with was called Kin, and I thought they were really great. And we’re friends with Aaron Levy from CIVL.

Anything else you’d like to tell people?
Lloyd: Tell them to get ready to sway.


Read the full Jam in Jubilee zine here.

Music

Jam in Jubilee 2017: Week Two


COALMONT

by Joe Johnson

Abbotsford-based folk duo Coalmont takes their name from a small town on the road to Princeton where the duo first started dating. Nate Esau remembers telling Stephanie as they passed through, “That would be a great band name if we were ever to do that.” Nowparents, they are constantly striving for life balance while keeping things fresh.

What’s your relation to Jam in Jubilee?
Stephanie: Nate was born in the town of Matsqui. I lived here all my life as well. Up until three or four years ago, we could not wait to get out of Abbotsford. It’s like, “There’s nothing going on here. It’s just a little town.” Now, we’re lifers. We like the culture that’s growing here. The arts community. The businesses, the small shops, the breweries. In the last two or three years, it’s great. Nate: Since we first came to Jam in Jubilee, there’s more of a sense of community, way more than there ever has been. There are way more people collaborating. It’s where you want to be. There’s a lot of growth and good culture happening.

You guys have kids. How does that play into the band?
Stephanie: It means we have to be really creative in how we do this, because we can’t be the starving artist on the road eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because we have a four-and-a-half- year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old. Nate: Yeah, we need four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

What’s next on the horizon for Coalmont?
Stephanie: We’ve got what’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer with shows. We love it. It’s just these tours that we’re working on for the fall. We’ve got a bunch of dates booked and we’ll be taking our kids on the road. So that will be interesting and hopefully really awesome. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot.


JD MINER

By Katie Stobbart

JD Miner is comprised of Darryl Klassen and Chad Joiner, who are sometimes joined by their cast of “incidental miners,” a handful of other skilled BC musicians. They describe their style as “an eclectic collection of original jazzy tunes, ballads about real (and unreal) people, and a liberal dose of old-time banjo and fiddle tunes.”

You have an eclectic collection of musical styles, from ballads to banjo. What’s your favourite style to play? Your favourite tune? Klassen: I have always liked eclectic bands like the Red Clay Ramblers and the old Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. When I listen to live music, I find that most groups and individuals commit to one genre. They can get very good at that, and fans know what to expect.

We approach things a bit differently. We love old- time banjo and fiddle tunes, some Okie music like J.J. Cale, and since I write a lot of music we’ll mix in some original tunes and ballads. We love to mix it up with instrumentation — for example, we have a banjo, clarinet, and bass piece. We will often have eight or nine instruments on stage. We even do a real classical tune, and then we spoof it a bit with our original tune called “The Soggy Bottom Dream- ing Concerto in E minor for Banjo and Strings.” People ask, what kind of music do you play, so we came up with our own genre, “Highbrow Hillbilly.”

How long have you been playing in the Valley? How would you describe the music community here?
Klassen: I have been playing in the Valley solo and with various bands since I moved here 35 years ago. Chad Joiner and Johan Worst [one of the incidental miners] are also long-time Fraser Valley residents and have been playing here for decades. They are both very accomplished musicians.

I love the Abbotsford music scene, but we have not been real successful at breaking into the wider Valley music scene. Perhaps this will change as we keep plugging at it.


By Dessa Bayrock

Cree/Dené/Irish artist IsKwé merges downtempo rhythms with powerful, belted-out R&B vocals and cross-cultural song structures, and braces her passionate lyrics around social justice topics such as violence against Indigenous women. She was named one of CBC Music’s 10 Artists To Watch in 2016.

Just to start things o, is it Iss-KWEE or Iss-KWAY?
IsKwé: Iss-KWAY.

Okay, good to get that sorted — I found some old interviews with you online and one had the pronunciation spelled out one way and one had the pronunciation spelled out the other way, and I thought, well, I’m lost.
IsKwé: [Laughter.]

Can you speak a little bit about the history of that name, and the decision to take that on as your performance name?
IsKwé: It’s a shortened version of my full name in Cree, which is Wâsekwahk Iskwew; Iswkew is the formal way of saying “woman” in Cree, so IsKwé informal way of saying it, and that’s my traditional name. I also have an English name, but for art and some other things, IsKwé is what I chose to go by. It felt good to my spirit — it felt like it matched what I was doing and who I was. It’s a part of who I am. It’s my experience and my path, that I walk every day — so I think it’s always part of the conversation for me. It’s one of those things that, once your eyes are open, it’s hard to go back. Now that my eyes have opened, it’s a process of passing that on to people in my community, and the folks around me.

On that note, what’s it like to be recording, and performing, and in the process of putting out a new album in 2017, the year of Canada 150, which is such a controversial celebration?

IsKwé: You know, to me it feels really strong — I feel like the content and message that I am working with is empowerment and creating awareness of indigenous practice and community. So to me, it feels good, and it feels like people might have their eyes open in a slightly different way this year. There’s a lot of chat about Canada 150 being a celebration of colonialism, but I’m not celebrating colonialism — I’m using the big party as a platform to get the message out and be able to have conversations things that are really important.

“it feels like people might have their eyes open in a slightly different way this year”

And now you’re playing at Jam in Jubilee on July 13 — are you familiar with the festival?
IsKwé: I’m not, actually! This will be my first time at the festival. And I’ll be dropping a new album at the end of July, so I’ll definitely be promo-ing some new material — sort of a sneak peek in advance — so that will be fun. I find the nice thing about festivals is that no matter what, people are there for the music, so regardless of how they take it in, they’re there for music.


 

By Jess Wind

Ever wonder what it looks like to get inked? Memento Mori Studios Inc. will be on site with their mobile tattoo shop on the final night of Jam in Jubilee, giving guests a glimpse of the ins and outs of tattoo artistry with a live tattoo demonstration. Studio president Chris Gauthier chatted about the tattoo demonstration and the ongoing commitment to the Fraser Valley arts community.

What will this tattoo set-up look like?
Chris Gauthier: Basically, there’ll be a recreational vehicle there to account for the sinks and the things that are required to be able to do it. The tattooing is going to take place outside with a canopy over the top. It’s not like walk-up tattoos, where people are there for the concert and come to get tattooed. It’s preplanned — more of a demonstration of tattooing, so that people can walk by and see someone getting tattooed.

Tell us about your connection to the arts and culture scene in the Fraser Valley.
Gauthier: I just kind of liked the idea of having a hometown. When I was in my late teens I was really big into music, and I played in a local band scene, and I started thinking I was going to be a musician. So back then, even when I was 16, there was a lot of pushing hard to have venues for local shows and events, kind of like the new generation is doing now, which I enjoy watching. And so it’s my pride for my hometown paired with how much I love music and supporting the scene. And how cool it is that Abbotsford is having events like this?

Memento Mori will be present at the last night of the festival. Gauthier expects each tattoo to take close to an hour including setup and teardown — time enough for three to four tattoos in the evening. Rather than holding the tattoo demonstration every night of the festival, they’re pulling out all the stops for the final concert on July 27.

“When we do an event, I want to make it the best
we can,” he says. “And if we spread ourselves over four Thursdays, it’s just really hard. So we’re going to go all in on the one night and make a full showing.”


By Mel Spady

The Whiskeyjays are a genre-defying band with a long family history, comprised of Luc Josef, Stephan Legal, Vincent Coulombe, Thomas Perry, and Curtis Heimburger. Stephan Legal (guitar, vocals) and I caught up over e-mail to chat about the process of balancing influences, different ways to gain traction in a new era of music production, and what makes this project different from the many iterations that came before.

Your sound is a little folk, a little rock, a little indie, and a little punk — but they mesh together well. Does this come from each respective band member having their own influences and you all coming together, or do you find you’re all influenced by similar things?
Stephan Legal: Luc and I have an understanding when it comes to our work that anything really goes, as long as we can pull it off without sounding like we’re forcing it. When a song is in its infancy, it already has a sound and a vibe that we try to embrace right away. As we workshop, we allow each individual to add their style, and this helps define and elevate it. I would say is our biggest influence for this project is Wilco, and they pull this sound off very well. We both [Stephan and Luc] grew up listening to and loving our parents’ music as well: Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac… Wells that we drink from on a daily basis include Ryan Adams, The National, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Waylon Jennings, and on and on and on.

You offer your music up for free, to stream and to download, and the book online option for covers, original sets, and songwriting/recording. Was it a conscious decision to open yourselves up to new revenue streams as musicians, or more of a “this could be fun” decision?
We feel that in order for us to gain any kind of traction in this industry, we have to develop a reputation and a brand. When we play live cover shows and weddings, it gets our name out there. The more people that know about us, the more we book. It opens many doors for us to play our original music. This is the same reason that we offer our music for free. We would rather entice someone who is on the fence about us to download our music and listen to it a few more times. Having said all of that, a by-product of the cover gigs is that we do make money, 100 percent of which goes to our band fund.

On that note, did you record and produce Clickbait entirely yourself?
We recorded this project with our friend and former drummer, Kenneth Kraylie. He recorded and produced it for us. We wish we could have given him more moolah, but he’s a real sweetie and gave a lot of his time for this project. We spent countless hours getting these fully arranged and defined before recording them. We wanted to be able to recreate everything on the EP in a live show, so there was little overdubbing and essentially nothing added that we don’t do live.

What can the audience expect from your live shows?
When you come see us, you’ll see a bunch of guys playing their asses off, drinking beer, and having a fudging blast while we do it. Oh, and a guy with a curly mustache playing a stand-up bass.

Read the full Jam in Jubilee zine here.

Geek

Let’s Play: Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre

It doesn’t matter if it’s board, mobile, video, role-playing, or card — games are a way to bring people together, to learn and hone new skills, and to collaborate on elaborate world building. They are for first dates, family fun nights, team-building, or any other social gathering. It can’t be denied there’s a game culture thriving right here in the Fraser Valley.

So what are we playing? With so many ways to play, it can be daunting to pick up and learn a new game. We’re here to help you along as we play new games, or discover classic favourites. We’ll even tell you where you might find these games to play yourself.

Continue reading “Let’s Play: Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre”

1 2 3 9