ion magazine + Fourth in a Series of Six Collaborative Artist T-Shirts “Ernie ‘010” by Robert Mearns* Available for a limited time only www.ionmagazine.ca
Expires March 1ST, 2010
T-shirts printed by
Limited Edit[ion] #4 About the Artist Robert Mearns is a young and talented artist from Vancouver. Robert is known for his photorealistic portraits of interesting locals, his six foot five stature and his equally large personality. In a city full of talented artists, he seemed like the perfect one to collaborate on a shirt that features a dead Expo Ernie About Limited Edit[ion] An extension of ION magazine that focusses on collaborative projects. We work with our creative community of photographers, illustrators and artists to create cool products that reflect the culture of the magazine. Our t-shirts are produced in limited runs and available for a limited time only. Previous artists in this series include: Raif Adelberg, Michael DeForge and Camilla dâ€™Errico
CONTENTS Volume 8 Number 1 Issue 62 8 10 12 14 56 58 59 60
Editor’s Letter If you’re going to pick on a Vancouver, pick on Vancouver, WA. They suck! ION the Street Make it rain ION The Prize You’re all winners in our books. Well, one of you is at least. Of The Month In the future, we will all drive giant spiders. Poster Art Jeremy Shaw Reason #92 that the 2010 Olympics will never be as dear to us as Expo 86: No Liberace. ION the Web If we don’t support this Internet thing, it may go out of business. Horoscopes The forecast is cloudy. Comics
CULTURE 18 22 26
Andrew Pommier A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Skateboarder. Justin Gradin Struggling artist befriends mannequin, hilarity ensues. Wait, we’ve seen this one before. The Dark Not so dark after all.
FASHION 32 34 36
Shoe Gazing Cover your feet with these and people will stop laughing at your Crocs. Wear Vancouver Local designers help you differentiate yourself from your many doppelgangers. Prep School This issue’s fashion editorial. Photography by Mckenzie James. Styling by Toyo Tsuchiya.
MUSIC 46 48 50 52 54
Pointed Sticks Sharp as ever. Petroleum By-Product We print our magazine with the most toxic inks available. Take that hippies! Junior Major Like if Junior Senior joined up with Major Lazer and agreed to combine names and completely change the style of music they played. Sun Wizard These Vancouver rockers open up their cloaks and let you have a look. Album Reviews
WHERE TO FIND US WEB www.ionmagazine.ca FACEBOOK www.facebook/ionmagazine TWITTER www.twitter.com/ionmagazine I
Publisher/Fashion Director Vanessa Leigh firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief Creative Director Art Director Music Editor Fashion Editor Designer Copy Editors
Michael Mann email@example.com Danny Fazio firstname.lastname@example.org Tyler Quarles email@example.com Trevor Risk firstname.lastname@example.org Toyo Tsuchiya email@example.com Leslie Ma firstname.lastname@example.org Steven Evans
Office Manager Editorial Intern
Natasha Neale email@example.com Zia Hirji
Rich Bucks, Louise Burns, Bix Brecht, Steven Evans, Stefana Fratila, Marc Godfrey, Zia Hirji, Shallom Johnson, Rochelle Keenaghan, Chelsea Moore, Jules Moore, Danielle Sipple, Patrick Stewart, Dr. Ian Super, Alana Turner, M.W., Alicia Wrobel
ABOUT OUR COVER Fan Death SHOT EXCLUSIVELY FOR ION MAGAZINE On the cover this month are Dandilion Wind Opaine (aka Dandi Wind) and Marta Jaciubek-McKeever of Vancouver’s own Fan Death. Their names may be a copyeditor’s worst nightmare but their music is a dancefloor’s wet dream. Dandi, with Dandi Wind, and Marta, with Girl Nobody and esl, have been making great music in this city since forever. But some things are too good to be kept secret. With music that is a synth-laden, disco delight, a must-see live show, some extremely stylish and fun music videos, a remix of “Veronica’s Veil” by global tastemaker Erol Alkan and an opening slot on Vampire Weekend’s UK tour, Fan Death are set to explode. Watch out for their debut EP, A Coin For The Well, coming out on Last Gang Records at the end February and their full-length, Womb of Dreams, which is due this May. [www.fan-death.com]
Photographers and Artists Leila Bani, Toby Marie Bannister, Taylor Borris, Dee Daly, Jon Hennessey, Mckenzie James, Konrad Junikiewicz, Mitchell Kaufman, Kris Krüg, Eduardo Mella, André Pinces, Hayley Rawle, Andrea Wan, Felix Wong ION is printed 10 times a year by the ION Publishing Group. No parts of ION Magazine may be reproduced in any form by any means without prior written consent from the publisher. ION welcomes submissions but accepts no responsibility for the return of unsolicited materials. All content © Copyright ION Magazine 2010 Hey PR people, publicists, brand managers and label friends, send us stuff. High-resolution jpegs are nifty and all, but they’re no substitute for the real thing. Clothing, liquor, PS3s, CDs, vinyl, Blu-rays, video games, and an Apple Tablet (whatever the hell it does) can be sent to the address below. #303, 505 Hamilton Street. Vancouver, BC, Canada. V6B 2R1 Office 604.696.9466 Fax: 604.696.9411 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ionmagazine.ca | www.twitter.com/ionmagazine www.facebook.com/ionmagazine | www.youtube.com/user/ionmagazine Advertising enquiries can be directed to email@example.com
Cover Direction: Vanessa Leigh, Photography: André Pinces, Styling: Leila Bani for THEYrep, styling assistant: Hayley Rawle, Makeup and Hair by Jon Hennessey for TRESemmé Hair Care/NOBASURA Clothing Credits: Dandi and Marta both wear dresses by Lover from One of a Few. Dandi wears a black studded leather bracelet by Natalia Brilli from Gravity Pope Tailored Goods and her own rings. Marta wears a crocheted necklace by Arielle de Pinto from Two of a Few and stylist’s own hat.
CONTRIBUTORS STYLIST [LEILA BANI]
Photographer [Kris Krüg]
Writer [Chelsea Moore]
Illustrator [AndreA Wan]
Leila Bani is a busy bee stylist and frequent ION cover shoot contributor. For this issue she had the pleasure of styling the babes of Fan Death, with whom she’s worked many times. Her first ever shoot with the band featured Dandi and Marta draped in a half dozen naked men—she knew then that it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. In addition, Leila recently collaborated with our cover stars on their upcoming video entitled “The Son Will Rise,” in which Marta drinks lots of whiskey and rats take off with the band’s Mexican food. They rule. Surely a sign of more great work to come.
Kris Krüg shot all the band articles in this issue. Kris is an international photographer who is a fervent evangelist for open culture and creative commons licensing. Constantly challenging himself by shooting diverse subjects from emerging rock bands to dot com execs, Kris uses his engaging personality to break down the barriers between lens and subject. Because of his unorthodox approach to his art, Kris has had his photos featured in Wired, National Geographic and the LA Times. Time after time his lens perfectly mimics his eye’s approach to catching the serendipitous moments in life.
Chelsea wrote the article on women’s fashion lines from Vancouver in this issue. Chelsea is a real lover of lingo, which is why she’s tryin’ to be a writer. She’s thankful an embarrassing typo she first sent the editor at ION didn’t matter. Among other things, she’s a giver of high-fives, laughs at pretty much anything, is entirely sarcastic, listens to music any chance she gets and thinks awkward moments are one of life’s gifts. She believes a grilled cheese sandwich can make anyone’s day and she’ll give you a run for your money with ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, at karaoke. Thanks Bonnie Tyler for the epic tune.
Andrea Wan did the illustration for The Pointed Sticks article. Andrea was born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada. After she graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a bachelor in film, video and integrated media, she continued to study illustration and design in Denmark. Andrea is currently working as a freelance illustrator in Vancouver, BC.
Michael Mann “Stanley Park” by Toby Marie Bannister
Holy shit! Winter 2010 is here. We’ve talked about it, voted about it and fought about it, but the Olympics are finally coming to town. I’m not a big fan of talking about “what’s in the issue” with the editor’s letter. Pretty much all other magazines do that and it’s like, “Thanks for reiterating what’s in your table of contents.” But this issue requires it. Pretty much all of the artists, bands and fashion in this issue are from Vancouver. Yes, we are hopping on the Olympics bandwagon. And why the fuck not? All the eyes of the world will be on Vancouver for the first time ever. Except for that time in 1997 when we tried to murder all the world’s leaders at the APEC conference. Or that time in 1994 when the Canucks lost a heartbreaking Game 7 in the
Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers and we tried to burn down our shopping district. Oh yeah, and who can forget the summer of 2003 when Ben Affleck got a blowjob from a stripper. Aside from all that though, Vancouver pretty much stays off the grid. Watching the transformation Vancouver has undergone over the past few years has been surreal. Some changes were practical, such as the rapid transit line that connects the airport to downtown, or the improvements to the Whistler highway that were so extensive, people have stopped referring to it as The Widowmaker. And some were questionable. A speed skating oval in suburbs? Thanks guys, I’m sure that’ll get a lot of use. Doing an all Vancouver issue is a difficult
task. It’s kind of similar to selecting the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team. There are so many good Canadian hockey players we could suit up two teams and be competitive. The same rings true for this issue. There’s so much bloody talent in this city, there simply aren’t enough pages to cover it all. There’s a ridiculous amount of talent in Vancouver and I’ll debate anyone till I’m blue in the face that this city produces some of the most interesting culture in the world, be it music, fashion, art or film. So sorry if we left you out. Maybe next time. Why are we so good at churning out world caliber culture? Probably because there’s an ongoing battle against culture in this city, and that always keeps things interesting. Maybe battle is too strong a word. But that’s what it
seems like sometimes. People have to keep on their toes. The party keeps moving but it still keeps going. If you’re not from Vancouver, here’s the deal. We have a bunch of liquor and zoning bylaws that were written back when women were crushed under large rocks if they wouldn’t confess to being witches. We make it so tough for culture producers in this city that they pretty much have to be awesome if they want to eat. Consequently, the tag “No Fun City” that has been thrown around this city so much over the years that it’s cringe inducing. The people who say it really don’t look very hard. This city is fun. Too much fun. We’re hoping this issue will give you an idea of some of the good times to be had in this bitchin’ city.
ION THE STREET 
Photography: Hubert Kang. Stylist: Toyo Tsuchiya. Styling Assistants: VCC Styling Boot Camp 2009. Models: Lauryn and Meg.
MAKE IT RAIN What better way to pay homage to Vancouver than to show off some stylish gum boots, rain boots and galoshes?  Hunter - Messaad  Tretorn - Elbee  Lise Jacobsen - Hornbaek  Marc by Marc Jacobs - Faux Lace-up  Sperry Top Sider - Shearwater
ION THE PRIZE larry.
[www.wearelarry.com] Visit www.ionmagazine.ca to enter
Photography: Felix Wong Styling: Toyo Tsuchiya Makeup and Hair: Dee Daly TRESemmé Hair Care/judyinc.com Model: Alex at Elmer Olsen
The prize this issue is the Gracey scarf, courtesy of the “larry.” line by Terri Potratz. These unique pieces will envelop you in warmth and comfort, while striking the delicate chord which lies between old country and modern urban style. Every item is hand knit in Vancouver with BC-sourced alpaca fibre. The fibre travels from a ranch in the Cariboo to a small co-op spinning mill on Salt Spring Island, where it is naturally processed and spun into their trademark bulky yarn. The finished product is every bit a coveted high fashion staple as it is an art piece.
OF THE MONTH [Artist] Robert Mearns [Art Show] 5 [Store] Haven Select [Store] Mr Lee’s General Store and Haberdashery 
 Artist—Robert Mearns We introduced you to Robert Mearns in our last issue. People were so
in men’s streetwear and active attire, including Levi’s vintage collection, Nike apparel, and Acronym. In
blown away by his art we’ve decided to get him to do our latest Limited Edit[ION] shirt. Robert, a
keeping with the upcoming Olympics, Haven is launching a special capsule of products in collaboration
six-foot-five party animal with a wing span that rivals Michael Jordan, is as talented as he is tall. We
with Maiden Noir. The collection follows the theme of “The Great North” and includes heavy flannel
hope you enjoy his interpretation of a dead Expo Ernie as much as we do. These can be purchased from
shirts, cotton tees, beanies and tote bags. These are a unique capsule of products to commemorate
our online store. While you’re there, be sure to check out the other styles as we’ll be retiring a bunch of
the Olympics—for information on availability, styles, and pricing check out the website below. —Rochelle
them shortly. [www.ionmagazine.bigcartel.com] [www.robertmearns.com]
Keenaghan Haven Select, 7 Gaoler’s Mews, Vancouver [www.havenshop.ca]
 Art Show—5 Paul Wong, video pioneer, award-winning artist, curator, and event organizer since the
 Store—Mr Lee’s General Store and Haberdashery Stepping into Mr. Lee’s General Store and Haberdashery is
mid-Seventies, has created five unique experiences that will take the public on extraordinary journeys
like stepping into a captured moment in history. The Thirties-inspired gentlemen’s store, which is attached to a
through real, invented, and imagined places during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. With
barber shop, gives the feeling of going back in time, when the focus was on giving men what they needed to be
a live webcast, a video bus tour and explorations in a floral conservatory, cemetery and classical Chinese
slick, stylish and suave. Large weathered cupboards and drawers display an eclectic range of goods like straight
garden, this is not a project to miss. Five five-hour events take place at 5pm on every Saturday from
razors, hair creams, bags, sunglasses, cinnamon toothpicks and big glass jars of candy. Mr. Lee’s was opened in
February 13 to March 13. [www.5.paulwongprojects.com]
December 2009 by a group of three friends and is loading its shelves back up after nearly clearing out everything during Christmas. Although the store specializes in men’s needs, women will also find a fair share of unisex items.
 Store—Haven Select Haven Select is a new high-end clothing store in the heart of Gastown, steps
Mr. Lee’s is also your only source in Canada for Seattle’s Stumptown coffee. —Alana Turner
away from the famous Gassy Jack statue. If you’re finding our recent weather too harsh to tackle, it
109 East Broadway, Vancouver [mrleesgeneralstore.blogspot.com]
also has an online store displaying all its products, including sale items. It couldn’t be easier. The store space itself is minimal, allowing the quality clothing to take centre stage. Haven Select features the best
OF THE MONTH [Spider] The Mondo Spider [Fashion] Lululemon [Mascot] Muk Muk [Call for Artists] The Cheaper Show No. 9 
 The Mondo Spider Feeling lazy? Too suave for a segway? Check out the latest in arachnology, The Mondo
 Mascot—Muk Muk ION loves Muk Muk. What/Who the hell is a Muk Muk? Muk Muk is a Vancouver Island
Spider. It began as an art installation for the 2006 Burning Man festival and has since achieved fame—being
marmot and according to the internet they are really good at hibernating. Muk Muk is also the most adorable
featured on The Discovery Channel twice, and appearing locally at Vidfest and Carfree Day. It’s a custom-made
of the four official Mascots. But wait, he’s not an official mascot. According to the Olympic website he’s a
industrial metal beast weighing 1,600 lbs, propelled by eight steel legs, and using Klann Linkage to walk like
sidekick. Seriously? A sidekick mascot for the real mascots, this is getting confusing. Anyways, Muk Muk’s
a spider. In keeping with its artistic beginnings, creators of the Mondo are now teaming up with eatART, a
hobbies are listed as: eating, burrowing, eating, making friends and eating, which basically describes what
Vancouver-based art research lab, to create a zero emissions Mondo Spider. The new and improved eight legged
our staff are into.
wonder will be the first walking electric vehicle in the world and will be displayed at the eatART labs to raise awareness of sustainable energy technology. The Mondo Spider is certainly going to draw attention. Its sheer
 Call for Artists—The Cheaper Show No. 9 Hear ye! Hear ye! Painters, sculptors, illustrators and photographers—
presence and style is so unique that co-creator Ryan Johnston has actually seen people “drop to their knees
the good folks at The Cheaper Show want you! (Well, they want your artwork, at least.) The ninth edition of
and start praying.” Our spidey senses are tingling. —Rochelle Keenaghan [www.eatart.org]
the wildly popular art exhibition takes place June 2010 and submissions are now being accepted. The only requirement—you must provide two pieces of artwork that you are willing to sell for the low, low price of $200.
 Fashion—Lululemon Gotta give props. Lululemon has creatively put together a carefully worded collection
What’s that you say? Your artwork is worth far more than the 200 bucks that cheapskate ION writers and
of clothing and accessories that are geared towards celebrating all the countries and athletes participating in
their lowlife acquaintances are willing to shell out? Well, fear not. The Cheaper Show is more than just an art
the upcoming Olympics. The “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009-2011”
sale—it’s a priceless opportunity to gain exposure (the last show drew 5,000 people, with more expected for
line almost ‘downward dogs’ around the Olympic trademark. Whether it’s an umbrella with the handle of a
#9), attract gallery representation and meet with fellow artists from Canada and abroad. And it’s a great way
hockey stick, “Cheer us on” mitts and scarves featuring the colours of Canada, Germany, Sweden and the
to turn new audiences on to art made by both established and up-and-coming artists. Deadline to submit is
United States, or a hockey helmet-inspired toque, complete with black paint to gap out a tooth, it looks like
March 1st. [www.thecheapershow.com]
Lululemon will take the gold medal for cashing in on the Olympics. —Alana Turner [www.lululemon.com]
2250 East Hastings St. Vancouver, B.C. www.daytonboots.com
LOW BRAH Words: Zia Hirji
Andrew Pommier does a lot of things. He skateboards, he listens to T.I., he eats porridge, but most notably he does art. If any of Andrew’s work looks familiar, it’s because it probably is. Though Andrew’s roots are in skateboard art, he has done graphics for a number of different companies from the likes of Adidas to RVCA to Stüssy to Zune, and is also a successful gallery artist. ION recently got to hang out and have a chat with Andrew at his studio. “My earliest experience with art was when my mom used to give my brother and I sketchpads to keep us occupied in the car or anywhere we needed to stay busy. So my earliest memories were just drawing—drawing things out of my head, whatever kids draw—robots, army men, that sorta thing.” Eventually, Andrew started getting into comic books, which is what brought him to the realization he wanted to become an artist. “You know, Superman and X-men and all that, and then I sort of did that for a while. Then I found skateboarding.” Whether it’s an anime style drawing of a girl on a Hook Ups t-shirt or pieces by Damien Hirst, Kaws or Christopher Wool on the backs of Supreme decks, skateboard culture has always been tied to
art. Andrew explains: “Both are solo pursuits. Art can be done with people, Skateboarding can be done with people, but skateboarding is about self-satisfaction, and art is about self-satisfaction.” For Andrew, the line between art and skateboarding blurs even more: “Every day you are rolling through ideas on how to manipulate a skateboard and that just naturally is part of a creative pursuit,” he says. Andrew started skateboarding just before his 13th birthday, and soon took notice of its history and vintage skate graphics. “I was just blown away by what everyone was doing, like VC Johnson and Powell Peralta stuff and I was like ‘Oh my god, I totally want to do this.’” After getting into skate magazines he quickly discovered that art wasn’t just the graphics on the bottom of decks. “I’m reading skate magazines and they are talking about art shows. Thomas Campbell was doing art stuff, like ‘Ohh, there’s more to it than just doing skateboard graphics.’ Which, you know, I love doing to this day, but I know there’s more out there.” Pommier’s work has extended beyond skateboard companies to include several successful art shows around the world. He is well
known for the, often times masked, characters he draws. “A lot of stuff comes from daily observances, like walking down Hastings Street—it’s definitely amazing, just kinda picking stuff up.” As of late Andrew’s work has been deemed “lowbrow,” a tag that he isn’t the keenest on. “I don’t know what it means. When I think lowbrow, I think about Robin Williams and Juxtapoz [the artist and the magazine]. I mean, Robin Williams is amazing, but it’s too big of a lumping of everybody.” Right now, Pommier is focused on his show at France’s Spacejunk. His primary form of motivation for this big show: “fear.” “Fear, yeah, that will do it. I have to fill a space with paintings that I’m making now. You know you need something to do every day. I’m not super busy with client work, so you know you wake up, eat a bowl of porridge, go to the studio. As long as I’m here I am doing something. Because there is no computer, the phone seldom rings and there are fewer distractions. The biggest distraction is afternoon beers.” [www.andrewpommier.com]
DIFFERENT STROKES Words: Michael Mann
Justin Gradin makes Vancouver a more interesting place. He runs Cassette or Die, an anachronistic micro label that only releases music on cassette. He fronts the band Random Cuts, a rock outfit where two of the band’s members are mannequins. And for years he ran The Emergency Room, a now defunct studio, jam space and venue that was a hub for this city’s weird punk music scene. On top of all that, Justin’s also an extremely talented visual artist. His funny, bizarre and psychedelic comic style has caught people’s attention and he’s packing up the mannequins and moving to Los Angeles to focus on a career as a visual artist. Another curious thing about Justin is he doesn’t own a phone and is sometimes very difficult to track down. Fortunately, I bumped
into him on New Years Eve at 2am and my phone has a voice recorder on it. The following interview was heavily edited to make us both sound less drunk. Why don’t you have a phone? I hate it. I hate the telephone. Even if I’m watching a movie and a phone rings on the screen I hate it. I think it should be illegal to have an alarm clock in a commercial. If I go out and I see you, I see you. If I don’t, I don’t. When are you moving LA? At the end of February. To do what? I’m going there because a bunch of friends of mine who make
music and art down there convinced me I could make money down there. I’ve basically been doing more shows down in the US than in Canada through a gallery in Chicago—Co-Prosperity Sphere. But now I’m starting to get a bit more of an LA connection. I was there in May and I was there in July and they convinced me that I need to be down there. You’re in a band right now called Random Cuts. Who else is in the band? Well it’s just me really. There’s a girl named Julie Claire who sings background vocals, but I did all the guitars and drums and bass... Just spit it out. You play on stage with mannequins! I am playing with mannequins. I just did a US tour with mannequins.
I actually got a lineup going in Los Angeles. I’m gonna bring the mannequins with me. They’ve got their passports and shit. Why do you have the mannequins with you on stage? Being alone? I’m not Neil Young. It’s a band. It makes me feel like I’m not by myself. Where are you coming from with your art? Is it a psychedelic comic book style? Well, I didn’t ever read comics, ever. I think of it more as I’m a comedian and I’m making jokes more than I’m an artist making a painting. It’s more like having an observation about this shitty world we live in. And it’s shitty and funny. There are cute girls but there’s a lot of funny, shitty, stupid stuff.
So for you, this manifests itself in people having Disney characters for breasts and genitals? The Donald Duck tits and the Mickey Mouse vagina, I feel like that’s my upbringing. Suckling on my mother’s tit is like drinking Disney Juice. That’s what you get. You get a little older and all the sudden you realize Mickey Mouse is your dick. It’s a shitty thing but sometimes Mickey Mouse gets a little dirty. It’s a development thing. You put on cheap concerts. Your art is also really cheap. Are you worried about undervaluing your work? People say that to me all the time, but the thing is, I don’t want to be an asshole. Just because I made a drawing doesn’t mean it’s worth
$3,000. It is what it is. If I look back and I drew it and think it’s worth $100 or $50, that’s what it’s worth. I believe when you did a drawing for me once, you said it was worth $8. That’s ‘cause the paper cost $4.50 and then my time—that makes it $8. I don’t like the idea of being an asshole and pretending I’m more important than I am. [www.myspace.com/randomcutsrandomcuts]
AN ION MAGAZINE CHARITY INITIATIVE IN SUPPORT OF:
ION Magazine has launched COMPASS[ION], a charity initiative that helps established youth charities raise awareness and money. For our first initiative we chose to support Covenant House, which offers a clear exit from life on the streets to youth aged 13-24. We teamed up with fashion friends and supporters to collect new clothes for the youth who stayed at Covenant House over the holiday
season. We wanted to make sure that each resident at Covenant House had a present to open up at Christmas. With the help of our partners, ION Magazine was able to outfit each youth at Covenant House Vancouver, and also supply them with everyday items that we might take for granted, such as toiletries and hair care products.
Thursday, November 26th | Metropole [ 320 Abbott] | 9pm-2am
ION Magazine and Covenant House would like to thank our sponsors for contributing to the success of our initiative:
Light Within Shadow Words: Shallom Johnson
Vancouver-based artist the dark (aka Devitt Brown) has had many evolutions over the course of his career, changing mediums from stencils to posters, oil pastels, photography and more. He has spent years as one of this city’s most impressive and consistent street artists and has shown at many contemporary fine art galleries both at home and internationally. Throughout these transitions the dark has maintained a strong and immediately identifiable through line to his work. I met up with the dark at a café in Gastown on a typically rainy Vancouver day. As I turn on my recorder he intones “Dictaphone… It’s funny because it has dick in it.” The dark is a personality full of contradictions. On this particular morning, Einstein is on his mind. “I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this. Kevin Harkess came up with a couple of different experiments to calculate the one-way speed of light, but nobody’s done them
because if they prove conclusive then Einstein was wrong. And then all of our basis for physical reality has to change.” From toilet jokes delivered deadpan to well-researched musings on physics, his intelligence, thoughtfulness and sardonic sense of humour keep those around him engaged, amused and at times offended—which as an artist, is not a bad thing. We start our conversation where he started his art career, painting stencils on walls to get the attention of a girl he knew. “The first time I did it,” he says, “I just thought it was really cool. Like wow—I can do this thing, and put this thing up there and it stays up there and nobody knows I’ve done it except me.” The simplicity of his early days quickly evolved into his identity as the dark, one of a small but talented group of artists including Weakhand, Office Supplies Incorporated and Nokin who were getting up a lot and pushing themselves to do bigger, better, more.
“It turned into me putting a little tag on everything so that people would know that I did it. Kinda megalomaniacal.” True to his alias, Devitt’s pieces are brooding and thoughtful, saturated with the melancholy that is prevalent in many of Vancouver’s artists—a shadow that he sees as being intrinsic to the nature of the city itself. “Vancouver’s got a dark vibe. A lot of the people here are really fucked. The disparity between wealth and poverty is right out in the open and everybody can see it—but I was like this before I got to Vancouver, so I don’t know what my excuse would be.” A change in medium came with a creative perspective shift. “At the beginning, ego kept me going, kept me interested. After a while, I felt like I had something to prove. And then something shifted a while ago where I started doing the oil pastel drawings, something in the process made me realize that I’m not a show
pony, that this is something that’s actually important. With street art there’s so much clamouring to fame, people want to get up and be noticed, that’s part of the whole ethic. And after a while, that gets kind of dry.” The dark moved away from stencils after his 2007 exhibit, Dystopia, a series of large-scale multilayer images of industrial and abandoned spaces that was shown at Elliott Louis Gallery. “When I was doing that show it kinda fucked me,“ he says. “It fucked my head, it fucked up everything. I just got lost in the cutting and the tracing and the drawing and the cutting and cutting and cutting and it just sucks. It fucking sucks.” And so his days of interminable stencil cutting gave way to a new artistic process, drawing large-scale photorealistic works
with oil pastels. Some of the dark’s most notable street pieces in this medium—Neptune’s Wrath and Iconic Loss—went up in 2008 on the now-dismantled Water Street hoarding, just a few blocks away from where we sit. In part a response to the increasing prevalence of street art in galleries, with these two works Devitt took an opposite tack: “I was watching people like Barry McGee and Banksy and Shepard Fairey do all of these gallery shows, taking a street aesthetic and putting it on a canvas and putting it in a gallery. And I thought, well, what if I flipped that on its ass and took a traditional gallery aesthetic and put it on the street.” 2009 ended on a high note with a successful and satisfying solo show Primary Scenario at Chernoff Fine Arts, in Vancouver. “The show at Chernoff was totally for me, and it felt really good to do it.
Thematically it was very similar to some of the other stuff that I’ve done but there were some pieces in there that I’ve really wanted to do for a long time.” One can see in this recent work the influences of German artist Gotfreid Helnwein - as well as the methods of the great masters like Caravaggio, in their use of meticulous photorealism, chiaroscuro and dramatic light. Also, piquing his interest lately is the cadre of PoMo artists that include Damien Hirst and Murakami, artists whose work depends upon and encourages the commercial aspect of art: “Art theory has changed so that it makes the work a product, makes the concept a product, the whole change that’s going on in the high-end contemporary fine art world right now. And it’s interesting to watch, because at some point the snake’s gotta eat itself, you know?”
“Vancouver’s got a dark vibe. A lot of the people here are really fucked. The disparity between wealth and poverty is right out in the open and everybody can see it—but I was like this before I got to Vancouver, so I don’t know what my excuse would be.”
As with many street artists, the dark has found that maintaining a balance between street art and gallery work is a difficult task. In a 2005 interview with DC tape sculpture artist Mark Jenkins, he mentions that he’s done with doing shows and wants to focus on street art in the future. Looking back now, he has a different outlook. “I don’t know what the balance is. When I did that interview, I was showing so much, and I was sick of it. I was just starting the whole gallery show thing and it was still pretty new and fresh, and I was still stoked on cutting stencils for the street. But now… I can sell my work for a lot of money in a commercial gallery. And that all of a sudden sort of changes the cost/worth equation.” He’s not the only Vancouver street artist who has moved on to other things. Not many artists who were around five years ago are still out there hitting the streets. Recently, some new artists have popped
up, but few have stuck it out beyond their first rainy winter. “The thing about street art in Vancouver,” he says, “is that because you can’t actually get anywhere with it unless you’re really into it, you’re gonna stop.” And he’s right—it’s difficult enough to persist as an artist in general, let alone when the community of other artists practicing in the same field can be counted on one hand. Add half a year of rain and the necessity of working outdoors to the equation? “People fall off. Six months is long enough to forget about something.” But the dark has far from forgotten. “I gotta figure out where to put some street art up other than Gastown. I’m kinda glad that black wall isn’t there anymore, it’ll force me to go somewhere else.” When I ask if he has anything in particular planned, he says, “I’m pretty angry right now so I’d probably put up something
angry. I was thinking about whiting out a billboard and taking a brush and writing ‘Go fuck yourself. -the dark.’ Just stuff like that, where it’s random and easy. It’s one thing to spend two weeks on a drawing and put it up on the street, but I kinda wanna get back to doing simple things—maybe some one-layer stencils.” As we wrap up the interview, Devitt has a moment lost in thought and adds, “Honestly, I don’t even know how I’m an artist. I don’t understand it. I don’t feel like an artist.” He looks up and asks, “Is that it?” I nod and he smiles, looking relieved. He bends down to the recorder once again before I shut it off: “Dictaphone.” [www.flickr.com/photos/thedark]
FASHION FLUEVOG & DAYTON
Words: Alicia Wrobel
Photography: Tyler Quarles
Regardless of the city you live in, it has become increasingly difficult to weed out the bad seeds on streets littered with shoe stores claiming to offer quality footwear. Fortunately, there are a few sure-fire solutions. A visit to anyplace carrying Vancouver’s Fluevog Shoes or Dayton Boots will have your tootsies tapping happy tunes in no time. Fluevog Shoes prides itself on creating funky shoes that, once purchased, are unlikely to be seen on the feet of anyone else in the city. These “Unique Soles for Unique Souls” boast the rare quality of
“40 years of the same man at the helm [of] a North American design brand.” This man goes by the name of John Fluevog. Contrary to nearly every other shoe on the market, when you look at a Fluevog, each carefully named style tells its own story. The women’s Canas, for example, are three-inch heels wrapped in luscious suede. They resemble the sort seen on flappers from movies and photos of the Thirties. A visit to the company’s website shows that Fluevog’s stylish creations have become favourites not only of the Average Joe, but of
widely recognized celebrities as well. Before their show in Vancouver a couple months ago, “Jack White’s whole band, The Dead Weather, came into the Gastown store … They all bought Fluevogs,” says Stephen Bailey, Fluevog’s marketing manager. Though Fluevogs have made quite the name for themselves, you won’t see them following any fashion trends as John purposely avoids reading and looking at fashion rags. Fluevogs are made more for the trendsetter rather than the fashion follower. A short drive east of Fluevog’s Gastown store, Dayton Boots’
neon, boot-shaped sign towers over the sidewalk of East Hastings. Founded by Charlie Wohlford in 1946, the brand takes pride in having manufactured every one of their boots out of East Vancouver. Originally catering to loggers, the demographic has since expanded to include Supreme Court judges, cowboys, construction workers, motorcycle owners and miners. In fact, people like them so much that Stephen Encarnacao, CEO of Dayton Boots, has stated, “We know over a dozen kids named Dayton. At least half of whom may very well have been conceived while…” well, you can fill in the
blanks. Dayton’s boots are known for their durability and labour-intensive 230-step manufacturing process—according to Stephen, it’s not uncommon to see a customer come in with a pair of boots decades old and on their third or fourth resole. How does Dayton produce this kind of quality? The leather used is two times thicker than most other premium boots and each piece of leather is meticulously inspected before put into production. Though the line first focused on classics made primarily for their function, it now offers what are referred to
as fashion crossovers—boots with all the function of the classics but with a bit of twist. The popular Driver boot, for example, is an above the ankle black boot with a white leather heel. Whether you’re a trendsetter looking for something funky and unique, or a bad ass in need of a sturdy and long lasting boot, Fluevog Shoes and Dayton Boots are go-to brands for guaranteed quality. [www.fluevog.com]
Gentle Fawn & Mono Clothing
Words: Chelsea Moore
Photography: Felix Wong
The most horrifying scenario for the fashion savvy girl? Spotting a rival within an uncomfortable distance wearing the same damn thing as her! In this case, it is time to start expanding options, and Vancouver has a lot more to offer than one may think. Designers Danny and Carla Hogg of Gentle Fawn and Heather Martin of Mono Clothing have the “think-outside-the-box” mentality for all those girls who wish to maintain their own unique style—and for the forwardlooking fashionista, help prevent future face-offs from occurring. Christine Pallen, brand-manager of Gentle Fawn, says that the line sparked to life after Danny and Carla spent an afternoon antique shopping together—a favourite pastime for the design duo. They stumbled across a ceramic fawn that immediately became the icon for the dynamic and the lifestyle they wanted the brand to embrace. The fawn was “quirky, beautiful and feminine, which remains what Gentle Fawn is all about,” Christine says. Gentle Fawn is adamant about paying attention to details, using innovative ideas, and fabrics and graphics that reflect
their unique femininity. Christine adds, “The line is charming in the sense that it is casual, yet feminine and flirty.” Shoppers with savoir-faire know that timeless pieces able to be worn years from now, keep a girl from becoming a clone. “All Gentle Fawn finishings—labels, contrast binding, zippers, appliqués, buttons—enhance the garment and add that distinctiveness,” she says. Heather Martin, too, is pushing fashion forward with Mono Clothing—describing her line as “a stand against the complacency within the fashion ideal and a movement towards progression.” She has been building Mono for the last couple of years, “paying close attention to the intricacies of craft methodology and how the public market relates to these notions.” She’s teamed up with several artists working in varied disciplines to bring these ideas to life. With Mono, Heather strives to redefine the same old conventions related to art, craft, design and fashion and the ideals and expectations that are generally associated with
them. Getting stuck in the constant cycles of Spring/Summer, and Fall/Winter is not what Mono is all about—it is a cycle of continual products and continual seasons. Most of the collections begin with an art project, such as an elaborate installation, that “fuel the inspiration for the clothing and accessories.” The artistic inspirations produce distinctive clothing that can only be described as matchless. Because the line is unlike many currently on the market, the pieces can be taken and made into one’s own—Mono allows a girl to be innovative and artistic with her style. We are welcoming the world into our Vancouver this February, and it’d be kinda nice to make an impression on our visitors. So stand out amongst the masses—don’t let a stylestealer snatch your thunder. Check out Gentle Fawn, and Mono and become unrivalled on the streets. You’re no clone. [www.gentlefawn.com] [www.monoclothing.ca]
Gentle Fawn Mono
Styling Toyo Tsuchiya, Makeup and Hair by Dee Daly, TRESemmĂŠ Hair Care/judyinc.com, Models Alexandra, Kasia at Elmer Olsen
Direction Daniel Fazio Photography Mckenzie James Styling Toyo Tsuchiya Grooming by Eduardo Mella, TRESemmĂŠ Hair Care/judyinc.com. Models: Miles, Mike, and Justin at NAM + Damien at Elmer Olsen. Next Page Royal blue cardigan Suit [firstname.lastname@example.org] Gray button down Lifetime Collective Trousers Fred Perry Tie Fred Perry
This Page Sweater Le Monde Gris Plaid button down Lifetime Collective Trousers Fred Perry Next Page Emerald green cardigan Peopleâ€™s Market Black/white striped button down Le Monde Gris Trousers Ben Sherman
This Page Blazer Ben Sherman V-neck sweater Le Monde Gris Striped tee shirt Fred Perry Grey denim Religion Next Page Navy v-neck sweater Fred Perry Gray button down Le Monde Gris White denim Original Penguin
This Page Striped v-neck sweater Lifetime Collective Checkered button down Fred Perry Denim Lifetime Collective Cotton beanie Ben Sherman Next Page Trousers Ben Sherman Night sky button down Avelon
This Page Trench Ben Sherman White denim Original Penguin Next Page Jacket Original Penguin
Plaid button44 down Gant Graphic tee shirt ION Lifetime Collective Denim Lifetime Collective Belt Fred Perry
MUSIC POINTED STICKS
SHARP AS EVER Words: M.W.
Illustration: Andrea Wan
The Pointed Sticks, though only in existence from 1978 to 1981, played alongside DOA, Devo, Avengers, Dishrags, Buzzcocks, toured in the States, pressed four highly acclaimed 45s, performed in Dennis Hopper’s cult classic Out of the Blue and eventually became the first Canadian band to be signed to England’s Stiff Records. They blew up quick, in more ways than one. When Stiff decided to go with producer Nigel Gray over Bob Rock, the sessions flopped. The Sticks retreated back to Vancouver to record their LP, Perfect Youth—an album so melodically unrivalled it remains the epitome of Canadian power-punk—but by the time it was released, the band had disintegrated. Today, after three decades of near silence, The Sticks have reunited with the original lineup of Nick Jones, Billy Napier-Hemy, Tony Barbach, Ian Tiles and Gord Nicholl to make their second official studio LP, Three Lefts Make A Right. And the songs are fucking good. It’s hard to believe that these men could make the perfect follow-up to an album they recorded as boys without skipping a beat. Only difference is that this time, they aren’t singing about girls. What’s the one thing you want to ask a newly reunited punk band from the Seventies about? The past. But you force yourself not to because you don’t want to imply that you have less faith in their future. And sometimes you just say ‘fuck it’ and ask anyway. Subtly. You know the stories will be worth it. What did it feel like blowing up on a mainstream level as an underground band in the 1970s? Tony: It was a lot of pressure. It became a little bit... not fun. We got together, kind of, as a joke band, you know, to take the piss out the scene. And at the same time, we wrote a bunch of songs and they were really poppy and hooky. We had a good time, but as we became more and more popular we kind of became the antithesis of ourselves. And I don’t think any of us realized that at the time. What makes a good song?
Tony: When it recalls things but doesn’t remind me of anything specific. You can sit there and toil over a song, but the more you toil the worse it gets. It’s not like a poem. The best songs are immediate. I like that answer. What was it like working with Dennis Hopper? Tony: He was a regular person, a stoner, drinking a lot. He offered us five grand to play in the movie so we said “cool” and went down to meet him. We get there and he’s drunk. Nick asked him for a script and he said, “There’s no script. It’s all in my noggin.” I want to know how the band began. Tony: Nick had been living in England, working at a record store. I think this was in 1977. So, he saw a lot of the bands then, Buzzcocks and everybody, and by the time he was ready to go come back to Vancouver all he wanted to do was make a band. Nick and Bill started goofing around. They knew me as the bass player from Victorian Pork, and asked me to join. The drummer [they got] was horrible, Ernie Dick. He didn’t know how to play to the drums. So, he was replaced by Jerry Berrick, but Jerry didn’t work out either. [Laughs] I don’t think he made it past one practice. So I brought in Ian. He had been singing in Victorian Pork, but he also knew how to drum. Then, Gord later on keys. We probably would have put him in the band even if he couldn’t play an instrument. The other day, I was talking to my daughter about getting a band together. I told her, “You’re almost better off to choose who you want in your band, then ask them if they can play”. (At this point, Ian shows up.) Tony: We were just talking about how you ended up in the band, because you could actually play. Ian: Not really. I played “Police and Thieves” remember? I sat down— you guys had Ernie Dick at the practice—you guys took a break, I played one song, then I split to San Francisco.
Why? Ian: I was down there to see the Avengers and I came back to Vancouver to play the gig with Pointed Sticks and DOA. I hitchhiked back with Craig [Gray] from Negative Trend. The only money we had was his singles. And the first record store we went into the guy bought all of them. So we had a few bucks to get home. How did you two meet each other? Ian: Tony and I met in Ottawa in ‘75 through a girl, Janet. A love triangle? Ian: No, they all thought that we were gay. Remember how they thought we were gay? Tony: Especially when we brought Lincoln. Ian: Lincoln, that crazy-ass guy. [Laughs] The reason I came to Vancouver was because of Tony—to get in a band because I had been turned on to the English scene and I thought “I can’t do this in my home town.” What do you think about the way that the internet has completely changed the way music is distributed and discovered? I mean, you guys had to trade by mail or word of mouth. Ian: To me, the question that begs is, is the live experience of playing for an audience more valuable or less valuable now? Because it’s tougher, less availability, less money, less clubs... so does that make it more important for us to get out there? Tony: We’re losing touch with that physical thing. I think that the record store is the epicentre of any music scene and that is changing. Ian: The guy behind the counter adds up to all the music bloggers out there together. He knows everything. All these guys are eccentric people. They’d make more money doing other things, no doubt about it, but they care. I think it’s incumbent upon the bands to care too. [www.myspace.com/thepointedsticks]
MUSIC Petroleum By-Product
Spastic Plastic Words: Patrick Stewart Photography: Kris Krüg
Petroleum By-Product are bratty. They’re young, snotty and nearly a cliché of what happens when you send your kids to alternative schooling. This isn’t necessarily a problem when you play in a bratty, snotty, alternative-schooled new wave act, but it does mean that to get to the core of them in an interview you had better be too cool for Christmas and hate the government. Their defiance possibly comes from leftover voices from Vancouver’s early Eighties punk scene, or is perhaps just the contrarian opinions of youngsters, but at the very least it plays well on stage and in song. The trio consists of Sally Jørgensen (Synth, vocals), Vanessa Turner (bass) and Robin Borawski (percussion) and they have just self-released their first EP, a 12” vinyl called Superficial Artificial. The record, which was recorded by Felix Fung at Little Red Sounds, features contributions from Nicholas Macmillan, Justin Gradin, Ryan Dyck and Sean at Nominal. This is the voice of Vancouver’s youth. How did the band start? Vanessa: The concept of music making started it. Sally and I both grew up in plastic-free, health-oriented homes. We first connected on the fact that we didn’t have plastics in our house. At school we’d think “So gross! How can people microwave in that?” We were always interested in music and even though we had no skills, we just really had the desire of playing music. We just started playing music with people we knew, but eventually kicked them out for being unprofessional. Sally: We met in school. We had similar backgrounds and similar taste in music so naturally we formed this project and played at our alternative school talent show and it expanded. It was received quite well because it was fun and gimmicky. We did the Fake Jazz night at Vancouver’s infamous Cobalt, which no longer exists and featured more alternative acts and bands that can’t really get shows other places and that was more like a “band” thing and it was received pretty well.
Vanessa: We had the same taste in music for sure, a “fake it till you make it” kind of attitude. “If those people could get up and play that kind of crap, why can’t we?” we thought when we saw other bands. I think Patti Smith said something like that, it’s really not that original of a process (laughs). We’re 20. We were about 17 when we started. The first show we played we had to go to school the next day and Sally went wearing all the makeup from the night before. We were at school with [local band] Nü Sensae and it was really a very arts oriented environment. What do you think of the current arts/music infrastructure in Vancouver? Sally: The public art that we have seen sprout up in the high traffic areas (due to the Olympics) is creating a wealth disparity between the already established artists and the struggling artists. Think about the public art we see—for example, the giant artificial rock outside the newly made Canada Line—assuming a lot of money was put into the image of an international city rather than supporting local Vancouver artists. Do you think the city is supportive of independent arts, or do you think independent artists/musicians have to completely do it themselves, like finding a venue to showcase yourself? Vanessa: Even with venues closing down, there’s still fun opportunities. I read this quote about adventures in the 1920s, on how adventure is dead and there’s nothing to do, but as long as there’s women and men and sea, there will always be adventures. It went on about how the people who say “adventure is dead” are dead themselves but the coroner doesn’t know it yet. It’s kind of like if you have this energy… I don’t know, you can make opportunities present themselves. Sally: I would say in most cases, artists have to do it themselves. There is some funding available, but as we have recently seen, most of the federal money goes to either already established artists like Metric who received $50,000 from Factor or the
money goes to more pro international image-making projects. It’s nearly impossible to create new music without being derivative of your influences. How do you approach this? Is it something you embrace with a nod? Or is this even something you are conscious of? Sally: Both. We are inspired by sounds from the past but aim to create our own niche and we do have a lot of respect for the forefathers/foremamas of the original new wave. Vanessa: I think there’s just certain sounds and instruments that we gravitate to. We weren’t trying to copy anything. It’s just a preference. Since there will be so many people here during the Olympics, (probably reading this article) is there anything you would like them to know about Vancouver? Sally: There is a large multicultural community with a fine selection of restaurants and junkies and our record is also available here at Zulu, Scratch, Audiopile, and Red Cat... that’s the most important knowledge for a rich tourist wanting souvenirs of real Vancouver culture, plus it makes for a fine gift/mantlepiece to show off to one’s peers or give away like candy. Do The Petroleum By-Products go to the beach? Sally: Yes, and swim in the oil-trench sea. [www.myspace.com/petroleumbyproduct]
“We were about 17 when we started. The first show we played we had to go to school the next day and Sally went wearing all the makeup from the night before.” ION 49
BABIA MAJORIA Words: Rich Bucks Photography: Kris Krüg
Junior Major were a garage-y, poppy, punk-ish band from Vancouver. They featured Katy Horsley on baritone guitar, Adam Sabla on drums, his younger sister Suzy on vocals and were a spunky little outfit. Their debut album Secret Magic’s 11 song, 30-minute run was propelled along by the aforementioned fuzzed-out baritone, Suzy’s oft-compared-to-Karen O vocals (which alternated between ‘come on’ croon and ‘don’t fuck with me’ sass), and a well-honed sense that rock and roll should be, you know, fun. Now, despite the past-tense pretense of the above paragraph, Junior Major are still a band and they have a new album titled Beaux. They’re still working with pieces of garage, punk, and girl-group, still practicing tight rhythms and tighter hooks, and still dressed to the nines. All the things that made Secret Magic an infectious little gem are still part of the formula. But things have changed. Tony Dallas—a drummer-about-town who has played with acts like Boogie Monster, Fake Shark Real Zombie and Fan Death—is now behind the kit, Adam has moved over to bass and Katy—while still contributing her chops and backing vocals to Beaux—is no longer part of the band’s live lineup. “Katy will continue to be in the Junior Major family in a variety of capacities, but in the meantime we’re looking for a new guitarist—one that owns a baritone guitar, ideally. Her exit was 100% in good faith with all parties involved. Katy has been
invaluable to this band. She’s family, really,” says Adam during a conversation I had with him and Suzy. He has good reason to be looking at the sunnier side of things right now. Judging by the three-song demo of tracks slated for Beaux, the combination of natural development over time and a band re-configuration have done nothing if not make Junior Major more dynamic and exciting. “We’re really close to finishing Beaux up,” says Adam. “In fact, by the time this [magazine] comes out it’ll be done. The songs are significantly more varied than the last jam, but there’s still enough JM swagger to keep the punk kids happy.” I agree with him. While I found myself enjoying Secret Magic more with repeat listens—especially album standout “Bad Timing”—things have been bumped up a notch or two with Beaux. Then I unashamedly throw around some ‘journalistic bullshitisms’ to describe my impression of the new songs, which may or may not have included the words “more nuanced, patient, and ‘mature.’” Adam laughs. “Well put. Yeah, everything changed when we got over the initial excitement of playing those songs [off Secret Magic]. Then when Tony brought his tremendous prowess behind the kit and I switched to bass, things got really meaty. Suzy’s been really developing her own voice as a songwriter, and she’s not a teenager anymore.” I suddenly realize how quintessentially “Vancouver” Junior
Major is. Two of the band’s members were born outside of Canada (Adam in Slovakia, Katy in the UK). Tony, though born in Vancouver, lists himself as “Jamaican” as per his lineage on his MySpace page, and the Sabla siblings moved with their family from Toronto to Vancouver a dozen years ago. For a city whose identity is so wrapped up in its “diversity,” Junior Major may as well be its poster children. Here, the conversation tails off into musings on the upcoming Olympics. We contemplate what the great, gaudy spectacle means for the city. None of us really have any answers. But I guess, if there’s anything positive to hope for from the event (which, Adam notes, “We’re paying for ... They’re using our imaginary money.”), it’s that bands like Junior Major and others not-so-quietly plugging away around town get a chance to turn a new audience on to Vancouver’s indie underground. Talking to Adam and Suzy, discovering the extent of their involvement in the scene and the time they put in to getting where they are, I realize that the kids around here work hard, and they deserve at least that. [www.myspace.com/juniormajor]
“The songs [on Beaux] are significantly more varied than the last jam, but there’s still enough JM swagger to keep the punk kids happy.”
MUSIC Sun Wizard
WHITE MAGIC Words: John Mutch Photography: Kris Krüg
Vancouver used to suffer from a small town complex. For a city of its size, it always felt kind of insular, isolated, even low key. You’d see the same people every day, there’d be little or no hustle and bustle downtown, the night life was always shitty and the music scene was so underground and cliquey it almost seemed covert. With the arrival of the Olympics however, Vancouver has finally begun to shake off its personality disorder. The doors to the city are well and truly open and now more than ever, local as well as international culture is being embraced on a citywide level. There are more people on the streets, there are live performances during the day and more and more people are turning out to see bands play. Leading the musical renaissance is a mostly Vancouver-born foursome with their sights set well beyond the British Columbia frontier. “We don’t want to be big in Vancouver,” declares James Younger, guitarist and part-singer of Sun Wizard. “We want to be big in New York…England…Everywhere!” interjects chief vocalist Malcolm Jack. James, Malcolm, Ben and Franky are Vancouver’s shining promise of gold. Since first becoming serious as a band eight months ago, the 20-something four-piece have seen their stock positively soar. And it looks set to continue doing so, too—Sun Wizard built their empire out of the most reliable building blocks possible—hard hitting hooks. “I never really thought about being in a band that wasn’t trying to be a pop band, driven by choruses,” explains Manchester born James. “All bands in the UK want to do is get in the charts–why would you want to do anything else? In the UK it’s much more of an acceptable thing to do, but over here it’s kind of frowned upon… We want to get rid of that.” By combining the stadium-sized choruses of favourites Oasis, with the more personal, heartfelt dynamic of singer/songwriter
experts like Neil Young, Sun Wizard go some way to doing just that. While few bands are able to locate and apply their own blend of hedonistic rock and introspective songwriting, Sun Wizard do so with ease, finding their own brilliant space between the smart, the literate and the downright catchy. The key to the band’s formula is their unpretentious approach to music. Amongst other stadium-filling icons, the band confesses a love of Bryan Adams and openly admits that BBC’s pop radio station Radio 1 “is on it.” And their debut offering, last year’s Maybe They Were Right EP, is as honest and shamelessly pop-filled as they come. Recorded during an irresistible Vancouver summer, the accomplished six-tracker is a breezy ode to the wonders of life around the BC countryside. “Sunlight’s golden, rivers run free/ Stop taking life so seriously,” harks the lead title “Glorious.” “We wrote all our songs in the summer when we were doing all we could to not go to bars in town and stuff like that,” explains Malcolm. “At that time of year,” continues James, “there really is nowhere more beautiful in the world. You can spend a day swimming in a lake before hopping in a hot tub, then just walking home. We’re always looking to get out of the city.” For an EP brewed within a city environment, Maybe They Were Right rings with an authentic folk aesthetic. The small-town nature of Vancouver may have had its side-effects, but the fact that the great outdoors have always been so immediately accessible is an incredible thing—and an idea that really helped shape Sun Wizard’s EP. Unfortunately though, an arsenal of folk-tinted brilliance still isn’t all you need to make it these days. Indeed Sun Wizard must encounter the same problem that faces every band from Vancouver—somehow getting noticed outside the city. “It’s definitely really hard to break free of Vancouver,” bemoans James, “Its like Twin Peaks a bit—you kind of get stuck here.
You might find that—you come to the city and you get stuck here.” Just as most bands touring the US have traditionally avoided the short trip over the border from Seattle, Vancouver is likewise hardly a thriving hunting ground for talent scouts. “There’s a big bridge between Seattle and Vancouver,” James continues, “You’ll go down there and see someone like Stephen Malkmus is playing and you’ll be like, why isn’t he playing here? A lot of it is because of visa restrictions and liquor licenses.” Nevertheless, James and Sun Wizard are confident in their ascent into wide popularity, “As a city, Vancouver is getting bigger, musically. Anyway, if you’re worried about getting noticed then you’re probably not good enough,” he offers flatly, “I’m optimistic about music. I think if you have it, if you’re good enough, they’ll come to you.” This is an idea the boys are trying to put into practice. With the waves only just being felt on the back of their first EP release, Sun Wizard have already been back in the studio recording new material, eager to press forward, try new things and better themselves. “We’ve been playing the same stuff for three months now so we want to get on to some new stuff,” Malcolm insists. “We want to have an album out by summer.” Sun Wizard’s hard working ethic should stand as an example to a lot of Vancouver bands that have yet to tap into their full potential. “A lot of people in Vancouver are in bands but not necessarily ones that are into rehearsing four times a week,” offers James, “They just kinda do that on the side.” Here’s hoping that more artists take a leaf from Malcolm, James, Franky and Ben’s book then, and realize there’s never been a better time to be in a band in Vancouver. [www.myspace.com/thesunwizard]
“As a city, Vancouver is getting bigger, musically. Anyway if you’re worried about getting noticed then you’re probably not good enough.” ION 53
MUSIC REVIEWS 1
Basia Bulat [Heart of My Own] Beach House [Teen Dream] Four Tet [There is Love in You] Los Campesinos! [Romance is Boring]
 Basia Bulat Heart of My Own Secret City Initially when I heard Basia’s sophomore album I thought, “Yup, that sounds like a sophomore album.” That is, it didn’t hit me with the same force as the first album. I mean, Basia’s sound is such that she’s always going to sound like Basia and if you like her you’ll like this. I also knew, however, that I had a huge crush on her first album and probably wasn’t being objective. Heart of My Own has a slightly more sombre feel than the first album and most critics would call that ‘mature’. So after a few more listens I too think I like the more ‘mature’ Basia. I’ve listened to “Run” over and over and still can’t for the life of me figure out why I find the chorus (which consists entirely of her repeating ‘Run, run, run, run, run’ over and over) as moving and catchy as I do. Although it sounds to me like some of the musicianship has been turned down for this album, it’s a little less frantic and it sounds like the drummer might actually be able to play most of it live (which wasn’t the case when I saw them last year). — Bix Brecht  Beach House Teen Dream Sub Pop Once upon a time, I received hate mail for hating a Death Cab For Cutie record. I was told to keep my “sassy pants” in my bottom drawer with my Beach House CD. Now, the time has come: Beach House’s third album is released and I can hold my hate mailer to his word and make him grimace as I give Beach House a high rating and complete his wish as I’m sure he
cherishes my opinion! Anyhow, I am certain that poppy organ songs and Victoria Legrand’s raucous vocals are not for everyone, but we have all been teenagers. We also all occasionally recall high school and the familiarity of having a locker, leading to a sudden slip of feelings that we only address when listening to a song like “Better Times.” Why would we otherwise try and answer, “How much longer can you play with fire before you turn into a liar?” Was high school all bad? Wasn’t the sushi okay? Teen Dream is, unlike past releases, a planetary delight. But not boundless. — Stefana Fratila  Four Tet There is Love in You Domino The last decade had some hilarious sub-genres that we’re all going to laugh about over beers (that will come in pill form probably) in 25 years. I know that I will never forget hyphy and ghost ridin’ the whip. Specifically, I will never forget the time Dr. Ian Super ghost rode his Volvo to Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses.” Although it would have had more effect if he had done it nude with his piece packed back. I’m getting off track though. Hyphy, Grime, Fidget and Electroclash? These will all be remembered with about as much fondness as the Ewok movies. Four Tet has often been classified as something with “glitch” in it—glitch hop, glitch pop, sexy thrash synth glitch jazz or something equally as HMV-esque. As we get older though, it appears that at least one artist from each narrowcasted genre should be looked upon fondly. Four Tet has made
another lovely record. It’s not brilliant, but it’s consistent, the highlight being the track “Plastic People,” which waltzes along until ever so subtly the intro from The Chiffons’ 1965 classic “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind But Me)” rolls in over the track. It’s one of those moments that makes other producers curse out loud for not thinking of it first. — Trevor Risk  Los Campesinos! Romance is Boring Arts & Crafts I was first introduced to this band live in NYC, on a cool summer night with some good friends and a LOT of tequila. Needless to say, I had a real cool time, not only from my buzz, but because Los Campesinos! is a perfect band to see when you’re high on life. Thankfully, this exact feeling is captured on the group’s most recent effort, Romance is Boring. Singer Gareth Campesinos!, through clever tales of self-doubt and deranged young love, articulates a British (or Welsh, in his case) brashness reminiscent of PiL or even The Jam. Their songwriting is honest without being earnest and introspective without being precious. On the band’s website, they describe their latest effort as being about how “there probably isn’t light at the end of the tunnel.” This may sound grim at first, but fear not! Los Campesinos!, or “the country people,” have written a record so fun and engaging that it doesn’t really mater if we’re all doomed. At least we’ll have something to talk about. — Louise Burns
Charlie Alex March [Home/Hidden] Martha & The Muffins [Delicate] Massive Attack [Heligoland] Vampire Weekend [Contra ]
 Charlie Alex March Home/Hidden Lo Recordings I know that it’s lazy to say that albums are an amalgam of two other bands or records (“It’s like Grizzly Bear meets GWAR!”), but this is the first time I’ve ever done it, so don’t send me hate mail … or do, it’s always nice to meet a reader. When I was approximately 15, the two CDs I farmed more than any for my mix tapes were Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James Album, and the soundtrack to The Kids in the Hall movie, Brain Candy. They were both so good for putting on while opening the little convenience store I worked at on those early -30 degree winter days in southern Ontario, with their sad but not pathetic instrumental compositions (the latter being almost entirely Matador bands like Pell Mell and Pizzicato Five). The nostalgic ease I feel listening to Charlie Alex March’s second effort is special, but maybe only to me. Because honestly, I’m pretty certain that I was the only one in the Ottawa Valley listening to Aphex Twin and the Matador roster on those cold mornings while trying to decipher the looks on all those loggers’ faces when they heard what was coming from a tiny stereo behind the long haired skinny kid selling them lottery tickets and Players Light Regular. — Trevor Risk  Martha & The Muffins Delicate Muffin Music mmmMuffins! After three decades and only one hit song (you know “Echo Beach”. It’s basically “The Killing Moon” of Canada), the Toronto based synthpoppers have unveiled Delicate, their first album of
new material in 18 years. Long-time partners in music and in life, Martha Johnson and Mark Gane took the best of the Muffins’ past and paired it with more current musical tastes, which, lucky for us, involve absolutely no Eighties saxophone farts. Martha’s clean and sober vocals trot alongside jaunty jams like “One in a Million” and “Drive,” while lullabies like “Even in the Rain,” and “Life’s Too Short to Long for Something Else,” are intense and emotional without a curd of melodramatic cheese. Simply put, Delicate is well-aged synthfolk fun. — Jules Moore  Massive Attack Heligoland Virgin Dude! Chillax and gear down, because when it comes to Heligoland, this one’s a slow burner. It’s the first offering from Massive Attack in seven years, so there’s a bit of pressure surrounding its release. That said, Massive Attack isn’t exactly arena rock whose listeners hard fuck and do coke all the time. No, they hit that “I’ll cook you dinner then we’ll love make” and “I stare out into the universe while riding the bus” kind of demographic. Shall I say that they are successful in this? Yes. There really are some great songs and guest vocals here, but dude, what did I tell you? Inhale, hold it… slow burner. I had to listen to this a few times to get it, but now that I’ve got it, I don’t want to give it back. Fans of Massive Attack will be happy with this one, and as someone who still feels stabbings
in my heart whenever I hear the song “Protection” because my fucking heart was broken around the time I was listening to it (all the time), I am very pleased with Heligoland indeed. Buy it for “Paradise Circus” alone. Great song. — Dr. Ian Super  Vampire Weekend Contra XL The funniest thing happened when listening to Vampire Weekend’s latest release. Within the first few soft caressing beats of “Diplomat’s Son” I was hooked by a strong sense of deja vu. Shaken for a few minutes with a broad, Cheshire Cat smile on my face, I was struck by the source of my “Oh-my-goodness-this-sounds-familiar” feeling. Lead singer Ezra Koenig could have a great and profitable career doing voiceovers for Paul Simon. The similarities between Koenig and Simon are startling yet have just increased my love for Contra that much more. Koenig’s croonings are potential swoon material. Paul Simon-ness aside, Vampire Weekend craft each of the tracks on Contra with the same effort one puts toward perfecting one’s fashion style. All the musical elements fit perfectly together, like a complementary equation of shoes, hair and accessories. This sophomore album of VW is more than just a disciplined musical musing; it is a bona-fide time travel to summer warmth, lazy beach days and the honourable right to take that well deserved ‘chill pill’. — Danielle Sipple
Jeremy Shaw first gained notoriety for dosing his friends with the powerful hallucinogen DMT. He recorded the results for an eight-screen installation that was shown in galleries around the world. His most recent work is a poster campaign in Vancouver that started last March. Since then, 25 different designs have decorated the city’s lamp posts with iconic and
infamous imagery from Expo 86. In the artist’s own words, “It was a project I decided to do in response to the upcoming Olympic Games—I saw a lot of parallels with the branding of the city and the creation of new architecture and monuments and wanted to comment/incite conversation around these issues. I also thought it would be a nice way to get a sort of recuperative
glimpse of a city that has changed so drastically in 23 years.” Organized by The Presentation House Gallery, this poster campaign “was initially funded by VANOC’s Cultural Olympiad, although it’s now mysteriously missing from their listings online.” When asked point blank if he felt the Olympics were a good thing or a bad thing, he responds, “In the grand scheme of things, I
don’t think I can really answer fairly, but as far as Vancouver is concerned, I think they’re very problematic. “ [www.jeremyshaw.com]
ION THE WEB 01 MAGAZINE SCOUT MAGAZINE STYLE QUOTIENT WINNIE COOPER 1
 [01 MAGAZINE] Art magazines. Many exist in print and online, but 01 Mag differs with its poignant interviews, large scale photographs and consistently interesting blog updates. Forward thinking fashion features and music reviews round out this great website. If you want to be up on some cool shit, visit 01.
 [STYLE QUOTIENT] Ever visit The Sartorialist (thesartorialist.blogspot.com)? Style Quotient is like that, but based in Vancouver. It’s not awful, though. Turns out a few people in this city know how to put together an outfit, sans Uggs and Lululemon.
 [SCOUT MAGAZINE] If a website could have a scent, Scout proclaims that its site would smell like cinnamon and cloves. Beyond smelling like a cup of chai, Scout promotes Vancouver-based designers and nightlife with a focus on restaurants. Basically, if you are in Vancouver and hungry you should peep Scout.
 [WINNIE COOPER] The name of one of Winnie’s contributors is “Hunk the Drunk”—that alone is reason to check out this blog. Other reasons include free music, insightful reviews and… free music. If you want to get up on what the kids are listening to these days, Winnie Cooper is your best bet.
HOROSCOPES THIS MONTH: Marc Godfrey Besides being an avid collector and archivist of spam emails, Marc ‘Lord’ Godfrey is the frontman for pop hitmakers Soulkid #1. Back in the halcyon ‘Noughties’ they signed to Dreamworks Records but were fired for being “Smart Alecks.” Lord Godfrey then established Secret Agent Records and scored a big hit in California that can be heard on a bunch of annoying American movies and TV shows. Lord Godfrey is also a renowned master of the kung fu and hopes that one day parts of him will be classified as deadly weapons. [www.myspace.com/soulkid1]
Aquarius: No one is going to pay you money to “give their pets the finger!” Stop blaming the current poor economy for your inability to find a job. Times are tough, but off the top of my head I can think of one profession that has been booming... Job dismissal! It’s been one of North America’s fastest growing industries! My advice for you is to try a career in job dismissal. You’d get to sit behind a desk and fire troublemakers and smart alecks! Pisces: In the past you’ve allowed yourself to be held back because you tended to listen to what other people have to say. Big mistake! The best advice a Pisces can get is the advice that he/she can give her/he-self. The Chinese have a saying, 勿以恶小而为之，勿以善小 而不为。惟贤惟德 and this is especially true for Pisces. Surround yourself with sycophants who applaud everything you do and your month will be Sycophantastic!! Aries: Aries is quite possibly the most mysterious sign in the astrological zodiac! Very little is known about the dark, mysterious and enigmatic Aries. What is the source of the Aries aura of mystery? Why Is Aries such an enigma shrouded in mystery, wrapped in enigma? No one knows... no one cares.
Taurus: Who really needs “words” anyway? This month you will find yourself communicating complex ideas using only simple gestures. Thanks to this revolutionary approach to interaction you’ll find that you have more YOU time! (Which, loosely translated to a gesture, would be cupping your right hand and making an up-and-down jerking motion.)
Leo: Good News! After all your hard work, the many tireless nights spent studying, scouring through books, reading and re-reading, repeating phrases over and over until they were drilled into your head, cramming all night and then cramming all day, well, it’s all finally paid off! Leo, you now officially DO have a license to fly low!
Gemini: It’s time to stop dissing all the Sucker MCs. Rather than gloating and putting them down for being “wack,” try kinder, gentler and more supportive rhymes and perhaps you could help Sucker MCs develop the confidence they need to improve their rhymes and their skills, which they could then potentially use to pay their bills. Stop hatin’ and let’s make the Rap Game a better, more positive environment for everybody.
Virgo: A recent study claimed that women who have sex with intelligent men become more intelligent! This was revealed to be a fraud started by the scientific community in a desperate attempt to lose their virginity. Just because you read it somewhere doesn’t mean it’s true! However, recent studies have found that women who have sex with horoscope writers have better luck, lead healthier, happy lives and become much, much smarterer!
Cancer: Louisa May Alcott once famously quipped to Queen Victoria, “It’s not the face one fucks, it’s the fuck one has to face!” A century later and these words still ring true. Besides all the sexual diseases that you’ll contract throughout the month you should also be mindful of the H1N1 flu. Remember, it’s never too late to start keeping a “bucket list!” Here’s one from mine: Situla… which is a lovely ancient Roman type of bucket.
Libra: Besides premature ejaculation, Libras are best known for being trendsetters. This month Libras should get a head start on the ‘Noughties’ (2000-2009) revival! It was a golden decade where everyone was either gay married or gay divorced! And, of course, the music... Madonna, Prince, Bono and Adam Ant were all topping the HIT parade! And music was FREE back in those days, thanks to the interwebnet!! Yeah Baby! Schwing!
Scorpio: This month, with your giant death ray laser beam nearly completed, you will soon be able to present your demands to the world’s leaders! However, one uninvited visitor has an annoying habit of showing up where he’s not welcome. He also has the annoying habit of NOT STAYING DEAD! Have your henchmen take care of him and make sure that he STAYS DEAD this time! Your lucky numbers are 007, 11, 711 and 69. Sagittarius: They all had a good laugh at your expense back in high school because you thought that the capital of Canada was “C.” Well, they can snicker all they want. You have finally found a serious cause! Nobody will be laughing at you when you launch your campaign to have ‘Penmanship’ recognized as an Olympic sport! Unicorn: Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. Tackle challenges head on! You should throw yourself into the work that others may shy away from. It could prove to be a watershed month for you, especially if you build a watershed in your backyard! If anybody tries to convince you to get aboard an Ark, just ignore them!! A little rain has never hurt anyone and you’ve got a watershed!
DINOSAUR COMICS BY RYAN NORTH
www . qwantz . com
200 emerging art & design d r i ve n b ra n d s februar y 1 6 , 1 7 , 1 8 2 0 1 0 l as ve g a s
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Published on Feb 12, 2010
ION's first issue of 2010 is a Vancouver-themed issue! Features articles on our favourite Vancouverites like the dark, Andrew Pommier, Justi...