ion magazine + Fifth in a Series of Six Collaborative Artist T-Shirts â€œCollecting Gretty Pirlsâ€? by the dark Available for a limited time only www.ionmagazine.ca/store
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Limited Edit[ion] #5 About the Artist the dark made a name for himself years ago by placing epic and sprawling stencils on the streets of Vancouverâ€™s worst neighbourhoods. Tired of cutting stencils and dodging the police, the dark has moved on to photography and painting and has shown his evocative, haunting and, well... dark work in galleries all over the world. About Limited Edit[ion] An extension of ION magazine that focuses 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 time runs, and available for a limited time only. Previous artists in this series include: Raif Adelberg, Michael DeForge, Camilla dâ€™Errico and Robert Mearns.
CONTENTS Volume 8 Number 2 Issue 63 10 12 14 16 56 58 59 60
Editor’s Letter Why’d that guy kill himself? Oh, he worked retail. That explains it. ION the Street Put on your pants and jacket! ION the Prize Of The Month We had a little too much fun writing about William Friedkin’s Cruising. Poster Art: Kathryn Macnaughton To balance out the gay zombie porno in this issue, we decided to include the most misogynistic poster art we could find. ION the Web What the fuck is the internet? Horoscopes Direct all your hate mail at Ryan Steele as he’s the one who wrote the horoscopes in this issue. Comics
CULTURE 20 22
jerm IX Street poetry that does not blowetry. Tesser Lo Get Lo!
WHERE TO FIND US WEB www.ionmagazine.ca FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/ionmagazine TWITTER @ionmagazine
Bruce LaBruce His gay zombie porno is awesome, but it’s still not as good as that Rusty video Bruce made. I
Julian Red & Julian Julian Julian Sweden’s fashion and music may be better than ours, but at least our quality of life, healthcare and education is alot better. Home Alone Photography by Jeremy Williams and styling by Lara Backmender.
MUSIC 40 44 48 50 54
She & Him Don’t even think of asking Zooey about Katy Perry. Zooey’s management will shoot that shit down in a nanosecond. Humans Double bass, double drums, double awesome. Lookbook The greatest thing to come out of Minnesota since Prince. Brasstronaut They hate it when people call them a jazz-indie troupe, so let’s just refer to their sound as dubstep instead. Album Reviews
Publisher/Fashion Director Vanessa Leigh email@example.com Editor in Chief Creative Director Art Director Music Editor Fashion Editor Designer Copy Editors
Michael Mann firstname.lastname@example.org Danny Fazio email@example.com Tyler Quarles firstname.lastname@example.org Trevor Risk email@example.com Toyo Tsuchiya firstname.lastname@example.org Leslie Ma email@example.com Steven Evans
Office Manager Editorial Intern Office Intern Writers
Natasha Neale firstname.lastname@example.org Sinead Keane Trey Taylor Nojan Aminosharei, A.J. Bond, Louise Burns. Katie Edmunds, Zia Hirji, Sinead Keane, Alysa Lechner, Chelsea Moore, Kellen Powell, Derek Risk, Danielle Sipple, Ryan Steele, Dr. Ian Super, Alana Turner, Alicia Wrobel
Photographers and Artists
Lara Backmender, Toby Marie Bannister, Taylor Borris, Justin Tyler Close, Chris Frey, Joe Johnson, Konrad Junikiewicz, Jenny Kanavaros, Mitchell Kaufman, John Klukas, Jordana Maxwell, Jeff Petry, Danny Rivera, Jeremy Williams, Felix Wong
ABOUT OUR COVER She & Him SHOT EXCLUSIVELY FOR ION MAGAZINE This month’s cover features the collaborative project She & Him which consists of Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward, otherwise known as M.Ward. Now, we didn’t put Deschanel and Ward on the cover just because they’re easy on the eyes, they’re easy on the ears too. After much success with their first album, Volume One, Deschanel and Ward have stepped back up to the plate with their aptly named follow up, Volume Two. Volume Two is what a luau in the countryside would sound like with its twang-ridden, emotionally evocative vocals and fluid, gentle instrumentals. These are the perfect tunes for a rural bike ride along a smooth, sun bathed street—the best way to combat, yet take advantage of global warming. So start polishing your fenders and pumping up your tires because Volume Two is out on March 23.
Read our interview with Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward on page 40 [www.sheandhim.com]
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 email@example.com www.ionmagazine.ca | @ionmagazine www.facebook.com/ionmagazine | www.youtube.com/user/ionmagazine Advertising enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Photographer: Jeremy Williams www.photojw.com, Stylist: Lara Backmender @ Kate Ryan Inc. MUA For Zooey: Christopher Ardoff for MAC Cosmetics @ Art Department, MUA For M. Ward: Jenny Kanavaros, TRESemmé Hair Care/judyinc.com, Hair For Zooey: Rolando Beauchamp for Bumble and Bumble, Hair For M. Ward: Rebecca Plymate @ See Management using Davines, Photo Assistant: John Klukas, Stylist Assistant: Danny Rivera, Zooey Deschanel: Red vintage YSL belt (from Marlene Wetherell, NYC), Jessica Kagan Cushman “hand clasp cuff”, Zoe Chicco heart locket earrings, pink topshop leotard, vintage Valentino grey/black skirt (from Marlene Wetherell, NYC). M. Ward: Grey shirt (from Riviera Club), Blazer (from APC).
For store info: 1.866.240.2808
CONTRIBUTORS WRITER [A.J. Bond]
PHOTOGRAPHER [Chris Frey]
INTERN [Sinead Keane]
Photographer [Jeremy Williams]
A.J. Bond interviewed Bruce LaBruce for this issue. A.J. directs and produces fairly non-pornographic films like Hirsute, the short comedy about time travel and body hair removal that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win several awards on the festival circuit, including Best Science Fiction Film at Comic-‐Con in 2009. A.J.’s other credits include producing the award winning series of shorts The Patterns Trilogy, with director Jamie Travis, not to mention an embarrassing secret past as a child actor. A.J. is currently developing his first feature film.
Chris Frey shot Bruce LaBruce for us in Berlin of all places. Chris is originally from Vancouver and currently resides in Berlin where he divides his time between freelance photography, writing and performing with his current musical project, Slashing Gales (featuring Moogist, Robin Fry). Some other bands Chris has previously been associated with include Radio Berlin, Destroyer and The Book of Lists. Chris’s photographs have been published in numerous publications including Wire, Color, Frieze, Adbusters, The Globe And Mail, SkyScraper, Magnet, his own book entitled Portraits 99-01 and now, ION.
Sinead Keane is interning at ION. She came from Ireland in search of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. Instead she found Caesars, looneys (and we are not talking cash here) and yams. If she could marry a yam for citizenship, she would. Since graduating from Dublin City University two years ago, Sinead has taken on the role of struggling writer covering topics such as bestality, tractors and farm animals. Sinead interviewed Jerm IX for this issue. A considerable step up one might say.
Jeremy Williams shot the fashion editorial in this issue and She & Him. Your lips, your legs, your eyelashes... they are super-fantastic. No one knows this more than New York photographer Jeremy Williams. A selfless soldier of beauty, fighting so that all things good and true may one day bask in their own reflected glory. He is a colourless, odorless chemical whose only residue is the glossy delight of a bitchin’ editorial. He is nowhere, and yet everywhere. He is with you even now, shivering with anticipation at the turn of every page. He loves you. He loves you all.
Michael Mann “Liquor Store” by Toby Marie Bannister
I know some of our most loyal readers work in retail. Seriously, they’re the people who can come up to me, recite the entire contents of past issues and let me know about all the typos they spotted. I always found it flattering until I started working retail and realized the main reason these people read the magazine so closely is because they are bored. We opened a store for the Olympics and I agreed to work at it because I thought it would be fun. I interviewed Douglas Coupland once and he confirmed that well after he was a famous author he worked at a bookstore... only because he was curious to see what it was like to work in a bookstore. If he can do it, I figured, why the hell can’t I? I’d never worked retail and on paper it sounds like fun — hang out, listen to music and make small talk with people. In reality, it’s boring. Like, really boring. We were a small operation so it was mostly just
me and the publisher for the entire Olympics, save the half-day she let me have off to work on the magazine. So we sat there doing nothing except praying for people to come in and buy something. Sometimes people did but mostly we waited. Oh, how we waited. I wished I’d had a magazine to read, now understanding why all my friends who work retail constantly harass me to come down and visit. It’s because they are bored. After a few days of retail, I caught myself doing the same thing. Sometime friends showed up to say hello (and not buy anything), but mostly it was just tourists. Oh, the tourists and their stupid questions. They never asked anything like, “Where is a good place to see live music?” or “Do you know of any good art shows happening?” No. They only want to know where the nearest McDonald’s is. Sometimes random people off the street would come
in to perform a magic trick or tell me their life story (spoiler: the magic is pedestrian and the life story is never entertaining). The experience gave me a new appreciation for people who have the patience to work in retail. I am not one to complain without offering solutions. When it comes to menial jobs, people either work in retail or work in bars. I worked in bars and I highly recommend that all our retail slave readers quit their jobs and consider slangin’ booze instead. With retail you need to handle cash, fold stuff, greet people and look pretty. If you’re capable of picking up a dirty glass and know the ingredients in a rye and coke, then you are qualified to work in a bar. “But I like the discount I get on clothes.” If you work in a bar you get a discount on booze when you’re not working. When you
are working, you can drink all you want. Hell, huck a bottle in your bag. This isn’t retail and no one is going to check your bag before you leave at the end of the night. There are tips too! Are people who work in retail aware of this? It’s tax-free money that you get a fat stack of at the end of every shift on top of your shitty wage. You could buy lots of clothes with your tips (but mostly you just spend it on more booze). And finally there’s the people. Are you aware of how hilarious people are when you overserve them? They do the stupidest shit. Like hit each other with chairs and have sex in bathrooms. It’s incredibly entertaining. Heed my advice, retail slave readers, and quit your jobs. Move on to greener and drunker pastures. Just please promise you’ll continue to read our magazine. But please stop pointing out all the typos.
Photography: Konrad Junikiewicz | Styling: Toyo Tsuchiya | Styling Assistant: Mitchell Kaufman | Makeup and Hair: Taylor Borris TRESemmé Hair Care/judyinc.com | Models: Daniel and Emanuel at Elmer Olsen
ION THE STREET 
We are heading into March which means Spring showers. Every dude out there should have a rain jacket, anorak or trench coat to protect their manly figure so they don’t have to use an umbrella!  Velour - Ethan  Suit - Faber  Lifetime Collective - Real Talk 2.0  WESC - Floris
ION THE PRIZE
ION has a couple of KÄRV t-shirts to give away to lucky readers of this issue. Launched in 2000, the clothing company prides itself on its vintage-inspired garments that provide a parallel with the latest fashion trends. The company’s designers, based out of Montreal, work day in and day out to ensure quality through extensive attention to detail. Though the brand is primarily known for their tops, in 2010 they launched a denim line allowing die hard KÄRV enthusiasts and fashion lovers alike to create a unique and effortless look. [www.karv.tv] To enter visit [www.ionmagazine.ca]
Photography: Felix Wong | Hair + Make-Up: Taylor Borris, TRESemmé Hair Care/judyinc.com Styling: Toyo Tsuchiya } Models: Jesse and Sarah at Elmer Olsen
OF THE MONTH Limited Edit[ION]—the dark [Store] The ION POP Shop [Art Show] 01 Magazine Group Exhibition [Artist] Indigo 
 Limited Edit[ION]—the dark We’re super stoked to collaborate with the dark on our latest Lim-
Canadian talent. Some of the Vancouver roster includes photographers Jennilee Marigomen
ited Edit[ION] shirt. the dark, aka Devitt Brown, has been a longtime friend of the magazine. We’re
and Jeff Otto O’Brien, as well as LES Gallery artist Dan Siney. Holding down the home front
such good buddies we weren’t even fazed when he sent us a nude pic of himself to accompany the
for Toronto are local photographers Maryanne Casasanta and Niall McLelland. No matter
article we ran on him in Issue #62. His shirt is titled Collecting Gretty Pirls and you can pick one
who you bring to this exhibition, you’re guaranteed to be in good company. —Alysa Lechner
up from the ION Magazine online store till the end of March. [www.ionmagazine.bigcartel.com]
 Store— The ION POP Shop We’re sure we spammed you about it, but we’ll toot our own horns
 Artist—Indigo On the shore of Tower Beach, painted on a large piece of driftwood, you’ll
whenever we can. During the Olympics we opened a brick and mortar store in the Downtown
find a picture of a girl whose hair appears to be blowing in the salty wind. Brought to life
Eastside. Don’t read the editor’s letter in this issue. It was a blast! We were literally drunk every
by local multi-talented artist Indigo, she guards the beach as if she exists there naturally.
night hosting art shows by Jason Ainsworth, Justin Gradin and the dark while friends of ours
Indigo, who has significant experience in the areas of writing (for this magazine), photog-
like Alonzo Wang, Stefana Fratila, The Good News and Babe Rainbow came down and played
raphy, painting, dancing, and stencilling, among other things, is quickly gaining recognition
tunes. Thanks to everyone who came down and supported! Check our YouTube channel to see
in the international community for her unique style of art. Never short on creative juices,
a ridiculous video of Alonzo performing. [www.youtube.com/user/IONmagazine]
much of her effort lately has been directed towards collaborative art projects bringing colour
 Art Show—01 Magazine Group Exhibition 01 is a Vancouver based bi-monthly, online maga-
and interest to the streets of Vancouver. Like any artist, Indigo is her own worst critic, but from
zine and daily blog. Its contributions come from creative-minded Vancouverites, as well
what’s been seen so far, she can do no wrong. Coming up in April, you can catch her at the Paint
as a handful of individuals outside the city. 01 is launching its first art exhibition this
Your Faith Vancouver collaborative mural project at Abbott and Hastings in Vancouver. For more
month at the 1 07 Shaw Gallery in Toronto. The exhibition runs from March 1 1-April 3 and
information visit Indigo’s blog. —Alicia Wrobel
will showcase international artists from Germany and New York along with a great crop of
OF THE MONTH [Game] BioShock 2 [Art] Sky Pesher [DVD] Cruising [DVD] Under Great White Northern Lights 
 Game—BioShock 2 In the interests of full disclosure, the reader of this review should know that it was written
 DVD—Cruising Imagine it’s 1980 and you see an ad for a gritty cop thriller directed by William Friedkin that stars
by the author while drunk, in a bar, from his BlackBerry, while drowning his sorrows over Canada’s loss to the US
Al Pacino. You loved The French Connection, The Exorcist, Serpico and The Godfather, so seeing this is a no-brainer.
in hockey on the 21st of February. The reader of this review should also know that BioShock 2 is AWESOME. This
The movie starts and then you seem them. Men! In leather! Everywhere! In Cruising, Pacino plays a police officer
game straight up rules. I had never played a BioShock game before ION asked me to review this one. The intro
who goes undercover queer to find a serial killer who’s picking off gay men in New York’s S&M scene. What do you
hooked me and there’s a lot of mystery that helps to keep you invested in the gameplay during the difficult parts. I
want to bet a lot of people walked out of this one? The title of the film refers to cruising for sex, which Pacino does
don’t want to ruin it for the casual gamer that might not know, but I will say it involves an underwater city, people
an awful lot of in parks, porno theaters and bars with names like Ramrod or The Cock Pit. Highlights of the movie
modifying themselves with seaslug genes to gain telekinetic powers and little girls with glowing eyes that carry
include an amazing soundtrack, a lengthy and informative explanation of the handkerchief code and a scene where
around syringes bigger than they are. The controls are easy and intuitive and the game has a great system for
Al Pacino huffs leather polish, trips out and starts dancing while someone gets fisted in the background. Cruising
calibrating the brightness so you can actually see what you’re supposed to in darker maps. I’m definitely a casual
was heavily protested by the gay community during production and release. It was even slapped with an X-Rating.
gamer and the difficulty of the game was at times frustrating for me. However, the art direction, story and originality
Today, it just seems over-the-top and totally hilarious. —Michael Mann
never failed to hold my interest and keep me invested. —Kellen Powell
 DVD—Under Great White Northern Lights You know how much better the White Stripes are than most bands on
 Art—Sky Pesher Part of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is a walk-in art space called a Sky Pesher. It
the planet? Well, this movie is that much better than most concert movies ever made. Under Great White Northern
was created by American artist James Turrell and is open every day and every night. It is a freestanding structure
Lights documents The White Stripes 2007 tour of every Canadian province and territory, including a one-note show
with a 16-square-foot aperture at the apex of its curving white ceiling. Grant and Maggie of Lookbook performed
in St. Johns and a show that commemorated their tenth anniversary as a band in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Directed
in it as part of a concert series held there, and we’re told that the effect is one that magnifies the sky and “brings
by Canadian Emmett Malloy, it’s beautifully shot, gives great insight into the band and the music is, of course,
it down” to any visitor. If you’re visiting Minneapolis it’s high on a list of attractions that includes the new Twins
spectacular. Bonus, Meg White actually speaks! —Michael Mann
stadium and Prince. -Trevor Risk
Death becomes him Words: Sinead Keane
One man’s quest for self-actualization as he journeys through reformation, revolution and a rebirth of his very being. You could be forgiven for thinking that you have flipped open a copy of Faith Today or some equally devout publication spurting advice about rebirths and self awareness, when in fact, you are about to embark on the story of ex-convict, addict and self-proclaimed scumbag, jerm IX. Hell, even his name, with its despotic IX, sounds biblical. But this guy is no apostle. To some Vancouverites, an introduction to jerm IX is not necessary. They have seen his social acclamations peeping out from behind alleys, embellished along park benches and stretched across the citiy’s highways. His black and white stencils are witty, thought-provoking and subversive. “Hello, my name is jerm and I’m an alcoholic,” strategically placed under a Heineken billboard. “For Rent” signs on public benches. “Journalisn’t” embellished across newspaper boxes. So, what’s it all about? “The goal is to provoke thought. Life is the inspiration. We all have those moments while reading the paper or rotting in front of the TV when we vent our frustrations out loud. I just put them up. I’m inspired by homelessness and racism and homophobia and giant power wielding corporations and marijuana laws and climate change and nonsensical wars and far right Republicans. I’m inspired by the things that piss me off. And I’m driven by the need to share my voice.”
With his combination of words, puns and quotes, statements and rhymes, the streets of Vancouver provide an ever-changing canvas for jerm to share his often contentious and always thought provoking messages. “The right quote in the right location will provoke the desired emotion and push that button in people. That’s what I’m after. I just follow my heart really, corny as it sounds,” he says. With the influential tastemaker of urban street art, Wooster Collective, providing him with much coveted coverage and the internet set alight with his provocative images, is there a fear that jerm himself may turn into one of those brands that he is so intent on lambasting? “Absolutely.” What! “Yeah, right from the jump we have utilized marketing strategies to spread our jerms: consistent visual delivery, use of repetition, omnipresence, branding, and targeting specific demographics. I was a brand the minute I slapped that first jerm Inc. sticker up. Before Flickr, before Twitter, before anyone knew I was alive.” You can’t argue with that. There was a time when Jeremiah was alive, but jerm IX wasn’t. Confusing? A little. Think Eminem and Slim Shady. An alter ego of sorts. But one he has killed off in a quest to become a better person. “That old Jeremiah was an addict, a victim and a scumbag. He was tortured daily by life,” he explains. “He hated himself and it showed
in actions. He wasn’t me at all. That old Jeremiah is just a shadow now. He will come with me everywhere I go and always stay behind me, but he’s dead now. I killed him.” It was in street art that jerm found a saviour. Battling manic depression and anxiety for as long as he can remember, jerm has been obsessed with death, but from this desire to self-destruct he has found creation in the form of a radical new street art, the innovative Hypothetical Corpse Project. Hallelujah! This phenomenon, which has built up quite a following online, sees people throw themselves to the ground and capture their fantasy death on camera. “I actually find hypo-corpsing quite cathartic,” he remarks. “For a brief moment, at any time and place of my choosing, I can fulfill that fantasy and momentarily die. There have been times, however, that I’ve been asked to hypo-corpse and I just wasn’t in the right mindset.” Akin to his attitude, not only to his art, but to his life, jerm succeeds in finding light in even the darkest of places. Like when fulfilling his darkest death wishes. “I like to do it when I’m in a positive place, not when I’m depressed. It’s a celebration really—a victory dance.” [jermalism.blogspot.com]
DREAMSCAPES Words: Chelsea Moore
Considering the art he produces is so awe-inspiring, Indonesianborn Toronto artist, Tessar Lo, is surprisingly modest. You won’t find him trumpeting about his talent (which, for the record, is worth trumpeting about). In fact, he confides that after he completes most collections he doubts himself, and has to convince himself to go on. Tessar’s latest collection at The Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto is titled Everything We Wanted In Our Nostalgic Future and is a testament to the exceptional talent he possesses. It’s also the first time he’s felt really happy with a completed body of work. The collection consists of paintings that make you feel as though you are looking into a dream—or at least a snapshot of one. The paintings hold a misty, ethereal quality that allows the onlooker to get lost within the context. Tessar explains, “I feel like we have chances to have these moments of stillness, and I was hoping in a very literal sense that maybe my work can draw people in, to stop and look, to just take a moment from doing other things—just stop and breathe, and kind of enjoy the time.” Most of the paintings in Everything We Wanted In Our Nostalgic Future are based on Tessar’s memories and they’re intended to give
the onlooker a moment of tranquility. “When we remember things, we sort of distort them—if it’s a happy memory, more often it will tend for the sky to be really blue. I think that’s a really interesting thing, and a really beautiful human tendency when we go back in our memories we sort of create the most beautiful scenario that’s possible.” Anyone familiar with Tessar’s work probably wonders about the recurring Chinese-inspired emblems or wildlife imagery, and what they are meant to signify. These visual markers make an appearance in the latest collection as well, but even Tessar doesn’t know exactly what they represent. “I think there are reasons why I put them into my work—because they reoccur, not only in my work, but also in my head. I think that we as people identify with certain animals and maybe the certain traits that they have, and it might have something to do with that.” He adds, “I don’t purposefully use it as a vocabulary of work—like as a metaphor necessarily. It’s more that I just paint it because I see it so often.” With this collection, the unassuming Tessar reveals that, “This last show was just the tip of the iceberg—I feel like I’m onto something,
and I’ve really started to get into something that I am fully enjoying.” The paintings reveal evidence of this liberated, carefree spirit and may be accredited to Tessar’s openness to serendipity. He reflects that it “might be attributed to, kind of like my abandon, my surrender, and surrendering that control… Sometimes when you think about something too much, when you have too much control, that element of chance, and that randomness isn’t there. And that’s not like, really natural—nothing is really whole and perfect.” Whatever it was that he did, having one of these paintings hanging on your wall will change the whole feng-shui of a room— bringing a sense of calm, and a sense of wonder with it. But for Tessar, all he really wants is for people to think that he’s having. “I just remember from a past show someone came up to me and said, ‘Oh man, you must have had so much fun working on this body of work’, and I think that was the most, like, the biggest compliment to me.” [www.tessarlo.com]
UP WITH ZOMBIE PORN Words: A.J. Bond
Photography: Chris Frey
Why should vampires get to have all the sex? Zombies are enjoying an extraordinary renaissance in pop culture right now. Fast zombies, funny zombies, pet zombies. We’ve seen practically every variation on George A. Romero’s modern zombie spawned by his cult debut Night of the Living Dead in 1968. But Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce is finally taking zombies to the next level – gay porn. If you’re looking for “art porn,” LaBruce is the go-to guy. He is infamous in the art film world for his provocative and intelligent indie porno films. At once humorous, shocking and titillating, his movies have dealt with neo-Nazis… and porn, terrorists… and porn, and now, zombies… and porn. LaBruce deliberately straddles the thin and controversial line between ‘artist’ and ‘pornographer’, challenging taboos and audiences, while transforming both cinematic and pornographic conventions with his unusual treatment of graphic, unsimulated sex. His films, like the literally revolutionary sex-comedy, The Raspberry Reich and the softcore gay zombie romance Otto; Or, Up With Dead People, have played at hundreds of film festivals around the world including Sundance and Berlin, as well as venerable art institutions like the MoMA in New York. With his latest provocation
L.A. Zombie featuring popular gay porn star François Sagat, LaBruce is staying true to the subversive nature of Romero’s early zombie classics, boldly fusing our obsessions with sex, violence and death into one truly hardcore zombie film. Hardcore both in terms of horror and porn. I caught up with LaBruce shortly after a sneak preview of L.A. Zombie at the Peres Projects gallery in Berlin to discuss art porn, zombie porn, torture porn, emotional porn and just straight up porn. You’ve described yourself as a ‘reluctant pornographer’. How did porn find its way into your art? I always stand by the statement that I started using porn for political purposes. I was in the punk scene in the Eighties and we had turned to punk because of its supposed political radicalism, its anarcho-syndicalism and its extreme left wing politics. Also, in North America at least, it was quite stylish and interesting aesthetically. It was anti-corporate and it was all doit-yourself, so there was a lot of really exciting stuff going on in it. But when we abandoned the gay movement and went into the punk movement, we still found a certain amount of homophobia,
a strong strain of it. So for me, making a lot of these fanzines and films with gay pornographic content was directed towards [homophobic punks]. It was kind of a political statement—just a way of being very in your face about homosexuality and being unapologetic about it, being unambiguous about it. And also to actually turn it back at them, because the mosh-pit and all this kind of macho behavior had developed in hardcore punk and it was extremely homoerotic. I mean, it was these really hot half-naked guys all over each other on the dance floor. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other. So we were just sort of commenting on that as well. And as it turns out, we abandoned the gay movement way back then because we thought it had become too conventional and kind of bourgeois and assimilationist. Twenty-five years later, it’s exponentially worse than we’d ever imagined it could become. Now I kind of believe that pornography in a sense is one of the last places where you can express gay radicalism. And how did zombies find their way into your porn? Well, my producers think I’m crazy and they don’t really think that there is a market for ‘zombie pornography’ or ‘gore
Image Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin Los Angeles
“...my producers think I’m crazy and they don’t really think that there is a market for ‘zombie pornography’...”
pornography’. I don’t know, for me, it’s just a natural extension of what actually is going on in mainstream entertainment with torture porn, which has become a huge mainstream genre that’s really popular. It kind of baffles me and repulses me that these films, which are quite expensive and slick, are based on torture—usually the torture of women. Really extreme graphic torture, and, quite often, eviscerating torture of women, is now considered mainstream entertainment. And if people don’t think there’s a sexual component to that, then they’re crazy. The way that these films are presented is by its very nature sexual; it’s like a sexual seduction. So for me, I’m just kind of connecting the dots that are already there. This connection between violence and sexuality and the way that violence and war and terrorism are all packaged in a very titillating way in the mainstream and how that relates to how pornography is packaged and mass marketed. I don’t know, that’s maybe my intellectual side being too much of a smarty-pants but… I mean if you watch a slasher film, it’s the same structure as a porn film basically. It’s a series of victims, quite often women, who are shown in progressive scenes where they become penetrated by some phallic object until they gush liquid. It begs the question, is there really any difference between mainstream Hollywood and mainstream porn in terms of sheer titillation and escapism? In some ways I think Hollywood is really just a kind of porn. It’s like emotional porn rather than physical porn. But you still have these two actors who are thrown together in a movie—a male and a female—who end up having these intimate scenes. They don’t fuck, but they’re extremely intimate and they’re kissing and usually half naked. The only thing that separates it is penetration usually. So yeah, I think they operate in quite the same way. I had some problems in L.A. Zombie. Besides François [Sagat], I used three of the biggest porn names in the gay porn industry and there was some miscommunication where they didn’t think they’d actually be doing a porno style scene in my movie. Part of the problem was due to the fact that the new porn world operates much like the way old Hollywood did: they have these studios and everyone has contracts that are exclusive to that studio. If you want to use somebody from another studio, you
have to officially have them loaned out, which is exactly the same way that Hollywood used to operate. So they do actually kind of run parallel in a lot of interesting ways. What’s it like working with porn actors on an ‘art’ film? Well, François, for example, is a born actor. He’s quite remarkable and he’s starting to get roles in non-porn films. Well, he was in Saw 6—he had a bit part—but I think he’s going to be in Saw 7. He’s also working with a French director named Christophe Honoré. What amazed me was I shot a scene with him in L.A. Zombie and he can cry on command. He’s one of those actors who can just summon tears. A lot of actors can’t do that. In fact, when I’ve worked with a lot of porn actors in my films, I’ve found that they’re actually much more natural actors than you’re usually led to believe… I’m not saying that they can all act, but I think a lot more can act than you would expect. I like to work with non-actors anyway. The guys in L.A. Zombie, the three big stars I worked with, were in just one scene. They didn’t really have an opportunity to do anything dramatic or anything, but they were really keen to do something that they don’t usually do. Every porn star I’ve ever met is totally into gore. All three of those guys were super hardcore fans and they ended up totally splattered in blood and shot to pieces, so they were really into that. But François, his performance in L.A. Zombie, even though it’s a non-speaking part, is quite impressive actually. He really inhabits the role, such that it is, and even makes it quite emotional, which isn’t easy to do. I’m reminded of Seventies porn star Marilyn Chambers’ dramatic turn in fellow Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg’s early film Rabid. Have you seen Rabid? Oh, of course, many times. Rabid seems like a precursor to zombie porn actually. Experimental plastic surgery causes Marilyn’s character to grow a mutant phallus in her armpit that stabs her lovers and turns them into sex-crazed zombies. Has Cronenberg’s work had an influence on you? For Otto, which is my first gay zombie film and which is less pornographic—although it has some very explicit sex scenes in it—for that one I was more channeling Charles Addams, Edward Gorey and George A. Romero’s Martin, and films like that. I wasn’t really thinking about Cronenberg because that’s
a whole different style. Otto is much more gothic and it’s kind of sweet. It’s a more whimsical kind of horror movie. But L.A. Zombie, yeah, I mean I’ve seen all of Cronenberg’s films of course and I’m a big fan, but didn’t think about that directly when I was making it. In L.A. Zombie, he has this weird looking alien cock—that’s a fake cock, it has like a Scorpio stinger at the end of it and when he cums it’s kind of like squid ink. So yeah, Cronenberg went really far in those early movies with that kind of sexualized science fiction. What do you see as the future of porn? In a lot of ways narrative in porn is becoming sort of vestigial. It’s less and less common, which I think is really unfortunate. You know a lot of the companies are just shooting scenes now and live streaming them. They’re becoming less and less concerned with narrative and character and with humour and whatever other content that was ever in porn, especially when it used to be made on film. But beyond that, the new trend in porn is extremes, extreme porn, like extreme sports. Like having 50 guys cum in a woman’s face in five minutes or a gangbang with 200 guys each wearing a number around their neck. Where else can you go with porn I mean? I worked with a lot of porn guys on L.A. Zombie, it’s co-produced by two porn companies, and one of the guys was saying, “There’s been enough porn already shot in the world to last for the next 100,000 years.” But the point is, where does it go after what you’ve already seen? So that’s where they’re trying to go, to take it to another level of extremes. The other thing is, I think that because torture porn and these extremely violent movies do operate a lot like porn films, I think that that seems like a merger that may happen between the horror genre and the porn genre. They are kind of already on the same trajectory on a certain level. And of course, I’ve always said half jokingly that zombie porn will be more popular because there’s just so many more orifices that you can create in a rotting corpse. As you proved in the infamous gut-fucking scene in Otto. Do you explore this again in L.A. Zombie? Oh yes, oh yes. Even more, it takes it to the next level! Look out for L.A. Zombie at high-minded film festivals and seedy porn shops near you.
Images Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin Los Angeles
Julian Red & Julian Julian Julian
BETTER OFF RED Words: Alana Turner
Photography: Konrad Junikiewicz
Famously known as ahead of their time in denim designs, the small Swedish clothing line Julian Red emerged from the eclectic underground art and music scene below the streets of Sweden and is now hanging with top name designers and appearing in fashion weeks all over Europe. The men’s and women’s clothing line was named after head designer and mastermind Mattias Lind’s alter ego, Julian, who is himself based on a character from Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, a story of a rebellious punk with a love of art, fashion and music. Red symbolizes being like no other colour and therefore is meant to mean “nothing in particular.” In 2002, after Mattias graduated from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, he began designing denim that was stylistically different than what was ‘in’ at the time, and focused on jeans
with a slimmer silhouette and used a variety of selvedge denims. Mattias’ early designs for Julian Red’s jeans were originally hand-made by a group of tailors who specialized in religious garments. The denim became popular after nightly appearances onstage on members of The Rapture and unannounced runway shows at nightclubs that stirred up so much attention that Julian Reds became the must-have item in New York City at the time. Soon, with the help of a team of five passionate individuals spread out all over Sweden, with backgrounds ranging in engineering, economics, fashion design and art, Julian Red expanded from the little underground secret it was years ago to a well-known and respected clothing line.
Julian Red and its sister company, Julian Julian Julian, or 3-J as it’s known, are designed with spontaneous life choices in mind. Attention to detail, quality fabrics, affordability and pushing the limits are the design team’s mantra. Mattias’ creative team is sure that by “the third word [Julian] you’re ours.” Having infused 3-J with the creative spirit of Julian Red, Mattias and his team are currently working towards “gracefully expanding” the lines in the near future and are looking forward to reaching individuals that value bold expression with high quality fabrics. [www.julianred.com]
Styling Assistant Mitchell Kaufman | Makeup and Hair Taylor Borris, TRESemmĂŠ Hair Care/judyinc.com | Models Jamie and Olie at Elmer Olsen
Photographer: Jeremy Williams www.photojw.com Stylist: Edda Gudmundsdottir @ Kate Ryan Inc. Makeup and Hair: Jenny Kanavaros, TRESemmĂŠ Hair Care/judyinc.com Model: Megan Fennya Jones @ NEXT Bra Top H&M Lace Bra American Apparel White Jeans with Braided Belt Pleasure Principle Sunglasses Vintage
This Page Tie-Dye Dress with Hat Pleasure Principle Shoes Converse Next Page Denim Bra Top Daryl K Tights House of Holland
White T-shirt Dress Pleasure Principle in collaboration with Olaf Breuning Scrunchie American Apparel
This Page Dress Marc by Marc Jacobs Shoes Converse Ring Danika Next Page Bra Top VPL Pants Darrly K Human Hair Bracelet Shoplifter $ EDDA for VPL
SHE & HIM
HIM & HER
Words: Trevor Risk
Photography: Jeremy Williams
The opener “Thieves” makes me want to start singing “Cupid” by Sam Cooke. Is that intentional? Zooey Deschanel: No, it wasn’t. I love Sam Cooke but “Thieves” is a much darker song than “Cupid.” I wrote “Thieves” to be kind of a long lost Roy Orbison song. But I love hearing what people think when they hear the record and I love Sam Cooke. Very cool. M. Ward: Sam Cooke is a constant reference. On “Thieves” one of the inspirations was a Phil Spector production called “Spanish Harlem” but that’s Ben E. King. If you are slowly becoming the new Phil Spector, is your wig collection starting to rival your guitar collection? MW: You know, I have not delved into wigs at all. Do you still work out of Portland? MW: I do. There’s a couple studios there that I work out of, the new She & Him was recorded at a couple of those and was also recorded in Los Angeles out of a pretty famous studio called Village Recorders, where Fleetwood Mac recorded Tusk. Why is Portland such a special corner of America right now? MW: Well I think a lot of people on the West Coast are moving there and have been moving there because it’s the cheapest and best city on the West Coast. You can still afford a decent practice space and
there are plenty of musicians to work with. I have friends who live in San Francisco and they had to eventually stop playing music because they couldn’t afford to have a practice space. Did you get together and write for Volume 2, or was it still a mostly correspondance project like Volume 1? MW: Well, Zooey writes all the lyrics and writes all the melodies and pretty much all the chord progressions. So in general, she writes all the songs and I just do the production and the guitars and the arrangement. Tilly and the Wall are on this record. Were you hoping for a little tap routine on the song? ZD: No, they did a great enthusiastic response to our call and response section. I wasn’t about to ask them to do a song AND dance. MW: We already had our percussion set up when we got Tilly and The Wall involved. I just love their singing style. It’s incredibly enthusiastic and it seemed to fit for what we wanted for the song which is basically a chorus of enthusiastic singers. So we were mixing the record in Omaha, Nebraska and I was hoping that Tilly and The Wall were in town and they were so they came in and recorded “In the Sun.”
Who chose the covers for Volume 2? Was there a debate? MW: I suggested the NRBQ song and Zooey suggested the Skeeter Davis song. We come up with a lot of songs but the only ones that make the record are the ones that take on a life of their own outside of the original version that was recorded years ago. We recorded a bunch of covers. We also recorded “I Can Hear Music” which the Beach Boys made popular years ago and it’s going to be a b side to the single that comes out this month. ZD: We don’t really ever debate about things because we almost always agree. It’s pretty awesome. Matt, you get to work with Jenny Lewis and Zooey Deschanel. Does that make you the envy of most young men of a certain demographic? MW: Y’know, journalists point that out but it doesn’t really happen much in normal everyday life. I work with a pretty good mixture of talented men and talented women and it’s one of the best parts of my job working with extremely talented people. What is the best/most difficult part about working with each other? MW: Well the heart of the record is the songs. The songs are incredible and the singing is incredible. As a producer, it makes life very easy when you’re working with a remarkable ingredient. ZD: The best thing about working with Matt is that we always have
[Zooey] Heels APC | Headband Jennifer Behr | Gold Bow Bangle Kate Spade | Dress Stretsis
[Matt] Red Stripe Sweater APC | Button Up Shirt APC | Jeans His Own
Dress Opening Ceremony | Necklace Lulu Frost
fun in the studio because Matt is a very intuitive artist who always takes advantage of the present moment while recording. It never feels overly “precious” and it is always fun. Actors and actresses face heavy scrutiny when trying a hand at music, no matter what their history with it is. What was your internal debate like when you decided to move forward with She & Him? ZD: There wasn’t really an internal debate concerning that. I have always felt that the music spoke for itself and it’s very sincere. I make music to please myself and Matt and we hope
others respond to it. But I don’t make it in anticipation of others’ reactions. You can’t win trying to constantly predict the reaction of people, so I just worry about myself and hope people like it. Zooey, your father shot The Natural, which is awesome. (I heard that Robert Redford hit all those homers himself as he once had a baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado, but says he discovered booze and women and dropped out). Your mum was on Twin Peaks. Your sister is an accomplished actress and producer as well. What’s Sunday dinner like with the Deschanels?
ZD: Probably a lot like everyone else’s Sunday dinner except my mother has to make a lot of different things because everyone likes different kinds of foods. What’s the worst/most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you onstage? MW: One of our backing vocalists got locked in the bathroom at a show in North Carolina. That was pretty funny. We thought we lost her. ZD: A day onstage is always a good day!
Are you fans of any Canadian acts, country or otherwise? ZD: Yes, of course. Feist and Sloan immediately come to mind and of course classics like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. But I am sure there are dozens of others! You’re a man of many hats. Do you have a favourite project to work on? MW: I love the She & Him project because I just get to focus on the guitar and the arrangement so, especially if you’re asking me right now, it’s the She & Him project.
The record stores call you Alt Country. What’s the divide like in the country world between more traditional sounding artists like yourself and what is sometimes referred to as Country-politan? MW: Yeah… I have an allergic reaction to those terms. I am happier when people label the music much more broadly. Definitely I’m inspired by American music, which Zooey calls AM Gold music and I like that. Do you drink or smoke before a show or recording? If so, is it whiskey? Do you get that authentic Sixties country sound or mood?
ZD: I don’t drink or smoke, ever, actually. I really don’t believe that drinking and smoking is the magic behind old recordings. It would be much more apt to blame the microphones. Are YOU a whiskey drinker? MW: No. What’s your karaoke end-of-the-night go-to song? ZD: “Crazy” the Patsy Cline version or “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette. [www.sheandhim.com]
Words: Katie Edmunds
Photography: Justin Tyler Close
Somewhere among the rain-filled streets of Vancouver is a neighbourhood called Main Street and within this “hood” is a light blue panelled house with a tire swing out front, just like the one in The Wizard of Oz. To the naked eye this house might appear to be like any other on the street—ordinary, pedestrian even—but things aren’t always as they seem. What goes on inside this unique abode is more technicoloured than you could imagine. Beyond the gated backyard, up the stairs and down the hall lies the quaintest wooden breakfast nook of all nooks. It is here in this nook, on this rainy day, that my interview with Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq of Humans takes place. I am greeted with a big hug from Robbie, vocalist and guitarist of the Vancouver-based electro-pop band. Soon after, Peter Ricq, the other half of Humans, arrives bearing gifts: a thirst-crushing eight-pack, a copy of their CD and some flyers for an upcoming show. We “Cheers” and start chatting about camels, rhinos and of course, music. Robbie and Peter met just over a year ago at an art show in Gastown. Peter sampled Robbie’s guitar and vocals to create the track “Bike Home,” and once Robbie’s former band Family Room broke up the only logical thing to do was to team up and make more music together. Over the next few months this partnership created a seven-track EP and thus, Humans was born. The name Humans came from an effort to differentiate themselves from today’s cool, yet meaningless, band names. Robbie and Peter reveal their modesty and humble nature by choosing not to feature their faces on their cover art. Rather, Peter drew a cartoon picture of the two, instruments in hand, their human faces replaced
by those of their animal brethren...a camel and a rhino. If anyone tries to argue that either of these two gentlemen take themselves too seriously, here’s your evidence to the contrary. By night these guys are an indie electro-pop duo, but by day, well, you might be surprised. Robbie just graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. As if that weren’t enough to keep him busy he started a business this past summer with his friend and roommate refurbishing vintage Seventies bicycles in their backyard shop, just below the nook. With so much of his life spent on two wheels it’s no surprise then that Robbie’s favourite quote is “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race,” by HG Wells. Robbie isn’t the only one keeping his days filled with work and play. Peter is an art director of a Vancouver animation company where he cocreates a TV show that airs on YTV. What’s more he directed, produced, wrote and storyboarded Humans’ first music video for the song “Bike Home,” shot in this very house. “Yeah, Peter’s killing it, like, really hard. If you could take one thing from this interview, it’s that Peter Ricq is kinda killing it!” Robbie playfully boasts of his bandmate’s many talents. The video is about two puppet police officers, conveniently named Rick and Slade, whose attempts to break up a house party are compromised when they find themselves indulging in the festivities. When asked to describe Humans’ sound. Peter explains, “We just try to take people to really weird places with each song, and as long as we take you there dancing…” Robbie chimes in with, “That’s pretty much what we want people to do, is dance.” To create music that makes people want to dance Peter uses a Korg electribe sampler and a Roland groove box -MC - 505.
The groove box is complete with a keyboard and drum machine. According to Robbie, this equals, “Double bass, double drums, double awesome!” Pair Peter’s skills handling the groove box and Robbie’s soulful vocals and guitar riffs and you get songs like “Bike Home” and “Always Around,” the two most popular and make-youwant-to-dance songs on Humans’ seven-track EP. The boys just wrapped up shooting the music video for the track “Doin’ Things” and are set to throw a video premiere party. Robbie and Peter also recently performed at the New Forms Festival, opening for LA Riots, The Golden Filter and Junior Boys. What’s more, Humans are about to drop their full length (The title is still in the works). The album has three brand new tracks and includes newly remixed versions of all seven tracks recorded on the EP. A lot of the songs have evolved since their initial conception and the new album was made to better reflect the way the songs are now played live. The boys are also planning a summer tour to promote the album and are considering documenting the whole experience. More and more, loud whispers are being heard about Humans as they book show after show and their fans continue to multiply. So find out when the next one is and buy a ticket! Buy a T-shirt! Then, put on your ruby slippers and prepare to let it out on the dance floor. [www.myspace.com/dashumans]
HUMANS “Double bass, double drums, double awesome!”
SURE ARE GOOD, YA KNOW
Words: Trevor Risk
Photography: Joe Johnson
Feverishly trying to catch up with a tour schedule, driving a Subaru through a “horrible blizzardy mess” in Pennsylvania is probably the most representative setting to catch up with Minneapolis’ two-piece Lookbook. Their debut LP Wild At Heart is a collection of brilliant tracks which have all the power of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but have a soft, aural snowfall surrounding. While Maggie Morrison drives to the next gig, Grant Cutler rides shotgun and speaks to ION over the telephone about the Minneapolis scene, “stupid” drum breaks and how they’re trying to escape the word Eighties. Tell me about being based in Minneapolis. Well, Minneapolis is really far away from everything, so touring is kind of a challenge because you start out with a huge drive. We go to Madison and Milwaukee a lot, but the next big market is down in Chicago which is six or seven hours away. But Minneapolis has its own little community which, is, like really awesome and the music scene is cool—everybody is accepting and wonderful and it’s a cool place to be based out of. The trick is just getting out of town, like getting everybody ELSE to pay attention. Are you tired yet of the word Eighties being associated with Lookbook? OH MY GOD. SO MUCH! I don’t ever want to talk about my Eighties influences ever again. We’ve been working on some new music now and we’re really trying to get away from that even though there are still plenty of synthesizers and crazy beats and shit. That’s what everybody starts with and it seems like no matter where the interview goes it always ends up written up like “these guys just sound like the Eighties!” and I’m like “we didn’t even talk about that in the
interview!” I can’t believe that’s what they get out of it. It’s getting increasingly more difficult to make pop music without being derivative. Explain how Lookbook makes this happen. Oh god, I don’t know. We really work on it. It seems like now the song structures are kind of the same but a lot of it is using new sounds, textures, and having Maggie write really great lyrics that aren’t necessarily your typical pop lyrics. It’s a combination of all those things and being thoughtful about it I guess. If it does come across as derivative or “cheesy” we usually change it. Like, we actually think about that when we’re working on this music. Some of your songs start off with ominous tones and notes, but continually resolve into a sweet piece of music. Is this intentional? I guess it’s always something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. I never did it on purpose. But it is always kind of like a trick. I have the worst intros I always think. They’re always so long, y’know? Some of our songs are, like, way over a minute before a verse or anything. Well the first song I heard was “True To Form” and that long intro might be the most charming part about it. Yeah that one was totally a surprise because that song could turn into anything, I mean it’s got that stupid drum break that comes in and I think it’s a happy surprise for most people when that happens. I gotta ask, there’s a Myspace photo where you are performing in a room that is four walls of high bench seats and a skylight. Where and what is that? Yeah! Okay, so that is at the Walker Art Center and it is called a “Sky Pesher” [by James Turrell]. It’s like a sweet, stone room
and you walk down this big hallway into this hill and then there’s benches on all four sides and there’s a cutout in the sky and the whole idea is to build this artistic frame around something in nature which is the sky and you sit and focus on that. They actually did a concert series there last summer and we were the first band that got to play there. It sounded kind of horrible in there because it was a big stone room but it didn’t matter because the idea of it was so cool, to be performing in this piece of art. It’s really amazing and I think it’s open all year round, day and night. How do local bands feel about The Replacements? At this point, I think that our generation knows ABOUT The Replacements. The dudes one generation above us are like really really into The Replacements because they were still kind of around when they were growing up or when they started playing music or something. They got huge, and they are actually great. I really like The Replacements, but I’m not a huge crazy fan or anything. Minneapolis really does have a ton of talent and it does feel like people spend a lot of time on their song writing, instead of just going for some quick flash in the pan thing. Is Lookbook considered party music somewhere? People definitely come out and dance especially if we play all-agesshows, the kids will come out and cut a rug, but old people never dance. Where do you want Lookbook to end up? I don’t know. I would like to be a successful musician for a long time and I think Maggie’s the same way. I’d love to just tour and get our records out there for the next five or 10 years of my life. I think we’ll just keep our slow climb here going and see how far we can get. [www.myspace.com/lookbookmusic]
TO BANFF AND BEYOND
Words: Steven Evans
Photos: Jeff Petry
Being in a young, up-and-coming band, it’s a virtual guarantee that you’ll find yourself playing some pretty interesting and unlikely locations. For members of Vancouver’s Brasstronaut, that’s meant gigs headlining packed mountain huts and empty student union bars (though, to be fair, the audience was accidentally locked outside during the set). But perhaps no shows have been more improbable than the ones they were invited to play at the Airwaves festival last October. That’s the Iceland Airwaves festival ... in Iceland. “We got accepted to Iceland Airwaves, which is a massive international music festival in Iceland, off of an EP of four songs that was two years old,” says Brasstronaut drummer Brennan Saul. “Somehow, over, like, 30 or 40 bands from Canada ... [it was] like, ‘Brasstronaut, you guys should go to Iceland,’” he laughs. I’m in a Kitsilano bagel shop interviewing Brennan as well as the band’s
lead singer and co-founder, Edo Van Breemen, and its clarinet/EWI player, Sam Davidson, just as the indie rock six-piece prepares for a 33-date North American tour highlighted by four shows at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Though they speak excitedly about the tour ahead, the band is clearly still enjoying the afterglow of Reykjavik, where they played in front of 2,000 people and shared the stage with the horn section from one of Iceland’s biggest bands, Sigur Rós. The Sigur Rós meet-up was the work of Bryan Davies, Brasstronaut’s trumpet player and other co-founder. Edo relates returning to the cramped apartment they were sharing with 10 other people and finding Bryan “totally loaded” in the kitchen. “He goes, ‘Hey, you know, I got something to tell you. How would you feel if I told you that the horn section of Sigur Rós is going to play with us tomorrow?’ And I was like, ‘I wouldn’t believe you,’” Edo recounts. “So
the next day these guys came over — they did all the horns on, like, all of the Sigur Rós albums ... They played with us on stage. It was great.” He adds, “It was recorded by national radio. We’re way more well-known in Iceland than we are in Vancouver.” Cold, wintery climates are really nothing new for the band. Last year they spent three months living in residency at the prestigious Banff Centre, and it was there that the songs that make up their new album, Mt. Chimaera, came into being. The new album expands on the indie-rock-with-keys-and-atrumpet sound introduced in 2007’s Old World Lies EP. In the time since that earlier record was released, Brasstronaut integrated two new members — Sam (who was studying at the Banff Centre at the same time the band was there), and Tariq Hussain, the band’s guitarist (the sixth member, yet to be mentioned, is bassist John Walsh.) Adding new instrumentation and new ideas seems to have paid off. While the EP largely kept to a mostly quiet, melancholy groove, Mt. Chimaera’s songs are livelier, more expansive and more diverse. Once again, the horns provide bursts of colour and energy, most notably the trumpet on standout track, “Hearts Trompet,” and the brass freak-out coda of “Six Toes.” But, despite the presence of horns and the jazz pedigree of some of the members, they are quick to point out that Brasstronaut is not a jazz band. And they really don’t want to be called one.
“It’s tough. Because there’s a trumpet and a clarinet people start to associate it as, ‘Oh, it’s a jazz band,’ not influenced by jazz,” explains Brennan. “And we’re like, ‘No, no, no. Holy crap. We’ve no jazz in the damn thing, alright?’” “I think it’s experimental pop,” says Edo. “It has choruses and verses and things like that, but we’re bringing in a few other elements to tweak it, and, I think, to make it interesting for us to play.” One of the more interesting elements is the EWI, or electronic wind instrument, that Sam picked up shortly before heading to Banff. It’s a sort of a very sensitive breath-controlled synthesizer known mainly for having contributed some of the worst 1980s era jazzfusion solos in the history of online videos. “It’s not represented well on YouTube by any means,” Sam says, laughing. On Mt. Chimaera and in the live shows the EWI is far more complementary than it is on YouTube — rest assured there are no nine-minute EWI solos on the album, nor did Sam attempt to wow the crowd with his best Michael Brecker impression (you may have to look that one up) at the show I attended. With Brasstronaut, the EWI is really just another element in a generously overflowing bag of tricks. While the breadth of instrumentation helps elevate the songs on Mt. Chimaera, it also makes the live shows look like an absolute party on stage. In fact, after seeing Brasstronaut live, you’ll wonder how other
bands make do with less than six members. Or how Brasstronaut once made do with just two. Live, there’s really not much that can beat the band in its current incarnation. If the current tour goes according to plan, they’ll have converts from Fargo to New York, Texas to L.A., and dozens of places in between willing to attest to that fact. But if you’re a resident of one of Canada’s top resort destinations, you might have to wait a little bit for a return performance from your onetime (for three months, at least) native sons. Though the band members sing the praises of the Banff Centre, when it comes to the town itself, they are somewhat less complimentary. “It’s a real mess …” says Edo. “There’s just like a bunch of totally wasted Aussies and guys from Quebec just going apeshit in the village every night at this one terrible bar and I’m not ashamed to say it, it’s just like a fucking mess. It’s the dirtiest place and the dumbest people who are all trying to fuck each other, and there’s like six dudes to one girl.” Strong words, but then when you’ve already conquered Iceland, who needs Banff? Brasstronaut’s debut album, Mt. Chimaera, is available now. [www.myspace.com/brasstronaut]
MUSIC REVIEWS Dan Black [Un] Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba [I Speak Fula] Monster Movie [Everyone Is A Ghost] Pavement [Quarantine the Past–The Best of Pavement] 1
 Dan Black Un Hours Entertainment So I bought one of those gift cards for the iTunes digital store thinking I’d be able to transfer the credit to my girlfriend in the US on her birthday. Or, if not, I figured I’d at least be able purchase and send songs using the iTunes infrastructure. I don’t use a credit card so I thought this would be an easy way around the problem of getting a gift to her, and also, I could impress her with all the rad songs I would send her without her having to deal with any of the headaches of file upload sites. Long story short, I am now stuck with a $50 credit for the iTunes store that I don’t really need, so if you email me at email@example.com I will buy the first 50 people “Symphonies” the debut single off this album because it’s great and you should all hear it. It’s like the soundtrack to riding a speedboat powered by unicorns through the rings of saturn to rescue a magical fairy princess. It’s just great. —Kellen Powell  Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba I Speak Fula Next Ambiance I always love listening to African pop music (this is from Mali), but I Speak Fula is an especially delicious treat. The ngoni is similar to a lute—it’s plucky and sounds like a mandolin and a banjo making sweaties. And, let me tell you, these guys know how to shred. This album honestly has the feel of a classic rock album, with head bobbing rhythms, toe tapping tempos, staring-into-the-sun-too-long solos, and the often overlooked and long forgotten concept of writing a
complete album, not just a collection of singles. I assume most won’t understand the lyrics, but get past it. Kouyate & Ngoni Ba are real talk. Friends don’t let friends not listen to this album, so seriously don’t be a fuck. Buy this and party. —Dr. Ian Super  Monster Movie Everyone Is A Ghost Graveface This may not be a critically popular statement, but I actually like Mojave 3 more than Slowdive. I mean, I listened to Souvlaki (and enjoyed some of it) and Just for a Day (and enjoyed none of it) but they just never held up to records from acts like Ride or My Bloody Valentine or even Lilys. Christian Savill does not agree. When Slowdive became Mojave 3, he ducked out and avoided the pedal steel-laden combo to revisit his previous writing relationship with Sean Hewson and re-named their project Monster Movie. Their new effort Everyone Is A Ghost combines tones and notes from exemplary British efforts of the last 25 years—it’s sometimes Elephant Shoe, sometimes Here Comes The Warm Jets. The album has a beautiful congruency and is the perfect length, but it’s far more Slowdive than Mojave, so can somebody tell me why I don’t like Slowdive but love Mojave 3 and Monster Movie? PLEASE??? —Trevor Risk  Pavement Quarantine the Past–The Best of Pavement Matador But the first track “Gold Soundz” says you can’t quarantine the past! Oh the irony!
Oh the monotonous, exhaustive, prototypically early Nineties irony! What to say about a 22-song retrospective of Stockton, California’s favourite sons (besides: ‘TOO LONG!’)? This might be the very moment that Generation X turned into that which it has always hated most: Boomers. This album mostly serves as a low sales way of shouting ‘Hey! You guys remember Pavement?’ like the Stones recording a new album as an excuse to tour around playing old songs. Just picture a couple thousand bearded 38-year-old dudes hearing about this and putting together some Pavement playlists on their iSomethings and touring around in their Ford Fusions, torturing their children in much the same way as their fathers embarrassed them singing ‘Has Anybody Seen my Baby’ driving them to the mall oh so many years ago. I know it may be unfair but I am personally holding Stephen Malkmus responsible for Marcy Playground. And what about the voice of Geddy Lee? Well, it will certainly and hopefully echo much longer than this or anything else from that musical ice age known as ‘the Nineties.’ —Derek Risk  Joanna Newsom Have One On Me Never in a million years would I think of Joanna Newsom as the new torchbearer to Kate Bush, but sure enough, this new record proves her to be just that. Reminiscent of early Kate, circa The Kick Inside, and even earlier obscurities available only to those with Soulseek, she ex-
Joanna Newsom [Have One On Me] Trans Am [Thing] Shout Out Louds [Work] Kinnie Starr [A Different Day ]
plores her voice and melody in ways I’ve never heard her do before. Diehard’s needn’t fret, the harp is still her predominant instrument, and there are enough earthy-elvin-ethereal jams to please even the hippest of hippies (myself included). But the song structure and added instrumentation are a welcome addition to the world of Joanna’s elegant folk-prog masterpiece. —Louise Burns  Trans Am Thing Thrill Jockey This is it. Thing is the album Trans Am had gestating in their robot hearts for eight albums. This “thing” is a supposed soundtrack to a topsecret sci-fi film that they claimed they were working on. Tracks like “Black Matter” and “Naked Singularity” show a return to form for drummer Sebastian Thomson, whose skills were severely lacking on their last two proper albums. His thundering off kilter beats show off everything that Trans Am has come to represent, solid rock clichés with a leftfield monkey wrench thrown in to discourage those without love for the robots. Trans Am have said it themselves—there is nothing “new” here, they have just taken what is best about their music and expanded it into 38 minutes of post-rock bliss. —Troy Alden
 Shout Out Louds Work Merge The Swedes have always had a peculiar fascination with pulling the rug out from under us. “Listen to our song,” they say. “Go ahead and dance,” they say. “Music is for dancing!” “Look! We’re playing a xylophone. It’s colourful and we hit it with tiny sticks!” So you dance your little heart out and then—splat!—they stomp on it when you listen to the lyrics and realize the happy little ditty is actually about unimaginable sorrow. They call it lyrical dissonance, but I call it Swedish trickery. ABBA perfected it when they made upbeat disco to lyrics about destructive relationships, break-ups, and a bloody 1 9th century battle. And for two albums, the Shout Out Louds have tried the same. But despite their spunky synths and lively guitar hooks, frontman Adam Olenius’ wounded vocals always betrayed the band’s plaintive sentiment (That, and track titles like “Go Sadness”). Their third album, Work, on the other hand, hides the band’s emotion in plain sight with the help of producer Phil Ek (whose polished sound endeared us to Fleet Foxes’ beautiful “White Winter Hymnal”—before we noticed it was about decapitation). With restrained guitars, catchy piano keys, and steady drums, the newly uncomplicated Shout Out Louds have toned down the embellishments, kept the endear-
ing sentimentality and honed their sound. Simplicity: it’s a neat trick. —Nojan Aminosharei  Kinnie Starr Weekend A Different Day Last Gang Life is a theatrical performance of interwoven melodies, dripping with the tinged remembrance of subtle moments lost and forgotten. An overly poetic gesture, but when the lyrical musings of Kinnie Starr are playing in the background, ordinary life can seem extraordinary. Whimsical Canadian and overall badass, Starr has effortlessly mixed Northern folk with rebellious hip-hop and spoken word. Her music can slip into the soundtrack of anyone’s life with just a click. She just fits like that. Starr’s newest album plays heavily into the folk aspect of her musical ability without straying too far from her genredefying sound. Taking cues from CocoRosie and Cat Power, A Different Day pulls at your heart strings as it pulls your hand through the crowd. Starr has the power to sound like the girl of your dreams, the girl next door and the girl you hide behind the bleachers with. This album makes you realize that they are all the same girl. —Danielle Sipple
Pornographic content warnings are most commonly followed by a blizzard of flashing images of tits, ass and other forms of human flesh that us folk at ION Magazine are far too polite to mention (who are we kidding!). Kathryn Macnaughton’s tantalizing collages of mixed
media need no such warning, despite their graphic content. In spite of their “filthy rautten” nature, this Tortonto based artist delivers a high class hybrid of poster art inspired by vintage porn. Nipples, check. Heaving chests, check. Girl on girl spanking, check. Yes,
we can confirm it. Spanking can be high brow. Describing her work as playful, ironic and provocative, Kathryn strives to embody passion within her art: “I think it’s very important that a movie poster captures an
emotion that best describes the movie. A movie poster should have a lot of depth and movement.” [www.kathrynmacnaughton.com]
ION THE WEB
Words: Zia Hirji
CHATROULETTE UNHAPPY HIPSTERS LAMEBOOK LET ME GOOGLE THAT FOR YOU 1
 [CHATROULETTE] Chatroulette is basically the glory hole of the internet. The way it works is you go to the webpage, click the play button, and you will be randomly connected via video chat to someone around the world. Sometimes you’ll see dicks.
 [LAMEBOOK] Remember Facebook? Of course you do! You have no life. Remember the whole #fail trend? Of course you do! You have no life. Lamebook basically bridges the failgap between fails and Facebook.
 [UNHAPPY HIPSTERS] What if we were to tell you the website titled Unhappy Hipsters actually has nothing to do with hipsters at all? Would I be blowing your mind? What if I told you the website was just a bunch of photos from “Dwell” that are re-captioned? Well it is.
 [LET ME GOOGLE THAT FOR YOU] Are you a real prick? Perhaps someone who loves to tell their friends “I told you so” if they mess up. Or perhaps all your friends are just retards. Whatever the case may be, Let Me Google That For You allows you to assist your terrible friends in answering their mundane questions.
HOROSCOPES THIS MONTH: RYAN STEELE Ryan Steele writes and produces his own sketch comedy show, self absorbingly called ‘The Ryan Steele Show’. He really likes cats and lightning bolts. Check out the videos on his website for a good laugh. [www.ryansteeleshow.com]
CAPRICORN: You are feeling really dark and against the world. Dwell in this. Go into your room, turn off the lights and rave dance to the Mortal Kombat theme. You will feel alive. As sweat drips from your forehead, think of all the starving people in the world. It sure sucks to be them. AQUARIUS: Remember last month when you saw that guy at the park and he looked like a rapist? And you thought you should call the authorities, but didn’t because your cell phone bill was too expensive? Well, just so you know, the rapist went on a huge raping spree and it’s your fault. Be prepared to rot in hell. PISCES: Uh oh. Things are not looking good for you Piscerama. Jupiter is having her biggest period in years and there is blood all over the solar system. This is totally going to screw up your life. Like really bad. It’s worse than when your Dad pig roasted your Mom at the family reunion (even though she totally deserved it). ARIES: It’s your time to glisten! Some rockin’ planets are in your sign this month. Translation: You need to let your hair down and go for it! Take chances! Condoms? No thanks, you trust every-
body. Mystery needles? Yes please. Also, an old family enemy will return and attempt to kill a young child that you have recently befriended. TAURUS: You are so hot right now. Like VENGABOYS hot. Like Vanna White in 1984 hot. Like Sarah Palin’s special needs child hot. Like a shower full of 13-year-old-boys hot. Like a car accident hot. Super Socco hot! Put on your best outfit and hit up your local pub. You deserve it! GEMINI: Ever since 9/11 you have felt a need to make a change. You’ve shaved your head, watched every episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and enrolled in Latin Funk dance classes. You are now ready to kick ass. Unfortunately, the planets don’t feel the same way. A disease similar to cancer is coming for you. Yikes! CANCER: You used to be cool. What happened? Well, for one, stop calling your bra your ‘sexy purse’. Ugh. And stop telling bartenders that it’s your birthday EVERYTIME you go to the bar. And get that freakin’ mole removed on your face. It’s NOT a beauty mark. It looks like a moose shit on your cheek.
LEO: Remember that tranny you ran over last week? Well, she caught your license plate number with her one good eye. You are fucked. She is angrier than Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What You Did Last Summer. And that bitch was ANGRY. You need to sell all your Kinder Surprise toys and use the money to buy a new face. Good luck. VIRGO: A wise woman once told Pee Wee Herman that there is no basement in the Alamo. The same advice goes for you. Your bike is gone. Deal with it. Move on. Your rich and chunky arch nemesis Francis took it. You must find Large Marge and get rides to work from her. She drives a semi and pees into a catheter. Trust her.
SCORPIO: Bad Um Ching! It’s your time to be the class clown. Dig out your calculator and spell BOOBLESS. Hilarious! Gun down a kindergarten class and say “Did I do that?” Amazing! Call your Dad and tell him you want to suck his dick. Ha ha! Nothing is off limits! Go for it!! SAGITTARIUS: Oh Sagi, remember when you kicked Leo in the spine? I do. I was dating Leo at the time so I had to hide my laughter, but that shit was funny. Anyway, long story short, Leo killed my hamster, MC Hamster, so I moved in with Taurus again. Random, I know. Anywhos, your lucky numbers this month are four and the asterix sign.
LIBRA: The time has finally come for you to stop making racist remarks. It isn’t funny anymore. It might have been hilarious in 2009, but it’s 2010 now. It’s time to grow up. You also need to take down your fake Facebook profile of a fat girl who keeps poking hot model guys. It’s not cool.
DINOSAUR COMICS BY RYAN NORTH
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Issue 63 of ION Magazine features articles on She & Him, Bruce LaBruce, jerm IX, Tessar Lo, Humans, Lookbook, Brasstronaut and Kathyrn Macna...
Published on Mar 3, 2010
Issue 63 of ION Magazine features articles on She & Him, Bruce LaBruce, jerm IX, Tessar Lo, Humans, Lookbook, Brasstronaut and Kathyrn Macna...