Monday, October 30, 2006

Marianas Trench - Everything I Thought They Would Be. By: Christine Albrecht

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What can I say, but brilliant, talented and funny! Vancouver has a lot to be proud of with its band, Marianas Trench. Check out the following videos (Decided to Break It as well as Say Anything) and judge for yourself. Then go and see them, live. You won’t be disappointed.

Also check out Toad’s Santa Monica which is getting a lot of airplay on CFOX.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Online Haute Couture By Christine Albrecht

Instalment One - ‘Trendy Casual’ Haute Couture at our Fingertips, but Without the Couture’s Hands Fully Immersed in Our Pockets.

By Christine Albrecht

Visit our swank site at swanktrendz

Trendy casual

netaporter has terrific designers such as:

• Alexander McQueen

• Antik Batik

• Anya Hindmarch

• Blossom Mother & Child

• Bottega Veneta

• Burberry Prorsum

• By Malene Birger

• Cacharel

• Celine

• Chloé

• View this Diane Von Furstenberg FURSTENBERG Montespan Chiffon dress $400.00 Beautiful!

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• Or this Roberto Cavalli for $6650.00 - Believe it or not, a true scoop

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• This delightful top from poisonivy only has an ordering code and a contact email. I suppose they send you the price and perhaps online bargaining ensues.

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hotinhollywood has delightful handbags, shoes, fashion and accessories at their disposal. This Hollywood Spectacle bag is a reasonable $45.00

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• This Wet Seal site has a section entitled the ‘Top Ten Fall Fashion Trends’. Check out the Deep V Stripe Tunic Sweater at $17.50.

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Add some leggings or a mini and you can’t go wrong with that price

Planet Funk offers shopping for both men and women. As we know, the skinny jean is back (much to the dismay of anyone with thick thighs and/or short legs.) However, those of you blessed with perfect genes... well here are some perfect jeans for you.

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• These Planet Funk Exclusive ‘70s Xanadu Jeans can be purchased for $200.00

• H&M have a website H & M that showcases its world boutiques. With menu options such as ‘Haute Couture’ and ‘Fall Trends’, you know you are in designer heaven. This site is more of a buying guide and gives stores in your location. Their online store is at HM

• Step into your American Eagle online shopping experience at American Eagle. The AE Escape Zip Hoodie (Now $34.95) is a hot trend amongst the casual chic.

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Stay tuned for our next instalment - Online Shopping for Dresses/Skirts and Celebrity Knockoffs.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mastodon - Blood Mountain Contributed by Mike Gillis

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Contributed by Mike Gillis

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First off, I'd like to say that it's been many years since I’ve bailed early on a night of drinking for the sole purpose of going home and listening to a new album.

Secondly, let me tell you what this album sounds like.

Imagine ‘Yes’ at their most proggy-fantastical (circa Close To The Edge and Fragile); now imagine that the members of ‘Yes’ are angry, fourteen-foot tall Minotaurs who play with the technical majesty of 80's ‘Maiden’ and the speed and ferocity of ‘Reign In Blood’ era ‘Slayer’.

Also, one of them might have a hard on for Lightning Bolt.

Never could I have foreseen that the record I'd go the most ga-ga for in 2006 would be a heavy metal concept album about a man scaling a mountain in search of a Crystal Skull and chronicling the beasts and hallucinations he encounters along the way.

Absolutely epic.

The song Capillarian Crest contains some the the most mind-bending guitar-o-batics I've ever heard.

Toward the end of Circle Of Cysquatch (a one-eyed Sasquatch that can see into the future) we actually hear the 'Squatch's horrible voice, as he warns of the Colony Of Birchmen that lie only two songs further up the hideous mountain trail.

And Bladecatcher? Bladecatcher is just fucked.

But it's not all earth-shattering heaviosity; there are peaks and crests of majestic beauty sprinkled throughout, but it's quite a journey to reach them.

It's daunting, there's a lot to digest here. I'm not even sure how it ends or if it's even supposed to end or if the end is somewhere else completely.

I do know that if you listened to this record for the first time on mushrooms in a dark forest, you would die.

My inner myth-nerd: satisfied!

My inner headbanger: satisfied!

My inner have sex with two chicks at the same time guy: still not satisfied!

Don't Make me Feel Weird in my Heart Contributed by Mike Gillis

Don't Make me Feel Weird in my Heart

Contributed by Mike Gillis

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For the record, I didn't lose my iPod.

My iPod wasn't stolen.

It' s in the house, I just don't know where.

I did know where when I hid it there/wherever during the party last week, in that mindless ether that conjoins Saturday night and Sunday morning. But that information was washed away the second I rejoined the drink-a-thon.

I've torn this place apart, day by day, room by room, and still nothing.

This is not the first time I've done this.

I am, and have been since I was very small, one of the world's most ingenious and diabolical hiders-of-things.

Which is all well and good.

But it can lead to serious problems when I hide stuff when I'm drunk. The drinking doesn't affect my sublime (almost Satanic) ability to conceal things in plain sight, but it does affect my ability to remember where the concealing took place.

One night several years ago, when I thought Daryl might have been involved in petty crime, I hid his sneakers, fearing they could be used as evidence should the hammer fall. Naturally, I was highly intoxicated at the time and couldn't locate the sneakers the next morning. Or any morning for the next several weeks. (My timeline may be a little garbled, but I believe the only reason I found the crime shoes again was because we were moving out of the house.)

So, exhausted with spending all my spare time searching, I've decided to take the stance of "It'll show up sooner or later".

But man, it's fucking killing me.

I'm 930 songs in the hole.

And all my old fashioned CD's are back in the Maritimes in my mother's garage.

But the real punch in the bag is that Autumn, for me, is the best time of the year for hours long headphone walks.

During my two hour excursion today all I could think about was the lack of music.


And that dank, crisp fall air was practically on its knees, begging for me to fill her with some big, throbbing rock and roll.


Master Of Reality.

Fear Of A Black Planet.

Hot Rats.

Murray Street.

Double Live Gonzo.


Then, a wet yellow leaf nose-dived off a tree and slapped me in the face, making me suddenly and frighteningly aware of how dependant I've become on such a sleek and attractive little piece of technology.

(Her skin was like porcelain, and when I touched her sensitive belly, her face would light up and she'd sing to me. I had her in the palm of my hand.)

I'm sure it'll show up.

(Don't make me feel weird in my heart.)

Now... to learn how to whistle.

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Sufjan Stevens with My Brightest Diamond Contributed by Lezah Williamson

Sufjan Stevens with My Brightest Diamond

Oct. 14, St. Andrews Wesley Church, Vancouver, BC

Contributed by Lezah Williamson

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Last Saturday night we headed out to Sufjan Stevens in great anticipation. We had bought our tickets almost two months ago and the show had sold out almost immediately. But then I read in the paper Saturday morning that a limited number of tickets would be available at the door, and that might have been what the problem was. You see, we arrived at 6:30 to get good seats near the front; the tickets said doors at 7. But when we got there, the line up was already a block long. Word was that people had started to line up for those extra tickets at 8 am that morning. Yeesh. So us, with tickets, ended up getting in behind the people who arrived without tickets. Sometimes life's just not fair!

And then some guy walked by towards the end of the ever-increasing line and said that he's heard Sufjan Stevens is always notoriously late. And I guess that's the case, because although tickets said doors at 7, we never even moved until about 7:45, and by the time we got in just before 8, the first act was already half way through the set. Fortunately a very kind and generous fellow fan offered to go get coffees for everyone, so we had something to keep us warm as we waited. Thanks to the red haired guy with the nose ring, if you're reading this!

Anyway, as I said, My Brightest Diamond was already about half-way through her set when we got in. We eventually got a seat in the balcony, and we were able to see quite well from there. I'm sure that wasn't the case for most of the patrons on the floor.

There seemed to be a theme in the dress of her band - everyone was wearing some variation of black and red, in some cases with white thrown in for good measure. Her voice is fantastic - very operatic, and the music seems to cover a number of genres.

When she was done we had the opportunity to take a look at the venue which was fantastic. The acoustics had already proven themselves with the first act, and the setting just fit right in with Sufjan Stevens and what he's all about.

When his band came out, then were wearing what looked like mint green pants and butterfly wings. He came out later dressed in a similar fashion, and when he sat down at the piano the energy in the air was palpable. There was both a string and horn section, as well as the conventional guitar and drums that one expects to see at a concert. In addition, Stevens spent quite a bit of time at the grand piano that was centre stage, although at times he also played the banjo or the guitar. Throughout the show, he would tell little stories about the origin of the songs and the audience was absolutely reverential. You could literally hear a pin drop, and I know this for a fact, because as the second song, the music stopped and my stomach growled and it sounded as though it filled the whole balcony. Fortunately the sound of my stomach was quickly drowned out by applause. And that was the rhythm of the evening: the band played, the song stopped, people applauded enthusiastically and yet very politely (no whistling, no yelling, no hootin' and hollerin') - it was like I was in Japan watching a show, rather than Canada.

He played two new songs (one called Snowbird and one from the upcoming Christmas album) and a lot of songs from Illinois, but nothing from The Avalanche. Some of the songs had been rearranged quite a bit from the albums, but they didn't lose anything. All in all, it was the best concert I've ever attended, bar none.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sufjan Stevens - By: Lezah Williamson

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I'm very, very excited to be going to see Sufjan Stevens this Saturday. The venue is somewhat unusual - a cathedral in Vancouver - but I'm sure the acoustics will be good, and the setting will certainly help to establish a tone for the evening.

I remember when I first read about Sufjan Stevens. It was in one of those list showing the top acts of the week: Pop, Hip hop, Rock, Indie, etc. I saw Sufjan Stevens at the top of the Indie list, and the name immediately caught my attention because it's just so darn unusual. It really got me thinking. And then, week after week after week, the name just stayed up there.

It was shortly afterwards that Dave was playing something in the car, and I was mesmerized by it: turns out it was Sufjan Steven's album, Illinois.

I looked up some information on Stevens, and it seems that he's a really interesting and productive guy. He's originally from the Detroit area, but now resides in New York City. He's a musician, singer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist. He records in a variety of places (apartments, churches) and has his own label, Asthmatic Kitty, which he started with his stepfather. In addition to doing his own music, he also works with the Danielson Family and was formerly in the band Marzuki (an aside: his brother, Marzuki, is a marathon runner currently in training for the 2008 Olympics). Although many people have tried to pinhole Stevens work as folkie indie pop, his work also has been influenced by jazz, electronica and minimalism..

Illinois is the first Stevens album I'd heard, and it's based on the state of Illinois. Previously, he had done an album on Michigan, and has a times claimed that he will produce an album for each of the 50 states. Illinois was the highest rated album in 2005 with Metacritic; it won the 2006 PLUG Indie Music Award for Album of the Year; it was also picked by Pitchfork (and many others) as the editor's choice Best Album of 2005.

On July 11, 2006, Stevens released The Avalanche, a compilation of 21 songs culled from Illinois. Later this year, he is to release an album called Songs for Christmas, which deals with both the sacred and the profane aspects of the holiday.

His last tour, from what I understand, involved a group of cheerleaders. This show will, I'm sure, offer something just as interesting. As I said before: I can't wait.

Warner Music Canada is the First Major Label in Canada to Launch its Own Shortcode. By: Christine Albrecht

Warner Music Canada is the First Major Label in Canada to Launch its Own Shortcode. By: Christine Albrecht

Warner Music Canada has, today, become the first major music label in Canada to launch its own direct to consumer, shortcode mobile content solution. On that date, Canadian music fans will be able to purchase Truetones directly from Warner Music Canada via the mobile content purchase code 311311 utilizing all major mobile carriers available in Canada.

Warner will launch this program with one of the world's most popular hip hop artists, Diddy. All that music fans will have to do is text the keyword 'Diddy' to 311311 and they will get a text message back that allows them to purchase Truetones extracted from Diddy's new single, "Come To Me." Diddy's new album, Press Play, is scheduled for release on Tuesday October 17, 2006. Other Truetones will be made available shortly from many of Warner Music Canada's most popular artists.

In the coming weeks, Warner will also roll out their first strategic partnership program with Canada's leading music retailer, HMV Canada. The campaign will include 20 current WMC releases including Billy Talent, James Blunt, Madonna, Green Day and Panic! At The Disco, and will be featured in HMV's marketing campaigns in store, in print and on TV across Canada from October to January. For example, consumer will be able to download Billy Talent Truetones by texting 'HMV BT' to 311311.

"We are excited to be partnering with Warner Music Canada in order to expand our current offering by making ringtones available to our consumers," noted Humphrey Kadaner, HMV Canada President. "This new initiative further supports HMV's vision as Canada's world class destination for music."

Charlie Millar, Manager of Digital Business, Warner Music Canada commented "Warner Music Canada recognizes the value of this new mobile distribution model and the purchase code has been developed to allow for further third party consumer and retail brands to market and sell Warner content."

"This shortcode will help bring our artists to a wider market place," says Warner Music Canada President Steve Kane. "Fans will have the opportunity to opt in to receive communiqués from their favourite artists for additional unique content and tour information."

MyThum Interactive has partnered with Warner Music Canada to design, develop and deploy the mobile content solution that will enable WMC to retail Truetones directly to music fans. The distribution platform will allow consumers to text in a specific keyword to download content items promoted in album packaging or through various other media.

FYI - New CD Release Dates By: Christine Albrecht

FYI - New CD Release Dates

Release Date: October 17

Cobra Starship

While The City Sleeps We Rule The Streets


Press Play

Eric Panic

Le Combat Est Au Jardin


American Hardcore: History of American Punk Rock '80-'86

Release Date: October 24

Amy Grant

Time Again (CD+DVD, DVD)

My Chemical Romance

We Are The Black Parade (CD, CD/DVD Spec. Ed.)

Jeff Tweedy

Sunken Treasure: Live In The Pacific Northwest (DVD)

Release Date:October 31


Saturday Night Wrist


Happy Feet


Borat: Stereophonic Musical Listenings...

Sarah Sleane

Orphan Music


The Vice Guide To Travel (DVD)

Various Artists

Women & Songs - 10th Anniversary

Various Artists

XM - Live At The Verge

The Walkmen

Pussycats Starring The Walkmen

Release Date: November 7

Louis Armstrong

The Wonderful World Of

Eric Clapton & J.J. Cale

The Road To Escondido

The Flaming Lips

At War With The Mystics (CD/DVD)

Josh Groban

Awake (CD, CD+DVD)

Matt Mays

When The Angels Make Contact


Music From The Motion Picture "The Departed"

Daniel Powter

Daniel Powter (Ltd. Ed. CD/DVD)

Various Artists

Big Shiny Tunes 11

Release Date: November 14

Depeche Mode

The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 (CD, CD/DVD)

Lynda Lemay

Ma SignatureRobert Michaels

Spanish Guitar Collection

Notorious B.I.G.

Ready To Die (CD/DVD)

Laura Pausini

Lo Canto


No Limits, No Worries

Damien Rice


Greatest Hits (CD, DVD)

Nei Young & Crazy Horse

Live At The Fillmore East


An Other Cup

Release Date:November 21


Amarantine (Special Christmas Edition)

Great Big Sea

Courage & Patience & Grit: GBS in Concert(DVD/CD)

Brian McKnight



The Fountain - Clint Mansell Quartet


Greatest Hits

Steve Reich

Reich Remixed 2006

Release Date: December 5

Lil Scrappy

Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live


Music From The O.C. Mix 6: Covering Our Tracks

Taking Back Sunday

Louder Now: Part One (CD/DVD)

Release Date: December 12


Unholy Alliance (CD/DVD)

Release Date: December 19

Lil’ Flip

I Need Mine

Lil’ Flip

I Need Mine (Chopped & Screwed)

Trick Daddy

Back By Thug Demand

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Concert Review: Lillix, Marianas Trench and Shiftkit - By: Lezah Williamson

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Concert Review: Lillix, Marianas Trench and Shiftkit

Citrus Nightclub, Langley, BC - Oct. 7/06

All ages shows... they have certain advantages and certain disadvantages. On the advantages side, you don't get the drunken neanderthals who regularly try and push and slam their way through a crowd; you also get the fresh responses of those still not jaded from hundreds of late nights in clubs watching a variety of bands try to claw their way up to the top. On the disadvantages side, you get a lot of people who are there for just one band only (maybe they heard them on the radio) and so don't even give the other bands a chance - but hey, you get that at all shows, I guess.

Anyway, this show was kind of different from your average night club show because it was at 2 in the afternoon. In a nightclub. I think there's an oxymoron in there somewhere. Plus it was all ages, plus it was in my hometown, plus it was a bunch of homegrown bands. So, a bit different from what I usually do, concert-wise.

Fortunately the weather was beautiful, because when we got to Citrus Nightclub at 1:30 (doors at 1:30, show at 2) the bouncers kept us lined up along the sidewalk until about 1:50. The line was already long when we got there, and proceeded to stretch its way down the block, right past Save-On-Foods (or whatever it's called now - I think they just changed their name). Whatever the case, it allowed me to get a good look at the patrons, which was about 15% parents accompanying their children to their first concert, and the remainder being school-aged girls, for the most part. There were kids from 8 to 18 there, but the mean age appeared to be 13. Probably 65-70% were female. I think I'm getting a handle on this demographic...

Anyway, turns out the first band, Shiftkit, is from Langley, so they didn't have a long drive. Ha ha. If you try and look them up on the internet, you'll probably just get a lot of stuff about car transmissions. Shiftkit is what, in the old days, I would have referred to as heavy metal but now is apparently more correctly termed 'alt rock'. They were shades of Rancid with touches of Pantera in there; the gravelly-voiced singer got a bit flat at times but their drummer was great. The bass player kept trying to incite the crowd to cheer for the lead singer, but the biggest fan reaction seemed to come from a single girl in the crowd who was wearing an 'I love Shiftkit' shirt. They played for a lot longer than I had anticipated - about 40 minutes - but were very quick with their tear-down after their set.

Then we made the transition from headbangers to harmonies. Vancouver-based Marianas Trench (they're very deep!) came on, and all it took was one appearance on the stage at set up time and the girls in the crowd were screaming. Frontman Josh Ramsey has a relatively high voice compared to the singer in the first band; they also employ a lot of three and four part harmonies in their songs, somewhat reminiscent of The Futureheads or The Beach Boys, and yet different... There was a lot of harmonizing but an equal amount of hard rockin' drums and guitar. One song they did completely a cappella - quite amazing, really, and a rarity today. I can't remember the last time I saw something like that live - if ever. Brave. And it worked. I really liked this band, and the crowd was with me on this one. During Marianas Trench's set, the crowd was going wild. I was sitting up top on the balcony, and I kind of thought at times this some of these pre-pubescent patrons' first concert might also prove to be their last - there were a ton of people pushing from the back into the little girls who had stood in the front, and they were getting well and truly squished. Lesson learned, I guess...

The final band of the afternoon was Lillix, an all girl band that hails from Cranbrook, BC. They had a big hit about five years ago that went gold in Japan and was used in the movie Freaky Friday - and this when the girls in the band were just 13-15 years of age! But they are now back, older and wiser, with a new album. The lead singer came out dressed in heels and a red trench coat, which she quickly discarded to show a black shift underneath. Each of the girls had their own distinct look, and their sound was a very commercial pop/rock with lots of harmonies. I think they'll do well with their new album, and hopefully we won't have to wait five years for the next one.

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International Songwriting Competition - Deadline October 16, 2006! By Christine Albrecht

How To Enter The 2006 Competition

You can enter the 2006 competition two ways - through mail or online. All mail-in entries must be posted on or before October 16, 2006. Online entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST October 16, 2006.

You may submit as many songs as you would like into any of the following categories: AAA, Americana, Blues, Jazz, Dance/Electronica, Latin, R&B/Hip-Hop, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, Lyrics Only, Rock, Children's Music, Gospel/Christian, Performance, Teen, Country, Instrumental, Pop/Top 40, and World Music. You may also submit the same song into multiple categories.

The 2006 Judges include:

Brian Wilson; Tom Waits; Rosanne Cash; Sean Paul; Mark Chesnutt; Jerry Lee Lewis; Frank Black (Pixies); Robert Smith (The Cure); Cassandra Wilson; Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse); Medeski Martin & Wood; Craig Morgan; John Mayall; John Scofield; Amy Ray (Indigo Girls); Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); MercyMe; Macy Gray; Charlie Musselwhite; Peter Hook (New Order); Blue Man Group; Tiesto; and Jeff Stinco (Simple Plan)

Click the link to find out more!

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and bloggers, readers everywhere… By Sashi

This is it. It was bound to happen sooner or later. You knew it too.

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In approximately a month from now, will be no more. I am DEFINITELY not renewing my webhosting agreement. This has nothing to do with the webhosts, Exabytes, who have been quite good, really, and I’d recommend them to anyone who would want to have their own web space and domain.

I thank you all for having visited this little blog of mine, for having spent your precious minutes reading the stuff I’ve written, for commenting in the various posts, for linking to me in your own blogs, for e-mailing some posts to other people, for daring to meet with me in person after developing your opinions of who I am based on what you read, for pretending not to be shocked when you found I did not match your opinions, for supporting me virtually when I was down, for sharing in my zaniness when I was nuts, for simply returning time and again to this little corner of cyberspace so that I felt I was important to someone, somewhere, one word at a time, even if for only a few seconds,

EDIT: I’m sorry for not having completed the Steve series within the confines of this domain. I still hold out hope that I will do so, one day… You’ll be the first to know when that happens.

I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll do what I usually tend to do anyway: I’ll let the movies speak for me.

This is a sample of the last lines uttered in various Hollywood movies over the years. I’ll let them be my last lines written here.

“There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh! Did you know that’s all some people have? It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan! Boy!”
- Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

“Maybe. Maybe I didn’t do such a wonderful thing after all.”
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

“Psychologically, I’m very confused, but personally I feel just wonderful.”
- In the Good Old Summertime (1949)

“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
- Some Like it Hot (1959)

“I’m too old for this.”
- Lethal Weapon (1987)

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”
- Magnum Force (1973)

“Sure, I could have stayed in the past. I could have even been king. But in my own way, I am king. Hail to the king, baby.”
- Army of Darkness (1993)

“This is the end! The absolute end!”
- The Lady in the Dark (1944)

“You see, Marcus. The ending is only the beginning.”
- The Human Comedy (1943)

“Yup. The end of a way of life. Too bad. It’s a good way. Wagons forward! Yo!”
- Hondo (1954)

“Where ya headed, cowboy?”
“Nowhere special.”
“Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.”
“Come on.”
- Blazing Saddles (1974)

“Well, sir. Goin’ ‘ome…’Ome, sir.”
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

“That is all.”
- M*A*S*H (1970)

“End of story.”
- High Society (1956)

“Good night, and good luck.”
- Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

“And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears locked away and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God there is no zero. I still exist.”
- The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

“What do you want, a happy ending?”
- The Paleface (1948)

- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Swanktrendz's note - We have enjoyed Sashi's contributions over the last two years and hope that his 'retirement' from the internet community will be shortlived.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Marianas Trench - Interview with Josh Ramsay and Mike Ayley (Completed Interview) By: Christine Albrecht

Marianas Trench - Interview with Josh Ramsay and Mike Ayley. (Completed Interview)

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Mike Ayley (vocals/bass) and Josh Ramsay (lead vocals/ guitar) from Marianas Trench were kind enough to set aside an evening interview at the 604 Records studio Monday evening. I immediately congratulated the band on their cd release of ‘Fix Me’ due in stores October 3rd. Go out and buy, now.

I have to say that the biggest compliment I could hand this band was the fact that they sound like themselves! To expand, I was listening to their tunes and I thought, ‘Oh yes, I’ve heard this before’... and as I scoured all of the songs on my desktop I found the ‘similar’ gem - yeah, it was a song by... Marianas Trench. So I guess they sound like themselves.

Swanktrendz - First some basic editing stuff - Marianas has no apostrophe - right?

Marianas Trench - That’s right.

ST - I know you’ve been asked this a zillion times, but is the name from the geographic feature or from a line in the Pixie’s ‘Wave of Mutilation’ song?

MT - Neither, but that’s a new one. I didn’t know there was a lyric like that and I like the Pixies. No one’s ever asked us if it was from the Pixies.

ST - So the name doesn’t come from some obscure lyric?

MT - It’s a long story involving bricklaying and parasailing and the accidents that happen when you try to combine the two. One day we just said, maybe we should call ourselves ‘Marianas Trench’ - that’s the short version of a long story.

ST - You’ve been around since 2001?

MT - Sort of. Josh and Matt (Webb) hooked up in high school (both were in choir).

ST - Josh, you’ve been around music all of your life, and your mom (Coralynn Hanney) is a vocal coach - did she train you?

MT - Yes, but when I was younger I tried to avoid taking lessons with my Mom and she wanted wanted to avoid it as well as that was a strange dynamic. For a year or two in high school, I took lessons from the person she took lessons from. And then eventually that guy couldn’t teach me what I needed so I did some research and it turned out that the only person that could teach me what I needed to learn, was my mom. She still helps me from time to time.

ST - Your music, the song ‘Say Anything’ has consistently sat in the top 5 for Canada. Did John Webster produce this cd?

MT - I worked with John Webster independently from the band - when I was 16 or 17. He and I worked together when I was a solo artist. John is the one who introduced me to Jonathan Simkin (co-owner of 604 Records studio). He mixed a couple on that venture and I mixed four.

ST - You mixed? Is that an area you would like to pursue?

MT - It’s not my main passion - I’d rather play the music than produce it. But it can be good because I understand more about music. Also, it helps to know the technical language when you go into the studio to listen to the tracks. I can be really specific about what I want, as opposed to being vague like, ‘I would like something more green’.

ST - What about you Mike - would you like to do mixing?

MT - I don’t think I could do it - there’s too much information. I could probably mix a mean bass track.

ST - Some the stuff I’ve been reading about you (Josh), and I don’t know if this is applicable, but the discussions on addictions and then reading your lyrics, well... did you used to smoke heroin?

MT - Yes I did. I’ve been in recovery now for a long time. That was a big problem for me as a teenager.

ST - You must have started young.

MT - I was also fortunate enough to get out young. It is something that still inspires me to write lyrics because you end up with so much baggage from that. I went to a treatment centre when I was 18 (or 17).

ST - That is young. Then again, being surrounded by music when you were a child, I suppose it made you grow up fast.

MT - On one side you do grow up fast because you are faced with these harsh realities, and that teenaged feeling of being invincible suddenly dies. You also learn some really dark things about yourself and life. At the same time, as long as you’re using, emotionally, you don’t age at all. That’s the same for all addicts or alcoholics that you meet at a treatment centre. You may have different ages, let’s say 45 years old and 17 years old, but they are all talking about the same thing because, emotionally, they are the same age. It stunts your emotional growth.

ST - As you said, it does give you a lot of fodder for lyrics.

MT - Yes, it does. And the stuff I took away from it certainly gave me patience for a lot of other things in life. The tools you use to stay away from (in my case) drugs are the same tools that help you in life, to be a healthier person.

ST - And you Mike, did/do you have any vices?

MT - (Mike) I am a hard core chocolate addict. Any chocolate, as long as it’s not unsweetened. I will rummage through trash, through closets for it. I would go to the grocery store, buy icing and hide it. I’m pretty good now. (Josh interjects) You wouldn’t want to catch Mike on the wrong end of a chocolate fix.

ST - You’ll be in the 12-step chocoholic program.

MT - Nah, I’m never stopping. (Josh adds) Admitting you have a problem and doing something about it are two different things.

ST - With Marianas Trench being from Vancouver, well give me some hot West Coast spots that you enjoy hanging out in, or clubs you enjoy going to.

MT - I love Vancouver. After touring the country, I think Vancouver is the best, and most beautiful, place to live. It’s also the most versatile, by far. Vancouver’s got the beach, a major metropolitan area, the forest, and skiing all within a stone’s throw of each other. It’s amazing. I’m certainly not the guy to talk to about clubbing because as a recovering addict I don’t go to the ‘bar’. Plus when you make your living playing in bars five nights a week you’re not going to say, on your day off, ‘Hey let’s go to a bar’.

ST - Turning to Mike - what about you - where do you like to go?

MT - I used to know where all the great places were until we started spending most of the time playing in bars. Now I say, ‘Let’s just stay home.’

ST - What about local restaurants? Do you each have a favourite restaurant?

MT - (Mike) There’s a place down the road (from the studio at Ontario and 3rd) called Bin 49. It has around 30 seats and it’s got wicked food. As well it’s got the local ‘feel’. (Josh) Hamburger Mary’s on Davie. I live about a block from there and they have great food.

ST - Favourite unsung - unsigned bands?

MT - Jellyfish, Ben Folds Five

ST - They’re kind of popular. What about bands you’ve liked but they aren’t known?

MT - Total indie? There was a band that we played with in Hamilton. Mike, what was their name? (ST note - either The Flairs or Obsidian or Charlemagne...?) They sounded like ACDC, the drummer was the singer and they were awesome. I think Canada has a lot of good singers - like Matt in Tupelo Honey. Also, Vancouver’s Yuca - they won the Seeds Festival. Marble Rye are also good.

ST - That brings to mind another question. When a band has obvious talent, good vocals, good playing, what’s the difference between being unsigned and the ones who get signed?

MT - I think the difference is some bands spend most of their time on being great musicians, but they may not spend the time writing good songs. Or you’ll see great songwriters and none of them can play or sing. I think it takes a lot of work to build up both sides of the spectrum. It’s like playing baseball and having a really good pitcher who can’t bat. It’s a long process and I don’t think people have taken the time to work on all of the skills. There are bands out there that make you feel that they are the best musicians you’ve ever seen, but they can’t sing very well.

ST - (Jonathan Simkin co-owner of 604 Record Studio joined us at this stage.) What makes a band stand out to the degree that you would want to sign them?

Jonathan Simkin - Well in Marianas case, it would be the nude pictures they have of me... (now here is a funny guy) They dazzled me with their mediocrity. Seriously, Chad Kroeger and I are of the mind that the songs come first and the music comes second. Most bands, if they work hard enough and are willing to listen and improve, they can learn about playing and performance. But song writing is an innate ability - you can get better at performing. You can either write songs or not. I’d rather find a band that writes great songs than a band that can’t. You can always arrange for someone to have vocal lessons, etc. But you can’t teach someone to write great songs.

MT - - (Josh speaking) I have the opposite problem - I write too many songs, but that’s a good problem to have.

ST - What about bands who rest on their laurels after getting signed and don’t market themselves?

Jonathan Simkin I have no problem with bands who creatively want to make art for art’s sake, but stay in your garage and play. The minute you come into ‘our world’ (music business) you’re saying you want to do this for a living and the reality is you have to accept that marketing is part of the ‘job’. Music is a business. Some of the greatest bands in the world have subverted their own careers by being unwilling to be flexible with their music. Being signed only cuts your odds of becoming famous from one billion to one to one million to one. It doesn’t solve anything or automatically do anything. It just offers more resources.

MT - You have to have talent, luck and a hard work ethic. Talent doesn’t always enter into the equation. The days of being discovered while pumping gas are long over. You have to work hard. We work really hard promoting ourselves. (Mike interjects)The harder we work, and the more we get noticed, just makes us want to work even harder. And sometimes getting noticed turns out to be being at the right place at the right time. If you are working your ass off, it just gives you more opportunities to be seen.

ST - As well , it builds your reputation (within the music community) as being hard workers. I would also like to know about your upcoming tour with Lillix. That should be a nice line up and it will provide you with a different audience.

MT - We are looking forward to the tour. Now that we’ve had some success with our video on MuchMusic, this tour will bring us the younger demographic because we are performing all-ages shows. Most of our fan base is not old enough to get into a bar so this should be really fun.

ST - Josh, you write all the lyrics. Do you write the tune and then the lyrics or...?

MT - I do most of my writing before I fall sleep, or instead of sleeping. (Josh is an insomniac.) I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll go over and over it in my head while I’m falling asleep. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I will have the tune in my head and I will actually work through it while I’m sleeping. Most of the time it just causes me to have a fitful sleep.

ST - And the band comes in with the music? Does Josh come with the song ideas and then the band works through it?

MT - Yes. (Josh states) I will come in with an unfinished song and the band will flesh it out.

Jonathan Simkin (to Josh) Won’t the producer, after a couple of months decide that he has co-written a couple of the songs? (laughter)

MT - Nooo. Dave Genn did not cowrite anything on the record. He did help a lot with the arrangements because that is what he’s good at.

ST - So we’re not going to have a Sarah McLaughlin court case happening a year down the road?

MT - (loud laughter) Oooh - Jonathan Simkin was the lawyer on that case... (note - Swanktrendz did not know the link between Jonathan Simkin and the Sarah McLaughlin trial so it was not an intentional statement).

Jonathan Simkin If the case at been based on who cried the most tears, we would have won.

ST - That case made me aware that listeners don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes.

MT - If anything, Dave Genn will be suing us for emotional abuse. (laughter)

ST - Speaking of business, the band is very accessible for publicity. I guess all publicity is good publicity?

MT - Yeah, I get freaked out if I miss one opportunity to discuss the band.

ST - You’re good businessmen then - always looking for opportunity.

MT - Yeah, I don’t want to miss anything, ever. Even if it makes only ten new fans. That’s ten fans we didn’t have before.

ST - I have a Swiss friend visiting, the ‘Swiss contingent’ I call her, will be attending your concert. Hopefully she’ll go home in October and talk about Marianas Trench and garner some European exposure.

MT - That’s great.

ST - I did want to ask you a publicity question, Josh, because you were exposed to Tommy Lee and other rockers at a young age (through his dad’s studio). What do you make of Tommy Lee’s ‘Rockstar Supernova’ show? I thought it was a clever publicity ploy as Tommy’s turned on a whole new generation to his music.

MT - And he is also with 604 Records. It’s a smart business decision. Any of those shows are essentially karaoke. I do find it funny that no one has clued into the fact that they’re a televised karaoke show, but that being said, I think it’s proved to be a very smart way of marketing. But I wouldn’t say the show is marketing ‘artists’. As Jonathan was saying, song writing is very important. No one from those shows can actually write a song.

ST - Perhaps, but I do believe that Lukas Rossi (winner of Supernova) can write songs. He had his own band in Canada and wrote his own songs.

MT - I don’t know the artist you’re talking about, specifically, so I will not speak to his ability. Those shows, however, are marketed for entertainment not songwriting. The contestents are singers, and what a great way to get a career - even if it’s only for ten months. You might make some cash, you can have some fun, and you’ll get your 15 minutes of fame. The management can provide you with an army of songwriters who will sell you a hit song, and that’s cool. From a business perspective it makes a lot of sense, so I don’t have a problem with it. (Mike counters) - but it doesn’t nurture the ‘finding’ of a great band. It makes it too easy to ‘discover’ a favourite singer without helping the grassroots of the music business. (Josh) It’s a smoke and mirrors kind of marketing, like a star machine. These show contestants are not people who have paid their dues in the music industry. They’ve enough dumb luck to fall into that instant stardom, but they’re not going to be a healthy person when they receive too much attention, too soon. They’’ll get all this exposure overnight without having done any work. They’re not going to appreciate or respect the position they’re in. They’ll treat people badly because they don’t know any other way.

ST - So, because they’ve been thrown into this position of power so quickly, and don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, they may behave badly?

MT - And I would probably be that way, too, if I were 16 years old, won some show and didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. I just look at the whole phenomena as pure business - those shows are pure business. I don’t think they are anything to do with good music. It actually doesn’t matter what the music’s like. That’s another thing - you could go on the show and win, or not even win, and you’ve built this huge fan base. All the power to them (the contestants). I don’t compare them to us as they didn’t spend years learning how to sing and learning how to play.

ST - Someone I was speaking with the other day said that music, nowadays, appears ‘cheapened.’

It is and it’s not just because of the fake reality shows. It’s also because the production of music does not rely on talent, anymore, or performance. It’s an industry that relies on computers. (Mike) The finished music is not a direct representation of what is happening in the live studio. (Josh to interviewer) I don’t know if you can sing or not...

ST - Laughing - definitely NO!

Well, I could get you into a studio and have you to sing for ...10 minutes and you’d be amazed at how good I can make you sound.

ST - That would definitely be a miracle. I recall hearing something you said about singing a cappella and if a vocalist cannot sing without accompaniment or studio help, then he/she can’t sing. I thought that was a good comment because how many singers can go onstage and sing well, live?

MT - We actually do sing a cappella during our gigs. I think that’s why music is becoming so soulless. You have reality television shows on one hand, and crafty studio engineering on the other and at the end of that, what you get is a product.

ST - And I suppose a fallout of that final product would be lip-synching during concerts?

MT - Yes. What are you going to get? Look at Ashlee Simpson. Here’s and example of a double-edged sword. What’s more embarrassing, getting caught lip-synching on Saturday Night Live or being booed off the stage at the Super Bowl because they don’t like your voice? I think the lesser of two evils would be doing a silly dance at SNL. And don’t tell me that it was acid reflux, or whatever. I’ve produced a lot of stuff and you are looking at a lot of work to get a backtrack together that only has a few things on it so you can play it during a live show. You can’t just ‘happen to have’ that track ready to go. Itt takes hours to put that tape together.

ST - That’s a good point.

MT - Well it’s ludicrous that anyone would think otherwise.

ST - But I think there are a lot of people who don’t know what is involved. They really believe this (having to lip synch at the last moment) is a real predicament. And these artists are selling a lot of records.

MT - We should all be that lucky. If I was some hack who couldn’t sing and I could get a career handed to me, I’d be saying, ‘Hell ya!’. I don’t begrudge Ashlee Simpson, but I don’t view her as competition either. We mght as well be jealous of Barney the Dinosaur because he’s popular.

ST - Never mind, we are all jealous of Barney’s fame.

MT - Well Barney and Raffi are not the kind of competition you worry about in the business.

ST - I really enjoy your lyrics - they are very ... raw. I hope to review your upcoming gig, as well as have the Swiss gal take Marianas Trench’s music back to Europe and start a buzz.

MT - Great. Get that European fire started. Worldwide domination! (Mike solemnly adds) But all we really want is ... Latvia... (laughter)

On that note, I said good-bye to Mike, Josh and Jonathan and I am presently trying to think of anyone I may know in Latvia.

Thanks to 604 Record Studios, Julie (label PR) in Ontario and Marianas Trench for accomodating a last minute interview. They are an extremely personable, and talented group.