Sometimes you’ve gotta give up to get ahead. Just ask Patrick deWitt, the Sidney, B.C.–born author of the massively popular novel The Sisters Brothers. Nominated for multiple awards (including the Booker and Giller), optioned for a movie by John C. Reilly with Jacques Audiard tapped to direct, and topping just about everyone’s list of the best reads of 2011, it was a monumental book to follow up. And deWitt’s first attempt at doing so just wasn’t cutting it.
These days, the distance between obscurity and notoriety can be as short as a single Facebook post. Just look at Vancouver’s newest electronic wunderkind Cyril Hahn. Nine months ago, the soft-spoken 25-year-old art history student was making moody downtempo bedroom remixes for kicks, and posting them on his Soundcloud, mostly for friends. But in July, The xx linked his broody yet buoyant mix of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” on their one-million-strong Facebook fan page, and nothing’s been the same since.
You’ve gotta be tough if you want to play Mark Wahlberg’s right-hand woman. Luckily, 29-year-old Alona Tal had more than enough pluck to nail that role in the upcoming neo-noir thriller Broken City. But the Supernatural and Veronica Mars regular draws her confidence from a place you might not expect: a two-year tour of duty in the Israeli military.
Vancouver duo Japandroids made a new album so they could head back on tour.
We’re two beers and a whiskey deep when both members of Japandroids give up paying attention to the interview entirely and start nerding out over the music playing over the PA. “Is this the new Spiritualized?” wonders Brian King, the band’s lanky, loquacious singer-guitarist. “It is. It’s good!” confirms David Prowse, the laid-back, sardonic singer-drummer. During our chat in a bar near their rehearsal space in Vancouver, the conversation veers between everything from music and movies to cat memes, but eventually it always ends up on the same topic: touring.
Passion Pit’s story reads like the pilot of a TV show for Nickelodeon. In 2007, scruffy-haired Emerson College student Michael Angelakos put together a handful of songs (which later became Passion Pit’s debut EP Chunk of Change) as a Valentine’s Day present for his then-girlfriend. The cutesy beginning spiraled into a full-on love affair, with Angelakos quickly picking up a live band, a devoted local following in Boston, a major-label record deal, and international acclaim.
But, sitting cross-legged on the dusty floor of a trailer backstage at the Sasquatch festival in Washington state with drummer Nate Donmoyer and keyboardist Ian Hultquist, I’m learning that the tale isn’t quite as sappy as I thought. Says Hultquist, “Chunk of Change is not actually sweet and romantic, it’s about how Mike is kind of an asshole and hard to be in a relationship with.”
Right before their second-to-last show touring behind Fancy Footwork, David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel of Chromeo are missing a crucial element of performance: their legs. “They’re on the East Coast,” admits Macklovitch. He’s referring, of course, to the band’s gloriously campy keyboard stands shaped like a pair of sexy female gams. Designed by Parisian creative collective Surface to Air, the life-sized limbs are hugely expensive to ship, leading the band to store one set in Europe and one set in North America. Even so, they sometimes get left behind – but Chromeo does their best to make up for it. “Maybe I should wear shorts again tonight. That’s what I did at Osheaga,” laughs Macklovitch. “Maybe we should show off our legs.”
Ground-Breaking Subject Matter
Hot Chip open up, sort of.
Felix Martin and Alexis Taylor sit somewhat awkwardly before me on a small dressing room couch. Their band, English electro-pop act Hot Chip, has been touring incessantly, and the two musicians are obviously tired. “By this time next year we’ll be having a break,” says Martin, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses. “Break down,” quickly interjects Taylor, deadpan serious. We all laugh.
“Los Angeles, Buenos Aires….” Frederik Saroea, frontman for Norway’s undefinable retro-pop act Datarock, is telling me the route his band took before arriving in Vancouver. His voice turns droll. “Then we did a few shows in Ohio. Columbus, Cleveland… The good thing is, we were close to Akron. And I’ve always wanted to go to Akron.” Why Akron, of all places? Saroea grins widely. “Because that’s where Devo comes from!” he exclaims. “They are our main influence.”
“In the old days, it was very simple,” says Frédéric Malle, his voice rising with emotion. “Perfume was seen as an art, as something creative.” Malle is the founder of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, the eponymous Parisian boutique perfumerie whose old-fashioned approach has revolutionized the world of fragrances.
“I just got this sucker,” Ashley Greene says, pulling aside her plaid shirt to reveal a delicately-bruised ivory shoulder. “I have bruises here, and here…” the 22-year-old continues, gesturing at her opposite arm.