Jericho

Brooding Experimental Psychedelia In Funny Hats

Photo credit to Jon Vincent, who shot these photos of Jericho for Discorder Magazine

To define Jericho with a single adjective is to risk oversimplifying the band’s complex sound, which is both at odds and in keeping with their penchant for theatricality. The Vancouver band is as well known for their brooding psychedelic sound as they are for wearing funny hats on stage. In both their recordings and their live performances, Pasang Galay says, “[We] try to make space for all of that.”

Jericho has existed in several iterations – one of which played under the moniker the Sandra Bullocks – before settling on the line-up they have today. The band is currently comprised of Galay on lead vocals and bass, Luke Tancredi on guitar, Liam Doherty on keys and synth, Nigel Ching on cello, and Eli Teed on drums. Of Jericho’s early iterations, Galay says, “We were kind of always in a mode of development. We weren’t completely satisfied with the makeup of the band. It wasn’t until we got our five members that we kind of felt satisfied with being a full band.” Teed joined the band in September 2015 followed shortly by Doherty, who joined as the band’s fifth member.

Galay refers to Jericho’s dynamic as a relationship. He admits, “Trying to manage five people in any relationship is hard, especially one that is creative … Not everyone is on the same page at every moment, but I like what each person brings to [the band].”

Jericho’s multifaceted sound is as much a stylistic choice as it is a function of their band line up. Teed says, “It’s part of having five people in the band with their own musical preferences and backgrounds … All [of us] see a song a different way.”

Jericho by Jon Vincent for Discorder Magazine

When it comes to writing music, differences in taste among band members is one of Jericho’s greatest strengths. “There’s a general cohesion, especially when we’re all together in a room,” says Teed. They take a collaborative approach to songwriting. Teed continues, “It is kind of a building block by building block [process], and everyone contributes their distinct musical quality to that.”

To start the writing process, Tancredi often contributes a rhythm or a melody. Galay adds a bassline as a way of “laying the scene or figuring out what the atmosphere of the song is,” says Teed, explaining that the rest of the band “take[s] that as a cue to how the song is going to look and how it’s going to sound overall. We’ll try to match whatever thematic or tonal quality it has.” While Tancredi approaches songwriting from a traditional rock development, Ching contributes what Galay describes as a more progressive dark quality. The result is dark experimental rock interwoven with atmospheric cello and moody bass.

After several months hiatus from recording and performing, Jericho are releasing their debut EP Vanitas in May. Long has an EP been in the works for the band. Teed says, “We’ve tried a couple times to do it with different people and in different spaces. This one is finally working out. It’s been nice to kind of jump back into things and have them go fairly swimmingly.” Galay agrees: “[We] finally have material that we feel is adequately recorded, as well as adequately played.”

While most of the EP recording took place four months ago, its tracks were written between eight months to two years ago. Teed says, “Of the four or five songs that are on there, some were [made by] all five of us … Others were Pasang and Nigel in years past. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge of different times and places coming together.”

In April, Jericho released a video for the first track off Vanitas, “Catching Fire.” It is a testament to the creativity of Jericho’s individual members, rich with stylized imagery against a backdrop of East Vancouver. Galay says the video is the band’s “theatricality to the [highest] degree.” While costume changes and humorous bits between songs have long had their place in Jericho’s live shows, the band finds this performance style hasn’t been as well-received now that they are playing to larger audiences. “The theatricality and the way we manage that has to be addressed,” Teed admits. “That element will still remain but we are going to be reworking how that will look … Maybe we won’t have literally so many hats on over the course of the show.”

With the release of Vanitas slated for May 12, Jericho is thinking of the future of the band. Teed says, “Everyone really enjoys playing together and being able to put out music that we all enjoy playing and listening to. I think that’s definitely kept things going, and will continue to keep things going.”

Listen to more music from Jericho at jerich0.bandcamp.com.

Song of the Day: Catching Fire by Jericho

OR Marquee Moon by Television

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of Discorder Magazine.

Chapel Sound

More Than Music

Chapel Sound, Evan Buggle, Discorder Magazine
Photo credit to Evan Buggle, who shot these photos of Chapel Sound for Discorder Magazine

The first thing to note about Chapel Sound is that sound does not solely refer to music. Founder Sean Oh says, “When I was saying Chapel Sound, ‘sound’ was not the music. It was something that is around. Wherever you are, there is no place [without] sound. It is a ubiquitous dimension … A lot of people misinterpret that [Chapel Sound] is a musical group.” Instead, Nancy Lee adds, “It’s a frequency, it’s a vibe, it’s an energy.”

To call Chapel Sound a vibe or an energy is an effective summation of the mindset at work within the collective. More concretely, Chapel Sound is a multi-disciplinary art collective with as many as forty contributors. At their regular meeting space I meet with four of them: Oh and Lee, along with Laine Butler and Eli Muro. They are all fully immersed in the visual, sonic and curatorial aspects of the collective, which is to say they each use many verbs to describe their roles within Chapel Sound. Lee says that since Chapel Sound’s outset, “We didn’t want to have music only. We wanted to have the disciplines interact … Everyone is quite interdisciplinary.”

The members of Chapel Sound are known for throwing parties at alternative spaces throughout Vancouver. While the parties are often remembered for the DJ sets, Chapel Sound is as much about curating the vibe of a space and creating an immersive experience as they are about playing music. Chapel Sound first gained attention in September 2012 when Oh live-streamed a party he hosted in his living room, complete with visual projections and a live painting installation. The first event was an “index of what we’re interested in,” says Oh.

The subsequent parties offered a platform for artists to experiment with different mediums and to bring their artistic practices to the table. Butler performed his first live DJ set during a broadcasted party. He adds, “Chapel is kind of why I became a VJ … There was a need for it.” Similarly, Lee says that her new media practice developed as she created installations and immersive spaces for Chapel Sound events.

Chapel Sound by Evan Buggle for Discorder Magazine

Lee says that the aim from the start was to offer “an alternative space so we could get together and jam and be weird and be comfortable being weird.” Muro says of the early parties, “It was a strange sort of vibe but it worked.” They moved the parties to a larger underground space to increase the reach of the events so more people could contribute. Through their events, Chapel Sound offered a platform for DJs and producers who aren’t being booked for mainstream venues, often because their styles differ from mainstream electronic music.

Chapel Sound started hosting events in the first place because Oh “like[s] to [bring] people together.” He has aimed to bring artists together since he arrived in Vancouver. He is happy to encourage the talents of local artists in what he refers to as a “dad-type” of role within the scene. Butler adds that with Chapel Sound, “It [is] all about being inclusive.”

Inclusivity continues to be a focus for Chapel Sound, whether it means embracing a range of genres or ensuring that hosted events showcase the diversity of the collective’s members. Lee says, “Chapel Sound is a very racially diverse electronic music collective.” Muro continues, “I know that some other collectives have been criticized for being predominantly white men. I think we can be kind of proud that we’re not that.” All members I meet with agree that there isn’t a single sound that defines Chapel Sound. “People come from lots of different backgrounds, so that affects people’s styles,” says Muro. Chapel Sound’s two compilation albums effectively represent the range of styles in which its members work.

What connects the members’ work is a common vibe. Oh attributes the vibe to the Vancouver music scene and to the impact of the city’s geography and climate. Muro agrees: “Any city’s musical sound [is] influenced by the environment.” So too is a music scene influenced by its city’s history. In Vancouver, this includes a history of colonialism and of economic division. Chapel Sound aims to initiate conversations around these topics. Chapel Sound does more than offer a platform for artistic experimentation; it offers a platform for critical engagement.

In May 2016, the collective hosted its inaugural Chapel Sound Festival. In addition to parties, the festival included workshops and panels, notably a panel discussion on women in electronic music and creative technology. The women on the panel shared their experiences of discrimination in the music industry and their differing experiences based on sexual orientation, race and class. The audience was made up of more men than women, many of whom asked questions. Muro says, “We created a space that allowed for that kind of transferring of understanding.”

Now that Chapel Sound is in its fifth year and has gained acclaim beyond Vancouver, its members are able to take on new endeavours, develop their artistic practices and initiate conversation. With future events, they intend to push the conversational aspect. By offering a forum for discussion Lee says, “We can actually reflect critically on our positionality in society: to [become] more self-aware and conscious of who we are and why we make art, why we make music, why we have to go through this process to do things in Vancouver and reflect on, maybe, class divide, housing issues.” On a closing note, Lee emphasizes that the doors are open to anyone who wants to contribute to Chapel Sound. As for future goals Oh says, “I still dream about this perfect 360 experience where all of your senses are stimulated.”

You can learn more about Chapel Sound at chapelsound.org, or visit soundcloud.com/chapelsound to hear past projects and compilations.

Sound of the Day: Vices by Vbnd

OR mobb2it by clipping.

This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of Discorder Magazine.

Interview With My Mother

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My mother has always been there to support me in whatever I decided to pursue, from the time I was two years old and said, “Mom, I can skate!” and proceeded to waddle across the ice, to the days when I wondered why the hell I chose to pursue an English degree, and I knew that I could only make sense of things if I called her. In recent years, she has transitioned from a mother to a best friend. She is the person I trust the most when I need advice, whether it’s on love, my life plan, or what I should wear on a Saturday night. Though many say we look and sound alike, we are more different than we are similar. This makes her support and her interest in my life even more meaningful. She will listen to me talk about my essays, even if she hasn’t read the books herself, and will listen to my favourite albums with me, even if she doesn’t like them. I know that she will always be cheering for me, especially on the days when I’m struggling. In honour of Mother’s Day, I decided to interview my mother. You hear a lot from me, so I thought it was time you heard from the woman who made and shaped me. Here is my interview with the woman the world calls Lynn, who I am proud to call Mom.

What have you enjoyed most about being a mother?

The joy I’ve experienced over the years watching you grow and develop as your own person, in wisdom and inner and exterior beauty. You are your own unique person, very comfortable and accepting of yourself and I’m extremely proud of that.

What was your greatest fear when you became a mother?

That you would choke on a hot dog! That’s why I cut them up until you were eight years old!

Another other fears?

That I wouldn’t have the answers to your questions when you needed them most. As it turns out, the answers came more naturally then I thought they would. I also wanted to protect you from the sorrows and trial and tribulations of life, but I realized I usually couldn’t and that you would have to figure things out for yourself. I had to trust in you to do this on your own. I sometimes still want to come to your rescue but realize you are grown up now and that I can’t.

You’ve been teaching for thirty years. Did being a teacher prepare you for motherhood?

Being a teacher taught me that there are many unique little individuals out there each with their own personalities and talents. Each one as different as the next. Having taught most grades, it was interesting to learn about the “milestones” children experienced, as well as the struggles as they became more mature. I often thought about these as you experienced these milestones for yourself.

What did you value the most about your mother?

I valued her intelligence.  She was a respected nurse and published writer. I was proud of her . The older I got the more I think I appreciated her.  She had so many friends, quite a diverse group and that says something about a person.  I think she had many friends because she was very open and accepting of everyone. Her compassion for people as well as other living things made her a special person in the eyes of many.

Which characteristics of your mother do you see in yourself?

To this day I am an animal lover like my mother was. I’m also a person who forgives easily. I learned that from her. I inherited a love of fashion and shopping from my mom who learned it from her mom. And now you enjoy it too. (I trained you at an early age!)

My mom thought it was important for us to travel and learn about new places. As a child our family travelled throughout Canada and the U.S., usually by car. I valued this as being really important so we were able to give you the experience of travelling broadly throughout your life.

Which of your characteristics do you see in me?

I think we are both energized by people who value us. We love to be with friends and appreciate them being in our lives. i think you are also a person who will forgive easily. You have the confidence in yourself that I had when I was your age.

What is the most valuable advice your mother gave you?

Trust in yourself and everything else will follow. This gave me the confidence to be who I am today.

What advice would you like to give me?

Be your own person. Be happy with who you are. Be with people who value you and get you and eventually be with the one who adores you. Realize that your dreams may not always be fulfilled but don’t stop dreaming. Take time to smell the flowers and always look for the good in people and situations. Life will always have it’s difficulties. It’s how you handle them and get back to living that will see you through your life.

Mom’s Song of the Day: Happy by Pharrell Williams

My Song of the Day: Ash Babe by Dan Mangan

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