Crazy excited for this. Our friend Blake is a talented fellow.
Leisure Suit has always been a bit of an enigma. When the band dropped the texture-heavy Leisure Suit EP last April, there was a ton of hysteria surrounding the sound — cyclic guitars, hazy pop stylings, and uncoventional composition. But nobody knew who or where it was coming from.
Monday, I was able to track down the band’s frontman, Oliver Brooks for a quick coffee and Q&A. We spoke about how the band developed its sound—an unlikely blend of ambient and post-rock for Victoria— as well as his identity issues as an artist, and the reason the band is so damn mysterious.
Hop on over to the main site for the full story.
Thanks Tumblr, it’s been a blast. But, in line with our continuous expansion, we’re moving to a bigger space. Same URL, but no more dashboard. If you’d like to continue reading we suggest you continue to visit www.wearemosaic.ca, add us to your RSS feed, and sign up for our newsletter (available soon.)
We’re transferring content as I type and couldn’t be more excited to share our new vision with you all.
And, as always, thanks for reading!
The Hill-side AW 2011
Well, the gorgeous Mikael-Kennedy-shot lookbook has been cycling the internet for a week now. But in order to prevent blogosphere blueballs, we figured we’d hold our post until the garments were actually available for purchase in-store or online.
As per usual, the brothers behind the Hill-side are killing it. Highlights this season include the large rose print and the camo patterned ties (shottied by myself and Mosaic alumni, Eddy Teh, respectively.) Go stake your own turf over at Hickoree’s Hard Goods or head down to Four Horsemen today.
Phillips Brewing Company — Vote for the 3rd annual Benefit Brew
Here’s a delicious philanthropic venture: Phillips Brewing Company are now entering their final week of open submissions for their annual benefit brew — the fundraiser in which Vancouver Island’s favorite brewery works with a local charity to create a custom limited-run beverage, with all proceeds going to that select cause.
The beneficiaries of the 200 case run will be chosen via online poll. The value of the winnings works out to about a $9,000, not to mention the ability to play brewmaster (don’t worry, the actual recipe is still up to the experts.)
As long as you’re a BC based organization, not involved with minors, register with the Phillips website by August 21st for a chance to make it big. The rest of you, prepare to cast your votes and indulge in your generosity. Your conscious will thank you — even if your liver won’t.
Remember these guys? Of course you do. Well, Victoria’s favorite supergroup are back tonight, with the support of Woolworm and The Wicks, in what promises to be one of the best $5 shows of the summer.
Sugar Night Club (858 Yates) is the place to be — get there right at 10 and stay ‘til 2. Shout fanboyish hurrahs at Blake and Pete, on stage together for what may be the final time. Break your heart with woodsy bluesy country rock!
Full disclosure: I’ve written for Brad once or twice. That said, it’s hard to have completed a writing degree at UVic and not have written for Brad. For a young student, Brad’s got a plethora of editorial experience and it shows: in his confidence, in his knowledge of the industry, in the rare seamlessness with which he deals with stories. But perhaps the most impressive thing about Brad is his DIY ethos, which is why, when I heard he was relaunching his independent music blog, From the Garage, I knew we had to have a formal chat.
1. How and when did you get into journalism? What made you gravitate toward music?
Brad: Well, I guess it all started in the fifth grade when my friend introduced me to Blink 182. I had never really shown too much of an interest in music before then. It transformed my life completely - from being really into sports to being obsessed with music.
Over the next couple years, I became really into bands. I would spend hours memorizing lyrics, Googling for background information, and scavenging the internet for crumbs of interesting tidbits.
Eventually, I found myself in the tenth grade. I’d played in a few bands by that time and realized I wasn’t naive enough to aspire for a life of rock-stardom (much to my dismay). I didn’t really know what to do with my life. I had a blog I would post in every once in a while to share some of my teenage angst with the world, and one day someone left a comment saying that they were impressed with my writing, or something. I honestly can’t really remember, but one thing led to another and I decided to try music writing. From there I started writing for YouthInk Magazine (a youth magazine in BC, written entirely by high-school students). That just got the ball rolling.
2. There’s that old Frank Zappa quote: “Most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.” What are your thoughts about that?
B: I’ve always thought that quote was pretty funny. Mr. Zappa wasn’t entirely off if you’re looking at what he said literally. You go on YouTube these days, or even some of the main music journalism outlets on the internet, and you see these kids trying to interview their favourite bands. It’s their first interview ever and they’re just bombing it. They’re really there to meet their favourite rock stars. The same thing translates through Q&A interviews that get posted on sites like AbsolutePunk.net (though it is a great media source for new music). The questions are so generic. There isn’t a ton of fore-thought put in. In that respect, yeah, those people kinda suck, and they most likely can’t write very well.
But, eventually, some of those kids may end up being good music journalists because of it. It’s all about practice. I used to suck - really bad. I don’t like watching or reading a bunch of my early interviews or profiles. Now I just suck a lot less. It’s very clichéd, but practice really does make perfect, especially when it comes to something like writing or interviewing. The key is being confident in your research, your questions, and yourself. Who wants to have a conversation with some kid who is sweating and can’t speak a sentence without stuttering in fear? It makes it awkward.
For the “interviewing people who can’t talk” part, your job as a journalist is to make them talk. Interviews can be painfully dull if the subject isn’t into it. Everyone goes through it. It’s your responsibility to come up with questions or discussion topics they actually want to chat about.
I don’t really have a comment for the last section of the quote, but I wouldn’t be surprised it there was some truth to it. There’s a difference between talking about music and writing about it.
3. And what made you decide to create From the Garage—that’s a pretty bold move for a relatively young writer, especially while trying to juggle school and work?
B: FTG was inspired by what Brian Adler does with The Adlercast. He’s a huge influence in my journalistic/media life.
He grew up in Richmond, BC. Worked at the now non-existent radio station at London High School. Graduated. Went to BCIT for their broadcasting program, was hated by most of the teacher, but still finished his degree at the top of his class. A couple years later, he was made the youngest member of the program’s Advisory Board.
After graduating, he worked at a bunch of radio stations around Vancouver (The Fox, Rock 101, etc.), eventually moving to Victoria to help start up Extreme 107 and had a popular show with them.
Later, he decided he was bored of radio and moved onto television. He worked with MTV Canada to help start up their new channel. He was the first host of their flagship show, MTV Select.
Soon after that, he moved on to help start Razor, another new Canadian channel. He created a show called 969, in which he was the main host, doing band interviews and the like.
Nowadays he’s long past that. He started a couple production companies with a business partner - Insider Films (a music video production company who makes most of the videos for 604 Records artists, many Canadian bands, and even groups as big as Papa Roach) and On Demand Production Network (a corporate video production network, focusing on online video, training videos, and commercials).
Anyway, in the eleventh grade, I sent Brian an e-mail asking to go for coffee sometime. He accepted and quickly opened my eyes to the wonders and potential of the internet, explaining the growing concept of web 2.0 and viral marketing in media and the music industry. Flash forward a couple summers and a couple internships later, he gave me a spot as an intern with his company at Insider Films.
Anyway, after our little coffee session, he told me I should start my own podcast. I decided I wanted to do something similar to him, but with more content, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
I just realized I didn’t actually answer most of the question. It is kind of hard to juggle the site with school, work, and life. Some of my friends aren’t too into journalism and filming. It can be hard to get them to come out and help with a shoot or an interview. I also sometimes have to put it before school, work, or my social life, but that’s the kind of business it is. You make it work. It’s just fun. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it.
4. Being a small, independent publication can be difficult, especially when dealing with PR. Do you have any advice for young writers looking to land interviews or dealing with uncooperative, or inconsistent management?
B: The first and most important thing is to have is an outlet, even if it’s just a blog. You need to have somewhere to publish your work or the publicist/management won’t give you the interview. That’s the case 95% of the time. The other 5% is a fluke.
If you’re just getting into music journalism, start with small bands. They often don’t have publicists. You may justend up planning with the band themselves. Eventually, as your site or blog grows a reputation and a catalogue of content, publicists and management see that and decide whether you will get an interview based on it. The best advice is to just produce a lot of material and only publish what you’re proud of. Everything on there is a reflection of you. Be aware of it.
In terms of uncooperative or inconsistent management, be polite, but firm. Tell them exactly what you want for exactly when you want it. The least amount of e-mails they have to reply to the better. Also, don’t take anything personally. Everything sounds more blunt in an e-mail. Lastly, a big thing is to not be afraid of bugging them. Finding the right level of nagging is pretty key. It just comes with time.
5. There are already tons of music blogs out there—my reader is completely swamped with them—and some are incredibly well established or have tons of funding behind them. What’s From the Garage going to bring to the table? How do you plan to compete with some of the giants, like Stereogum, Pitchfork, or Excite!?
B: I don’t think FTG is like those other sites. Pitchfork, for example, is viewed in the music journalism world as a hipster site. The stigma is that hipsters find their new music there. If you’re featured on it, the band automatically has 800 new indie fans in every city. That’s just how it is. FromTheGarage doesn’t really operate like that.
I picture FTG as a little bit of everything. At this point, and at this stage of the publication, we don’t have an online community like they do, but readership is growing. We’re currently relaunching the site with a bunch of new stuff. We won’t just be focusing on photos, video interviews and concert footage. We now report news and produce written features. Additionally, all the things we did before are being given a face-lift. We have new equipment and are able to do new things with them to keep up with the rest of the video world.
I’ve always thought of video as the key to internet readership - and I hope to continue down that road - but you can’t abandon the old ways of things. I still love print. I love reading music analysis and industry critiques and insights. All of it is important to understanding music and interacting with that industry.
I hope to continue FTG as an outlet with a little bit of everything when it comes to genre and content topics. There is a lot of great underground and up-and-coming acts out there. It seems like most outlets either focus on the new or the old. Yeah, this new band is awesome, but why shouldn’t we also talk about what that older band is doing? What makes one more important than the other? The same goes for other topics. Some people couldn’t care less about the state of the music industry. Others spend hours a day catching up on P2P debates and record label lawsuits.
What it comes down to is having contributors with different tastes, interests and specialties. As long as they love what they’re doing, someone else will too.
That’s what I want FTG to do - have something for everyone, and maybe introduce them to something new. Isn’t that what discussing music is all about anyway?
INTERSTLLR — Love Sit Down
If there’s one thing I love about being a music journalist — besides getting to parse albums all day — it’s waking up to a great new album in my inbox. Sure, the $5 saved on a digital download isn’t a huge perk, but being the first to learn about young artists half-way across the country is! Even better, when that artist find their way to the top of your itune playlist quite quickly. That’s been my relationship with INTRSTLLR, this hazy synth-pop act out of Guelph, Ontario, so far.
For a more indepth summary, I’ll let forward you on to said review. But if you’re lazy, in a rush, or unwilling to play into my self-promotion tactics, just browse the video to right. Then visit INTERSTLLR’s Bandcamp for one of the more enjoyable 15-minutes of the day.
Jazzy hooks, sexy vocals, these guys even send the sweetest of e-mails!
To say that Caleb Beyers and Hanahlie Beise, the founders of CASTE Projects, are designers isn’t entirely accurate. It’s definitely true, but it fails to capture the full breadth of their work: they’ve shot films and photographs, created identities, curated and bound books, built objects and built spaces. Simply put, they’re creators, and in that capacity they’ve shaped many of Victoria’s most beloved landmarks: Citizen Boutique, both the Chinatown and Atrium Habit locations, and the new Victory Barber and Brand.
Their latest project is a combined open studio workspace and design shop, running until August 31 at 196 Kingsway at 10th Ave in Vancouver and offering custom handmade homewares alongside a selection of products from other designers. Caleb and Hanahlie spoke to us about the wide breadth of their work and the methods and motivations behind it.
On this site, we try to keep things as local as possible. But every now and again, there’s something worth branching out for.
Enter the GQ Gentlemen’s Fund. Now in it’s fourth year, the fund is a generous — and incredibly well sponsored — annual event put in place to support and honor the philanthropists, activists, and relatively selfless people that have made a huge difference in the world over the past year. And this year, we’re hyped to see that Laren Poole, of Mosaic favorite Invisible Children has broke into the final five.
Check out the site, browse this year’s nominees and find out how you can make a difference in the world. Maybe you’ll find a new charity to support, maybe you’ll find a cause you’re passionate enough about and go out to create your own. All I know is that this is definitely worth your time — and 1000 times more rewarding— than that $150 sweater we’d post about any other day.