Here's a page or two from the CFCR archives - Soundscape Magazine was produced by CFCR in the late 1990s, early 2000s and featured charts, reviews, music interviews and slices of Saskatoon's alternative radio culture. Here are three excerpts from Issue 65, October 2000 - you can also read the entire issue in pdf form by following this link: Soundscape October 2000
Rainy Days and Vancouver Nights
Theo Kivol, Editor in Cheif
Name: Sarah Lapsley
Occupation: Singer/songwriter, leader of Vancouver Nights
Base of Operations: Vancouver, British Columbia
Current Projects: Touring in support of the North American release of the band’s self-titled album on Endearing Records
Special Talents: Making melodies that stick to your head like a mesh back ball cap on a redneck. The ability to craft perfectly catchy pop tunes and look perfectly adorable while performing them.
Influences: Joni Mitchell, Glen Campbell, 60s and 70s melodic rock
Soundscape: Your new record was released earlier this year in Japan on the Quattro label. How did they find out about you?
Sarah Lapsley: Blair from Endearing Records had met this girl at the CMJ conference in New York and she had asked him if he had any pop bands. So he gave her a CD and she liked us and also B’ehl from Winnipeg and so they signed us for this licensing dae3l. The label is part of this conglomerate of companies and they own malls, and music stores, and nightclubs, and apartment buildings. They‘ve sold a thousand copies. They were hoping to sell more but I think they definitely want to do another record and keep trying to build a fan-base over there.
SS: You were also in a band called Kreviss. Was it fun being in an all-girl band?
SL: It was tremendously fun because we were like this giant gang of 18 and 19 years-old girls that played very loud growly guitars and ran amok. Our gimmick was we had all these guitars; we had like between 5 and 8 guitars and we had lots of kind of revolving door players. It was noisy art rock and a lot of people hated it. The Vancouver Nights is more of a normal band and we’re more proficient musicians. I think we’re a little more palatable.
SS: How long did you go to music school?
SL: I did the classical music program for two years at Capilano College and it was fun. It was a different perspective but after a while I decided I didn’t want to do that kind of music for my whole life so I went back to working on rock music. Studying classical music gave me a broader base to work with more chords and more of a knowledge of song structure which allowed me to write songs that were a bit different from the dumb two-chord rock songs I was writing before.
SS: The first song on your CD is called “Naikoon Park.” Is there a real Naikoon Park?
SL: There is. It’s in the Queen Charlotte Islands which is a 24 hour drive up the coast of British Columbia and then it’s a 6 hour ferry across to the islands. Half of it is this uninhabited giant national park and then half of it you can camp on and there are a few communities up there. Naikoon Park is one of the areas where you can camp. It’s this beautiful park and there’s all this native mythology about it which is cool.
SS: So it’s an environmental song?
SL: It’s about enjoying nature. Somebody from Vancouver who reviewed the song said it was “eco-pop.”
SS: Where does the song “Joy Is Like the Rain” come from?
SL: I grew up in a very Christian household and one of the records that was always floating around was by the Medical Mission Sisters. It was this group of twelve nuns who sang and played the ukulele. One of the nuns wrote all the songs and they’re all amazing and “Joy is like the Rain” was one of them and I always liked it. I was in a band around the same time as Kreviss called Thee Crusaders and it was sort of a joke Christian band and we did “Joy is like the Rain” so when I started The Vancouver Nights I wanted to revive the song.
Life in an Elevator
James Reimer, Managing Editor Soundscape
As far as the Canadian music scene is concerned, Moncton, New Brunswick might as well be in Saskatchewan. However if you looked closely enough at the small maritime city, hidden away from the prying eyes of the rest of the country, you would find Elevator, a shy and unassuming band who thrives as much on their geographical isolation in Moncton as they do on their 8-track recorder in their basement studio.
As a band, Elevator moves in the areas between psychedelic haziness and riff heavy pop. Always touring, recording or practicing, they are changing too. Consisting of Mark Gaudet on drums and husband and wife Rick and Tara White on vocals/guitar and bass respectively, they are probably still better known for being former members of the band Eric’s Trip. A self-described “dreamy punk” band, Eric’s Trip’s deeply personal lyrics about subjects like romantic relationships within the band has given them a kind of myth-like status. By the time Eric’s Trip had broken up in 1996, Elevator, then known as Elevator to Hell, had already evolved from being a Rick White solo project to including the non-Eric’s Trip alumni, Gaudet and Tara White.
Elevator has gone through three name changes over the course of five CD releases, the most recent being A Taste of the Complete Perspective. Released last month on the Teenage USA label out of Toronto, A Taste of Complete Perspective ends the band’s seven year relationship with American indie giant Sub Pop.
In a phone conversation with Rick White, he explained the band’s reason for leaving Sub Pop: “It was kind of mutual. We had been with them too long and we never sold more records than our last record had sold. Record sales would always stay kind of the same, especially in the States where we just seemed to have a little cult following, but it never got as big as Sub Pop might have wanted. We just thought they were getting bored with us and not giving us publicity. We were tired of being Americans and wanted to do something Canadian, at least for this record, so the timing on both sides was pretty good. We both wanted to part ways.”
Elevator, like Eric’s Trip before them, almost exclusively records at home with the engineering duties being handled by White himself. Last year, however, Elevator released Vague Premonition, recorded at the Chemical Sound studio in Toronto and mixed by Jack Endino, who also recorded Nirvana’s Bleach.
“We went into Vague Premonitions knowing that we could get most of it on the first take. It was just a different experience that we wanted to put ourselves through to get a good document of our live sound,” says White fondly. “A Taste of Complete Perspective is the opposite of that and is about trying to capture more of the magical stuff you can miss in a foreign studio."
A Taste of Complete Perspective came to be in the fall of 1999. White and the rest of the band concluded that the most accurate way to document themselves would be to record as much material as they could, capturing as many different and changing moods within the band as possible. After returning from their summer tour, they went down to the studio in Rick and Tara’s basement and began to record every time they got together over the next several months. “We kept recording different versions because at this point our songs don’t have set structures anymore,” explains White. “We just kept recording all winter and had almost six or seven versions of each song. We compiled it together at the end, getting all the certain versions we wanted.”
White has always been someone that completely reveals himself through his music. In Eric’s Trip he dealt with what he calls, “petty relationship stuff,” and now he is more focused on dealing with “The relationships we all have with ourselves.” The band’s evolution as individuals is reflected using not only the words in the songs but everything on the album, from the artwork to the murky soundscapes that almost engulf the songs. A Taste of Complete Perspective resembles a scrapbook full of different sounds all pasted together and on top of each other. On the inside of the album sleeve, photos of the band standing in an abundant forest scene are overlapping and double-exposed to create one larger image. Like these photos the album is one large collage of ideas, noise, words and music. Says White: “In our lives we feel like there is so much chaos floating around us. I wanted to capture more of that on the record. When we change in parts of the song and it doesn’t go really tightly, it will just sort of evolve into another part of the song. There are constantly other songs swirling around on top of them. I find it creates and atmosphere of the chaos and confusion of life.”
Throughout the interview White draws several comparisons between Elevator’s personal life and their goal of trying to represent its disorder and confusion. Sludgy sound effects and field recordings from various outdoor locations fill the CD during and between songs. The end result is dark, unstable, dense, and seemingly in constant motion. “There is so much stuff floating around our band that it sounds like we are amongst it and that’s how we feel in the world right now. It’s confusing and you kind of float through it, “ reflects White.
Name changes are also part of the band’s personal development. They have gone from Elevator To Hell to Elevator Through Hell to Elevator Through to Elevator. “Elevator To Hell was mostly there because we were going through a weird crossover from Eric’s Trip and it was a really chaotic kind of time. Then we felt like we weren’t going to Hell we were going through it, so it evolved to Elevator Through Hell. We tried to get rid of the Hell altogether a couple of years ago so we could have a clearer picture and it seems to be working.” White goes on to say “I never wanted to stick too much to a name. Since we stopped touring with Eric’s Trip we had to put “former members of Eric’s Trip” on the poster to get gigs. People can stick so much to a name. There are bands like CCR that are still touring and fighting over who can use their name. Names are what people really remember. I wanted this one to always keep changing so it would never get like that. It’s a bad publicity move but I find it kind of interesting.”
For White, Elevator is the continuation of the documentation of his life from his Eric’s Trip days. He estimates he has about 60 hours of mostly finished songs recorded that have never been released. “Yeah I have lots of songs, I usually just skip ahead to the newest ones every time we record an album,” he says while laughing. “I always found that new songs were more important. If I had to wait to try to finish every song I wrote, I’d still be with songs from ’94 just trying to finish them.”
Honesty has always been at the core of Elevator’s music and it likely always will be. Rick White’s mission is never ending. “Music has always been a documentary of my times so it evolves with me,” he muses. “I keep doing it so that someday when I’m old I can look back at all the music and it will describe my life pretty well.” Through their live shows and recordings, Elevator document themselves accurately and honestly, and in doing this they are giving their audience something that very few bands can offer: complete perspective.
Local Artist Spotlight
Kate Mutton — host of Underwhere?
Saskatoon young’ens Junior Pantherz caused quite a stir last month when they entered the DV8 battle of the bands competition. Playing for the first time on the much sought after Amigos stage, the trio fought off the more experienced, older and popular bands to win their heat hands down.
And no one was more surprised than the Pantherz.
“Actually,” explained drummer Arnold van Lambalgen, “we played, within our own band, what we though was the worst show we’ve ever played.”
Terry Mattson, the band’s singer and guitarist, added “We didn’t feel very confident afterwards. When I got the call from Arnold the next day I was shocked. First place just didn’t seem like a possibility.”
Junior Pantherz were not able to repeat that score for the competition final, although that wasn’t through lack of trying. The boys play loud and they play hard and their Nirvana-etched sound more than impressed the capacity crowd. What also impressed the crowd was that the mature sound came from such young musicians. Two of the members are not of legal drinking age yet.
Even though they didn’t wind up sharing the DV8 stage with Sloan (which would have been ironic as the name Junior Pantherz was taken — with permission — from a Sloan song) the band’s debut on the wider Saskatoon music scene was the best break they have had so far.
“We’ve gotten a lot of exposure from these two shows that we played at Amigos,” said Terry. “Brant down there really liked us and he’s the guy who hires everyone. He wanted us back for some more shows, which is good enough right there. We’ve got our foot in the door.”
“It can only get better for us. It can’t get any worse,” chimed in Arnold.
With such a small musical community in Saskatoon, local battles of the bands have been known in the past to become quite bitter. The Pantherz experienced none of that, though. They grabbed the opportunity to introduce themselves to the more established outfits in the scene.
The worst they experienced was a rogue rumour, which they found more funny than offensive.
“After the first heat we heard some rumours going round that our bass player, quote unquote, is best friends with Wide Mouth Mason. Totally false. “Someone just started that up at Amigos,” laughed Arnold.
“I don’t even think I know their names, “ sheepishly added the man in question, Cory Dahlen.
The trio admits that it was a little intimidating to be pitched against the city’s more recognized bands for their fist big gig. However it should be noted that they have had more experience playing together than a good deal of the others. These boys have been jamming recreationally together for the last six years.
That’s when Terry and Arnold created their “Inbreds-ish” guitar and drums two-piece. Terry and Cory, meanwhile, go all the way back to grade school where Cory blew the trumpet and Terry slapped the electric bass in the school band. Arnold and Terry invited Cory into the Pantherz about 18 months ago.
“I’d mainly played guitar but my brother is a bassist and it was always kicking around the house. I just picked it up from that,” enlightened Cory.
Since then, Junior Pantherz have been busy writing original music. That culminated a couple of months ago with a 12-track CD titled Polar Opposites, recorded in a friend’s basement, oddly called Narfy Studios. It’s raw and gutsy and it keeps as far away from formulaic rock as the band can manage. If you’re a fan of Pavement you’ll love Polar Opposites’ quirky shifts in tempo and melody.
The band is quite proud of their album, including the bits that aren’t theirs. Faced with a small production budget, they chose to swipe the front cover from an early 1970s National Geographic magazine article on infra-red imaging. The back cover was similarly stolen.
“I think that’s a good description of our band. We try to rip off as many things as possible,” Arnold kidded. “But if you think about it, it’s a good marketing ploy because if they were ever to come and sue us we’d get some media attention.”
The trio is quick to joke about ‘borrowing’ things. But when it comes to the music they play, Junior Pantherz are sticklers for originality, a quality they find abundant among some of Saskatoon’s up and coming bands. Not every band in this city aspires to be the next Our Lady Peace, it seems.
“I’ve been seeing bands for five years now. This next generation of bands coming around — Salvo, Chesterfield and all of those guys — it’s nice to get a weave into the normal tide, if you will,” Arnold said.
Terry agreed. “There are some really good unknown bands in Saskatoon. Watercolour Movement, for example, who nobody really knows about but they are changing the face of Saskatoon rock.”
“To be honest,” continues Arnold, “if someday we were ever approached with a record deal from a big label, Sony or something like that, and we also got approached by Sonic Unyon, we’d rather take the Unyon. Just for the fact that we want to be on a label that we approve of ourselves — we like the bands on the label and they like us. And they’ll give us attention rather than us being a small face in the crowd.”
Before the day comes, Junior Pantherz are happy to stick with Narfy Studios for their next effort. The songs have already been written and the band hopes to start recording this month.