Sunday, December 7, 2008
Adjective is one of the best bands in Vancouver, BC. I first met them at the bar I used to work at because it was right by their practice space and they liked drinking beer in cave-like environments. The interview was conducted in a cave-like restaurant on Main Street.
Adjective's music is way more serious than they are. Everyone takes the easy route by calling them post-punk and saying they sound like Wire. They all dress in black (that obviously means they're goth too and NOT just post punk) and a couple of them used to date each other. They bring out the verbal klutz in me. Oh yeah, this was my first LIVE interview. Other than that, I believe this interview speaks for itself:
Nikki Never: With a name like Adjective, do you care about grammar and spelling?
Ryan Riot: Oh yeah
Luna Tic: Me and Ryan sure do.
Dustin Bromley: Written, yes. Spoken, not so much.
Jenni Hanna: I love physical humour.
N: Like farting?
N: Like funny dances?
J: Yeah, or like falling down.
D:Luna does funny dances on stage when she's drunk.
J: ...and shows her bum. That's some physical comedy.
D: The way you tell when Luna's drunk is if she starts showing her bum.
L: ...or my hands go down my ass.
N: But in your pockets, or...?
R: Inner pants.
N: It's warm.
D: It's comfortable.
N:Do you guys have any crushes? You can still have crushes if you have a boyfriend.
R: Dustin's my secret crush.
D: I knew there was a reason you asked me to join the band!
J: It could never happen though, 'cause you both have moustaches. That would just be weird.
D: Yeah. Who's gonna be the girl and who's gonna be the guy? Or you know- top, bottom?
J: Ryan has longer hair.
R: I think I get the "win". Plus you're littler than me.
J: But what's the win?
L: I'm so lost in this conversation.
N: It was about crushes.
L: I didn't come prepared.
J: I have a crush on pretty much every dude in the world.
D: Yo, what's up?
J: Present company included.
R: Aw...I'm getting crushed on. That's awesome.
N: Who would you rather go to dinner with, Gary Numan or Iggy Pop AND...
D: I still haven't decided who I have a crush on!
N: ...AND what would you do if [he] played footsie with you, but [he was] wearing sandals with socks?
R & D: Ew!
D: Gary Numan...Gary Numan and I would have sweet robot sex in his car.
J: Iggy Pop...Iggy Pop is hilarious and he's so fucked. He's perma-fried. He'd probably be on the table with no shirt on...I'm not saying he's attractive. I'm just saying, it would be fun.
L: Gary Numan...looks cleaner.
R: Iggy Pop.
N: Gary Numan is pretty robotic, but what if he was playing footsie with you and he was wearing sandals with socks?
D: No deal! No deal!
R: I don't think he could get away with that.
L: Well it's better that he's wearing socks [so you don't] have to touch his bare feet.
D: No! Deal breaker right there.
L: I hate bare feet so much.
N: Would you rather have sandals and socks or dreadlocks?
D: Dreadlocks- I had dreadlocks when I was 17.
R: If they were accidental dreadlocks from not washing their hair very often, then I could go for dreadlocks. Ugh. Socks and sandals.
N: Who do you think is the gothest band in Vancouver?
R: The gothest?
N: The..."gothic-est" ?
L: Us, of course.
R: No way.
L: We worship the dark lord and we're from Germany.
R: That was a review we got at Shindig last year.
D: No, no. What's Natasha's band? Suspiria, that's mine.
R: Yeah I'd go for that.
N: Yeah, you're right.
D: That's who I have a crush on- fucking Natasha. Massive.
N: Everyone does.
D: I saw her outside Lick on Saturday. I couldn't say anything to her.
J: You're an awkward teenager.
D: Also, the girl who just left White Lung.
N: Grady. Everyone has a crush on her too.
L: I don't have a crush on her. I don't remember what she looks like!
D: Nikki, I have a crush on you.
N: No you don't.
D: I have a crush on your voice. That's what I have a crush on.
J & L: Yeah.
N: How did you meet?
L: I met both of them [Ryan and Dustin] through Jenny.
R: Actually I met Jenny 'cause I used to work with her...six years ago.
J: It's all about the Mod Club. I met all of you at Mod Club.
D: We used to get wasted and go to Mod Club every Friday.
N: Are you all from Vancouver?
J: Nope. None of us.
N: Where are you from?
L: I've been living here the longest.
N: Are you from Europe?
N: Shut-up. No, it's Berlin!
L: Actually, I did come here from Germany and that is not a joke.
J: We're [Jenny and Ryan] from Edmonton.
D: Vancouver Island.
N: Are there any bands you think are particularly over-rated?
L: Oh lots. Just ask ME! Arcade Fire. Oh! Oh! Here's one that's gonna get me fired from the world- The Velvet Underground.
R: I am wearing a Velvet Underground t-shirt right now. Check this out.
D: You wore that shirt on SATURDAY.
R: I know.
R: There are so many over-rated bands it's ridiculous...Everything in the top 40. Aids Wolf.
J: How very anti-establishment of you, Ryan.
L: What's Animal Collective?
D: Uh, I dunno.
R: Animal Collective- is that actually a band name?
N: Who writes most of the lyrics?
R: Half and half (Meaning he and Luna)
L: Lately, me.
R: Whoever sings it writes it.
L: I've kicked Ryan's ass lately in lyric writing. And not with quality, but with quantity.
N: What are you lyrics usually about?
N: Shut up!
L: The last three songs I've written have been about...
L: Vampires, or dreams...you know, [being] molested by vampires. Or, you know, something similar.
J: I sense a common theme.
D: I heard Anne Rice isn't writing about vampires anymore. She's found a God and she's writing religious shit now.
N: What's "Snake" about? That's my favorite song of yours.
L: (Long laughter)
R: Just say it! It's your chance to tell the world.
D: Well, once she had this messy tailor, and...oh shit!
R: You're a genius.
L: I want everyone to know that it's not a love song. It's not.
J: It's an infatuation song.
L: It's kind of a funny thing to write about someone you've never met and that is prominent in the scene.
R: ...and friends with all your friends.
N: I don't know who it is.
L: What!? You don't know who it is after what he said!?
N: The last name's Taylor? Is it Mike Taylor? Is it my drummer?...Oh no, he's not prominent. Is it Jesse?
R: Are you going to omit the part where you go, "oh no, he's not prominent!"
N: Yeah! Of course.
R: Yeah, the first time we played that song was at the ER and Luna was like "this song is about somebody whose name starts with a 'J' " and I was laughing. Everybody in the ER's name starts with a "J".
L: Oh, I think I just snorted some of this (licorice root she was smelling)
D: I will snort some of this. Come on, let's do this. (chops licorice roots)
N: How long have you been together?
L: Three years.
R: When we first started playing together in 2005, we were just a jam band. Me and Luna and Jenny.
L: And then we were like, "We need a cool guy."
N: So then what?
D: I'm about to snort some licorice, OK?
R: We actually had a really long search for a bass player. A friend of ours...from Fake Shark (Real Zombie) suggested that we bring Dustin on and we did.
N: What was highschool like?
L: Really boring and sad.
R: I was in a small town in northern Alberta and I was the only guy with Robert Smith hair.
There was a lot of ostracizing; a of bottles thrown from passing trucks.
D: I smoked alot...of pot and I had dreadlocks and I had a longboard with shag carpeting on it. That's all I remember.
J: My highschool was fine, actually. I went to a[n] art school...Actually, I went to three different highschools and two of them were horrible and then I found the right one. I fit right in.
L: My French teacher [was] a gay Newfie called, "Mr. Butt".
N: He must have been the butt of many jokes!
R: You're taking Dustin's jokes away.
N: Do you like The Smiths?
R: I love the Smiths.
J: Did you just ASK that?
N: What's your favorite [Smiths] song?
R: I like "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore".
J: I really like "Rufflesome Ruffian".
D: I can never remember the names.
N: I like "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me".
L: That song makes me cry.
R: Whenever I put that record on around Luna, she makes me skip that song.
D: "Rubber Ring"- that's my favorite!
Dustin begins singing "Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" in a Morrissey voice.
R: It sounds better when Morrissey sings it.
N: When is your album coming out? Have you recorded it [yet]?
L: Yes! It's pretty much done. It's just waiting for the final touches.
N: Who recorded it?
L: The Hive
J: A few people
R: So we had Mike Gittens recording all the music at the Hive and then over the next like, fourteen years, we recorded the vocals with Hayz at his house.
N: How are you putting your album out- on vinyl?
L: We're gonna press a 12 inch probably and then some CDs as well.
R: We're gonna have download cards. If all you listen to is electronic, you can buy the card or if you buy the vinyl, it'll be in the vinyl.
J: The girl I'm training at work was like, "Oh my God! You guys are making RECORDS? That's SO cool!...She lives in Coquitlam.
D: So...it'll be in the new year sometime.
L: We're hoping you know, early next year.
D: We're waiting to find out about a secret weapon in the mixing process.
N: Do you like any new bands, or any popular bands?
N: Which ones?
R: I like a lot of the indie bands around here.
D: I watched the video for Beyonce's Single Ladies...she does the dance...and at the end she lifts up her hand which has like, the ring on the finger, cause single ladies put a ring on it or whatever...
D: ...and she has a fucking robot hand in the video.
N: What do you think that meant?
D: I don't know, I googled it after, and everyone's like, "Oh, there's this awesome video- great dance moves and everything, but what was up with the robot hand?"
J: I actually saw a picture of her...she was at some event and she was wearing a metal glove.
L: Maybe her hand was cut off.
D: Like Luke Skywalker.
R: How exciting!
D: Who do I like...popular? John Williams.
R: Is that the composer that did Star Wars?
D: He's the composer who did a LOT of things.
N: What do you think of fur, veal, and leather jackets? (two of them have leather jackets with them)
L: I want them, but something inside of me is making me not buy one.
J: I always say, "No" to veal.
N: But "yes" to leather?
J: Yeah, well, I never buy leather products...new, so I don't feel so bad about it.
L: But you're promoting it!
J: Someone else paid for that animal to die.
L: I have mixed feelings because I really want a fur coat and leather jacket. I'm OK with getting a leather jacket, but for some reason with a fur coat, I hesitate and I'm not quite sure why.
D: Because people don't throw red paint at leather jackets.
J: What's the difference between leather shoes and a leather jacket, really?
L: Cows are totally killable, c'mon.
J: Cows are cute.
L: I'm just joking.
N: Do songs ever come to you in your dreams?
R: Hell, yeah.
J: I don't write songs. In fact, I don't even play a musical instrument, unfortunately.
L: We usually write everything together, we don't come to jam with a song idea usually. We just come up with it there.
D: I dreamed about the perfect song once and then I woke up and I realized it was just "Freebird".
R: It was a sad moment.
N: When I worked at Pub 340, there was a point at every show when someone would yell, "Freebird". I realised after a couple of months that it was Phil [a regular who also worked at Pub 340] every time.
D: I've been thinking that we should just learn how to play a version of "Freebird"...never play it and then when someone yells, "Freebird", stop what you're doing and be like, "Fuck, yeah!"
R: That's a great idea.
N: I like that..."This is what you get for yelling "Freebird"!
D: You better be smiling the shit out of yourself for the next nine minutes.
N: Where did your band name come from?
R: Oh, my God.
D: We wanted to describe ourselves, really.
J: It was better than "Groom Repairs" and "Warehouse" and...
L: "Severe Cuddle".
J: "Severe Cuddle".
R: Worst band name ever.
N: I like that.
J: I really liked "The Umpteens" but...
N: Do you care about politics?
R: I don't care about Canadian politics.
J: Band politics or actual politics?
N: Actual politics.
L: I'm glad about Obama but it just about ends there. I like that the mayor has the first name as my brother.
D: Yeah, oh cool. I'm just glad [we] don't have fucking Sullivan. I feel like anyone can be better than him.
J: Yeah, he wanted to turn of the sirens after like, one [a.m] on emergency vehicles.
D: Yeah, and he got it done! It was a two year mission! ...He lives in Yaletown...he didn't like to be woken up in the middle of the night.
N: What's weirdest or scariest dream you've ever had?
D: First time I had a kitchen job. It was as a dishwasher and I was super sick on my first day of work. So I went home and I had a fever and I had crazy fever dreams that night...I dreamt my whole bed was pots and pans because that's what I'd been cleaning.
L: When I'm sick, I always have dreams that my bed is fucked up too!
D: I couldn't get comfortable and I was just surrounded by all these pots and pans and they kept coming and kept coming. I was freaked out and trying to clean them so I could sleep and it was just the most intense five hours of my life. I woke up on the bathroom floor, sweating...It was worse than acid. I wouldn't know. I've never done acid, actually.
J: I had this bad dream that I was in this band called "Adjective" and then I woke up and it was real.
R: I ate my pillow.
J: Yeah, I ate my pillow. It was really weird...I had this really scary dream about a gnome once.
N: How old were you?
L: One time when I was five, I had this dream where my friend was like, "Do you want to go to the forest?" and I was like, "I have to go ask my mom". So we went to my building entrance and we asked my mom and she said, "OK". So we went to the forest and it was really, really dark and I was holding hands with my friend and then she said, "Something's eating me," and then I woke up. It was a wolf.
J:Were you the wolf?
R: I was in a cabin with a girl and Beck. At one point I ripped his jaw off his head...he was gonna kill us! I ripped his jaw off his head. Can I tell you about how I killed him? OK, I ripped his jaw off his head and then I cut him up into little pieces and put him in a garbage bag in the basement of the cabin. It was like 1999 when I had this dream...it was a long time ago.
D: This was an Evil Dead dream...with Beck.
R: Seems like it. The coolest part though was... it was set up like a movie. It had rising action and everything. At the end, after I threw the bag of his bits into the basement, I came back up and the girl was all scared and I was like, "It's OK. OK." And I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around and he was all put back together and everything.
D: I'll tell you about rising action.
N:Did you feel guilty?
R:Naw, it was Beck.
N: What are your top five favorite bands?... Wire?
L: Wire is probably number one.
D: Styx, Sparks, Air Supply, T-Rex, and Les Savy Fav.
J: I really like Salmon Dave and T-Rex, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles...
L: Wire, The Who and The Kinks, Bauhaus, The Fall.
R: Was that five?...Mine are obvious- Wire, Bauhaus, The Fall, Public Images...The Cure.
D: Have you heard [The Cure's] latest album?
R:Unfortunately. I have heard bits of it now.
D: It's fucking brutal...a lot of the songs are decent, but all the decent ones sound exactly alike.
J: I remember my other two bands- The Pixies and The Cars.
L: Really- The Cars?
D: What the fuck is wrong with The Cars?
L: I'm just saying- I'm suprised.
R: I'm gonna replace Public Image with The Pixies.
N: Are any of you religious or have you ever been?
D: So, my parents used to send me to summer camp...so many fun activities...you name it, they fucking had it...The thing was, it was also religious...and so I came back from it and I'm like, "Mom, Dad- I think I'm gonna start going to church on Sundays. I think I'll ride my bike down...My first time, I start riding down and it's like 7 in the morning and I get halfway there and I'm like, "This sucks," and rode my bike back home and went back to sleep. I was super brainwashed when I got out of the camp. I was reading the Bible for the next 3 days until I had to go to church and waking up that early and everything...
L: When I lived in Germany, everybody was super religious and my family was not. So, I don't remember why, but for some reason, my brother and I were extra hateful and we were all like, "God sucks!" and all this stuff. So whenever we went over to somebody's house, my parents would always be like, "Don't say anything bad about God or Jesus."
N: That's polite.
L: Yeah, but we were passionate about "God sucks."
N: When did you move from Germany?
L: I got here when I was 9 and a half. I was seven at the time.
R: When I was 18, I prayed to God and told him I'm not believing in him anymore.
N: That's nice of you to let him know.
D: At least you didn't do it via phone call or text message or something.
L: That was Ryan when he was 18.
R: Actually, I was 17, sorry.
N: I never told him. I just started giving my boyfriend blowjobs, so...obviously!
R: I can't be religious anymore.
N: (to Jenny) Did you ever...pray to the Lord of light?
J: Yes. I used to go to a lot of summer camps as well and I used to go to church alot when I was probably like 10 to 16 or so. But I went more so I could hang out with my friends...we'd just sit up in the balcony and punch each other.
N: When I used to go to church when I was a teenager, there was this boy that I dated for four days, and he tried to make me go into the daycare room to make out, but I wouldn't.
D: I also went to youth group...oh my god! Everyone in youth group fucked each other so much. They're horny bastards.
J: Well, it's like Catholic school.
D: I don't think I ever had sex with anyone from youth group when everyone else was.
J: What a good boy!
R: You wanted to have sex with Jesus.
N: What's the worst thing a boyfriend or girlfriend has ever done to you?
D: Made me move back from Toronto.
N: Have you ever thrown anything at a boyfriend or girlfriend?
D: I had an intense six month relationship with a girl that was fueled by booze and coke and near the end it was like a bad fucking movie ...arguments all the time, all coked up and shit thrown at each other.
N: What's the funniest thing you guys ever threw?
D: There was a decoration duck, like a duck. It was kind of what we rested the lamp on...it hit me in the head. It really hurt... That's when I was like, "This is over- the duck has flown!"
N: What did you think about electroclash when it was popular?
L: I don't know what that is.
J: Like, Miss Kitten and The Faint...
R: I like that stuff.
J: Do you find Peaches attractive?
R: No. She's really cool though.
D: We played a show with Dandi Wind in a Langley basement and then we got a ride back to Vancouver with them and Dandi and I were...I was pretty drunk, so I thought we were flirting all night. Anyway, next time I saw her, she didn't even know me. Instant crush kill right there...Dandi Wind you broke my heart.
N: Do you play any other instruments?
L: I'm OK at keyboards.
D: Jenny plays the skin flute.
N: Who doesn't though?
N: People don't seem to get your band. Why do you think that is? Do you think it might be because they're too stupid?
R: Vancouver likes party bands.
J: We're not a party band.
L: I think it's because- LISTEN- we're not very good looking and that makes people not be into our band because there's no immediate appeal. I think it's mostly the problems with the physical aspects.
N: But you guys are all good looking.
R: You're an idiot!
L: Cause we're overweight and unattractive...
R: I don't understand this!
L: People can't seem to get into our band.
D: I think...
R: Yeah, let's have some real answers.
D: I think it's because we're not D.J.s.
N: You are!
R: Two of you are.
D: I think it's because OUR BAND isn't a D.J.
R: It's just we're not a party band. Look at the bands that are successful in this city. They're all party bands.
D: I think it's because we weren't featured in the Exclaim! article.
N: Maggie Gylenhal or Scarlett Johansson?
D: Scarlett Johannson.
R: Scarlett Johannson, hands down.
L: Scarlett Johannson!
J: Can I have both?
N: But what for?
J: I kind of prefer Maggie Gylenhal myself.
N: I do!
D: At first I'd be all about Scarlett, and then I'd kind of hint at her that maybe brown hair would be a better idea.
*Adjective photo from www.madmannequin.com