Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Ok, Vancouver, Ok

Every show is a practice

A couple months ago I opened for this weird folk-pop band I dig on called OK, Vancouver, OK. Unfortunately, I had to leave early that night and didn’t get a chance to see them play. Somewhat of a faux pas, right? I wanted to amend my rude departure so on my way out I suggested we set up an interview. Some time past, emails were exchanged, OK Vancouver, OK toured and I continued to do whatever it is I do. Then, just a week ago, I found myself being yelled at by some random guy with a beard who knew my name and I swore was trying to sell me something. It was Jeff J of OK, Vancouver, OK. But I really needed a coffee so I rudely ran away… again. I bumped into him later that day and he set me straight. I gave him an apologetic hug and kiss on the head and finally found time to chat with him and long time collaborator, Geoff M.

ONLY: I love the name OK, Vancouver, OK. It’s somewhat ambiguous, but I say it as if you were angrily or reluctantly conceding in an argument. What does it mean to you?

Jeff: Yeah, that’s kind of what it is. I came from an improvised lyric from the first album. I was looking out the window and had just moved to Vancouver but wasn’t sure this was where I wanted to be. It was like, “OK, Vancouver, OK. I’m gonna stay here and make the best of it though I don’t know if this is where I should be.” No matter what it is, this is what it is.

ONLY: So OK, Vancouver, OK is kind of like a philosophy?

J: OK, Vancouver, OK is a four-track project where I just wanted to take it tape by tape. I would start with a tape and make continuous music from one to another. It wasn’t like I wrote a song first and then recorded it. I would just do stuff and go back and find the pieces that I liked. So it ended up that some of the songs had, like, 22 instruments. All punch-ins. Different instruments. The vocals could end up on any track.

ONLY: Do you find that process more fulfilling?

J: It’s more fun. I like to listen to what I do and get idea off what I improvise. How I make the song is how I hear it, a feeling I have.

ONLY: Geoff, what is it like jumping in to this process without a formulated song? It’s not like you are handed sheet music or have been jamming on something.

Geoff: That’s actually what I like playing with Jeff the most, the fact that we do a lot of improv. We been playing together for 6 or 7 years off and on so we have a good ability to read each other. I think think the best shows we play are the ones where we don’t know what we’re going to do and move away a bit from the norm.

ONLY: Do you have a core group of members?

J: It does change, though Geoff M has played drums with me for a long time. Members change time to time. This tour it will be different members but I may play some solo shows if I feel like it. I just want the people playing with me to have fun. We don’t actually even practice — we just perform. So it’s not as if someone wants to join and we have to practice with them. I would just ask them if they wanted to play a show.

ONLY: So you do a lot of improvising live?

J: Quite often. But every show varies. I just want the people I play with to have fun. I don’t really care to be seen as

ONLY: A jam band?

J: If some people think it’s a jam band that’s fine. In my mind it’s choreographed what I want to do while we’re performing. What anyone else is adding to it is just a plus for me.

ONLY: Your music is primarily of folk and pop, both styles that aren’t traditionally straying from a formulated structure. But you described your live shows as being like a practice on stage, experimenting and improvising. Where does that fit? How do you see that?

J: A giggle.

G: [Laughing] Once a kid asked us , “Hey, can I come practice with you guys?” and I said “Yeah, you can come to every practice we have.” And I think he has. None.

ONLY: Have their been some musicians that haven’t meshed with that kind of performance?

J: Oh sure. It’s never a problem because really OK, Vancouver, OK is about “Okay, that’s what it is and I’m okay with that.”

OK, Vancouver, OK plays at Little Mountain Studios on May 9 and the Lamplighter on May 12.

  1. shannon

    Brickhouse releases new Christmas album – tonight at Fairview Pub
    Vancouver, B.C. – December 6, 2008 –
    “Vancouver’s busiest band,” Brickhouse has rocked fans for more than a decade and to prove it they have list of original material that rivals the number of keys on a full size piano.
    For this six-piece ensemble, lead by singer Rob Bracken, ‘song’ is their focus and their music comes from individual inspiration. But their latest project has been inspired by an unlikely source: Christmas.
    Hot off the off presses, Brickhouse’s latest recording is Spirits of Christmas. It is music for the holidays delivered with a new twist on some Christmas classics like: Winter Wonderland and Merry Little Christmas.
    Producer, Larry Anschell says “The smooth sound of Rob’s voice rivals that of a new Nat King Cole.”
    These local legends are more rhythm than blues so they went into the archives and are revived Brook Benton’s Soul Santa. There is even a spankin’ new original: Take a Deep Breath (and Fake It).
    Spirits of Christmas is a must-have to refresh your Christmas collection. As the band reminds fans at their live gigs Thursday to Sunday, “Thank you for supporting local music.”
    The CD is available through the website, the Yale Hotel, or The Fairview Pub.
    To schedule interviews and/or performances contact:

    Ray Keesh at 604.255-1199

    For more information: ###

    - Dec 4, 10:37 pm

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