/Talk Show Host/073/SPECTRES at Stay-In-Fest

Similar to last year, I was asked by the Infest organisers to assist with this year’s event, once again by way of submitting a number of interviews. Due to time pressures and general issues with scheduling, it all went a bit down to the wire, but we got there in the end!

/Talk Show Host/073/SPECTRES at Stay-In-Fest

/Talk Show Host/Links
/Artoffact Records

/Talk Show Host/2020-21
/070/Imperative Reaction
/069/The Foreign Resort
/066/Chris Peterson talks about Jeremy Inkel

The first of those interviews that I’ve since transcribed and prepared for publishing here is with Vancouver Post-Punk band SPECTRES, who, while I’ve been familiar with, and rather loved, their last album Nostalgia, I knew little about the band. Brian and Zach from the band gave up their time for what turned out to be a fascinating interview, that covered rather more than I could ever have anticipated. Thanks to them, Artoffact Records and Infest for assisting with arranging this.

In addition, look further down for a Spotify playlist of almost all of the bands discussed and mentioned in this interview.

A note about the interviews on amodelofcontrol.com. This is now a long-running, occasional series, occasional because of the fact that I only interview artists when I have something to ask, and when artists have something to say. I don’t use question templates, so each is unique, too. Finally, I only edit for grammar and adding in links, so what you’re reading is the response of the artist directly.

This and some other recent interviews on this site have also been posted onto the /amodelofcontrol.com Youtube Channel.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Okay, this is Adam from /amodelofcontrol.com at Stay-in-Fest, and I’m here with SPECTRES. Hi folks. I know a bit about you guys and I’ve listened to your music, but I know very little about the band. Tell me about that.

/Brian/SPECTRES: It started about 12 or 13 years ago. It was initially me and one of my friends from high school. We started it in a small kind of provincial town that we had both grown up in, and both found ourselves back in, in our early twenties.

And, we just kind of cultivated this interest in darker music. We were both really into Joy Division and a lot of peace punk at that time. Things like Christian Death. And Crisis – specifically Crisis – was probably the biggest influence on our musical tastes. And at that time, maybe some early Death in June too, we really just wanted to start a band and kind of amalgamated all of those influences into one thing.

And we were kind of living in a vacuum that was me and him in a tiny town. And, yeah, we came up with SPECTRES and it’s definitely evolved a lot over the years and changed with any current members, but that was kind of the original intent of the band. And I think there’s definitely still that stitches of that.

/amodelofcontrol.com: So when did you join then, Zach?

/Zach/SPECTRES: So, I mean, Brian and I have been friends since we were like 15 or 16 and we were, we had been living together down in the ‘States, we’d both kind of gone down there for school for a little while. Brian had gone back home and done this sort of that SPECTRES demo project with Steve Hanker, the original guitar player on the demos and a few recordings. And he came back and he sort of had this recording was like, oh, you know, this is, we did me and Steve did this on the weekend and we were sort of listened to it and thinking, wow, this is really cool. I mean, at the time I didn’t even really play guitar. I mean I sort of owned a guitar or whatever, but I wasn’t really doing bands.

And when he and I both moved back to Vancouver, sort of quite a bit of time had passed after the release of the demo, and not sort of much activity with the band. Frank, Brian has sent the demo out to quite a few places and it probably was a good year. I think after the demo sort of had gone to Frank from Whisper in Darkness label and then come back and he said, you know, he wanted to release a single or whatever we wanted to do.

So at that point, Brian began to put together a full band because initially the demos were just him and Steve kind of playing everything. So he asked me to play guitar and I sort of had to work on my chops and joined the band. And then some friends of ours, Nathan and Heather, who are also no longer in the band. They joined on bass and drums. So we, at that point created the full lineup that I’ve been with that sort of lineup. Since we started with four, Brian and I are the only two we’ve really been,with the band the whole time. Like since we’ve been recording and touring and playing.

/amodelofcontrol.com: If I see it correctly, you released a recent album Nostalgia on Artoffact last year, and then they rereleased your previous releases. Was that right?

/Brian/SPECTRES: Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

/amodelofcontrol.com: How do you feel you’ve changed since the original releases in terms of your sound? Is it because there’s always the evolution that you kind of, you learn more, you adapt yourself. What would you say is the difference between what was how you started out and what you sound like now?

/Brian/SPECTRES: Well, I think every member who’s come and left has changed the band in a pretty big way, at some point, especially in the sound. And I think that you can hear that through the shifting membership of a band from time to time. I mean, earlier, it was definitely a lot more influenced by anarcho punk and maybe more like Deathrock-y and like harder Post-Punk things like I’d mentioned earlier.

And as time has gone on, it’s definitely come to encompass more pop elements. And those are always the types of music that I’ve liked. That was really like a lot of specifically English, eighties, New Wave. I think there’s elements of that. Like a lot of like twee stuff, like Sarah Records things, I think there’s even a kind of elements of that with Shannon’s backing vocals in mind.

And some of those tracks, I’m almost trying to do like a bit of a bit of a Field Mice thing. I don’t know if it always came through, but those are definitely like the types of influences like Martin Newell and The Cleaners from Venus are definitely huge influences on the newer stuff too. And I think that will continue to evolve, we’re in the process of writing a new record right now.

And I think that,it’ll probably push further astray from that and go in different directions.

/Zach/SPECTRES: I think we’ve been doing this for so long when you play together for a long period of time, you sort of anticipate each other’s songwriting, each other’s ideas, you sort of, someone will come in with an idea.

And, I feel like it’s easier to get into a similar head space around. I know exactly what kind of a guitar line he’s looking for with this bassline or whatever. It has changed and evolved over time. And it’s kind of difficult even to describe how that process works.

/amodelofcontrol.com: How’s it been for you over the last year and a half? Because obviously you had a new album out. I mean, that would have been time that you’d have been promoting that, right? That must have taken the wind out of your sails a bit? Is playing live something you really thrive on?

/Brian/SPECTRES: It’s different depending on where we are and what’s happening at any given time.

We’ve tried to take advantage just as much as we canin the past year when we can play live, to try to promote things and we basically have a whole new record written soon, and we’re going to go into the studio – hopefully in February. We have tons and tons of demoed songs that are almost at a point where they could be ready sometime soon to record it.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah, we’ve just tried to stay active as much as we can. I mean, there was sort of lengthy lockdown periods where we weren’t even rehearsing as a band and that was difficult. But at points with the lockdown has been eased, we have practiced, and as Brian says, we’ve just tried to focus on the creative element, write new songs and really spend our time with them. And in some ways it’s been very freeing to not have to worry about keeping a live set really sharp. We all very much miss playing live, but being able to show up every week and just sort of not worry about keeping those standards, you know, sharp and ready for performing and just dive in headfirst into the new material has been okay.

But, you know, it’s challenging. It’s a challenging period of time for any band I’m sure. Just to adjust to the brand new landscape and not really knowing what the longterm trajectory of playing live and touring and all those things are going to be like, but we take it one step at a time and just focus on the things that we enjoy doing, which is writing songs and playing together.

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think that’s something really interesting that I saw. I think it might’ve been on the NME website the other week, that was pointing out that for many bands, not playing for some time could mean that people that come to see their early shows, they’re going to have to get used to the fact that bands are feeling their way back into doing this again, that even to the point where people’s voices might have changed a bit, that it may not be the same band that you heard 18 months ago.

Do you think that there’s a grain of truth in that for some bands?

/Brian/SPECTRES: Oh, certainly.

Yeah. I think that’s unavoidable and I think probably you’ll see changes in everyone.

I think just the isolation affected people being in a vacuum for that long, it’ll blow up. It will change people’s influences, it’ll have changed people’s perspectives, changed people’s writing styles. I think there’ll be a lot of change and stuff.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah and we’re preparing to play our first gig back and even just thinking about what’s that going to be like to perform after all this time. And the live sets sorta just went out of our minds in terms of a priority.

It’s just really been about writing new material and thinking about what we want to do with that. And we were fortunate enough to actually get in the studio and record a new single, for a singles compilation that we’ve got coming out this fall. And that was good fun. And when we were recording with Jesse Gander at the time – he’s a well-known producer here in Vancouver – he’s booked up so solidly because everybody’s doing the same thing that we were doing, which is just writing new material and you can’t really do anything else. So you want to get in the studio and record. I think that. yeah, it is kind of interesting. There’s like this built up potential of new material that people have probably been working on and preparing.

And we’re going to see a lot of that starting to hit the market, hit the platforms and have hit records and stuff in the next little while and yeah, I think probably it’s going to be a period of interesting change and hopefully innovation and stuff.

/amodelofcontrol.com: You’re saying that there’s like this flood of music to come. I think they were already has been. I keep a record for my release roundups and whatever else and keeping an eye on what I might include in my end of year list. I’m already up to nearly 300 releases that might be relevant to what I do, nevermind the wider thing..

That’s twice what I was looking at last year, because everyone’s been releasing something and everyone’s taking advantage. Everyone’s just going “Actually, let’s just do another four-track EP, let’s do another album. Yeah, I got this in the can last year, let’s get it out there”. I know of at least two or three artists in the UK who are better known for other projects in our scene, who’ve gone, “got bored, released this new album, released this new EP on a new project because had time to kill…”

“Actually that’s better than what you were doing before. This is great!”. It seems to have unleashed this wave of creativity and for others it’s been paralyzing. I think, for me as a writer, I’ve done less this last year, because of course I’m not writing about gigs, I’m not writing about festivals.

Also there are times where I’m just like, you know what, I’m actually going to just switch off and actually take some time down. And I think not everyone has been able to race forward and do lots more, but I think there’s an acceptance. Everyone is treating this differently because everyone’s experiencing this differently.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah. I don’t think anybody ever anticipated that things would go the way they have. And I can think, even in terms of how it impacted us in our own process. We used to get together to rehearse. Somebody would bring in a song idea. We’d sort of make a quick demo on someone’s phone and that would be the extent of it.

But in this period, Brian has really learned recording software and demoing and our process, our approach to that has become much more technical because yeah, we’ve had the time to learn more about that process and dig into it rather than just, okay, here’s an idea, a really rough scratch demo of it and move forward. So I dunno, probably we will see more focus on the technical aspect of things because people have that time, and ability to really dig into the nuts and bolts of how to make really crazy recordings even from home and that type of thing and digital – I mean, it’s no surprise that you’re hearing a lot of drum machines and synths and all that kind of stuff coming in all kinds of records these days, because you know what, it is so easy to sit at home and have your tools set up in that way and sort of record straight to your computer.

So, yeah, I’m curious. I don’t know <what> the long-term impacts will be..

/amodelofcontrol.com: Moving on a little, let’s get away from COVID for a while. Let’s go way back in history because in bizarre timing after listening again to Nostalgia this morning – and there is, you know, you mentioned the Deathrock influence earlier… there is very much a feel of at least a nod to the past on what you do. Even though it’s very much kind of post-punk/Deathrock is very much a thing again at the moment. And I’ll come back to that, but in bizarre timing, one of the originators of Deathrock, of course, Olli Wisdom died today, or his death was announced today.

Weirdly he became a Psytrance DJ in the far east. I mean, could that be any further away from being at a black grimy club basement club in London, in the early eighties who knew, but what were you aware of that kind of music, like the early death rock stuff when you were starting out and when you were getting into this kind of music?

/Brian/SPECTRES: Yeah, totally, totally. I was pretty into it. I was into like a lot of American and British stuff at the time. You know, like Alien Sex Fiend, and obviously mentioning that, and like Sex Gang Children and like Christian Death of course was like a huge influence. But, there used to be this webpage called deathrock.com.

And that’s how I found out about all of those things. And that’s how I first found out about Crisis and Southern Death Cult, a lot of those bands. I’d like to say it was something like more romantic with seven inches at some dusty shop, but it wasn’t, it was the internet because I was living in the middle of nowhere in a farming community, on a rural island in Canada.

Right. And if it wasn’t for that webpage, I would have never known about any of those things and I wouldn’t have started SPECTRES. None of this would have ever happened. And I really do think that that page deathrock.com, it used to mean a ton to me. And that’s how I learned about the entire scene.

Honestly, I used to be really into like Crust and Oi! and Street Punk, and that type of stuff before. And I had no idea what this music was until I found that. Of course I knew about like New Wave and bigger Post-Punk bands, but the sub genre, I was completely ignorant of it.

/Zach/SPECTRES: I think a big sort of narrative that we probably haven’t even talked about that much in various interviews, going back to the history of the band, is that Brian and I and many of the various people who came through the band over the years, came through the DIY punk scene.

And at that time in the early 2000s, here in our neck of the woods that was focused entirely on Crust and Hardcore, Grindcore, like very, very heavy metallic influenced sounding guitars and everything, which is fine. I mean, I’m not knocking that sound at all. But I think a big part of it was a reaction to that.

We had been so inundated with that type of music. All of our friends were playing in bands like that. Every gig you went to was with something that sounded like that. And I think Brian, even before I was in the band, Brian really wanted to make something just different than that. And that was a big part of what we set out to do.

And it meant that for the first five years of our existence as a band, we were sort of that oddball act on most of the bills that we played, where people would sort of look at us and think they’re not a real frame of reference. If you read every single review or every single interview from those first five years, all people could say, “Oh, you guys like Joy Division”, or “Is this a Joy Division band?” or something.

And we do love Joy Division. It wasn’t like “let’s start a Joy Division cover band”. It was really just that people didn’t have that reference. There was nothing, at least in our scene and in our our community, nobody was talking about Post-Punk music or death rock or any of the Anarcho Punk to a certain extent, but only in a certain way it related to Crust and what was happening for most of our friends.


/Brian/SPECTRES: There was a huge element of that too. Like before I ever knew what Deathrock was, I was into Anarcho Punk. And a lot of those bands had crossover, like Androids of Mu or Blood Robots. A lot of those bands had like a bit of a weird post-punk thing, or The Apostles. And some of them even like breaching more into Deathrock kind of sensibilities, I can’t really think of any specific examples, but there was a huge, cross-pollination of that type of music. It felt like a bit of a gateway into that Deathrock stuff.

And especially through that webpage and I kept thinking back to that, ultimately.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah. I mean, I think like Rudimentary Peni is one that really comes to mind. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Rudimentary Peni, and thought of them really as coming from that same scene as Crass and The Mob and Anthrax and all the original UK Anarcho Punk bands.

But then there was always something about it that was a little bit different and darker and thematically it was very off on its own tip. And so I think that those are the things that for me, led into a path of Deathrock and the more Goth side of that scene.

/Brian/SPECTRES: Rudimentary Peni’s Death Church record is more Deathrock than it is Anarcho Punk.

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think that’s really interesting because in London it has been one of the hearts of the post-punk revival for what feels like forever now, with Industrial Techno kind of paralleling it, both of them are the main prominent things that are running through the scene at the moment. And everyone’s involved in it one way or another. And I think there’s some really interesting stuff coming along here and that there’s lots and lots of bands that are coming into Post-Punk/Deathrock, because I think the two scenes nowadays are kind of intertwined in many ways, but I think what’s really interesting is that many of the people who are come into this are not coming from a Goth angle, they’re coming from external influences that then discovered the music and actually realized they quite liked it, and it ended up bypassing the gatekeepers that Goth scene sometimes has, and has an unfortunate reputation and sometimes deserved one. Do you think that’s kind of helped to reinvigorate it in that people have been able to go, well, I don’t have to worry about it, whether it was gonna appeal to Goths, because if you look at any show half the people are not Goth, in the best sense of the word.

/Brian/SPECTRES: It’s weird every time we’ve ever toured.

I’ve kind of seen these changing subcultures that shows when we first went, it was all the Crusty Punks. And then the next time it was Goths and Crusty Punks. And then it kind of evolved that sometimes we would see Skinheads and Mods and stuff at our show, it was so bizarre. But I feel like that’s kind of speaking to what you’ve mentioned there it’s like people are coming at the music from different angles and maybe different but similar musical legacies, but ultimately like there’s a lot of a mixing pot that’s going on within like the Post-Punk or Goth or Deathrock scenes or whatever you want to call it. And I think that it often gets kind of discredited and pigeonholed into something that maybe isn’t, and I think it’s a lot more broad and diverse than people give it credit.

/Zach/SPECTRES: And I think that all that gatekeeping, all of that sort of scene boundaries that existed around scenes, are not relevant to a younger generation of people who grew up just on YouTube and looking up, literally anything you saw. You know, Brian and I would be of the generation that sort of straddles that divide because my earliest memories of being sort of 12, 13 years old and really becoming obsessed with music was looking at a CD at the time and, and looking for pictures of the band, and what T-shirts they’re wearing, what flyers are on the walls behind them in the photographs.

That’s my list to go on, those are my leads, but then even from that point on a few years later – just talking about ancient history here and the history of the band – Brian and I became friends via Napster. We had two crews of friends that were Napster users when we were, I don’t know, the ninth grade or something like that.

Because of the feature of being able to see others’ music catalog and then send a private message and say, “Hey, you know, you got great taste in music”. We struck up this friendship and here we are., twenty-five-something years later and playing in a band together and all these other things.

But I think that that was the beginning of the end for that gatekeeping era, where you learn by word of mouth and by these various organic means, you had to do your homework and really dig down just to learn about bands and figure out what was cool. Nowadays, if you see somebody wearing a t-shirt that looks aesthetically interesting to you, you just look it up on YouTube or on Spotify or whatever, and there’s your, you know, “oh, that’s cool” or whatever. And so I think all that stuff from the past, I don’t think is very relevant for today’s listeners and that’s probably for the best. Yeah, that’s going to lead to more interesting cross-pollination and stuff, but it is always interesting to talk about having witnessed that change take place in my lifetime, for sure.

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think that’s true. I think I must be slightly older than you guys. I went to university in ’96. I remember the power of the internet coming to me by conversing on message boards or mailing lists about particular bands and finding out about like the death of a lead singer of a band by loved at the time (and still do), the following day after he died from someone who lived in the same town. I was just like, what?

And it was just something that was a switch that flicked for me of wow, this is what this can do. I discovered my early Alternative loves when I was a teenager in the early nineties from 120 Minutes on MTV. Once I discovered Alternative music, that was my first port of call.

And then it was, looking down CD liner notes and looking at who they thank, what are the bands they are referencing. But I found out far more about the bands that I was into then, now, thanks to the research that has been put into them since, than I ever would have found from one tiny cagey interview in the music press at the time, you know, be that buying Alternative Press on import or by reading Kerrang! or whatever.

I think you’re right, the thing has changed, but then you look at the pop music scene right now. It’s a kind of a melting pot. It’s almost impossible now to separate out an artist who’s doing trap from a hip-hop artist to a pure pop person because they’re kind of pulling in all kinds of things and you’re listening to something and going, “hang on, they’ve just sampledthis…”.

So Clipping. are partly an industrial act as much of a hip-hop act, but they sampled Whitehouse. It became a reviewed single on Pitchfork and stuff. And I’m like, they’re reviewing one of the most extreme musical bands I’ve ever heard. And they got away with using a sample by that. And I’m like, well, that’s weird. More people probably heard Whitehouse thanks to that, than any other way.

I think then you look at things like my wife listens to some of the newer pop, like Ashnikko and whatever else who is all over the place. There are no boundaries anymore for pop music, because I think the message is starting to get through to all sides. And, you know, there are newer, Industrial and Goth artists I hear, and I’m like nope, sorry I don’t get that and suddenly I realise that it’s not aimed for me. It’s not aimed at my age group. The kind of kids that are coming into this now are all over them. Good for them – if that means that the scene is changing and evolving and won’t die, I’m all for it.

Even if that means I may not listen to it, that’s fine by me.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah, totally. I mean it’s interesting. It’s very different than the way we were…you grew up and learned about music and you played that game where somebody would…you had to be ready. If somebody was going to grill you on your credentials to know if who actually knew about the band that you were wearing, the t-shirt of, or whatever.

Is it such a bad thing that that’s not really the reality anymore?

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think the change is really important and I think, you know what let’s move this on. What are you guys listening to at the moment? What new stuff that you’ve been listening to recently? Is there anything.

/Brian/SPECTRES: I mean, I’ve been listening to tons and tons of Ginger Root. It’s like a artist from California, Southern California, doing like a new take on eighties, Japanese city pop. That’s all I’m listening to right now. I can’t get enough of it, it’s fantastic, while I’ve also been listening to a bunch of Nuovo Testamento, because I did backing vocals on some of their songs that I really like. It’s like Italo Disco kinda stuff.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Yeah, I think I saw that mentioned the other day, by someone, and now I’ve had it recommended personally to me, I’m now going to have to check it out.

/Brian/SPECTRES: Well, yeah, check it out. I mean, if you like Italo Disco or any synthpoppy stuff.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Yeah, okay.

/Zach/SPECTRES: My tastes are pretty eclectic these days. The band that I probably obsessed about the most over the last few years was The Cleaners from Venus. But I mean, it’s not a new band, but there’s lots of great music that’s being made out there.

There was a band I was really enjoying called The Guests for awhile there. I think they’re pretty much done at this point. But they were a really cool band. I think there’s so much interesting stuff. Maybe it’s because I always think of it as I’ve gotten older, so I’m listening to, you know, such a wide variety of stuff. But I think probably it’s just that I’m doing the same thing all the kids are doing, which is listening to everything because you can access it so easily and you learn that while there’s great music all over the place, again, like my sort of recent obsessions probably are not really relevant to Post-Punk or, or, you know, Deathrock or anything like that.

I listen to a lot of Ted Hawkins, who was a bold kind of, I don’t even know soul kind of folk act out from California and Charlie Crockett, who is a contemporary sort of country act from Texas. I dunno, every day is something different and, there’s just the ability to access so much new music all the time.

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think it’s slightly terrifying now, we use Spotify and we use other elements like that, their recommendation engines now I’ve got a few years history on Spotify is terrifying, because I’ll now listen to the Discover Weekly thing I get on a Monday and I’ll listen to my Release Radar on Friday. And suddenly I’m like, “Huh, that’s what that band sounds like”, and I quite like them. Maybe Spotify got that one right after all. But I don’t want it to go spiraling into just algorithm-based recommendations, because for me, it’s always been the buzz of you talk shit with your friends about music. You might mention on social media that this album is amazing and someone else might reciprocate and go, actually, you might want to try this.

That’s been the thing for 30 years, my stepbrothers and I when we were teenagers weretrading music with our friends, because that was how we discovered new stuff and a new tape would come our way with something really random and something completely inappropriate on the other side, wouldn’t be anything like the first one, but we liked them both.

Now it’s no longer tapes – thankfully – but now we might spend outrageous amounts of money on vinyl or CDs, or even just downloads. You know, there is that kind of thing of “expand your mind”. There’s always music out there in the world. There’s going to be something interesting there somewhere, but sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. In terms of your music and how you compose, what’s the way, is it kind of a very much a group thing, or do you individually bring ideas to the table and then see how things develop?

/Brian/SPECTRES: It’s gone through different periods in the past. Like sometimes people will bring a riff and we’ll work around it. Sometimes people will bring like a fully formed song. Like Zach was saying earlier, I’ve been working on a lot of demos. I kind of play everything myself right now, but Zach also will bring like riffs and we’ll kind of work off that.

And it all kind of just depends on the process. It all depends on who writes,

/Zach/SPECTRES: Both things. Totally. Yeah. They happen simultaneously and, yeah, there there’s no sort of one way to do it, historically for us.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Obviously, my contemporaries Alex and Bruce who write at I Die: You Die, have been writing about Vancouver and much more for many, many years now. There seems to be a feeling that the Vancouver scene has got such a, kind of a wide diversity to it. Not only the styles, but the people making the music and the kind of the attitude.

Do you think is that down to the way that the city kind of is perceived? Or do you think there’s something a little more to it in terms of like how to work the scene?

/Brian/SPECTRES: I don’t even really know how to answer that. It’s because it almost feels like even though like, maybe like a band, like ACTORS and us, for example, we’ve come at it from such different backgrounds and different places, but we are somewhat contemporary genre-wise scene-wise, but kind of feels like we like completely run in different circles aside from, I record a lot with the people from ACTORS and have interactions with them, but it’s weird how that happens because I think it unfortunately, a little bit, it goes back to those old subcultural scene divisions.

I always feel like this weird kinship to punk stuff. And I always am involved with that scene. And even though that’s not the music I really make, I find myself at a lot of those shows and be involved with that scene on a personal level in a strange way. And I think it’s that that kind of is Vancouver.

There’s different people that come at a similar type of music, but from a completely different kind of reference point. And that feels like what makes the diversity in that scene here.

/Zach/SPECTRES: And I think over the years, we’ve talked to people about that. Like, what is it about Vancouver or the Pacific Northwest or something that lends to a certain sound or whatever.

And I think people will say the low hanging fruit is well, it’s gloomy. The weather is pretty gray and rainy most of the year. And that’s it. I don’t really think that that’s necessarily true. I don’t know where it comes from, but I do think that part of the deal is, Vancouver is really not very hospitable to people playing music.

I mean, it’s a very difficult thing to do here. It’s an extremely expensive city to live in, even finding space to rehearse and can be difficult…venues, historically, yes, it’s a bit better these days, but historically venues would last for anywhere from one to six months or something and then get shut down.

And, so it was always this scramble. And I think if anything, it’s people’s dedication, despite the adversity that the city throws at you, we’re just going to keep doing this thing. We’re going to keep making music. We’re going to keep starting new venues.

We’re going to keep finding a place to play and say, I found money to buy equipment we can’t afford and paying for recording sessions we don’t have the cash for, and, and I think maybe, maybe that’s what it is. I don’t really know. I mean, Vancouver is a strange city in a lot of ways.

It’s become much more international and cosmopolitan over the last 20 years than it historically ever was, it used to be a very working class kind of resource town and things have really changed. So I’m not sure what the sort of special sauce is here, but it is kind of interesting.

And I think it’s also fair that Canada in general is a big country with very few cities. If you are an alternative type person from Western Canada, oftentimes you’re going to gravitate towards Vancouver because it is the only really big city.

Certainly the only big international city in the west. And so there’s always kind of this new crop of people arriving that are coming from some small place, bringing their interests and their ideas. And there is usually a group of friends with them. So I think that’s a factor as well.

/amodelofcontrol.com: I think there’s probably a thing to be said that there’s a number of those things that tick similar boxes in London, although not London’s distance from anywhere because, well, all distances here are rather different to yours. But the kind of the trials around finding rehearsal space, the trials around finding venues, the trials around kind of the cost of living.

I now live outside of London because we’ve moved out, we decided we wanted a quieter life during lockdown. And it was also a lot cheaper to do, but,those kinds of issues are something that I hear here as well. And it’s a massive, big creative city or at least sometimes it is.

I think that kind of adversity, I think that’s something that’s really important in this. The alternative scene as a wider thing is always an idea with people fighting back against the system that maybe doesn’t really want them and they go off and find their own ways and do things.

And it means that they’re kind of maybe that little bit more determined to do it. We’re a small fish in a very large pond. But sometimes our scene breaks through and make some surprising, surprising successes. I mean, on the face of it, if you want to go back to Joy Division, I mean, a band as relentlessly gloomy as that, that were not in a good space, their lead singer killed himself, and yet they are still the touchpoint for this entire thing. If you think of Post-Punk, if you talk to the person on the street and mentioned the word Post-Punk, probably Joy Division will come up. It’s kind of amazing to think that they weren’t very big in that time, but then now have this towering, towering shadow that they cast over everyone, whether we like it or not.

I think there is so much more to what you guys do, what other bands do in this scene than just trying to name it as one band. Because as you’ve pointed out tonight and there are so many other ways you can look at this and there are other ways other people are looking at this. I think that’s what makes for a fascinating scene is that it isn’t just one sound.

Some people might try and say it is, but I don’t think it is, but you sometimes have to look fairly carefully to find the right bands that sounds something different, you know?

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah, for sure. But it’s hard to know what draws people to see you and it keeps them coming and keeps them making music.

This isn’t the seventies, nobody’s making money doing this. And, we’ve been very fortunate to have the support of a label like Artoffact, which has really been able to put resources behind us and do things that we we’ve, always had to struggle for in the past.

Very sort of thankful to have that now, but it was a long road to get there. And for most people it’s just, you know, it’s a labor of love that you just come back for it and you keep doing this. Maybe it’s masochism or something. I don’t know.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Well, I think that’s a good place to end this on.

A bit of positivity, I think we will move on from all of this. You guys will start playing shows shortly. So where is your first show? Is it in Vancouver?

/Brian/SPECTRES: It is. Yeah, on the 18th at a place called the Bullet Farm. It’s like a punk venue.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Wow, what a name.

/Zach/SPECTRES: I believe it’s a Mad Max: Road Warrior reference.

Yeah, as a small sort of DIY venue that actually opened up during COVID, I don’t know who got it in their head to open a venue during COVID (I know who actually who did it). But it’s a new addition to the town, so we’re excited to play there and we just filmed a music video there – a lot of people are filming music videos these days.

/amodelofcontrol.com: So Nostalgia was out last year on Artoffact. And you’ve got your new album sometime in 2022, presumably?

/Brian/SPECTRES: Hopefully. We’ve also got a singles collection with two new songs that haven’t been released yet coming out relatively soon.

/Zach/SPECTRES: There’s two brand new songs on there. And then three sort of never before released, versions of songs, like older songs and then yeah all the singles that have been out of print forever. So that is slated to be released in November and the new singles will be out in September.

So we’re excited about that and yeah, we’re going to be back at the studio in February. Providing that that no lockdowns or any curve balls come our way that keep us out of there to record a new LP and hopefully 2022 brings in a return to touring and live gigs up at least outside of town.

/amodelofcontrol.com: And for the benefit of the people watching this, tell me your social media handles so that people we can direct people.

/Zach/SPECTRES: Yeah, our Instagram page is SpectresVancouver. There’s actually a UK based SPECTRES as well, but yeah, we are SPECTRESvancouver and then we’re just all capitals on Facebook.

Those are two very easy ways to get in touch with us. And otherwise you can email us at spectresvancouver at gmail.com.

/amodelofcontrol.com: Marvelous. Thank you very much, guys. I know it’s still relatively in the morning, I think? Vancouver morning, afternoon, Vancouver time ish? It’s a bit later here this evening.

But thank you very much for joining us at Stay-in-Fest and we will hopefully, obviously travel allowing see you in the UK at some point when you come through here. Thanks very much.

The SPECTRES album Nostalgia is out now, and new single Tell Me is out today on Artoffact Records.

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