Like Christmas when it gets to be the end of November, and Easter when the trees start to sprout leaves after a long winter, it’s starting to feel like it’s almost here. Just so there’s no confusion, we’re not talking the night when the fat bearded guy stuffs himself down the chimney or when a white rabbit breaks into the house to strew chocolate offspring and rainbow coloured eggs everywhere.
No, we’re talking about the Squamish Valley Music Festival, taking place August 8-10 at the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields. In anticipation of the big day, we’re spending the next few weeks rounding up local artists who’ll be playing this year’s event, and getting them to answer some important questions.
Like who they’ll be cueing up on the iPod for the Sea to Sky drive to the site, what they’ll be making sure to pack to make it through their set, the all-time dream festival lineup, and who they plan to stalk backstage. And that’s just the start of our probing. Read on, but not before you pick up your Squamish Valley Music Festival ticket. The last thing you want to miss is today’s featured local artist....
Matt Layzell fronts the Matinée, whose We Swore We’d See the Sunrise will make you wish you’d spent the ’70s drinking Tequila Sunrises in Laurel Canyon, the party raging hard against a golden-sunset backdrop.
Sea To Sky Playlist
Sam Roberts “Bridge To Nowhere”
My drive to Whistler has always included the iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge. There’s a line in Sam’s song where he says “All I know is that I don’t wanna breathe this chemical breeze no more”, and that seems fitting when I’m leaving the city behind me and headed north.
Dawes “Western Skyline”
As you reach the crest of the highway in West Van and descend into the view above Horseshoe Bay, you take in hazy view of the horizon, which if you’re lucky, stretches all the way to Vancouver Island. It’s those ocean views that make this feel like home for me. “How I curse that western skyline/And yet I thanked it for my start.”
My Morning Jacket “I’m Amazed”
The intro to this song is just long enough to allow you the time to appreciate how still and serene the waters of Howe Sound can be, and then just like Jim James was sitting there riding shotgun with you, he kicks in.... “I’m amazed at the quiet ocean.”
Wilco “What Light”
For me, it’s usually around this point, when I’ve been on the Sea-To-Sky for about 10 minutes, that I feel inspired. I find the winding road so calming and I try to be one with the car as we move effortlessly through each curve. At this point the windows are rolled down and I’m usually singing along to every word coming out of my speakers, whether my passengers like it or not. I think Jeff Tweedy agrees.
The Treasures “Crossed The Wrong Woman”
Years ago I dated a girl up in Lion’s Bay. She left me pretty abruptly with no real reason given, and I found myself in a rut for sometime. This song is by friends of ours in Toronto that we toured with this summer, and it reminds me of that relationship. It’s also just a great song to sing along with.
Bear Mountain “Survive”
If you’ve ever driven this highway before, you’ll know that the train hugs the ocean directly below. Last summer we did an epic train tour across Canada with 10 bands called Tracks On Tracks (the documentary film about the trip by Green Couch Productions should be out next year). One of the bands was Bear Mountain and they are on fire this year. One of the must-sees at the Squamish Fest for sure. Anyways, this song makes me think of trains.
Yukon Blonde “Stairway”
One of the best parts of the drive are when you can get some distance between yourself and the other cars and feel like for a brief moment, you are on a race track. Let your inner Andretti or Patrick take over and keep those revs up. How can you not join in with the boys of Yukon Blonde when they cry “I hear you calling out”, and then push your foot down on the pedal a little harder.
Japandroids “House That Heaven Built”
“And if they try to slow you down/Tell ’em all to go to hell”. There’s always some asshole who doesn’t know how to drive and will have you cursing behind the wheel just wishing for a passing lane. When you get one, crank this one up and flip the bird as you cruise past.
Elliot Brood “Northern Air”
Once you’ve got past Squamish and Brackendale and you’re starting to work your way up into the hills you really do feel like you are a world away from Vancouver. It’s amazing how people travel from all over the world to see this and yet living here I think I take it for granted sometime. “A little time away, back up to the lake/A little time to think, let some trouble sink”. This is perfect for reminding me why it’s good to get outta Dodge more often.
Lynyrd Skynyrd “Freebird”
It’s epic. It’s over nine minutes long. You know all the words. It starts slowly, gets you rolling along, then kicks in to high gear. And just when you think it’s over, it keeps going. It’s a classic and is chock full of moments, much like the drive along the Sea-to-Sky.
- Cash, so you can avoid the high service charges at the bank machines and get your mini doughnuts and late night poutine.
- Cheap sunglasses. Odds are you’ll break or lose them, so maybe bring two pairs to be safe.
- “Hello: My Name Is” tags. This way guys or girls will feel like they already know you when you ask them to come back to your tent and you won’t be some random stranger they met at the festival.
- Gatorade and Emergen-C packets. This will save you in the morning. The first thing you wake up to is the hot sun and you will probably be dehydrated as hell. And let’s face it, you won’t exactly be getting your daily vitamins from all the fresh meals you’ll be consuming. Potatoes and beer lead to scurvy.
- Ibuprofen. Enough said. You’ll thank me later.
We'd Love to Hang With:
If we could hang out with anyone at the festival it would have to be Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. We’d ask him all about his friends Gene and Dean Ween and smoking peyote in the desert and if we can come along next time on one of their writing trips. I’d also like to know who played the maniacal killer deer in the video for “No One Knows”. We’d slam back a few beers and try to convince him into joining our band. But one of us would probably ruin it with a comment about Brody Dalle.
First Festival Experience:
If my memory serves me correctly, I believe it was Edgefest ’98 at Thunderbird Stadium out at UBC. All the touring festivals were held out there and that year’s lineup consisted of Foo Fighters, Green Day, Sloan, Tea Party, Matthew Good.... And... I cringe to think that I technically paid money to see them—Creed. We were all suburban, underage scruff, and snuck our booze into the festival grounds via Zip-lock bags stuffed into our girlfriend’s bras. I vividly remember the Pepsi taste test challenge, as that was a big deal back then. And I also remember that the Foo Fighters were joined on stage by the Oscar Mayer wiener, the Blind Melon bumble bee, and possibly the Pillsbury Doughboy. Or maybe it was Green Day. Either way, one of them lit their drum kit on fire and it was the first time where I remember saying to myself ‘I want to be up there rocking out like that’. If anyone wants to dress up like the Masturbating Bear from the Conan show and join us on stage, let us know.
As stellar As This Year’s Squamish Bill is, What’s Your Fantasy Fest Line-up?
- Led Zep circa ’77
- Pink Floyd circa ’74
- Allman Brothers circa ’71
- Diana Ross... & The Supremes
- Neil Young
- Bruce Springsteen
- Stevie Wonder
- Flaming Lips
- Pearl Jam
- AC/DC ... As Matt Rose and I actually started our band after reconnecting in the beer lineup at an AC/DC concert.... Laugh all you want, they put on one heck of a show!
- And, in keeping with the Squamish Fest’s history of electronica to close out the after parties....Daft Punk & LCD Soundsystem
What's Your Official Rider Request?
Our official rider is pretty humble. Water, towels, some beer—okay... lots of beer—sandwiches and access to a shower. If you can give us all that we’ll play all night long. However, if we could add a few fantasy items it might look something more like this (Squamish, pay attention!):
- Keg of Beer. Preferably one of our faves... Steam Whistle pilsner or Stanley Park ale.
- Towels for wiping face after keg stands.
- Bottle of Fireball. The big one.
- Four large Pizzas from Pizzeria Barbarella in East Van.
- Gold Bond. Don’t ask.
- One record player and speakers, Huey Lewis and Lionel Richie on vinyl.
- Russell Peters.
- All the poutine.
- 10 pairs of socks. Preferably new.
- A shrubbery.
- One water bed, three hammocks and a barbers' chair. These beards don’t trim themselves you know.
- Rich Hope and his clippers. Hell, Rich Hope, his clippers, and his guitar for our official backstage after party.
- Absolutely no hummus.
Trivia time: What’s Squamish’s official slogan?
“Half-way to Whistler and Half-way Home”? Or... “Come for the 7-Eleven. Stay for the views!”?
The Festival takes place at Hendrickson Fields & Logger Sports Ground. Quick—what’s your favourite logger sport?
It would have to be the head-to-head chainsaw carving competition, wherein two competitors have a limited time to create a judged masterpiece out of a block of solid wood. How someone can create an eagle in 10 minutes out of a stump with a loud and smoky chainsaw firing dust everywhere is beyond me. If they offered this in high school wood shop, I could have saved myself from a life of unpaid bills and heart ache as a musician!”
The Matinée plays the Squamish Valley Music Festival’s Garibaldi Stage at 4 p.m. on Saturday (August 10).