What’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.
On the grill
Charlie Kerr of Hotel Mira.
Who are you?
My name is Charlie Kerr I am a human being who grew up in Vancouver and Maui. I am a professional singer, writer and an actor. But I’m probably most well-known for being the singer of Hotel Mira. We have a new album called Perfectionism it’s a collection of heartfelt, personal pop songs coming out on Valentine’s Day that I am very excited for everyone to hear.
The first concert I ever went to was Prozzäk with Soul Decision opening and I remember being just blown the fuck away and maybe even a. little disappointed when real live people came on stage. Because if you’ll remember correctly, Prozzäk was as much a cartoon as it was a band. Looking back they were a goddamn fever dream. If I’m not mistaken, the band was two Canadian guys pretending to be a German guy and a sad British guy and they had like surf rock riffs in their songs. I mean I don’t think I even really liked music or concerts all that much at the time as I was a literal child, but I will say that I still really like the song “Strange Disease”. And you know, kudos to them for doing something undeniably weird and different.
The Arctic Monkeys. I was 16 or 17, and I had just started playing in the first iteration of the band that would eventually become Hotel Mira. Me and my friends and our Austrian exchange student who was staying at my mom’s house at the time all went and saw Arctic Monkeys play at the PNE Forum when they were touring Favourite Worst Nightmare. I just remember thinking this band is just outstanding I can’t get enough. And their energy live was just completely infectious. And the lyrics were so fun and badass and Alex Turner came out onstage wearing a grey turtleneck with what I can only describe as a very "poofy" Beatles haircut. And naturally I wanted to be him very badly. So the next day I made sure my hair had a significant poof factor and I bought a turtleneck at the Salvation Army that Itched really badly, but looked enough like Alex’s and I tucked it into my jeans like he did and I went to my English class and the popular kids, who were mostly wearing G-Unit, laughed at me. I also remember going to band practice, not long after, and announcing to my bandmates into the microphone like: “Boys, listen up, fuck holding notes, I am just gonna rattle off words kind of ‘talk-singing’, like Alex Turner does.” So yeah, that was kind of my strategy to trick the world into thinking I could sing—I knew what I was doing. I owe that to The Arctic Monkeys.
Top three records
Frank Ocean Channel Orange Maybe my most listened to album of all-time. It hit me like a truck when it first came out and it made me want to be a better singer and songwriter and person. I was directly inspired by him to stretch myself and dig deeper. I can’t speak highly enough about this record. Frank is just unflinchingly brave, deliberate, and authentic in everything he does. I think "Pink Matter" and "Bad Religion" are some of the best songs ever written. Also the vulnerability of keeping it a very flawed and imperfect album vocally and production-wise was a really cool choice in an era when everything at the time, sounded completely, synthetically, suspiciously perfect. Plus, the album has been the soundtrack of a few of my relationships and the destruction of a few other relationships.
Janelle Monae Dirty Computer Janelle has always been a special, unique artist to me, but this album really took it into a different stratosphere. Every moment is like pure rebellion and joy. It’s just so much fun but the lyrics are so beautiful and poignant. And the way she explores sex and sexuality in her music is just brilliant. It’s almost like the album just exists on another planet like a mythical utopian disco that we can all escape to from time to time. I would recommend her music to anyone.
The Strokes Is This It? The Strokes are pretty much my Beatles. And I am always singing their praises. So, I don’t think this will shock anyone. But for me, it’s just a perfect collection of pop songs. It’s so playful and raw. The songwriting is outstanding and the production is really unique and beautiful. Also strangely, if I’m in the right mood some of the songs will completely catch me off-guard and make me cry. Julian Casablancas was definitely my blueprint for what a lead singer should be when I first decided I wanted to do this.
All time favorite video?
Childish Gambino This Is America I’m a huge Donald Glover fan. He’s such an anomaly. I love how he just keeps people guessing and always swings for the fences in every artistic avenue he walks down. If you haven’t watched it (I’m sure you have) the video is just so bold and layered. And the attention to detail is remarkable. I was floored when I first saw it. The striking imagery and the choreography and the social commentary all combine to make this incredible art piece. And it caused so much conversation, in a time when most music videos weren’t really gaining artists a lot of traction. KRS-One once coined the phrase ‘Edu-tainment’ at one point to describe his music and I think this video is a prime example of that. Other favorite videos of mine include “Fell In Love With A Girl” by the White Stripes, “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness, and the entire Lemonade film.
What’s in your fridge?
Fake Blood. From a music video or short film or photo shoot that I was working on, I think. I’ve kept it around in case we ever wanna get really ‘black sabbath-y’ at one of our shows. But I have never found the right moment and I feel like it’s been in there for years now. Does fake blood go bad?
Cat Medicine, Last July I started fostering cats and kittens with VOKRA and they gave me this little eye-dropper of some liquid medicine to put in their food to settle their stomachs and it needs to stay refrigerated to be effective.
Valentina Hot Sauce. Now, I’m not the worst cook on the planet. But I am still very much learning. Trial and error. And when I really miss the mark, I just pour a lot of hot sauce on whatever I fucked up cooking and to me, it still tastes good. And in my opinion Valentina for me is the Cadillac of hot sauces. Accept no substitute. Wow, I sound like a washed out infomercial.
You can listen to Hotel Mira here.