It’s quite arguably the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you happen to be in the business of selling flowers or manufacturing the kind of high-end chocolates that max out the credit card of anyone not named Jimmy Pattison. We’re talking, of course, about Valentine’s Day.
To some, it’s nothing but another Hallmark Holiday. Around the Georgia Straight offices, however, it means scented candles, late-night hot-tub parties, and enough champagne to knock Sailor Jerry on his tattooed ass. The great thing is that we’re not alone in our appreciation of the horniest of holidays.
We’ve rounded up some of our sexiest local musicians to help celebrate that time of year when there doesn’t seem anything weird about a curly-haired diaper dumper flying around shooting unsuspecting citizens with a bow and a bunch of arrows. Our questions to them were as simple as love is hopelessly complicated. What, we wanted to know, was the best Valentine’s present they have given (or received)? And what song reminds them what it’s like to be hopelessly in love?
Thankfully, none of them responded with “An open box of Hershey’s Pot of Gold chocolates” and “ ‘Pity Fuck’ by Jacknife Holiday”. It’s nice to know that romance isn’t dead.
Trevor Risk fronts Sunshine, whose dreamily twee pop is pretty much perfect for anyone who wouldn’t even consider dating a person who doesn’t own every item in the Slumberland Records catalogue.
Dream Valentine’s present: “I’ve always wanted Dick Van Dyke Show–era Mary Tyler Moore to Shanghai me into a Chrysler and put on lipstick in front of me real slow while the driver, Barbara Feldon, blasts ‘All Women Are Bad’ by the Cramps on the stereo. That or a black-light poster. Black-light posters are sick.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “ ‘Speedy Marie’ by Frank Black. If you take the first letter of every line in the bridge, it acrostically spells his then-girlfriend’s name, Jean Marie Walsh. These days he’s with that Elvira Kurt–looking lady who forces him to play in a band with her called Grand Duchy, which actually has its moments.”
Amy Kirkpatrick brings a gorgeous sense of detached cool to Data Romance, which also features Ajay Bhattacharyya. The duo’s new release, Other, gives you a good idea what Shirley Manson would sound like in bed with Boards of Canada.
Dream Valentine’s present: “I remember finding a blanket with burnt-out candles, a sign with a girl’s name on it written on a piece of driftwood, and rocks sort of laid out everywhere on a beach once. To this day I think that’s the most romantic gesture I’ve ever seen. Not sure if I’d enjoy that in February—unless a lot of blankets and kissing were involved.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “ ‘Lovesong’ by the Cure. For me, the definition of falling in love or finding the ‘one’ is having a home in someone. ‘You make me feel like I am home again’ sums up all I could ever ask for, and feeling ‘whole again’ is the ultimate statement for being in love. There is not one material image in this song, and that’s what makes it so romantic.”
Katie Fagan sings songs of love and angst for synth-rocking outfit Looks to Kill. Mostly angst, actually. C’est la vie, et c’est l’amour, n’est-ce pas?
Dream Valentine’s present: “Well, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but diamonds don’t really talk. If you don’t know anything about me, I’m quite a handful in… conversation. You probably thought I was going to say ‘in the bedroom’. Hey-o! To be honest, though, a Lamborghini would suffice. Best possible gift for me to give to someone: good sex or a puppy, because everybody loves puppies and sex! Not as a combination… This just got weird.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “All right, you asked for one, but I’ll give you two because I’m one of most indecisive people on the planet. 1) ‘Your Song’. Originally by the amazing Elton John, but Ellie Goulding did a cover and I swear every time I see the video Ellie’s crew made I cry! Let me just say, a girl crying over a beautiful, sad/happy music video isn’t a pretty sight. 2) ‘Our Song’ by Taylor Swift. Okay, okay, okay! Let me explain! For those of you that have already started judging, put yourself in the shoes of a 15-year-old girl, in high school, late bloomer, pretends to have interviews with Oprah and is hopelessly in love with the snowboard pros of the world—you’ll understand. On the flip side of this, I do listen to Biggie. Having a little T-Swift in your life allows me to have a soft side and a heart. You’re welcome, boys.”
JRocSeventyOne specializes in chilled-out techno-pop with an urban-music undertow. Cue up “Sea to 2 Sky” and prepare to bliss out.
Dream Valentine’s present: “My girlfriend at the time was living overseas and I was halfway across the world. Due to work commitments, I was not able to catch a plane and be with her. So what I did was I found a local florist that was located near her residence. I went online and picked from their online catalogue, paid by Visa card, and it was delivered at 10 a.m. the following morning. She was moved by my actions and felt my love for her.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “ ‘Roni’ by Bobby Brown. Nowadays, there are a lot of love songs out there with lyrics calling women bitches and ’hos. As for me, I am not into that. I really think it is disrespectful and degrading. I am a product of my generation and I respect women. I don’t have a girlfriend now, but whenever I do…this song is what it feels like to be sickeningly and smittingly in love. This is what goes in my mind when I am in that state.”
Natasha Thirsk is Catlow, or vice versa. Her bittersweet electro-pop tunes, like “Remorse Code” and “Wallflower”, capture what February 14—and, sadly, pretty much every other day—is really like for most of us. Dream Valentine’s present: “I guess the best Valentine’s Day present for me would be for somebody (perhaps an astrophysicist?) to discover a new star near the Alpha Centauri and name it after me. He would go back in time (maybe using a flux capacitor?) and launch a rocket to impact the star—four light years away—causing a supernova. Then on the eve of Valentine’s Day, we’d be at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii and watch when the light from that star arrives at Earth. Or just chill out and watch documentaries.” Favourite sonic love letter: “ ‘Somebody’ by Depeche Mode. Ah, well, this song is just the ultimate of acceptance and love, and how you don’t know what you want but you know you want something or somebody. And the solo piano and vocals. It’s just a really well-written song, and beautiful.”
Zac McMillan unleashes his inner B-boy as the frontman for Real Mad Decent. The quartet’s eponymous debut is more than willing to give Lollapalooza-era guitar rock a hot-funk injection.
Dream Valentine’s present: “Season 1 of Frasier on DVD is my dream Valentine’s gift. That’s not even a joke! It’s the type of show that can set the mood for a romantic evening; fun loving and intellectual too. If I can sit and laugh at Frasier with a girl, then we can laugh at just about anything. And if times ever get tough, Dr. Frasier Crane’s always got the right advice to soothe your relationship woes.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “I’d have to say ‘Me & My Bitch’ by the Notorious B.I.G. Now, being the baby-faced, 20-year-old white dude that I am, this might seem like a curve ball. In its own way, though, it may be one of the greatest love songs ever written. Consider the line, ‘I swear to God, I hope we fucking die together.’ If there is a more romantic lyric out there, I haven’t heard it.”
Marc Alan Blaquiere and his fellow Kill City Kids seem to be on a mission to totally fuck with our heads. Imagine Mr. Bungle as a synth-pop band formed to write music for circus-themed raves. And if you can’t imagine that, hear it for real when KCK plays the Railway Club on Friday (February 15).
Dream Valentine’s present: “Choosing the right gift is dependent on length of time already spent together. I have been married now for just over a year and this is our second Valentine’s as husband and wife; previous to that we had been living in sin for some time. The regular gift of flowers and chocolates just won’t cut it. I want to get something that really sticks out and drives home the message of love real hard. I want a gift that is a pleasure of the flesh. This year I am going to surprise my sweet honey with a gift called the Accomodator. Look it up online and think about this in the bedroom this year. Please her and you.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “Seeing as how I love my sweet honey bear so much, I want to make sure that, before we do some sweet love-making this Valentine’s Day, I am at full attention. Just like an athlete, I want to be ready and able to perform on Valentine’s Day. Nothing gets me more in the mood than Mr. Bungle’s ‘The Girls of Porn’. The intro to this song is me in a nutshell.”
Andy Bishop explores his love of harvest-moon country and star-swept folk as the singer of White Ash Falls, whose debut EP, By the River Bend, makes you wonder why the hell you haven’t packed up everything and moved to a lakefront cabin in 100 Mile House.
Dream Valentine’s present: “A bag of grass and an Isaac Hayes record. Nothing says it’s time for lovin’ better than Mr. Hayes and a fresh smoke.”
Favourite sonic love letter: “INXS—‘Never Tear Us Apart’. It’s just such a good tune. It works so well as a love song as well as a breakup jam. That’s always a hard line to walk, and Michael Hutchence walked it well. Not to mention they played this song at his funeral while rumours of his death by auto-erotic asphyxiation were dominating the headlines.”