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
Who are you
I’m a weird, bald, tattooed, Kiwi transplant, who just so happens to be a soul-blues musician (if it’s not a genre already, I’m making it one; too modern for trad blues, too rootsy for those smooth soul afficionados, and just a little bit off the wall). I love anything to do with music, whether it be playing it, learning it, teaching it, watching it live, listening to it, or perhaps making some weird and wonderful musical contraption. You can catch me playing all over Van, either as a one-man band where I drum with my feet on my homemade pedal-cajon, or with my rag-tag band of awesome dudes known as the High Commission. I’m currently looking at how in debt I will have to become to press my upcoming album on glorious, glorious vinyl; that might not happen, but however it ends up coming out, I can’t wait for people to hear it.
Pretty spoilt for a first concert, it was Deep Purple in 1998. My dad has always been incredibly supportive of my interest in music and he always made sure I had musical experiences to broaden my mind. I just remember being absolutely gobsmacked that I was seeing these rock legends that my dad had been playing to me since the day I was born, relentlessly blasting ‘Highway Star’ on every road trip, and doing his best Ian Gillan impression. That was one hell of a show, man.
The Hamsters-yeah that’s right, they were called the Hamsters. My parents took me to their show when I was about 12, for their ‘Never Ending Tour of Duty’. These guys basically just lived on the road, and this show was in a small town about an hour from us. I had asked my parents for a guitar before my 7th birthday, and lo’ and behold, I got it, so by this point I was already seriously into guitar. I stood right in front of a stack of speakers staring at the lead guitarist for the whole show; he was a genius with six strings, blasting out a hearty serving of Hendrix-worthy face-melting… My mind was blown, and I learned a lot about playing lead that night; that and it is still, to this day, the loudest show I have ever been to. I’m a skater and back then, just like everyone else who boarded, I used to wear my clothes so baggy that I even still have one of their band shirts that I wear all the time. Now it actually almost fits.
Top three records
THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!
B.B. King The King of The Blues This compilation was the first time I ever heard B.B as a young kid. My great aunt and uncle introduced me to the blues with John Lee Hooker’s ‘Best of Friends,’ but it was this album that truly opened my eyes. This man could put more feel into one note than my rock idols could in a whole solo, I was hooked, and B.B. will forever be my number-one guitarist. (Also, the funky slap-bass version of ‘The Thrill is Gone’ is a guilty pleasure). I was fortunate enough to see him play before he passed, and I actually just recently visited his home town and grave. It truly was a profound pilgrimage for me.
Radiohead In Rainbows This album is perfect; there are many better Radiohead songs on Hail To The Thief or Kid A, but as a whole work of art, “In Rainbows’ is flawless. My taste in music is pretty encyclopedic and this album satisfies everything from the organic to the electronic, beautiful guitar tone to gnarly drive. Not only that, but it satisfies all the beauty of Radiohead’s diversity prior to this point. It takes me on a journey every single time. The music nerd in me loves that Johnny uses an Ondes Martenot on the album too!
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu This is part nostalgia, part awe. My dad bought this record when it came out and played the absolute bejesus out of it, so by the time I got around to listening to it, I was listening to its history too; that beautiful warm blanket of frequency loss that can only come from old, well-loved vinyl. Every song on the album is an absolute gem, but "Almost Cut My Hair" resonated with teenage me particularly because I was a long-haired rocker and it felt like my anthem… Ironically, the hair left, but my connection to the album never has.
All-time favourite video
David Bowie "Blackstar" It took me a really long time to come to this decision; when you have Peter Gabriel’s "Sledgehammer" (classic!), or Die Antwoord’s insane but super-edgy videos... But I think this video means so much to me because it is definitive proof, much like the album of the same name, that Bowie never stopped evolving, and pushing for something more, as an artist. A true artist, he never accepted genre as something to conform to, but rather as something to expand beyond. I feel like Johan Renck’s video for "Blackstar" really aligns with Bowie’s aesthetic and of course, the atmosphere in his last days, and the release of the album. It elevates Bowie’s musical art to a total artistic experience, rather than just a musical delivery method.
What’s in your fridge
A mind boggling array of hot sauces, including a jar of pickled ghost peppers. My idea of spicy is most people’s idea of weapons grade, I am wholeheartedly obsessed with spicy food, and am a firm believer that there are very few dishes that wouldn’t be improved with the liberal addition of chilli peppers, whether it be in the form of hot sauce, or the aforementioned pickled ghost peppers. My wife is acutely aware of my spice addiction, having been subjected to it daily for almost 10 years, so she got me the ghost peppers for Christmas; I cook a lot of Indian food and I’m thinking that there’s going to be one hell of a spicy curry coming up soon.
My home brewed Normandy-style cider. This is the stuff, let me tell you! My buddy Darren and I brew our own cider in my shed, I have experimented with making cider since I was about 17 (we had an apple tree in our garden--how could I not?), and when I came to Canada I met Darren, who inherited brewing equipment from his grandpa, and who also happens to be the man… MAD cider was born. It’s a fully dry Normandy-style cider that clocks out at around 11-14% ABV and is more akin to drinking champagne or prosecco than cider. Roll on summer!
Fondant icing cake toppers of Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter. So, my wife Connie and I are pretty much the biggest Harry Potter nerds of all time, so much so that I have some Potter themed tattoos, and Connie walked down the aisle to "Hedwig’s Theme". Judge all you like, muggles! All of our friends know this well, and so before we went back to NZ to get married last year, our wonderful friends threw us an awesome party and had a cake made with a little Ron and Hermione on top. It was the best, so they’re all preserved in a tiny tupperware coffin in our fridge
Matt Hoyles's debut album Lord Tell Me When is tentatively scheduled for release this summer.