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 singer, and songwriter…I make eclectic music that’s a mix of indie pop, shoegaze, R&B, jazz and electronic. My voice is my instrument and I experiment with pushing its boundaries a lot in both recording and performance. I’m Canadian and Colombian, I’m a huge music, film and art fan all around and I love animals. Right now I’m in the middle of my first headline tour through the US and Canada, supporting my debut album Crawl Space.
I’m pretty sure the first concert I went to was Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time tour in Vancouver at what used to be General Motors Place. The production and choreography were insane. I remember for the intro of the show they recreated the scene from the Baby One More Time music video, where she is in school with all her classmates and they are waiting for the bell to ring so they can leave class and go nuts. It was so cool and the choreography and costumes were amazing. My childhood self was over the moon.
I saw James Blake play at a small venue in Boston on my birthday when I was going to university there. He was touring his first album, which I had been obsessed with. It was a magical night for many reasons, but I watched him from the front row and couldn’t believe the stuff he was doing live. His voice was so incredible, and he was utilizing it in a way I’d never seen anyone do before in a show like this. A lot of what I saw and felt at that show made me feel that I wanted to be that type of artist—someone who created their own music and their own little world and brought it to life in a way that was very honest and emotional and connected straight to the core of people. The way in which he used his voice as an instrument also really informed how I started making my own music. I remember having to pee so badly through the whole show but I was so afraid to lose my spot at the front that I held it for the entire show. At one point, my friend yelled out that it was my birthday and he played and sang me happy birthday. That show, and the time at which it happened—when I was starting to make my own music and figure out that I wanted to pursue being an artist myself—was so inspirational. It marked a kind of turning point for me.
Top three records
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band This was my entry point into the Beatles. I was probably around 10 years old. My mom would listen to this album during the car ride to drop me off at school and I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The opening track ("Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band") hooked me in and then I went and listened to the whole album in my room on repeat for months. From there I dove into other albums and became a huge Beatles fan. The Beatles basically opened my eyes to the limitlessness and experimentation in music that I hadn’t been exposed to previously. It also showed me that pop music can be so much more outside of the box than I was used to thinking.
Beach House Teen Dream This album captures a period in my life so perfectly—there is a huge amount of nostalgia tied into it for me. First of all, it’s an amazing record. This was the record I first discovered Beach House through, and it was one of those that grew on me after I listened to it a couple of times. I listened to it every day for about a year when I was living and going to school in Boston. I was experiencing a lot of turmoil in my personal life. This album was my main companion for a while. I remember watching the seasons change while constantly having it in my headphones. It’s just a completely beautiful and effortless record and it merges a lot of styles into something that at the time was totally new to me. I’ll always tie this album back to a relationship I was in at the time, because its music was a big part of it. It came at a time when I was starting to become an adult and figure out that I wanted to make music myself.
Kanye West The Life Of Pablo Though it’s more recent, this is one of my top favorite albums. I love Kanye. This album to me, is a masterpiece. I think it really was the beginning of breaking the format of the ‘album’ as we knew it, and kind of started to revolutionize how a lot hip-hop artists and beyond have made albums in the past few years that are breaking the standard form. The way he went about releasing the album, and how pretty much everyone who owns it has a different version, with different collaborations and features and edits, is amazing to me. This album is hugely experimental but is perfectly executed—every single song is a huge banger and there’s a huge range of genre and style within it, done in a seamless way.
All-time favourite video
This is a really tough question but one of my favorite videos is the video "Stagger Lee" by Nick Cave. I saw this when I first discovered and fell in love with Nick Cave as an artist…the video totally blew me away. His performance and level of confidence and swag is just completely unmatched. I love the aesthetic of the video, the lighting and the stage design and how simple it is, but there’s just something very haunting and surreal about it. I also love his pink shirt and the use of male dancers who are kind of sexualized by him, rather than having female dancers that are the sexual object. This song is insane but the performance of it is everything…the Bad Seeds playing and everyone just kind of being in this weird surreal party mode feels very spontaneous and real. There are so many other amazing music videos that I love but this was one that I was obsessed with in recent years!
What’s in your fridge
Salad Dressing. A very old bottle of salad dressing from a Middle Eastern spot in Detroir that I am obsessed with and have saved for almost a year. It’s definitely gone bad now but I refuse to throw it out because, even though it doesn’t list its ingredients, I am convinced that one day I’ll figure out how to recreate it myself.
Old take-out. Probably a lot of old take out that has not been disposed of, because I’ve been on tour for over a month. I have a pretty unpredictable schedule a lot of the time so I tend to eat out and get a lot of take out. As a result my fridge piles up and is sadly made up of boxes of take-out more so than of actual food groceries.
Frozen books. There are some books in Ziploc bags in my freezer that have been there for about two years. My roommate had bed bugs before I moved in, and she read that if you put items that were in your room when it was infected in the freezer, it will kill off any of the bugs. She didn’t want to get rid of the books, but is still afraid to bring them out for fear of any bed bugs surviving. So there are just permanently like 15 books sitting in my freezer.
Aussie leftovers. A few people have moved in and out of my apartment since I’ve been there, so there are a lot of remnants left from roommates past. In particular, there’s some weird Australian treats and jars of vegemite that an old roommate left and no one has wanted to touch.
You can check out Tei Shi's Crawl Space here.