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
Meltt: Chris Smith (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keys), Jamie Turner (drums, percussion), James Porter (guitar, keys, vocals), and Ian Winkler (guitar).
Who are you
We’re an alternative psychedelic rock/pop band from Vancouver. We mold crunchy shoegaze guitars, otherworldly keys, powerful drums, and evocative vocals into a widescreen psychedelic projection of three-dimensional emotion. What results is a lively sonic music that ebbs and flows and bends this natural motion into ethereal and entrancing anthems. Our debut album in 2019, Swim Slowly, has garnered millions of streams worldwide. We have been very busy in 2022 and 2023 releasing eight singles leading up to our full album, Eternal Embers, which dropped September 22.
Jamie: My first concert was Rush at Rogers Arena in 2008 on their Snakes and Eras tour. It was incredible to see such talented musicians I had grown up listening to. Especially as a drummer, to see Neil Peart’s godlike talents up close and personal was a mindblowing experience.
Chris: My first concert was David Bowie back in 2004 for his Reality Tour at GM Place in Vancouver (now Rogers Arena). I was a super fan of Bowie at a young age so to see an idol performing in person when I was only eight years old was an incredible experience. It’s long enough ago to be a little bit blurry of a memory now, but I’ve since heard a bootleg recording of that show and so much came back to me as I was hearing it again. Besides the great setlist, incredible live vocals, and amazing band, there was some really funny banter. There was a guy near the front row dressed up in a full-body bunny costume and Bowie was engaging with him a few times over the show—it was pretty hilarious. I feel very grateful to my parents to have given me the chance to see him, as it turned out to be his final tour.
James: I think my first concert technically was Bob Dylan with Kings of Leon opening but I don’t really remember it at all. I was pretty young and didn’t know anything about Dylan. From what my parents have said it wasn’t one of Bob’s better performances. I think it was wasted on me a little bit as that was pre really getting into all his records! Still super grateful to have gone!
Ian: I’m sure my parents took me to a good handful that I don’t have any recollection of, but the first one I consciously chose to go to was Ozzy Osbourne in 2010. My most enduring memory from that show was actually the elderly drunk man sitting next to me and my buddy in his leather jacket looking like he was cosplaying as Tony Iommi, giving us big high fives and yelling to us, “HE’S STILL GOT IT, MAN!”
Chris: I think the most life-changing concert for me was Tame Impala at Sasquatch! Music Festival 2013 in Washington State. The whole Sasquatch 2013 festival itself had a pretty big positive impact on me at a very pivotal time in my life. Right before our final exams of high school, an amazing crew of friends drove down to Washington to experience what would be all of our first real festival. It turned out to be one of the greatest festival experiences I’ve ever had. The massive camping area, the Gorge Amphitheatre venue, the wonderful people, and the unbeatable lineup still holds up to all other experiences I’ve had since.
I didn’t know Tame Impala super well when I went there, but I knew enough to know I was not going to miss them. A friend and I were hanging by the second-biggest stage for their set, but we eventually got word that their equipment arrived late and that they would have to move over to the third-biggest stage, where a bunch of people started to run to. This stage change turned out to serve us very well as we got to see them in a much more intimate setting. They eventually came out and played one of the greatest sounding sets I’d ever heard. It was the Lonerism album era, and my mind was completely blown hearing so much of this material for the first time. To this day that show has stuck with me as one of the absolute greats!
James: One of the first/formative concerts I remember seeing was Neil Young. I must have been about 13 and I was already a big fan of his at that point but the show was mindblowing—I remember him breaking the strings off his guitar in the encore song and slapping the pick ups with them. Raw magic inspiring stuff that felt intimate even in a giant arena.
Ian: Seeing Derek Trucks at a very impressionable time in my journey as a guitarist absolutely blew me out of the water and deeply inspired me to become obsessive with music in a way I only thought I had felt before.
Top three records
Jamie: If I HAD to pick three then I would have to say…
Pink Floyd The Wall I had heard this album growing up and always loved the songs from front to back, but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to delve deeper into the themes and watched the movie that was based off of it. Discovering the narrative that the album has and what it represents really struck a chord with me and made me appreciate it so much. The flow of the album is also incredible and seeing it performed live by Roger Waters in 2012 made me even more appreciative of the masterpiece it is.
Foals Holy Fire I heard this the same year that we started making music as a band. Before Holy Fire the vast majority of my musical inspiration came from classic rock albums or pop-punk albums I heard in my tweens. Holy Fire was one of the first modern alternative albums that I fell in love with, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world with that kind of music that I knew I wanted to be a part of.
Tame Impala Currents I was already making music for a couple years and matured in my musical taste by this point but that makes the fact that it blew my mind even more impressive. This record really demonstrated what an alternative band could do, and the sounds that were possible that could also appeal to the mainstream. Every single song on the album is a 10 and full of its own unique originality. There aren’t many albums at all that can say that.
James: There are so many amazing records that picking three top ones feels crazy, but these are some of the ones I find myself revisiting the most.
Junip Junip I discovered Junip through a YouTube wormhole when I was in high school and was hypnotized from the first song—they weave textures and melodies in such a beautiful unique way that no one else does. Their second record is probably my favourite of theirs and most of the tracks have played pretty direct significant rolls in my life. “Your Life Your Call” helped give me confidence to pursue an artistic path with music, “After All Is Said and Done” helped me come to terms and understanding with some loss in my life. The instrumentation across the record is somehow really trippy and hazy, but also super warm and grounded feeling. I just absolutely love it top to bottom and still listen to it regularly.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach I still return to this album all the time and I think it’s another perfect record top to bottom. I probably didn’t realize it at the time, but I think Gorillaz really helped open my musical horizons to new genres and new tastes, and it did it all so effortlessly. I love the story and world the album creates—and the songs, production, and collaboration choices are all impeccable.
Radiohead In Rainbows Another perfect album top to bottom. Along with the Black Keys, Radiohead was basically the first contemporary artist that I really fell in love with. I love all of their records pretty much, but this is the one I find myself returning to the most often. Perfect production, songwriting, and totally unique in its own way. I think I love this album so much because it is so colourful, and, at the time of listening, it was such a exciting step away from straight rock guitar and what a record I loved could sound like.
(Honorable mention: Holy Fire by Foals. Foals completely changed the way I thought of playing guitar and the role of guitar in a song. I could gush about all their records but Jamie beat me to the punch of this one.)
Ian: This answer can vary pretty wildly depending on my mood that day and whatever genre I’m obsessed with at the time, but three enduring ones that come to mind are...
The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street A nearly perfect album to me, an absolute masterclass in songcraft.
Tame Impala Lonerism This album really changed the trajectory of the type of music I wanted to make. I remember hearing it for the first time and being so in awe and inspired by everything I heard.
Townes Van Zandt Townes Van Zandt I’ve been deep into a folk phase that shows no signs of ending for about two years now and it’s because of this album. Raw, tender, poetic, masterpiece.
All-time favourite video
Blink-182 “All the Small Things” One of my favourite MTV videos was released when I was quite young. The comedic elements are a highlight, specifically the detail the video goes into poking fun at '90s and early 2000s boy bands. The lighthearted immature rebelliousness of running naked through the streets always brings me a smile or a laugh.
James and Chris:
Tame Impala “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” Claymation masterpiece that we could and did watch over and over again. So cool that each frame was actually made for it—must have taken forever!
Neil Young “Harvest Moon” I recently discovered the video for “Harvest Moon” and I love everything about it. It feels so Lynchian to me, like something truly cosmically horrible is wrong with the patrons of this beautifully cheesy bar.
What’s in your fridge
Blackberry Ginger kombucha. Homemade by my girlfriend.
Mayonnaise. My true and enduring love.
Mexican Coca-Cola. The kind with cane sugar really hits another level.
I just got back from a week hiking on the island so it’s been cleared of anything too crazy, which is too bad because I pride myself as the cooking guy in the band. But the top three things currently in there are:
Kewpie Mayo. The superior mayo.
Scattered assortment of drinks. Left behind by friends that I’ll probably never drink, but keep around in case I want to offer them to a friend. (I’m looking at you, strawberry blonde ale.)
Gochujang. The fermented chili paste that’s a staple of Korean food. I went to Korea last winter to be on a reality/travel/food show and just loved this stuff.
Salt Spring Island “Hot Mango Spicy Pepper Jam.” Sounds a little bit odd, but this jam has become an unusual staple in the kitchen. Not only great with cheese, but routinely used on sandwiches to bring another level of flavor out!
Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce. Funny name, but incredible flavor. Jamie first introduced it to me a few years ago and I can’t stop using it!
Jar of pickled onion. My girlfriend started pickling onion and preserving it in the fridge. It’s so delicious to have on hand and so much easier than chopping them each time!