Japandroids

A total bummer interview with Japandroids

As NXNE excitement dies down, you might be inches away from death yourself. You're going to need to pull yourself together though, pals: Japandroids are in town this Monday night, and they know you have the strength to push through (Tuesday sounds like a good day to call in sick). Speaking of calling in, Japandroids were a little mopey during our phone chat.

I could tell it was going to be a fun and democratic interview with noisy and anthemic garage rock duo Japandroids - because there was only one phone between the two of them, David Prowse would start the interview and pass it on to Brian King for the second half. Just ten minutes in, Prowse had already apologized for bumming me out, and commented on how this was a "total bummer interview." How did my conversation with a couple of the nicest Vancouverites go down in flames? Read on, dear reader, and find out.

As a former Vancouverite myself, I wanted the scoop on the hometown music scene. Unfortunately for many on the West coast, the music scene in Vancouver is not the easiest one around. Venues are almost constantly being shut down even as others pop up to take their places, as Grimes laments about this spring's most recent closure of the Waldorf Hotel.

"Every time you see news that another condo is going up next to a music venue your pulse quickens a little bit because you're fearful of what's gonna come from that," Prowse observes about the rapidly expanding gentrification in Vancouver and lack of City support for music and concert venues. Having experienced the same situation when I lived there, I was sad to hear things hadn't changed very much, despite the resiliency of Vancouverites to keep putting on shows and playing music.

"Sorry to bum you out," said Prowse, so Canadian in his apology for information I had requested. "It just makes me sad." And then it dropped: "This is a total bummer interview."

Crap. Now it's my turn to apologize. So I did. Prowse went on: "I really love Vancouver - there's a million great people there, a lot of great bands happening... From time to time, it just breaks my heart a little."

We hit our low point. So we began easing out of the mild depression we (read: I) had (mistakenly) initiated and I got them talking about Toronto. In fact, the phone changed hands and now I was talking with Brian King.

"We love Toronto. The last few years of touring we've probably spent as much time there as we've spent in Vancouver. It's sort of like a second home." Doing a lap of the continent a couple times a year can be exhausting, but for Japandroids, they find themselves in the lucky position of being able to stay in touch with far-flung friends more easily than the average person can, and Toronto's become one of those cities where they've got a lot of them.

"Do you know that song '5am in Toronto' by Drake? We identify with that song in a serious way." Their friends are the only ones who know exactly what bars they frequent when they visit, but King reassured me, "there's always a dark, seedy corner of Toronto that we're lurking in while we're there."

"I really can't say enough good things about [Toronto]. Our crowds there are generally really awesome.... We know it's going to be a guaranteed good night."

On that rather happy note, we ended the conversation. If you want to see them in a (probably not quite so dark and seedy) bar, you should save up some energy from NXNE and find them at the new Adelaide Music Hall (250 Adelaide Street West) on Monday, June 17. I promise, it won't be even remotely the bummer this interview was.

Oh! And for any hockey fans out there who were wondering what Japandroids thought of the Canucks using "House that Heaven Built" as their entrance song, this is what King had to say about it:

"They had a particularly bad season, so obviously I was excited that they used the song, but it didn't seem to work, didn't seem really pump them up - so if they wanted to change the song and they have a better season, I'm perfectly willing to let it go."

What a couple of respectful, cool dudes.

See Japandroids at Adelaide Hall Monday, June 17th with support from Crocodiles.


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