“A Dream Of You And Me” by Future Islands. Did you happen to catch them on Letterman recently?
Everyone involved at Team VSC is buzzing at the moment; we’re finally ready to release the debut Vancouver Sleep Clinic EP titled ‘Winter’ on Monday March 10!!! Over the last 6 months so much heart and effort has gone into the writing, production and logistics of this release so it’s ridiculously exciting to finally have it ready to show the world. It holds a really deep significance to me both lyrically and musically, so I’m extra excited (and anxious) to see how everyone digests it!
The ‘Winter EP’ can best be described as a journey. When writing for it, I had a conscious intent to not write individual songs, but rather make it resonate and make sense as a body of music. In summary, the EP explores my thought process in the midst of a dark period in life – which I’ve metaphorically referred to as ‘Winter’. The tracks logically venture into initial themes of desperation, isolation, helplessness before gradually transitioning into maturity, understanding, and a hope found above else. I’ve written all songs from my heart and my experiences in the desire that you can all connect as well.
This song was written in the back of my Maths book during a deadly 80 minute lesson of Maths on a Thursday afternoon. Its lyrical purpose is to give context to the whole EP through highlighting the regret and despair that initially hits us all in a difficult time. I feel like we can all relate to ‘falling short again’ of a standard.
Flaws probably has the most self explanatory lyrics from the EP. We’ve all got burdens and flaws, and there’s some natural human ignorance inside of us that tells us we should seek to lose our burdens on our own. Something that I don’t agree with, but I know from experience that it’s really hard to think otherwise in a period of darkness. It’s a battle.
Stakes is a turning point. A song of reflection and the first consequential decision of action. To burn down stakes; to plead for everything to wash away. Probably my favourite song lyrically on the EP, and we have a lot of fun playing it live as well!
This song is a short, mostly instrumental, sequel to Stakes that brings a more peaceful, stripped back element to the journey – following a desperate beg for things to wash away.
This was the very first song I wrote for the project, and for that reason it’s really special to me. It’s about understanding how short life is, a ‘Vapour’ as such, and therefore why its so important to find the light and joy (as hard as it sometimes is) in the situations we’re put in.
My favourite track on the EP as it drives home everything that I want to say. This EP is one of hope and new beginnings, not demise. I’m so emotionally connected to Rebirth, because I can personally profess that wiping a slate clean and starting again is the most incredible feeling. Back to the bones that we’ve grown.
Hope you enjoy it!
A Tarago, a camper trailer, five mates & a tour dad : the ultimate first VSC tour.
So it’s tough enough for any band to get off their feet financially, but in particularly in Australia – where cities are placed at awkward travelling distances from each other. Our very first tour offer, and it still feels weird to say this, was supporting the string of sold out London Grammar shows down the East Coast of Australia. After freaking out for at least a week, it came time for us to clear our heads and sort out logistics. After a quick look at the Bank of VSC, we instantly knew that it was time to pull out the camper-trailer, the sleeping bags and the Australian free camping guide – and set off for the ultimate budget tour.
The main issue – we were all 17. This created several problems as nobody had their open license to drive a trailer, and nobody was legally able to book a place to stay. The only option was bringing in a Tour Dad. My dad (VSC #1 Fan) is probably the biggest legend alive, and took two weeks off to singlehandedly drive a bunch of 17 year old rapscallions down the coast. If you saw a tall ranga with a Fender shirt and an outdated camera surrounded by drunk 20 year olds at any of the sets, it would have been my dad. With that sorted, we decided to throw a couple extra of our closest mates in the car (just because we can) and we set off!
The next two weeks were some of the best times I’ve had. The countryside was beautiful and we stayed in some sweet camping spots. One of the free camp places was a 2km detour drive through bush into an opening in the middle of nowhere – so we pulled out our instruments and had a sweet acoustic jam in the middle of nature. It was the coolest thing ever. None of us had mums to cook for us, and cooking is effort, so we generally just starved or ate service station donuts. And it was great. One of the more priceless moments was picking our sound guy, who we’d never met before, up from the airport and seeing the look on his face when the 6 of us rocked up in a dingy Tarago + camper trailer, with equipment stacked up on our legs and stupid grins on our faces. I weaved my hand out from between my guitar case and the pillow pressed against the window and extended it to him. ’Hi, we’re VSC.’
The shows were incredible experiences, although with the first show being our 4th ever, we were still truly finding our feet – and the nerves were crazy. It was a massive step up for us going from playing to 100 people in a tiny room to 1200 in a Theatre.
Our ultimate budget tour very quickly became the talking (mocking?) point (and easy icebreaker) of most of the people we met. London Grammar also bagged out our rider of Skittles, Coke & Pizza on their Triple J interview – calling it ‘cute’ – which was kind of a dog act – but one that I’m definitely not complaining about. Love those guys.
It was always entertaining contrasting our own touring logistics with London Grammar’s. Our stingy 8 seat Tarago + camper trailer filled with gear lining up against their huge trucks. The six of us crowded around a humble rider, while they had a banquet to feed their huge team. And then, parting ways at the end of a show by them leaving for their hotels and us driving around with a GPS until 2 in the morning trying to find our Caravan Park. The old people around us were not impressed as we flailed helplessly in the dark trying to set up our sketchy tent.
So many memorable moments were made on the trip. A lot of inside jokes that we’ll probably retell forever, and the other guys even wrote & recorded a parody for one of our own songs (which is a true testament to our sad loss of sanity towards the end of the ridiculously long road trip home). One of our friends filmed it all so if we ever release ‘VSC: This is Us’ to a cinema near you, you’ll get an inside look on this crazy ride. And the soundtrack to the movie will be ‘Started from the bottom now we’re here’, because it feels like we know all about the bottom of touring life. And, from our first experience, if ‘here’ was just preparing for another legendary road trip tour – I would still be loving every minute of it.
Some of the most beautiful experiences I have had with music have been as a result of my sleep playlist. I’ve never been sure if this is a normal ritual or if its a select few strange people like me that do this. I know for me, I simply can’t sleep without music.
Whether its drifting off to a This Will Destroy You album, or waking up to the end of Sigur Ros’ ‘Glosoli’ at 2am, I’ve always found something so special about the connection of music to sleep. It has the power to carry a weary mind to rest, or peacefully confront a restless and anxious soul.
This is where the ‘Sleep Clinic’ part of the project name came from. As much as I am against the use of genre, if I had to classify the VSC sound I would call it Sleeping Music. Sleep is an atmosphere and a soundscape that I want to tie all of my music together with.
Anyways, here is 5 of my all-time favourite sleep songs:
Sigur Ros – “Varuo”
The Ember Days – “Rest”
This Will Destroy You – “Threads”
Lowlakes – “Song for Motion”
Oliver Tank – “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion”
If my music can guide people to sleep under any circumstance, like these bands have helped me, I would be so happy.
I can’t remember when I started making music but I can certainly remember all the times it sounded terrible. From grade 8 punk bands to swag-pop duos, the last few years have definitely been a very ‘interesting’ journey; in particularly for all the family and neighbours involved in what I would like to call my ‘musical growth’.
With the exception of hitting a tom drum from the age of 2 in the bathtub, I suppose my first real musical endeavour started in the Summer of 2009. I’d just graduated into high school, and I was strongly focused on the stereotype that a Grade 8 punk band would be the major contributor to me raking in the chicks. We did the lamest photo-shoot in the local park, and we recorded a 4 track EP that (thank goodness) i’ve managed to erase from everywhere except my dad’s iPod. He claims that I’ll look back on it in 20 years and laugh, but I’m already laughing now. I certainly won’t be laughing if it leaks online and expectedly becomes VSC’s musical downfall.
After ‘breaking up’ the band responsible for uncontrollable stampedes of girls harassing me every day at school (shameful lunch times alone with a Rollup and mum’s sympathetically crafted sandwiches), it was time for something new. It was at this point when my musical attention started to drift from Linkin Park & Blink-182 , and move into what truly was the dark days : pop.
Looking back on this – I don’t know what I was thinking. It started in another boring Summer of 2010. Boredom seems to lead to a lot of bad things, and this was no exception. While all the other neighbourhood kids were making homemade fireworks and ding-dong-ditching retirement villages, we were making pop music in my bedroom. You tell me which is morally worse. We labelled ourselves ‘indie-pop’ to make ourselves feel good about what we were doing – but lets be honest; 50% of the time the indie is just thrown in there to make sure you’re not on the same Youtube playlist as Usher. We were not the hipster swag-lords that we thought we were. We were 100% pop try-hards.
I really have Triple J Unearthed to credit for most of my musical salvation. For the next couple of years I would spend a lot of spare time scouting the Unearthed website and taking strong inspiration from a lot of the gold coming out of Australia. Bands like Art of Sleeping, Boy & Bear, Tame Impala, Battleships, The Trouble With Templeton, The Jungle Giants & The Temper Trap, were prominent in this phase.
Thus, inspired by this, I started a new band in Grade 10. It could probably have been classified as ‘indie-rock’ and was based loosely on a collection of those inspirations previously mentioned. This was the point where (and the neighbours will probably say I’m wrong), but I finally started to feel like I was making music that wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Not great, but not the worst. We did a few cool things. Released a couple of songs, played around 10 live shows, recorded yet another EP that wouldn’t be released. Nothing to write home about, but it was great to give us something to do on weekends during school – and we got some great experiences.
In between that were scatterings of those classic ‘one-hit-wonder projects’. One of my closest mates (who has been at least half of these projects) claims I’ve played under at least 10 aliases over the last few years. In complete honesty, if you’d have asked me seven months ago – I would have said VSC was just going to be another one of those aliases giving me something to do after school as assignment procrastination. It’s funny the way things go though.
And now, we end up with Vancouver Sleep Clinic. Strange name, yes, but I’ll go more into that later. ’Vapour‘ was the result of 2 months of procrastinating on school nights, and honestly I expected nothing from it. I put it on Triple J Unearthed for fun, and when I came back from a week long camping trip with friends – crazy things had happened to it (thanks Internet). Before I knew it, I was signing with a manager, putting a live band together – and all of the sudden, woah, this isn’t just a sneaky side project any more. This is happening! Since this day, around 7 months ago, we’ve been blessed enough to have had the chance to release 2 singles, share our art in front of thousands of people, and have our debut EP ‘Winter’ on the way in only 3 days!!!
I’m always fascinated by how your musical taste and abilities can subtly evolve with time. I mean, it’s crazy to think that for each project, and each song written, I (at the time) thought it was the coolest thing ever. That’s why I would call Vancouver Sleep Clinic a project. It’s a collective entity for the music that I make. It could be just me with a guitar, it could be a 20 piece band one day. Things will change and I feel like the term ‘band’ or ‘genre’ is close-minded and limits the room to creatively evolve. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sounds coming out of the VSC Kitchen. In fact – I’ve never felt more at home making music in my life. However, as this project grows, I think its important for the focus to be off the members, off the musical comparisons or the past recordings defined as the ‘VSC sound’, but on the present evolving of the project. One thing will always stay the same though; that my music will be what I want it to be, what I connect with, and only ever what I love to create.
Who knows where this will end up? One thing is for sure though, I am absolutely loving every single minute of it.
I for one, have missed people dancing in videos. I wonder what it is about a well timed, well shot, well choreographed dance routine that gets me so excited? The corners of my mouth curved upwards within seconds of the first few beats and if we may lets put the gushiness that we sprawled all over the site last year – aside – this funk-alt-synth-pop group from London are busy earnin… my respect (…and a slew of genre tagging).
The energy of the song combined with the video is quite honestly delightful but wait until that last tracking shot.