Every other month, a noise can be heard at the media arts space, VIVO. “I call it Destroy Vancouver because I noticed that this city politically was and is really starting to kill artist run culture and I wanted to keep a spot alive and Destroy [these] Vancouver paradigms,” explains curator, drummer and composer John Brennan.
Destroy Vancouver is an event which fills the experimental void after the slowdown of Quiet City and departure of the Fake Jazz events.
There is an intersection of noise with the arts and DIY music community. “I think it’s a natural overlapping that happens there. One of the exciting parts of noise art is that each artist really sculpts their voice from scratch using homemade/found objects to use in performance or field recordings and hand-picked pedals,” says Brennan. These events unite and invite artists to join forces which can be expanded and enhanced by way of festivals and workshops. “I’m in works of collaborating with other VIVO departments,” states Brennan. “I’ve been keeping an open mind about the curation of this event in that I’m not excluding any genres of experimental music/sound art.”
With a representation from harsh noise, drone, DIY, free jazz, noise punk and to the unexplainable, this event has been the host to some of the most dedicated locals and performers, aerosol constellations, The Rita, Worker, Kristen Roos, Giorgio Magnanesi, Prophecy Sun, Totems, Italian Husbands, Magneticring, Whip of The UFO, No 213, Winters In Osaka, Rusulka, Mass Marriage and many others. The new year invites international artists and one of the curator’s favourites will be Chris Corsano (Thurston Moore, Bill Nace, Mick Flower, Björk among many others). He will be playing the March edition.
Apart from organizing, Brennan is no stranger to performance and he is other half of Botfly & Holzkopf Duo, which will tour this spring with invitations to festivals across eastern and western Europe such as SOTU in Amsterdam. “Since moving to Vancouver I have been involved in four other improvised projects playing regularly,” he says and these include Psychic Tuberculosis, Female Blue Balls, and Slag TRIO(with members of Whip of the UFO). Connected with improvisation since he was 16, a 2001 move to Montreal and a degree in Electroacoustics brought about an introduction to the noise and free jazz communities. “I started an improv project early on with a group called Argon Floozy…. and [we would] do these insane eight-, nine-hour recording session using prepared pianos, multiple drum kits, tons of synths, guitars etc,” says Brennan. He also played drums with a noise free jazz duo called Chansons D’amour and toured Japan with another drums and noise duo called Totems in 2010. He toured western Europe with Constanine Katsiris of scant intone and Freida Abtan performing under the solo moniker, Static Kitten (prepared guitar and power drones).
Aside from the regular Destroy Vancouver nights other events will happen if a touring artist’s schedule doesn’t meet with the fixed dates. The usual evening is organized with as many as eleven acts, each with approximately fifteen minutes to perform. Sets are broken up with DJ breaks.
The next event features Chris Cogburn from Austin, TX. “A true mind blowing acoustic noise artist who is the organizer/curator of the internationally known No Idea Festival in Austin,” explains Brennan. Also on the bill is Free Jazz, Land of Marigold from Montreal, scant intone, Vancouver noise with Anju Singh and Botfly & Holzkopf Duo plus more being confirmed. The March 2nd event focuses on harsh noise with Black Leather Jesus from Texas headlining and a smaller opening bill including The Rita and Taskmaster.
Destroy Vancouver deconstructs and rebuilds January 26 at VIVO on 1965 Main Street.
Story and photo by tiina liimuBC, British Columbia