Freak Heat Waves are all over the place and at peace with it

Monday 02nd, February 2015 / 18:14
By Sean Orr
Island residents Freak Heat Waves bring an impressively cohesive vision together on new album Bonnie’s State of Mind. Photo: Retrieved from Freak Heat Waves Facebook page.

Island residents Freak Heat Waves bring an impressively cohesive vision together on new album Bonnie’s State of Mind.
Photo: Retrieved from Freak Heat Waves Facebook page.

VANCOUVER — You’ve spent all day by the sea, for no reason. It’s night and you make your way downtown because that seems like the proper thing to do. You have a shitty bike and just lock it to a post and wander around. There is some art show near Chinatown that you should check out. Get a coffee though.

The art show is great because they are playing Can’s Future Days but the art is contrived and pretentious. You curse yourself and you curse this city, but then you run into some friends and they give you some cigarettes and you walk to Outer Heaven where Psychosomatic Itch is playing. Wow they are weird and awesome.

After, Robert Dininno plays Radio Berlin and Wire and then you remember that Viet Cong is playing at Sugar but you are broke so you walk back to wherever your bike is. On the way there is a house party on Graham Street. Fuck it. Some punk band is playing in the basement. The Fountain kids are there. Smoke a joint and you feel like an alien in an alien city where it’s always night, and you feel like you should be on a subway but there is no subway. And your bike is gone.

Isolation. That’s what I get not only from this Bonnie’s State of Mind but from Freak Heat Waves and Victoria in general. The band concurs. “Living on Vancouver Island does make us a little isolated from what is going on everywhere elsewhere but probably gives us a unique perspective at the same time.” Whether it’s an old church in the Kootenays or at their studio on Pender Island, the band thrives of this kind of isolation. “We were pretty cut off from everything while working on a lot of the album so I’m sure the isolation vibe from the studio makes up some of the sound of the album.”

The result is a record that sounds so deliberate, yet totally free form. It could be one of those things where they spent months on it, or just had a total creative explosion in like four days. “The album is a kind of compilation of recordings that were done over the course of about a year. The end result is very deliberate but some of the compositions were pretty raw and jammed out and others were a lot more thought out.” This might be why it sounds like a mix tape of their own songs. Sort of like to a trip through different scenes. It’s a pretty remarkable thing when an album can sound cohesive and yet all over the place.

“Some of the tracks were written and recorded in the same day, while other songs we had been playing live for a couple years. Basically we wanted the album to contain different musical styles and energies.” One unifying element is the Fostex B16 tape machine that gives the whole thing an analogue warmth. Throw is an E-mu Drumulator and some tape echo and the psychedelic retro-futurism of Bonnie’s State of Mind is achieved.

Although the record could easily slot into the catalogues of Flemish Eye or Jag Jaguar, the band chose Hockey Dad Records. “We got a good vibe from Ryan, he seemed really stoked on our band and he wanted to put out our album before we even started recording it.”

Freak Heat Waves perform at the Fox Cabaret on February 7.

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