By Mat Wilkins
To write about a band these days is to do one of many things: to point out their prowess in the art of the throwback, compliment the genre-defying uniqueness of their cutting-edge sound, speak to their strengths as performers and instrumentalists… the list goes on. Yet what about when an act comes along that seems to check all those boxes in their own unique way? Our vocabularies of praise somehow shrink dramatically and suddenly, “They’re just a great band,” becomes the operative – and often most repeated – phrase.
Enter ACTORS, Jason Corbett’s post-punk project hailing from BeatRoute’s backyard, the lovely Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood.
“People who are the most honest about what they’re doing, and for what reasons, the general public can read it, maybe even on a subconscious level,” Corbett says when asked about how he arrived at ACTORS’ signature sound.
In the throes of a band breakup, Corbett began writing and releasing singles under the name ACTORS with no particular goal in mind, tired of pursuing the relative fame and fortune that bands so often strive for.
“What I found was over the years, somehow, [the band] just kept collecting steam.” So much steam, in fact, that they are now signed to Toronto-based Artoffact Records and set to release their first full-length album on March 9. In fact, Corbett has been able to quit his day job. “I used to manage restaurants for almost 20 years. And I got so busy as a producer [that] I could finally make the leap over to doing music full time.”
The two teaser tracks from It Will Come to You, “L’appel Du Vide” and “Slaves,” are a testament to what life as a full-time musician can do for an artist’s craft. The record itself is delightfully polished, breathing a special kind of life into the typically lo-fi repertoire of contemporary post-punk and new wave. The songs are anthemic, nostalgic, and defiant, possessing a modern, stadium-filling vitality that makes you want to drive a DeLorean through dusky city streets.
The new record was finally given its name during a discussion in the car after rehearsal over what to call it. “I’m sure it will come to you,” synth player Shannon Hemmett had said casually, most likely half paying attention, perhaps drawing cartoons in the fog on the car window. But it didn’t matter, Corbett had made up his mind right then and there.
It Will Come to You was recorded at Corbett’s own Jacknife Studios, the birthplace of records from several Vancouver heavyweights including Gang Signs, Art Deco, and Mesa Luna.
“I’m really busy producing, mixing, and recording other artists there, so it’s a perfect opportunity to work on my stuff as well,” says Corbett.
ACTORS is a true renaissance band, with a unique but quasi-revivalist sound, a passionate, DIY approach to music-making, and an incredible stage presence. They have been and will remain a force to be reckoned with all over the city and beyond. They really, truly are just great.
ACTORS play the Rickshaw Theatre March 10.actors, Rickshaw Theatre