5 Questions with Rags #62 - Sam Klassik

I could use this space telling you about how dope Sam Klassik is. How he does high-level musical acrobatics as he does crazy-hard things like splitting the difference between earthy and spacey, between funky and atmospheric. I could tell you about how I met him on a bus on the way to Tall Tree Music Festival last summer and that he's a rad, thoughtful guy. I could tell you about seeing his incredible range at Tall Tree as he smoked his own daytime set, sat in with Lazy Syrup Orchestra and Everyman. I could tell you how he's become an instant fixture in my beloved hometown Victoria since his recent arrival. All of these things are deep and true, but when I called the good homie up for a little 5 Questions action, he had just finished getting some dinner down. And it really sounded like some good dinner. “Ghetto ramen. Pimped out Mr. Noodles. It has a bunch of broccoli, mushrooms, onions and carrots. And an egg. You gotta put an egg in there. It's the key, that elevates it above the average ramen. You just drop an egg in the water when it's boiling, before you put everything else in, and you kind of swirl it around but you keep the yolk intact. Then you end up with a really nice yolk in it and the white mixes in with the noodles - makes it tasty.” So, now you to can share in Sam Klassik's dinner special with a recipe from the man himself. Maybe make it after you read this awesome round of 5 Questions, or maybe to nourish yourself before you go have yourself a serious dance.

1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

On tape or on CD?

Either one. Or both.

First album on tape I ever bought was Green Day – Dookie. First album I ever bought on CD was Oasis – (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. And the first one I ever ordered from Amazon was Slim Shady LP. I ordered it on a dial-up modem on my home computer. Amazon was on that shit back at the birth of the internet.

Which of those three is your favourite today?

Probably the Eminem one. Something about his lyrical content was really fun to listen to. It's definitely not acceptable by todays standards but I think that's what made teenage Sam like it so much. It was just totally off the rails. He talked about drugs at an age when may have been getting interested in that topic.

2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?

In music, for the first time I created a beat as I was posting it to my Instagram story live in real time.

In life, I used a sex toy on someone for the first time.

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5 Questions with Rags #61 - Handsome Tiger

I hadn't heard the name Handsome Tiger before this past summer, and now I can't go long without seeing the name Handsome Tiger. With a slew of one-off shows and festival stops – Including Fest-stealing appearances at those meccas of west coast bass, Bass Coast and Shambahala – the good homie is quickly becoming a fixture in the West Coast bass scene. Consistently delivering a phenomenal blend of smooth, deep bass, hip-hop sensibilities and world-beat flourishes, in a remarkably short time, Handsome Tiger has created a unique and thrilling sound in a world over-saturated with repeats. “It's been about two years that I've been Djing under this moniker and putting out electronic music.,” says Tiger, talking at me from home in Vancouver. “It's really great because shows and opportunities are happening more frequently and I'm very appreciative. All the hard work is starting to pay off.”

Like a lot of my favourite electronic artists, Handsome Tiger's roots lay in instruments, in live music. “I was a vocalist, played guitar and drums and bass. I grew up playing more dancey indie rock/rock 'n' roll/psychadelic kind of stuff. That was where I started. I always had an appreciation for electronic music but it wasn't really in the forefront,” he says of his musical beginnings. “I was trying to pinpoint getting into bass music...You know when your parents tell you something is really cool but you're too young and naive to really get it? I always refer back to that story that I have with my dad. In our household growing up there was always lots of dub and reggae and dancehall and stuff like that – the roots of bass music essentially. I grew up on listening to a lot more of that music and having that around as a kid. Three or four years ago I started heavily listening to pretty much just electronic music, deep bass music, more the UK stuff and I started to wonder, 'Where does this music come from? Oh wait...' This is what my dad was trying to tell me and now I'm 30 and I realize that he's right.” Nothing like realizing your parents were right the whooooole time. Luckily, all his dad's love of low-key legendary bass rubbed off and we get the fine work of Handsome Tiger to enjoy on our dancefloors now. I was fortunate enough to get a bit of the good homie's time in between his rapid takeover of groovy places so we could chat about KoRn, a deep fear and Attempting Vegan.


1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

I definitely remember being super excited – this is super embarrassing – there was this CD store that was a 10 minute walk from my school when I was in grade 6 or 7. I remember being obsessed with bands like KoRn and Blink-182. I remember being 12 or 13, all excited and needing the new KoRn album really badly.

I have a friend whose jam is to go through bands catalogues in the span of a week or whatever and after listening to KoRn's entire catalogue, he determined that they are the worst band in the history of rock music.

<laughs> They were good in their time and when that was a thing, but it's very depressing music.

They got some jams. I'll always have a soft spot for “Got the Life.”

Yeah, definitely! I love that track. Pretty much anything off that record...that was the one.

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5 Questions with Rags #60 - 2018 Kickoff Spectacular with Jim Vanderhorst (Rebel Cause Films)

A funny thing happened at Tall Tree this year. I was asked by no less than three separate people if I knew Jim from Rebel Cause Films. (The mighty Everyman was effusive in his praise of the good Mr. Vanderhorst.) Apparently, because I like bass music and live in Victoria, I MUST be know and work with Jim. I didn't know who he was, but I was familiar with some of his work – as is pretty much anyone on the west coast who digs bass music and/or attends festivals and parties fuelled by such music. His work capturing the diverse beauty of musical audiences is, frankly, unparalleled. Turns out he's one hell of an interesting cat as well. I figured someone so entrenched in this community that I think I'm becoming a viable part of (?), a guy who has so much experience and so many stories, would be the perfect homie to kick off 2018. So, in an effort to blast off another year of 5 Questions with Rags in style, I dug up a large portion of the guest questions that got asked over the last year and let this incredibly interesting human being tear through them like some kind of fascinating buzzsaw.


1. Colin from Pigeon Hole – What's the most vegetable and why?

Potatoes because to take the amount of time needed to describe everything you can do with potatoes would feel like like the shrimp montage from Forrest Gump. There are just so many things you can with potatoes...scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, french fries, baked potatoes... Potatoes are so goddamned versatile that when there were no potatoes, Ireland collapsed and turned into a joke for hundreds of years.

2. Jennay Badger...What's your go-to album for a good cry/emotional cleaning out?

I would say my go-to is probably Underdogs by Matthew Good Band.

3. Mike Love...What will you do now, to make the world a little better?

I really want to help spread the message that fear doesn't help anyone. I want to figure out ways to help people move beyond listening to fear. I want to make narrative feature films and I want them to share the basic theme of overcoming fear. Fear of useless, of lack of value. Fear is what we needed to save us from jungle cats when we were primitive stone-age animals. Now fear only drives us to bad decisions.

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5 Questions with Rags #59 - Jennay Badger

Earlier this year a friend sent me a message that said “Check out this new, dope Neon Steve mix.” I put it on and it was decidedly awesome. But something didn't sound right. Turns out the fantastical futurefunkydisco mix was the work of one Jennay Badger, the release of her set from the first instalment of the quarterly party “Neon Steve & Friends.” A glaring example of my surprising musical ignorance, I've come to find out that Badger is a fixture in the Vancouver Island bass scene. Her masterful Djing skills have kept her appearing all over the place to deliver her tasty, funky delights and her even more masterful (?) dancing abilities led her to founding INFLUX Dance Troupe, the finest of dance troupes I've come across. “I created Influx after I had tried out for a couple of different dance troupes. I was, reading in between the lines, being called overweight. That really hurt me, really hit home. I decided that that wasn't going to stop me,” says Badger of the formation of my favourite dance crew. “I don't believe that a person's weight really identifies how strong of a dancer they are. I didn't want to sit there and do nothing about it. Jamie Gib and I got to talking, he's also on the bigger spectrum himself and tried dancing with a bunch of different groups himself. I've also noticed that almost no groups at all have taken on any men full time. We got to talking and while Influx started as my vision, Jamie helped me bring it to life.” Influx is the next step in the natural evolution of Badger's ever-growing prominence in the West Coast bass community. With that in mind I decided to eschew our traditional opening question and to just jump right into the heavy stuff.

1. If you could only choose Djing or dancing for the rest of your life, which would you hang onto?

Fuck you. <laughs> Some people might say, “First and foremost, you're a DJ,” but that's just because they don't know my dancing background. I've been dancing ever since I was a child. My mom used to take me to music festivals when I was literally 2 years old. She used to drive me all across Canada in a school bus that she made into a kitchen. So, it was a kitchen, my bedroom and my home, all in one. We did that until I was about 6. I'd go missing and I'd sneak up onto the stage and she'd turn around and I'd be up there. I remember one time I was about 6, I was up there with some big black Louisiana woman and her band. They were holding me in their arms while they were performing. So, I've always been into dancing. I couldn't afford to do dance class, but there was dance teacher in Campbell River who saw that I was really good at dancing, so she offered to have me come to the studio and do hip-hop classes every Sunday for free, which was fucking amazing. I'm super grateful for that.

Around 2007, my mom actually took me to my first rave, in Cowichan. My mom and my uncle lived on this property in Cowichan Bay. It was near a place called The Barn, it was really well-known in the scene here. That's where I started going when I was 11. My mom would keep an eye on me. I had to be home and in bed by 10, but my mom brought me because I loved dancing so much. I was just going for the dancing and eventually, when I was around 14 or 15, I started Djing. I was just around it all the time. I love Djing so much, but I love dancing so much. Through Djing, I get to express my more masculine side. I feel like I'm The Man up there. Dancing brings out a little more femininity in me. I don't love either Djing or dancing more than the other, they're both one for me.

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5 Questions with Rags #58 - Steph Wisla (The New Groovement)

If you are around the Canadian west coast pay any attention to the music scene around you, you've seen or heard the New Groovement around. The funk/jazz/soul/hip-hop is established a go-to for good time, big-sound live music 'round these parts. As a person who sees these sorts of things, I had seen TNG many times and then I showed up to White Eagle Hall here in Victoria one night and there was a new lady singing! The fuck was going on? Any fears I had of this new person screwing up the chemistry of this band I dig were quickly assuaged when I heard this new voice and saw her quietly commanding stage presence. I also came to learn the person behind this powerhouse voice was Steph Wisla. Since then that stage presence has gone from quietly commanding to powerfully radiant.

Joining an already established band was easier than one might have expected and Wisla just dropped right into the role. “I didn't have to do any of the grunt work from the beginning. They already had an award-winning album and stuff. It was great. I had been such a fan of the band too so it wasn't a completely new band to me. It was like, 'I'm finally living my dream of being in an awesome band.' It was a natural progression,” says Wisla of her easy transition into her role. The partnership seems to have been almost immediately beneficial as both Wisla and TNG seem to have a hard groove in 2017, both as powerful as ever. I sat down with the magnetic Wisla for a chat about the paranormal, people sharing names and that corrupter of youth – Hillary Duff.


1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

I was kind of spoiled. I don't know when I really bought something with my own money. <laugh> My first go-to is Avril Lavigne Let Go. That shit was ace.

Was or is?

Is. Always is. The next one, Hillary Duff, Metamorphosis, I think it was called. My parents went through it and listened to it before we were allowed to listen to it so they could censor it. And I clearly remember we weren't allowed to listen to 7 or 11, because they talked about partying. Which, now, 'Sorry mom, do here what I sing about on stage now?! Hillary Duff ain't got nothing on me!”

How did they even enforce that?

I don't know. We were all just scarred shitless to do anything wrong. We all had very guilty consciences. I have an older sister and a younger brother. We were all kind of like, “I don't wanna do anything wrong because I'll feel bad about it forever.” I remember they used a sharpie to scratch out the titles of 7 and 11 so we couldn't even know the names of them.

2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?

Atmosphere Gathering. And I wanna leave the rest blank. Sorry, mom.

What a great festival.

It was insane. I only went up for a day and a half and I don't regret it.

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