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.

Read More

5 Questions with Rags #8 - Timothy Wisdom

I found Timothy Wisdom's tunes through my (Kinda-sorta brief) obsession with Ghetto Funk that started after my first Shambhala festival. A strict adherent to the Temple of Funk and Groove, Wisdom's tunes are instantly accessible for the non-EDM initiated and the consistently pleasing (From what I'm told by people who know more than me) to those already initiated. A Vancouver homey reppin' our beloved West Coast of BC, he was super cool to talk with and I'm looking forward to some delicious golden potatoes in the future...


1. What’s the first record you remember going out to buy with your own money?

That would probably be a K-TEL anthonolgy of some sort. “Hit News” I think it was called, maybe. It was a K-TEL record with Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar and Cindi Lauper on it.

Read More

5 Questions with Rags #6 - Tayo Branston (Five Alarm Funk)

Five Alarm Funk is one of the greatest bands in the world. There's really no doubt it, at least for those who have seen them live. Doug Benson may have (sub)titled his last comedy record "Forced Fun," but there's no doubt in my mind that the term was invented for these cats. In the middle of their fury is lead-guy and Animal's brother, Tayo Brantson. Guy is a fucking machine, seriously. I get tired just watching him at their shows. He also talks and sends emails with the same enthusiasm. I've had the pleasure of talking to him a few times and this time was no less pleasurable.

1. The first record you remember going out to buy with your own money – what was it? How old were you?

<laughs> It was probably…I think it was 2 Legit 2 Quit by MC Hammer. I must have been 6 or 7 or something like that. That’s the first thing that pops into my mind.

And when is the last time you listened to MC Hammer?

You know what? It wasn’t that long ago. <laughs> We pumped, uhhh, that song…”Can’t Touch This,” we pumped that coming home from Seattle like a year and a half ago and it was just awful! Like, what the hell is this? It’s just so funny, almost comical in a way.

It’s amazing to think how many millions of homes that record was in.

It is amazing, right? But I mean, kudos to Hammer. He’s got the pants and that dance. Man, it’s sweet.

Those pants are timeless. That song might age poorly but those pants are timeless.

Yeah, I know. And for the life of me I can’t find a sweet pair of Hammer Pants anywhere.

Read More

I talk with Five Alarm Funk's resident Animal, Tayo Branston. Also, it's wicked!

Five Alarm Funk has been a West Coast institution for nearly a decade. Their Empire of Funk may be based on the quiet, slow coast of Canada, but they're slowly marching on the rest of the world, establishing a New World Order of Fun. I was there to witness one of their highpoints of Glorious Fun at Shambhala where they destroyed the Amphitheatre (Formerly the Rock Pit) and made my good friend and Guide to the Cosmos, Hingle McCringleberry, admit to their live-band greatness. Fuck yeah. Anyways, I was supposed to talk to frontman and guy who surprisingly isn't Animal from the Muppets, Tayo Brantson whilst at the festival but I was unable to make it. But luckily we managed to hook up on the phone a little more than a month later and talked about that missed opportunity, the grueling nature of the F.A.F.'s tour schedule and the dangers of spilling on oneself.

This week Five Alarm Funk celebrates 10 years of funking the hell out of fans in Victoria at Sugar Nightclub. Read this, get amped and then get some tickets here. 

Read More

Slynk, your older brother's favourite DJ. The unedited interview.

This past summer I ventured to my first Shambhala Music Festival and ran into the force that is known as Ghetto Funk and one of their biggest ambassadors, Slynk. Built on a real organic-sounding foundation funk, soul and hip-hop, Slynk became one of my entry points into the world of electronic music. It's a rabbit-hole I sometimes regret going through, not for the music but just because of the sheer immensity of the hole. I don't think it will ever end now, fuck it. In any case, Slynk came through my hometown Victoria last month (December) for an epic night with Featurecast and Neon Steve and I took the opportunity to get ahold of him for a little talk. Read it up. We chat about his musical beginnings, his love of his adopted Vancouver and the fellow DJs that get the thumbs up from the man himself. Big ups to Slynk for bringing funk to the people and, less importantly, taking some time to talk some words at me. Respect.

Read More