Locus Interview – TEA Volume 14

Phillip Hong
March 2, 2010

Locus Interview

When I think of Chinese pop music, it’s usually this melodramatic mess with digital instruments that seem to spit out quite a cheap sound, combined with lyrics that are created for no other purpose than to entertain to the lowest possible common decimal. In fact, I believe there is a lack of soul in music that is created for the language, because a lot of that market is focused on selling albums as a Olympic sport out of all things.

Locus provides a very different, a more profound point of view into this otherwise failed genre. For those who don’t understand the Chinese language, they have also given equal footing by being bilingual with their material. It’s a form of pop that isn’t corny or ridiculous at all… in fact, a number of genres take an influential role in their music, and that’s probably their biggest draw.

I should brush up on my own pathetically amateurish knowledge of this mother tongue before I say anything else. My ridiculous questions have been answered by bandmates Jason Chu and Kaila So.

PHIL: How was the band formed in 2006?

KAILA: We actually didn’t think about forming a band at first. It started when Jason and Kelvin began writing music ten years ago as a duo. I came on board in 2005 when Jason and I met while still playing for another band. Eric joined shortly after he began collaborating with Jason in late 2006. This led to a string of collaborations between the four of us, and in a very short time, we discovered we had written about 30 songs! Then we realized it would make perfect sense if we all joined together to contribute to each others’ musical journey. Now, here we are, a songwriting group and best friends for life.

PHIL: How did music in general come into your life?

JASON: Kelvin and I started studying piano when we were four years old. Eric is self-taught in guitar and drums. Kaila has previously fronted other local bands and contributed vocals for local acts XYL and Daddy Chang.

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James Ashberry Interview – TEA Volume 14

Phillip Hong
March 7, 2010

Honest, Experienced, Simple…

There’s a very nice feeling involved when you base yourself as an artist with the most abstract of descriptions. Some artists revel and lavish themselves with elaborate tales from tours and sophisticated set ups that rival rocket science, and that sort of identity is well deserved in many instances.

But James Ashberry is the ultimate antonym to that sort of description. In fact, simplicity seems to be the core of his music, travelling to other places with just an acoustic guitar and a good voice. A wealth of experience seems to be a catalyst when it comes to telling his story as it is, at least with an instrument.

If only someone could explain the term “simplicity” to me because I presume that my introductions seem to be the exact opposite of trying to get to the heart of the matter. But that’s another story…

PHIL: How did you get into music, in general?

JAMES: I grew up in a musical environment, My grandmother’s brothers performed in a vaudeville act in the early 1900s complete with washboards and jugs.

She herself has a wonderful singing voice as does my father. My uncle taught me guitar at the age of 10 and I sang in the choir in public school. It’s in my blood!

PHIL: You have performed along well known artists such as Kim Mitchell and April Wine. What is the best part of performing alongside fellow talent?

JAMES: Honestly, the best part of performing along side well known artists such as these is the validation you feel just being part of it. Oh, and being able to tell your friends and family that you met Kim Mitchell.

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Bain Anderson Interview – TEA Volume 14

Phillip Hong
March 1, 2010

Mixing Flavours of Music as a part of Life

This artist must have been a very curious connoisseur when it comes to tasting music – in fact, he’s compared a good track to a “bit of fine wine” for the ears. What I find very nice about this comparison is that you don’t really need to be an alcoholic to truly enjoy a fair bit of gluttony, and your liver doesn’t need a transplant if you listen to too much music.

Regardless of the horrible poetic language that was found in the previous paragraph, Bain Anderson has somehow made music an integral part of his life, like an alcoholic with a bottle of gin.

What really touches my heart is the fact that Bain has reminded me that creating music isn’t just a task for the ears, or a recipe for a chef… it can really inspire you in different ways.

PHIL: Your music has been called a “fine rock and roll wine”. What do you do to make it such an enjoying vintage?

BAIN: I think first and foremost timing plays a factor, how long to mature and when to bring it to the public. My sound has been in the making for a few years now and any release pre-mature to this one honestly would have been sub-par to my standard. I have also brought in a “brew master” mixologist Sam Ryan of SOS Music. Sam was the first producer I have met to really “get me” musically. He has definitely brought in some extra “flavour”.

PHIL: Tell me about “Place to Be”. What inspired you to create this song?

BAIN: In the past I have been known to be sort of a serious songwriter. Not too long ago I turned a corner in my life by surviving some adversity. After that, I decided to write songs that are fun, upbeat and hopefully out there to help people forget (even for just 3 minutes and 5 seconds) the trials and tribulations that life can bring.

PHIL: Children must be a very important in your life. How did it feel to be called a “rock star” by your son’s class?

BAIN: Having a son who has down syndrome has had a big impact in my life. Both musically and spiritually. Being treated like a “rock star” by my son’s class meant so much to me because kids to me, are some of the best critics you can find. They listen to music in its simplest form, the song that it is.

The kids don’t care who your producer is, if you’re signed to a label or if you recorded the CD in your garage. Kids either like your tunes or they don’t. They will however give you the kudos for trying your best and shooting for your dreams! My son Michael is a music nut (like his dad) and if I can stay in his MP3 player then I feel like I am on the right track.

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