Vancouver’s Aversions is a post-punk alt-rock group with a brand new EP, Base Portrait. We caught up with the band to chat about their influences, the new release, and their musical guilty pleasures.
From The Strait: How would you describe Aversions to someone who has never heard your music?
Aversions: Aversions is the musical equivalent of making a delicious sandwich out of three days’ worth of leftovers. We repurpose elements from the music movements we love (post-punk, post-hardcore, powerpop) into something familiar-yet-novel.
FTS: Who were your musical influences growing up, and how do they differ from your influences now?
Aversions – Sam: I was lucky to grow up with a dad who used to be a radio DJ, so we had tons of records, literal walls of 45s. I really loved pop construction and multi-part harmonies when I was a kid, doowop, The Inkspots, Beatles, Beach Boys, Zombies, etc. Then when I was a bit older my older sister had a bitching CD collection that I (sometimes, when she wasn’t looking) had access to: Beastie Boys, Beck, Rage, all the Battle Axe groups. These days, I kinda just listen to artists in our genre, as well as some minimalist electronica and some dark techno. My music tastes are narrowing as I get older and I’m pretty much okay with that.
Joe: Growing up I listened to a lot of classic rock. I also listened to jazz, blues, pop and a lot in between, artists like: Tracey Chapman, Clapton and Coltrane. I find that I’m listening to a broader range of music now, a lot bands I wasn’t exposed to that I’m finding inspiration from. I’m listening to artists like: Bowie, The Fall, Gang of Four, Fugazi, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Devo. I try to stay somewhat current with contemporary music that’s in the vein of what I want to play/write now: Protomartyr, PiLL, Sorry, Pile. I also try to keep an ear to the ground for local artists around Vancouver and Canadian artists in general, and am continually inspired by artists we get to play with: Apathy Spells, From the Ghost, Kamikaze Nurse, nêhiyawak, Electric Blanket, Whoop-Szo and Brutal Poodle, to name just a few.
FTS: Tell us about your new EP, Base Portrait – what was the inspiration, the process, and what are your favourite parts of it?
Aversions – Sam: I don’t know that there was an explicit inspiration for the record, we basically just booked a few days in the studio right after a two week tour and planned to go in and try and capture some of our live sound on “tape.” As it turned out, the songs we ended up recording did actually coalesce around a central theme, which is that each of them inhabits some despicable character or another. That’s where the title, “Base Portrait”, comes from: the songs are all character sketches of debased people.
In terms of process, Jordan and Terry at the Noise Floor are people I’ve worked with quite a bit in past projects, and I’ve always just felt so comfortable working with them, so it was kind of a no brainer to work with them again–especially given that we wanted an organic sound that was reflective of our live set. They have a very spiffy setup there in terms of each band member being able to dial in their own headphone mix as they go, which was really handy as we were recording the vast majority of the album live off the floor. And then we basically just jammed our songs for a few days and let Jordan loose to mix the results.
FTS: What’s next for Aversions, after the EP release?
Aversions: We had some BC dates lined up for April to support the new record, but with everything on hold right now with Covid-19 we’re hoping to reschedule those for sometime down the road. We planned to hit the road in the summer to tour the record across Canada but we’ll also have to wait and see how that goes. We’re a very live-first kind of band so it’s a real bummer, but it’s some serious first-world problems material right now in the grand scheme.
In the meantime, we’re working on new material with a very convoluted system of passing iPhone recordings back and forth online, since a couple of our members are in voluntary isolation in Vancouver right now. Jamming in the age of pandemics is weird but we’re gonna make it work!
FTS: What are your musical guilty pleasures? (Not that we believe in guilty pleasures, but for the sake of an interview… let’s pretend!)
Aversion – Sam: When I work out I’m still basically 18 year old hockey-bro me, I think I’m responsible for half of the all-time plays of Alexisonfire’s Crisis on Spotify.
Chad: Early 2000s RnB, Toni Braxton, Montell Jordan, Destiny’s Child. RIP Aaliyah.
Check out “Night Class” below, and go listen to Aversions’ full EP, Base Portrait!