Homegrown Labels


Sophia Yang
Colin Brattey

“Community curator,” “content creator,” “Chinese-Canadian.” These are all labels that KC Wei, founder of agony klub, identifies with, but not without questioning and challenging their meanings.

Earning an MFA from Simon Fraser University in 2012, KC has found her niche blending together music, art and writing under her loosely designated label, agony klub. “A common thread through all of those disciplines is writing, and that’s what agony klub is focused on, or at least, the starting point,” KC explains.

agony klub, the label, was born from the monthly art rock? series that KC has been organizing at the Astoria since September 2015. Through art rock?, KC introduces “popular esoteric,” a new age term centered around making popular things strange again. But it’s more than just that, KC explains, “There’s a political responsibility I feel in making art. I want it to do some good in the world, be a space locally that can feel new and out of the routine, that doesn’t need to become something other than itself.”

She admits that planning shows once a month was hard at the beginning, but the intention has never changed. agony klub and its productions have always been about appreciating diverse genres of music, from the loud to the barely audible. art rock? is all about offering a space to break the rules, and to surprise. “The agony (i.e. doubt) and precarity is something I welcome, I suppose. […] I like the uncertainty, it’s always very full of potential. No matter which way it swings, it always ends up back in the middle to fill up again,” says KC.  

KC Wei || Photography by Coin Brattey for Discorder

Besides creating and releasing music, KC also writes about music. In addition to producing a semi-consistent publication called AK, KC edits Whitney Houston, et al., an anthology of writing on popular music, with the second volume coming out in March. “In Whitney Houston Vol 2,” KC explains, “all the writers went to a personal place, and I think that is really powerful. Something that is popular is supposed to be generic enough for a mass audience to consume, but when we can identify our own selves in it, then there’s some alchemy at work worth exploring, whether it be critical or celebratory; often it’s both.”

In this forthcoming issue, Steffanie Ling, KC’s coworker at VIVO Media Arts Centre, wrote a piece on the parallels and cynicisms of K-Pop to American pop music. Steffanie also happens to be KC’s partner in publishing Stills, a starter zine that reviews films.

You may have noticed, there is a thread that links KC’s projects and agony klub releases: a fixation on pop culture. This is especially apparent in agony klub’s print catalogue. “Pop culture is, for the most of us, what triggered our awakening as young adults,” says KC. She continues, “because agony klub has zero ambition to climb the career ladder of criticism, and has nothing to answer to except for this idea of ‘making the popular esoteric,’ I think it frees up a lot of room for writers to experiment honestly, and to get at the core of something that’s usually an aside. And these asides can hold rigorous ideas and critiques, but also be light and stylistic in a way that don’t really fit academia and journalism.”

Another side-project of KC’s is a documentary about the Vancouver music scene. Thus far, it is comprised of footage from art rock?, Red Gate’s Halloween cover show last year, other music events, and some interviews with local personalities.

What’s next for agony klub? Vancouver band Puzzlehead, dubbed ‘clowncore’ and self proclaimed “needing at least one French word” in their online bio, will be releasing a cassette with the label on April 1. Later in 2018, KC’s own project, hazy — which she nonchalantly describes as “shoegazey and dreamy, abstract and complementary” — will be releasing a split vinyl with Eshuta. hazy will also be going on a small Western Canadian tour with Winnipeg band, The Pinc Lincolns this spring.

It was so easy to chat with KC and cross-pollinate recommendations, that an hour-long discussion flew by. With all the disciplines agony klub finds itself producing, you’re bound to catch KC in action, and with passion.



The next installment of art rock? will be Tuesday, March 20, featuring Cave Girl, Echuta, Valsi and DJ Owen Ellis. art rock? will conclude in late April with a special outdoor show at Robson Square — more details to be announced soon. For more on agony klub, visit


Shelf Life


Dora Dubber

If you’ve never been to Lucky’s Comics, it’s on Main Street just north of King Edward, snug between a midwifery and a grocery store. Inside, it’s long and narrow with more comics and books stuffed onto its shelves than you think that there could be. They recently announced a collaboration with Vancouver Comic Art Fair to create Lucky’s Lounge in a room at the Roundhouse Community Centre. The room will be converted into a space where burgeoning artists and DIY presses can show their work, curated by Lucky’s members Tom Whalen and Juli Majer. DDOOGG, a small, experimental press lead by Majer, Cristian Hernandez and Tylor MacMillan, is one of the groups participating.

Illustration by Worm Pores for Discorder Magazine

I first encountered DDOOGG at the 2016 Vancouver Art Book Fair. I remember because I was struck by their tote design: an upright dog in a top hat and bowtie, smoking a cigarette, and carrying a skull while flipping off something to their right.


DDOOGG started in 2015 when Majer, Hernandez and MacMillan took a class together at Emily Carr University of Art + Design on artist collectives. The three discovered a mutual interest in publication and published their first zine by the end of the semester. It was launched at Lucky’s in a reading room that featured work from other local publications, visual art and hot dogs.

DDOOGG’s publications take on a flexible definition of what comics can be. Hernandez describes the press as “cheap, sustainable, occasionally collaborative, with minimal, playful and amateurish design,” and Majer elaborates on its role as a local bridge between fine art, critical thinking and comics: “Comics are a very traditional and old form of storytelling. You can use certain formal aspects as a guide to jump off of and create tension in other areas. Create a new system of reading with images.”

Majer’s fascination with the medium is reflected in DDOOGG’s roster. To name a few, artists like Hayley Dawn Muir, Will Dereume and Chandra Melting Tallow have published under the press. And while they all have unique bodies of work, there is a distinct other-wordly sense to all their styles. Hernandez attributes the press’ overall cohesion to the artists’ collective approaches to comics as “multi-layered matrices of literary culture and visual communication, and thus brimming with potential for experimentation and development.”

Illustration by Julie Majer for Discorder Magazine

But I don’t think that quite captures the singular element of DDOOGG. There’s just something about Muir’s shadowed blobs and Majer’s sensual teletubbies that makes so much sense, and whether that’s a similar method or an indescribable energy, I’m fully on board.

Collectively, the press started out non-political. For the initial class DDOOGG took together, they had to produce a manifesto and they went about it cheekily. “We weren’t really looking to advance any political agendas at the time, so we just plagiarized a bunch of intriguing and dramatic quotes from other sources and replaced the subject with ‘dog,’” says Hernandez. But in light of Vancouver’s housing crisis, their priorities are shifting.

Hernandez explains,“I believe artists realize this, and are beginning to lend more of their time, energy, and whatever resources they can afford to solidarity-building with anti-displacement struggles and housing movements in the city — not merely as individual art workers nor members of creative collectives, but also as common political agents — integrated into the cooperative mobilization of communities that strive against a city run by mercenary sociopaths (developers and landlords) and cowardly sycophants (politicians and bureaucrats).” DDOOGG has begun to open their studio to other DIY presses and artists to publish explicitly political releases. Some of these include Chinatown and the Persistence of Anti-Asian Racism by Jannie Leung and Nate Crompton released in 2017, and the forthcoming Art Worker’s Guide to Post-Olympic DTES and Chinatown by the 2016 N.O.P.E. research cluster at 221A.

Their social consciousness is manifest in DDOOGG’s dedication to making space through publication. “It is the best thing,” Majer explains, “to help someone make their ideas into a physical object and then to distribute it.” Since its conception, the press’ initiatives have provided space for artists and community members online and in print, and their hopes for the future show no signs of wavering from that ethos.




DDOOGG will be participating in the Vancouver Comic Books Fair and Lucky’s Lounge. Throughout 2018, they will be publishing issue 2 of Moogie Mag in collaboration with Claire Newton, the 5th edition of Freaker UNLTD, and William Dereume’s newest comics titled EggShell 2. More at