Readymade is currently looking for a planet big enough to hold their sound. In the climate of 2002, the planet Earth is too cluttered, populated and filthy for the wide and cleansing sounds of Readymade. Theirs is a hard, hard existence, my friends. Please do your part to help Kevin Hilts, Arch, and Throwen Daggers lift themselves out of the mire that is this world’s state. Without caring people like you, Readymade may continue to do amazing things that will go unnoticed in this unjust land. All it takes to support a band like Readymade is just 12 cents a day (until you reach the price of their latest album, On Point and Red). That’s right, things can look much brighter for bands like Readymade if you just lend your support. Help make this world a better place. Give today.
Discorder: Where are the members from and how did you all meet?
Hilts: All from Vancouver. Me, Daggers, and Arch have been friends for years. DT and the Doc are members of Pipedream (I use the present tense because they have started recording again).
What is the right time, place, and situation to listen to Readymade?
Hilts: Hmm… Walkman. Dark. Cold. Clouds illuminated by the city lights. From a vantage point where you can see headlights crossing over bridges. In a situation of uncertainty bordering on depression, skating around the edges of hopelessness, but defiant about it.
If you could be anywhere at any time in history, where would you be? Why?
Arch: Probably sometime in the ‘60s, so I could go see Steve McQueen movies in the theatre on their opening nights.
Hilts: Cliché, but probably right now. We’re passing through epochs on an almost daily basis right now, not that anyone is really noticing… this is as interesting a socio-political environment as we’ve ever seen. It might seem quiet, but things are stirring. Take just a handful of these globalization protestors, get them to shave their beards and put down the bong for a few minutes, get a commerce degree, exploit technology to organize across borders and I think some real interesting things will happen. One thing is for sure: anyone that speculates this to be the end of history, the great liberal democratic dream, is really fucking mistaken. Inequality = friction = change.
When you think about Vancouver radio, what comes to mind?
Hilts: That we get no spins west of Alberta (college radio or otherwise). Readymade gets played more in Atlanta than we do at our own university. We really don’t have a very strong relationship with what’s left of the Vancouver music scene. With the closure of the Starfish Room, things have just gotten ridiculous. I’m repeatedly told by friends in other cities that Vancouver’s rep is just the fuckin’ worst. We are known for the cliquey-ness of our scene, or rather that the cliquey-ness has discouraged the emergence of a scene. Oh well. The new Circlesquare record is a product of Van, so you can’t really argue with the fact that this city is a breeding ground for some pretty interesting stuff.
What makes you say that Atlanta radio plays you more than local radio? You know this for sure?
Hilts: Just an example, but we went Top 10 at WRAS in Atlanta, which I believe is the biggest college station in North America. I don’t believe we ever even charted for a week at any BC college/co-op station, though we have been in the top 25 in Canada for 8 weeks or something. I ain’t complaining, but I can’t say I entirely understand it, either. To me, our music seems very married to Vancouver. I guess no one else in Vancouver feels it.
What’s the worst thing about Canadian culture?
Hilts: Its willingness to accept American hegemony. Beware of dollarization.
What can Canadians do to control their own destiny?
Hilts: A few things: There is no need to deregulate and privatize our heavy industry, natural resources, or utilities simply to allow US firms to come in and swoop them up. Also, I would like to see us align ourselves as much as possible with the EU when it comes to foreign policy, as opposed to our current state of lap-dogism. And of course keep public education and healthcare as universal as possible. A recent OECD study had us at second place in literacy and fourth or fifth in science/math. The US was way down the list because their system is more classist and their government does not spend enough. Gordon Campbell and friends would have us chase that standard to the bottom in the name of fiscal prudency, while their fuckin’ kids go to St. George’s and Vancouver College.
If I like Readymade, what other bands might I like?
Bark Psychosis, My Bloody Valentine, Hood, New Order, Flying Saucer Attack, South Pacific.
What’s the difference between Heaven and Hell?
Hilts: Don’t plan on seeing either.
When you rent videos, do you rewind them before taking them back?
Arch: Rewind? Who doesn’t have a DVD player these days?
Hilts: Agreed. Not everyone can afford DVDs yet. Though I think excuses for not owning a computer in North America are starting to wear thin, especially if you have a TV.
Where did you record On Point and Red?
Hilts: My apartment, except for the drums. Late, late at night. Frequently drunk.
Drunk on what? I’m looking for brand names here.
Hilts: Hmm. I was drinking red wine, I think. The other guys were probably kickin’ Boddington’s or Granville Island something or others.
How was the recording process structured? Who produced it and from where do we know them?
Arch: The recording process usually starts with me making a 4-track cassette tape which has the original music structure and vocal melody on it. Then I give that tape to Hilts and Daggers and they fill in the gaps—adding keyboard parts, melodies—and refine the bass line and drum machine parts, if any. Then a decision is made whether to put it on a record or shelve it, basically. Then it’s reconstructed from the ground up in final recording. DT did all the engineering and kicked in some musical ideas on some of the tracks. You’d know him from Pipedream. We all produced it together.
Hilts: Process? Record the drums with throw-away beds, then DI the whole thing. Reel-to-reel still. Not much in the way of “off the floor” recording for us.
Readymade’s list of best things of 2001 is:
Hilts: Hood’s Cold House is really strong. I can’t really remember what else happened this year. Twelve months is a long time these days. Worst moments are the ascensions of GW Bush, Ariel Sharon, and Gordon Campbell.
What picture would you like to see next to your interview?
Hilts: A hammer and sickle over a map of BC. We’re not really pure Marxists, but that would be a cool image to see next to the interview. Especially in light of this current government.
What’s the best thing about Readymade?
Hilts: That’s your job.
How do you feel about being labeled a shoegazer band?
Hilts: If “shoegazer” is defined as indifference or as head-in-the-clouds-outer-space-dreaminess, then it’s not cool. But we do make guitar-centric music that is heavily atmospheric, so what can you do? How do you define it?
To me it’s a transcending blast of beauty. I’m sort of tired of being pigeonholed as a type of listener when I like so many genres (at the same time hating most popular music). I like its all-encompassing wall-of-sound.
Hilts: I like the all-encompassing wall-of-sound, too. Sonic depth is the dopest when you pick up different frequencies and spaces every time you listen to it. What more appropriate genre could there be right now? A music of an exact space in a world of chaos, uncertainty and discord, a world itself in an exact space. But it has nothing to do with being dreamy.
How about religion? Natural human instinct, which means something, or superstition and cause of too many conflicts?
Hilts: I wish religion was totally irrelevant, but as evidenced this fall, it most certainly is not. It just isn’t necessary. I don’t know about you, but my morals and actions fare just fine in the absence of religion. Ask a Christian if they feel like they would suddenly become a “bad” person without their religion to guide them. The look they give you back is pretty interesting. I’ve come to terms with my own finite existence, so that motivation goes out the window, too. Fuck it, I give religion another 30 years. People have to grow up sometime.
What does On Point and Red mean?
Hilts: “On Point” is a nearly extinct hip hop phrase that debatably means something like “bold” or “readiness.” “Red” you can guess—just blending two cultural elements that influence and interest us. Sloganeering as much as anything. Putting as much distance as we can from fucking “dreamy” descriptions of us. Didn’t help though.
How do you know when the song is right?
Arch: Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly when a song is complete. Sometimes the original concept that was on the demo tape gets an overhaul before we prep it for the studio (by studio I mean someone’s apartment). Same melody, structure often changes. Parts stay the same, they just get reorganized a bit. We’ll just keep playing around with it until it clicks. Other times we’ll know right away, and we’ll try and keep the song as close to the demo as possible.
Why do you suppose the political environment has become so selfish? What can we do about that? How long can we continue to steal from the poor and give to the rich?
Hilts: Not much fuckin’ longer. Whether people are aware of it or not, wealth disparities are getting worse, not better. Concentration and consolidation. Either there can be a shift in consciousness by the “haves” that a) this system is not sustainable, or b) we are not living with any degree of compassion, or if I may quote Lightstrands: We “won’t settle things conflict might settle first.” As for BC, we got duped into thinking there was something fatally wrong with our situation of extreme relative wealth, and only marginal growth. Got duped into thinking that without 5% growth we were doomed or something. Retarded. In all fairness though, some of that NDP action was just laughable. So we elect these [Liberal] pricks for alleged economic reasons, and now we’re getting the other side of the coin: the social policy.
TO EVERYONE READING, FIGHT THIS FUCKING TREATY PROCESS REFERENDUM WITH YOUR DYING BREATH
You obviously have some heart-felt political opinions. Is there anything political about Readymade’s music?
Hilts: In the lyrics here and there. In some of the visual imagery. On the website. Pretty tough to be political musically though and still be listenable or emotive. Capitalism isn’t going to chase us into some corner of musical obscurity just for some misguided sense of integrity. The ideal situation is to make music that mostly deals with emotions, and then do a thousand interviews where we can cut loose on the political front.
Are you playing around town any time soon?
Arch: We have some plans right now to do some stuff in the spring and we’ve started rehearsing a live set. We’re trying to keep in shape so if anything comes up in the meantime we’ll be relatively ready. We’ve, unfortunately, had to decline a couple of good shows recently just because we’re so out of shape, like Mercury Rev and another offer in Calgary. The music scene in Vancouver is so dead right now it’s ridiculous, and the venue situation is also really sad. Those factors don’t help much either. But yes, we are planning on playing some shows soon. •