Vancouver quartet discuss their upcoming album and being mistaken for a Kpop band
“I was looking for the kPop BESTie lol.”
“This is not a talented and hot kpop girl group. You guys should change your name the name is taken by a popular famous kpop group already.”
These are just some of the things listed under the YouTube comment section of BESTiE’s music videos.
Unlike their Korean female counterparts, BESTiE is a Vancouver-based male quartet made up of musicians Andrew Janczewski on guitar, Daniel Ruiz on drums, Rob Cameron on bass, and Tristan Orchard on vocals.
“We certainly wouldn’t have named our band [BESTiE] if we knew there was another band with the same name in Korea,” said Orchard, the band’s frontman. “But you can never have too many besties,” he added cleverly.
Back in Vancouver, Orchard ran Goody, a jam space where different acts can perform and meet fellow musicians; it was here that the four decided to form BESTiE. Since coming together back in 2012, the self-described “post-wave, posi-core, tropi-vibes” band placed amongst the top five at last year’s Peak Performance Project which allowed them to play the Commodore Theatre, a renowned Vancouver venue. They have also been tirelessly working on their upcoming debut album No Bad Days.
“We’ve been working on it for quite a while, and it’s great to finally have some new music out,” said Orchard.
So far, they’ve released two singles with accompanying music videos: “Pineapple,” and “Asleep On The Bus.”
Often compared to the likes of indie-pop stars Vampire Weekend, BESTiE’s sound is an eclectic “mixture of music influences.” Janczewski grew up listening to African music, while Ruiz’s Colombian roots seep into the sunny, fast-paced nature of their playing. Orchard, who grew up listening to The Police, had not listened to the British band in roughly a decade but admits that their singles do have a “Police and reggae influence” to them.
“[Janczewski] dictates the sound a lot,” he said, “but it mostly just comes about organically.”
“There’s a lot of pop music influences in our sound too, and maybe surf-rock. Ideally I’d like to say we sound like BESTIE, but being compared to Vampire Weekend is not a bad thing.”
Orchard would also describe themselves as something called “emoji-pop.”
“I like to make-up different genres just to keep it interesting,” he laughs. “I don’t know, I think ‘emoji-pop’ is fun, and happy…but maybe when you’re using emojis, you’re having fun, and when you’re listening to BESTiE you’re having fun, and when you’re talking to your actual bestie you’re using emojis?” he added, unsure of how exactly to describe this invented iPhone emoticon-inspired genre.
When asked what his personal favourite emoji was, Orchard paused to check his phone. “I think the emoji with the shades is a pretty good one.”
The frontman’s love of all things in shades is apparent in the band’s artistic direction. Their album cover, for example, features a pup in a pair of multi-coloured frames.
“I was really inspired by Tumblr and dogs with shades,” said Orchard. “[The cover] combines all our favourite things: dogs with sunglasses looking cool in beach attire, eating ice cream.”
The video for their first single “Pineapple,” was directed by Orchard and features some of the band’s favourite things, including, you guessed it: pineapples and other tropical fruit. After performing at this year’s edition of the South By SouthWest festival, Orchard was amazed by the fact that the crowd knew the words to the song.
“It’s not my favourite song to play,” he said, “but it has some catchy elements that people can hopefully associate with… like pineapples,” he joked.
Though it does not necessarily show through in their sound, the cold Vancouver winter can take a toll on the band members. “Our music is completely inspired by the thought of escaping the Vancouver winter and endless rain,” he said. “I think we’re just dreaming of summer and hotter places.”
Despite not always having the financial bounty to record or produce their music, BESTiE are beyond proud of their debut album No Bad Days out April 22.
“Just with the idea of ‘no bad days,’ you’re acknowledging that there will be bad days, but it’s the desire to only have good days. Our music is our source of happiness,” he said, “but we’re human, like anyone else and we have bad days: can’t have good days without bad days.”
Set to release some new music videos shortly, BESTiE are eager to release a sophomore record.
“Right now, its already time to think of the next album. We can’t wait for that and
how the sound will progress. I think our follow-up will be a goth album,” he laughed.
BESTiE will be in Montreal on May 8 at L’Escogriffe Bar.