Posted: July 27th, 2007
"depressed and drunk in my room writing songs"
Interview & photos by Schmitty
James Gnarwell from the epic Vancouver skate rock band STREETS has started a new project. The name is Bison, and they are heavy as fuck. I caught them the other night in SF and it blew me away, so I ended up going out to Oakland last night to see ’em again and spoke with the man behind the music, Mr. James Gnarwell himself.
How long has Bison been a band?
This version of it has been together since October of last year.
How did it evolve?
After STREETS broke up, I spent the summer totally depressed and drunk in my room writing songs for my next project. I had a hell of a time putting it together ’cause it's hard to find decent musicians who are also cool dudes.
So were these friends of yours already?
A couple were friends, and some I just knew from the music scene in Vancouver who weren’t doing any type of solid projects. I basically totally lucked the fuck out with these dudes; they're awesome and talented and can put up with my bullshit.
Where to from here?
San Diego, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Tucson, and then camping trips on the way back up.
What's up with the Vancouver scene? It seems to be cranking out epic shit left and right. Absolutely. Vancouver’s had a real resurgence of good, hard music. Vancouver's always been known for indie rock stuff, kind of lighter stuff—which is totally rad and that’s great. But there’s been more kind of rockin’ tunes coming out lately, which is really good. It’s a good balance to have, and in Vancouver all those bands can play together, you know. We play together with indie rock bands; a lot of our tight bros are in those bands, too. It’s a good community. Vancouver's showing us a lot of love, it’s great.
What are the comparisons between Bison and STREETS, and then the differences?
The comparisons are probably the reasons we do it, the stoke behind it. Just try and get people stoked, which is basically all I want to do. Get people excited so they forget about their problems. We do a lot of guitar harmony stuff, which I think was pretty present in STREETS. One of the major differences: it's a lot heavier. The songs are longer. There are less vocals too, which I was really interested in doing. I didn’t want it to be such a vocal-based band. I wanted it to be pure sound. True, heavy sound.
What are you gonna do after this tour?
We just finished this CD on Forest records, which is a new awesome indie label out of Vancouver. I think we'll probably do a small Canadian tour and send the album out and try to get an American label as well.
12/11/2017Warning! Aggressive, messy and chaotic! Larbfest celebrates the bands that provide the soundtrack to our skateboarding. Having a session before the gig is a standard ritual, but this time we turned it into a little mission from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, harvesting parks and spots in between gigs. Turn it up and check it out! —Hitz
12/11/2017It was the Larb’s turn to blaze in and show some love to a couple of the finest cities in the Midwest with an onslaught of bands, zines and thrash. Check out the article here.
12/11/2017Chester Hansen, Alex Sowinski and Leland Whitty took a few minutes to talk amidst a bombardment of selfie requests from fans.
12/11/2017We present to you this interview featuring Cory Hanson and Lee Landley of LA’s best kept secret: Wand. Check it out.
12/11/2017When it comes to legends in skateboarding, the name Eric Dressen always gets in there. The ‘70s micro-midget talks about Logan Earth Ski, Laura Thornhill and a young kid named Julien Stranger. Been there, done it. Eric D knows his stuff.—Jake Phelps
12/11/2017Incantation’s longtime drummer Kyle Severn took a break from rehearsal to answer our call about their latest work.
12/11/2017"Hot Dogs" is a audio/video project celebrating the tangents of a delirious brain over the course of a late-night skate to the store. –Aesop Rock
12/11/2017Ishmael and Baba opened up about their initial meeting, why they wanted to remain anonymous and how corny rappers are dumbing down the culture. Check it out.
12/11/2017Volcom teamed up with the guys at Burger Records to bring you this collection. Check it out.
12/11/2017Given a new lease on life late last year with a brand new liver, we caught up with Mike IX and the boys before a recent Eyehategod gig at Brick By Brick in San Diego.