The music of Danes (stylized as danes) contains a unique property that, after a few discordant notes, will have you mentally dismantling the societal cage you’ve scrolled yourself into. On their latest video single, “End of Contract,” the Vancouver post-hardcore trio effectively build up a melange of noise until there’s a cathartic release of emotion, letting you catch your breath if only for a moment.
“A word we hear people use a lot is ‘tense,’ or ‘alarming.’ Like, literally part of that song kind of sounds like the worst kind of alarm that wakes you up,” says guitarist/vocalist Geordon Gaskill-Cadwallader. “I sort of imagine the crescendo of the song being like the worst part of someone’s day.”
The trio — made up of Gaskill-Cadwallader, Phillip Moore on bass, and Evan Heggen on drums — got their start in a moldy basement in East Vancouver. Due to the city’s sporadic rental reality, Danes have been forced to move jam spaces a few times but still managed to release their aptly titled debut LP, Molds, in 2021. Now, the band are teasing the release of their Dislocation EP (due November 2022) with the release of their first video single, “End Of Contract.”
Honing in on the band’s off-kilter mix of post-hardcore and noise rock, the track is lyrically based on the faux freewill we as humans are usually forced to live. Filmed and directed by Bruno Trivelli, the video follows a man going about his day while stalked by a physical Death. However, Death doesn’t symbolize the end, but rather the monotonous slog of our existence as we know it.
We spoke with Danes about moldy jam spaces, the harsh reality of being an artist in Vancouver, and their forthcoming EP.
Have you since upgraded from that moldy jam space in East Van from a few years back?
Phillip Moore: Ha, yeah! We’ve actually been through three as a band. That first one we really liked, despite the leaks causing a lot of dampness and eventual mold creeping into our amps. It’s since been torn down and will soon be some overpriced commercial space and offices. We had this other space briefly that never really felt like ours. We moved out of that one into the one we’re in now. Which really feels good. It’s a decent size with high ceilings. It’s a nice place to hang out.
What do you guys do outside of Danes?
Geordon Gaskill-Cadwallader: I play with another group of fellas and am part of a book club through Red Gate Arts Society. Aside from that, Danes is what I do outside of Danes.
P: I like to play electronic-type stuff; drum machine, sampler, guitar pedals, and loopy weirdness. I also try to spend as much time outside as I can, in the woods with my lady and our eight-year-old son; riding bikes, little hikes, camping.
Evan Heggen: I drum in the band Mi’ens and I have a few other projects on the go. Other than that I spend most of my time giving tarot card readings to my roommate’s cats.
What can you tell us about your upcoming EP, Dislocation?
E: With Dislocation, I think we honed in on what Danes is all about. And it turns out we’re pretty upbeat. Not cheery and hopeful, but more like, let’s have a good time while retaining our anxious and depressed demeanour.
G: It was recorded live-off-the-floor over two days at Rain City Recorders with Mariessa McLeod, who is one of our favourite people. We used Acoustic and Traynor amps and it was raining, and we were all really focused on it, during and for like two serious practice months beforehand.
What’s the reality of being a band in Vancouver when there is a huge rental crisis and art spaces/ venues are being slowly stripped away from communities?
G: It feels like a bigger situation than I’m even equipped to talk about because I don’t know how things in general get more expensive, and I hope they stop doing that. The reality is, and not to sound overly defeatist, but they name a price, and we have to pay it. Vancouver is an expensive city.
P: Yeah, it sucks. It’s really hard being displaced. We’ve been in three different apartments with our kid. Constantly living with a fear that we could be evicted. Just like that first jam space. Then settling for something because you’re not sure you’ll be able to find something else suitable. I’m really glad there are people out there with the drive to keep our art venues in the city alive.
I get the sense that it’s more than Death chasing the man in your new video. Phillip, you wrote the treatment so where did the initial idea come from?
P: Yeah, I think we had just got the masters back and I was listening to them through my ear buds at work. I’m a carpenter and I work a minimum of 50 hours per week. So it feels like I’m always there. We had just spent so much time working on these songs, then the two days of recording were over and it was back to work. It was kind of a drag, really. I just kept thinking about that feeling. The feeling of something always being there to kind of keep you in your place. I’d probably been working two months straight at that time, so maybe a little more bummed out than usual. But I had the whole video pretty much planned out in my head, so I asked Geordon to send the lyrics and when I read through them I thought, ‘Oh.. this fits!’ We were really lucky to find Bruno and work with him. He was super into it from the start and I think he did a really great job.
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