Vancouver based DJ and producer Iain Howie not only makes his return to Rhombus with his EP ‘Fleur’ but is also responsible for the first vinyl release of the label ever. Therefore Howie enlightens us with three new cuts out of his feather that capture a vivid atmosphere and contain Indie influenced vocals to create his own vision of electronic music. The Canadian describes his track ‘Bully’ as ‘a style [he’s] going to elaborating upon in the future’ as he has been exploring the songwriting aspect of electronic music quite a bit and thinks it’s definitely going to be something he wants to showcasing in his future release. Torture the Artist not only spoke to Iain about his current release but also about Canadian traditions, a romantic piano night in Vancouver and much more. To set the tone for this poetic and romantic chat, we advise you to listen to Iain Howie’s track ‘Bully’.
Torture the Artist: If given the chance, would you give up the extra ‘I’ on your name so that you can become more easily searchable or does this emphasize your Indie spirit?
Iain Howie: No, I’d like to keep it the way it is. Besides not having a more unique name makes me more easily searchable?
Torture the Artist: Vancouver I love you…
Iain Howie: ‘Your air is fresh
Your mountains are vast
Your rainfall trickles down
The nature is lush The nightlife is plush
And winter makes me frown.‘
This question took me the longest to finish.
There’s so much more going on in the underground here than the media is leading people to believe.
Torture the Artist: Vancouver gives home to people from all kind of ethnical backgrounds. Name a track that expresses the city’s identity?
Iain Howie: For that very reason it’s tough to lock down the whole city with just one tune. That being said, I’m going to go with ‘Florist – 112712‘ on Pacific Rhythm. It’s a pretty accurate representation of what‘s been coming out of this city over the past 10+ years. But to be honest, there’s so much more going on in the underground here than the media is leading people to believe. There’s lots of new music cooking and labels like Groundwerk and Nordic Trax are scouting out local talent to get it out to the world.
Torture the Artist: Honestly speaking, Vancouver is probably not the city you would connect with electronic music in the first place. How deep did you have to dig to find the treasured music?
Iain Howie: Thanks to the internet most people have access to all the music they want wherever they are. I got a lot of stuff from friends and once I found what I liked I dug a little deeper through the virtual trenches.
Torture the Artist: Compared to Europe laws in Vancouver are different, most clubs close between 2:00-4:00am, while alcohol is not flowing after 2:30am, does this affect the track selection in clubs and generally the perception of electronic music in the city?
Iain Howie: I would’t say it does much to the track selection. Sadly the majority of Vancouverites tend to go out for the party, not for the music, and I think feel indifferently towards track selection. Plus, if you have to stop drinking at 2:30am in Vancouver, you’re at the wrong venue. <winks>
It’s in true Canadian fashion to apologize before breaking the law.
Torture the Artist: What’s a track that makes people break Vancouver laws and continue drinking after 2:30am?
Iain Howie: I mean, well obviously Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry‘. It’s in true Canadian fashion to apologize before breaking the law.
Torture the Artist: And where do people/you head for the afterhour?
Iain Howie: There are lots of good low key spots here that’ll go very late but the address tends to be announced shortly beforehand. Aside from that, Open Studios and Gorg-o-Mish have great tunes going late.
Torture the Artist: ‘Fleur’ is your second EP on Rhombus. Besides the title track the EP includes two more cuts from you called ‘Lighten Up’ and ‘Bully’. Not sure a ‘bully’ would want to ‘lighten up’ up and come out under ‘fleur’, but it looks like he had to this EP. Would you characterize ‘bully’ as an artistic influence/style that will mature in future projects, but needed to be tamed at this point or is this your way of shedding light on a particular artistic style which will just remain stuck in its own play?
Iain Howie: This is a good question. ‘Bully‘ is definitely a style I’m going to be elaborating upon in the future. I’ve been exploring the songwriting aspect of electronic music quite a bit and I think it‘s definitely going to be something I’ll be showcasing in my future releases.
Torture the Artist: Which song of the EP would you like to have remixed, and by whom?
Iain Howie: Definitely ‘Bully‘. I’d be stoked, if Caribou remixed it. He tends to go all out with the weirdness which I love.
Torture the Artist: In your biography it is said that you have a preference for Indie music or Indie influences in your music. How did the genre shape your teenage years and what’s an Indie song you connect with it?
Iain Howie: This all depends how you define ‘Indie‘, but artists like Radiohead and Tame Impala had complete control over their sound and really inspired the DIY production style for me. Let‘s go for Tame Impala’s ‘Alter Ego‘.
If you come to Vancouver I’ll serenade you by candlelight.
Torture the Artist: What instrument do you play and could you give us a tease?
Iain Howie: I’m mainly a piano player these days. I’m not sure how I could give you a tease. If you come to Vancouver I’ll serenade you by candlelight. How does that sound?
Torture the Artist: Quite romantic! <laughs>
Torture the Artist: Which electronic music artists would you wish to be your sibling?
Iain Howie: Definitely that Jimmy guy from Bob Moses, everybody tells me I look like him! <laguhs>
Torture the Artist: What song of yours do you want the mascot from high school do his dance moves to?
Iain Howie: Definitely ‘Fleur’.
Torture the Artist: Name three tracks that shaped your perception on things?
- Francis Harris ‘Dangerdream‘
- Radiohead ‘Pyramid Song‘
- Caribou ‘Sun‘
Listen and you’ll know why.
Torture the Artist: What’s the first song an alien should listen to when arriving on Earth, and why?
Iain Howie: Probably something from the Beatles, ‘A Day in the Life‘? You’re supposed to lead with your best material, aren’t you? – and pray that it is not deemed unworthy.