Ten years ago, a group of Abbotsford twenty-somethings got together to play their first ever show in a church basement. At the time they called themselves You Say Party! We Say Die!, dubbed their genre “dance punk”, and had four songs to their name. Since then they have released four albums, a handful of EPs, dropped half their name and toured the world playing everything from basement parties to major outdoor festivals. Today, You Say Party! gets ready for the next chapter of band life with the release of their new EP Decennium.
[pullquote]“That’s what ultimately brought us back together after the hiatus; we just missed playing music together, working together.” – You Say Party! keyboardist Krista Loewen[/pullquote]While every small town wannabe musician might dream of world stages and smoky music videos, the members of You Say Party! didn’t have their sights set that far ahead.
“We were mainly just alleviating suburban boredom,” says keyboardist Krista Loewen. “We thought that maybe if we got out to play some shows in Vancouver, we could get signed to a Vancouver label, and maybe even go on a cross-Canada tour.”
It didn’t take long for the band to start playing shows in Vancouver, with the members quickly moving to the city. Their dream of finding a local label to take them on came true and the band piled into vans trekking across Canada on more than one occasion, playing cities and venues of all sizes, from Medicine Hat to Toronto, house shows to big outdoor festivals. They even went a little further afield, with tours taking them across the United States and to Europe, and Asia.
When asked about her favourite memories over the years, Loewen has a few distinct ones that include a big dream-come-true moment playing the John Peel stage at the Glastonbury Festival and another smaller, but equally memorable, house show in Abbotsford in which they “actually tore the roof off.”
For people who have followed the band however, the fact that they are playing together at all these days might come as a surprise. In 2010, just before leaving for another world tour, tragedy struck when drummer Devon Clifford died suddenly. Loewen left the group almost immediately following Clifford’s death, and after completing their scheduled tour the rest of the group went on indefinite hiatus.
That hiatus broke in 2012 when the band’s Toronto-based label Paper Bag Records asked them to get back together to play its own ten year anniversary showcase in Toronto.
“That was what got us talking about getting the band going again,” says Loewen, “We decided to do the show, and to just go from there.”
Turns out they all missed playing together – not just for the music, but because of their relationships. “That’s what ultimately brought us back together after the hiatus; we just missed playing music together, working together.”
While the band hasn’t launched back into full-time work as a touring band, they are slowly moving forward, reworking old material and writing new songs. And with the decision not to replace Clifford on drums, their sound has moved away from their punk roots to something more electronic, using drum machines and backing tracks.
To celebrate their ten year milestone, You Say Party! releases its new EP Decennium today. With a four-track piece of the past that includes the original demo tracks from two of their earliest singles including “Monster” (the original video featured above), as well as new covers and mixes, this new EP truly is a mix of the past and future.