blueprint Live / Blog

operators

Gettting to know Operators

By Vanessa Krystin Wong

This year marks a lot of change for musician Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs and Divine Fits as he starts up a brand new project, Operators. We’ve sat down with this multi-talented artists to discuss his new direction in music:

It always seems like you’ve constantly been in bands, keeping busy. It has been a bit between Wolf Parade/Divine Fits and Operators, what did you do in between?
Ha. That’s the maybe the first time anyones accused me of taking time between projects.  Actually, I started writing for Operators before DF was finished the album cycle. As soon as we got off the road, I was in the studio and started rehearsals.

Operators kind of came out of nowhere, debuting with a live show first instead of a recording. Why did you guys choose this approach?
I think a lot of bands (some of mine included) rely on these very long rollouts that are focussed entirely on creating a buzz and social media metrics etc. To a certain degree, it works. I think it also kind of obscures the best thing about the audience/performer relationship, which is a real live show. The live show is the last bastion of direct connection, you know? To experience a band live is to have something that only the people in that room on that night get. It’s special. I want to to let the songs get born in front of people. In a room. Loud.

Where did you guys play your first shows and what was the reaction?
Our first shows were in San Jose (at an all ages punk/hardcore venue) and in Columbus, OH (at Double Happiness). The reactions were good! Columbus was a little better than SJ. I think pounding 808 kicks and acid bass were not what the all ages crowd was expecting. Thankfully, a bunch of Devs girlfriends were there and tipped the dancing scales back into place.

Originally from BC, where do you call home now?
I’m in California right now but… drifting. Cloud based residency. I’m going to settle down in Montreal in between tours and recording for the next few months at least.

Operators is closer to Handsome Furs in terms of the use of synths. What made you decide to go towards dance music with this project?
I think I’ve been heading that way ever since Sound Kapital got written.  I mean…I’ve always been a big fan of synths (the first Wolf Parade record was all Jupiter4 and Yamaha CS-01) but the move to really rhythm driven music started around 2009-10.  This band is really the first time I’ve been able to mix all these musical elements that i love together.  It just came really naturally in the songwriting process.

I hear some new wave influence in Operators. What are some of your influences for this project?
New Wave… definitely. I’m a big fan of the melancholy icy production from that era. The beggining of digital when it sounded raw and glassy. Basically the sound of cocaine. haha.

Early acid house, like Gene Hunt. James Holdens new record. Living in Silicon Valley. The Solaris soundtrack. Disco. New Polish cassette released dance music. Sci Fi novels. Laird Barron. Soviet synth demos on youtube. It’s all raw material for creativity. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to so much new music while working on a project.

I’ve read that certain periods of your life influence the music you make. Where would you say your life is at now?
Productive. I don’t know…something happened to me in the last few years where I feel kind of reborn. I started drawing from all these experiences I’ve had playing music, travelling and just basically living my life… drawing from them in a really positive way. When I got onstage for the first night of our CMW shows in Toronto, I felt like id come back from the jungle reborn.

EP1 came out a few months ago, EP2 is out pretty soon. Is there going to be a full length in the future?
Yes.  We’re working on it right now.

You’ve worked with Sam before in Divine Fits. How did you meet Devojka, you synth lady?
I met Devojka in Macedonia when she opened for Handsome Furs at MKC.  She’s a really fantastic songwriter…most of the people at the show were there to see her.  We stayed in touch over the years and when i was putting operators together she was a easy choice for a bandmate.  We had one writing, rehearsal session where I introduced her to this giant Frankenstein table of electronics i built and she just basically took to it immediately.  That was that.  She’s really great at arranging songs and pushing them in a direction i wouldn’t normally thing of.  Ancient is a good example of that.  She and Sam really play off each other well too…

You’re currently on tour with Future Islands. Both of your groups make dance-y, poppy music. Have you and Samuel from Future Islands had a dance-off by any chance?
Nah, but we have be talking about doing a series of duets as Ivory and Ivory.

Lastly, you’re playing two homecoming shows of sorts in Vancouver – the debut of your new band as well. Are you excited?
Yes!

Operators perform on January 30th and 31st at the Fox Cabaret.

By Michelle Swami

events calendar

 July
 
Jul 19   Great Grandpa & Dead Soft   Fortune
Jul 20   Opia   Fortune
Jul 21   Comethazine (All Ages)   Fortune
Jul 21   Melvins (Vancouver)   Venue
Jul 22   Creed Bratton (Live)   Fortune
Jul 24   Melvins (Edmonton)   Starlite
Jul 25   Melvins (Calgary)   Commonwealth
Jul 27   Melvins (Winnipeg)   Pyramid
Jul 28   The Grouch & Eligh   Fortune
 
 August
 
Aug 7   Rex Orange County (All Ages)   Vogue Theatre
Aug 7   Smokepurpp   Venue
Aug 16   Flynt Flossy & Turquoise Jeep   Fortune
Aug 16   Insane Clown Posse   Venue
Aug 18   Lucki (All Ages)   Fortune
Aug 18   Yelawolf   Commodore
Aug 19   Insane Clown Posse (Calgary)   Commonwealth
Aug 21   Powerglove   Rickshaw
Aug 21   The Cadillac Three   Venue
Aug 29   JPEGMAFIA   Fortune
Aug 30   Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers   Venue
Aug 30   Let's Eat Grandma   Fortune
Aug 30   Poolside   Biltmore
 
 September
 
Sep 2   Ripe   Venue
Sep 3   The Exploited   Fortune
Sep 6   grandson   Venue
Sep 11   Brent Faiyaz   Fox
Sep 13   Buddy   Fortune
Sep 13   Ella Mai   Venue
Sep 14   Pell   Fortune
Sep 14   Ravyn Lenae   Venue
Sep 15   Duckwrth   Fortune
Sep 15   Saba   Venue
Sep 16   Fatima Al Qadiri   Fortune
Sep 17   J Roddy Walston & The Business   Venue
Sep 21   Soulection   Commodore
Sep 23   The Presets   Venue
Sep 25   Bob Moses   Commodore
Sep 26   Denzel Curry (All Ages)   Fortune
Sep 27   The Midnight   Fortune
Sep 27   The Midnight   Fortune
Sep 29   Andy Mineo & Lecrae   Venue
 
 October
 
Oct 5   Max (All Ages)   Fortune
Oct 6   Cadence Weapon   Venue
Oct 6   Fat Nick (All Ages)   Venue
Oct 12   Rejjie Snow (All Ages)   Fortune
Oct 13   Alma   Celebrities
Oct 13   Whethan   Commodore
Oct 15   The Grapes Of Wrath   Venue
Oct 20   Windhand   Venue
Oct 26   SG Lewis   Fortune
 
 November
 
Nov 2   The Dirty Nil (Calgary)   Commonwealth
Nov 8   Gallant (All Ages)   Vogue Theatre
Nov 14   Petit Biscuit   Commodore
Nov 16   Masego   Fortune
Nov 17   Young Fathers   Venue
 
 December
 
Dec 1   Pale Waves   Venue