Streaming Cafe

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rococode: Guns, Sex and Glory

by Malcolm Petch

Very sorry, due to unforeseen circumstances Rococode had to cancel this show.

Guns, Sex & Glory. No, that’s not a promo for a new movie, nor is it the life-plan for a New York gang leader wannabe. Guns, Sex & Glory is the debut album from Rococode, a Vancouver-based ensemble that tours Eastern Canada as much as it does Western Canada.

Interestingly, the folks of Rococode describe themselves as ‘an evolving band of three Vancouver musicians’, yet all their publicity shots show four distinct members. That’s pretty efficient evolution.

The video for their song “Weapon”, posted on August 30, does a good job of capturing the essence of Rococode’s music. There’s an underlying darkness in the visual theme that supports the lyrical content of the song, yet the whole thing is wrapped in a robe of accessible and strong pop music that is engaging and enjoyable right from the start. Shades of  California pop bands slip through the track on occasion – in a good way.
Truth be told, all of Rococode’s videos are masterful and engaging. It’s clear these guys – or, rather, lady and gentlemen – know what they’re doing both with their music and with their visuals.

Dig a bit deeper, and it’s easy to see why the music seems so well constructed: it actually is well constructed. Laura Smith and Andrew Braun, founding members of the band, met at a Jazz school where, among other things, Andrew graded Laura’s Music History papers and played support in her solo project. And every bio that includes mutual time at a Jazz school is usually reflected in quality music.

As Laura and Andrew started collaborating more and began recording, the solo project transmogrified into something more like the Laura and Andrew Band (they even referred to themselves as LAB). Shaun Huberts (bass) and Johnny Andrews (drums) joined the line-up to help lay down tracks during early recording sessions after crossing paths with Andrew at a Victoria wedding where they were all faking their way through providing jazz background music. “The evening was highlighted by a 45-minute muzzak-inspired rendition of ‘Girl from Ipanema,’ ” says Andrew. “It was love at first note.” Andrew started bringing Shaun and Johnny in as backing musicians with Laura every once in a while, and when LAB started recording it just made sense to use Shaun and Johnny to round the tracks out.

Huberts and Andrews already had a good gig as bassist and drummer with Tegan and Sara, however, so when their LAB sessions in the studio ended they headed out on a T&S/Paramore tour while Braun and Smith were finishing up in the studio.

When Shaun and Johnny came back [from their tour with Tegan and Sara] and we started to play live shows it was quickly apparent that it was a project they also wanted to be invested in,” says Andrew.  “We all came BACK to the studio after a long hiatus and recorded two (and a half) more songs… including Weapon… to finish up the record.” Braun says it was obvious to all four of them that they’d settled into being a band.

Rococode credits producer Ryan Guldemond with having the biggest and most obvious influence on Guns, Sex & Glory. Like Shaun and Johnny’s inclusion into the family, Guldemond’s role came about after a chance meeting one day. That serendipitous street encounter morphed into a significant time of pulling apart the songs Andrew and Laura had written, piecing the arrangements together, and really shaping the sound for the band.

The final results of the whole recording project literally speak for themselves, and Laura, Andrew, Johnny and Shaun have been touring their album together from even before it was released. Johnny and Shaun still have to split their time between their work with Tegan and Sara and their time with Rococode – but get them in the right place at the right time, and the music comes together!

That music will be coming together here at Streaming Café on October 6. And for all those who have ever thought to themselves, “Man, why are the shows so early at SC?”, you’ll be glad to hear that for this rare occasion Streaming Café will be hosting Rococode at the special showtime of 10:00pm Pacific time! Yes, that’s right: ten o’clock in the evening.

Rococode. In person. Intimate setting. Rare opportunity.