Corner Boys is a relatively new band on the Vancouver punk-rock scene, but a recently released demo shows the band is a force to be reckoned with. Gritty yet fun-loving, it was a strong demo. I caught up with Corner Boys’ drummer, Patrick Bertrand, to talk more about the band, its sound and what inspires it.
It was guitarist Wade’s idea to start up a power pop band. He brought in Patrick, who subsequently brought in Joel, on bass.
For Patrick, “Power pop is essentially just the basis of rock and roll with the hooks of pop music. My personal favourite incarnation of the genre is the 76-81 period, which is mostly just pop songs played by punks. Short songs, strong hooks, and solos kept to a minimum, if at all. That’s the style we’re most influenced by and strive for.”
Striving for and achieving, based on Corner Boys’ output so far. I can only nod as Patrick lists out some bands that influence him; each one can be clearly felt in Corner Boys’ sound.
“We draw heavy influence from the first wave of Vancouver punk/power pop bands,” says Patrick. “Primarily, Pointed Sticks, Young Canadians, Modernettes, and Teenage Head from Hamilton. First wave Canada will always have a place in my heart, but no one played power pop in the 70s better than the Irish. Undertones, Rudi, Outcasts, Victim and the lot. Quintessence Records in Canada and Good Vibrations in the U.K. Perfection.”
I turn the conversation to Patrick’s own music, asking about his favourite Corner Boys’ track. Although there is only a handful to choose from, they are all strong contenders.
“We all have different favourites,” he says, “and from what people at shows have told me, so do they. I think that’s a good thing. My personal favourite is ‘Be Seeing You,’ which is on the upcoming 7″. It’s about the 1967 British spy show The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan.”
That 7” will be Corner Boys first physical release, coming out shortly on Drunken Sailor Records. Despite being co-founder of his own record label, Hosehead Records, Patrick feels that bringing out the 7” on another label is the right move.
“We opted for Drunken Sailor over Hosehead as I think they’re putting out some of the strongest records out of any active label that I know of right now,” he says. “They’ve got a very strong roster of active Canadian punk and power-pop bands. There’s also something to be said about having someone else front a boatload of money to put out your music. It definitely feels better than doing it yourself.”
Can’t argue with that logic. There are currently no definitely planned releases beyond that 7” and a cassette release of the demo (with Germany’s Trapdoor Tourz), but Patrick says that he’d “like to do at least one more 7″.”
While Corners Boys’ music may not be coming out under the Hosehead banner, Patrick’s label is releasing some great music, including Sore Points. Patrick calls Sore Points “the best band in Vancouver right now. I just put out their debut 7″ on Hosehead so it’s in my best interest to say that, but I truly believe it.”
Another local band Patrick recommends is Night People. “It features Joshy from Fashionism,” he says, “another band I’ve seen a million times and will continue to without question. I just bought the debut Uptights LP which has been getting some good listens at home as well.”
Sticking with the Vancouver music scene, I ask Patrick what his favourite venues are.
“The Astoria is my favourite venue to see bands,” he says. “We’re playing there for the first time [in October].”
“My favourite venue to play,” he continues, “is Black Lab. When we played our first show there in February, the power had been shut off and Jeff from Tranzmitors/Fashionism (who recorded our demo and 7″) had to go rent a generator so the show could start. It was the first indoor generator show I’ve ever heard of.”