May 7, 2010
Cameron Reed is the man behind Babe Rainbow, a Vancouver-based electronic music project that recently released an EP on Warp Records. Contributor Cole Stryker chatted with him about his many projects, what it's like to be a part of a creative community in Vancouver and the future of Babe Rainbow.
CS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the genesis of Babe Rainbow. How long have you been creating music?
CR: I’ve been playing music (poorly) since I was thirteen. Guitar mostly. Punk, noise, and believe it or not, folk. I’ve only been making electronic music since March ’09.
CS: Tell us about the scene in Vancouver. Do you think dub step is more of a “thing” in Canada than, say, the U.S.?
CR: To tell the truth, I’m not really a part of any dubstep scene. I’m friends with some guys that make dubstep in Vancouver but I’ve never been a part of that community. They have a very strong, supportive scene, though. Lots of shows all the time that all do really well. I’ve been more involved with the punk/noise community in Vancouver, which I would argue is one of the best in North America. As far as dubstep being a Canadian thing, I’ve been told that the Vancouver community is one of the more prominent in the global scene, but I can’t really speak to that.
CS: Some of your videos feature natural settings. How does the stark Canadian landscape impact your sound?
CR: I make music with themes like desolation, loneliness and anxiety in mind. Those themes are very prominent in the West Coast landscape, in both the city and nature. The videos were produced by the brilliant Salazar films.
CS: Your music can be pretty dark, yet you come off as a fun-loving jokester on your blog. Do you get into a moodier headspace when you’re creating music?
CR: I don’t get into a different headspace when I produce but I have a tone and feeling in mind. I generally freeform to start, get a loop going of some swirling layers and then just get sucked in, meditate on it and arrange it from there.
CS: What’s Music Waste? What can we expect this year from the festival?
CR: Music Waste is an annual four-day-long independent culture festival in Vancouver. I’ve been organizing it with a group of people for the last six years. There are over 100 local bands, three comedy shows, and five art exhibitions all taking place in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. We keep passes cheap and venues within walking distance to make it as easy as possible for people to experience local music.
CS: Tell us about Mental Beast.
CR: Mental Beast is twelve-episode comedy web series that I produced with my friend, actor and comedian Conor Holler. It’s about the staff of a nearly defunct radio station and their efforts to save it. It was written and acted by members of Vancouver’s alt-comedy community and the soundtrack features dozens of Vancouver bands who wrote original music for the series and the Christmas compilation, “The Eggnog Experience.” We wanted to merge a number of Vancouver’s creative communities in an interesting way. We had a big party for Christmas where about ten bands performed their songs and we screened the final episode. We even had a Santa Claus photo booth.
CS: What’s next for Babe Rainbow?
CR: I’m one week into my live setup. I’ve performed once and I’m feeling really good about it. Gonna play a lot over the summer and hopefully tour a bit. I’m working on lots of new tunes for a second EP. I also have a handful of remixes in the bag ready to come out. I’m really trying to collaborate with more rappers this year.
CS: You’re something of a Renaissance man, working in film, music, promotions, etc, and you do all of this in addition to your full time day job at an ad agency. How do you keep it all together? What motivates you to have so many projects going simultaneously?
CR: I also watch a ton of TV. I don’t know how I do it. I feel really busy at times, but it’s usually pretty laid back. I owe a lot to all the amazing people that I collaborate with. Vancouver’s creative communities are incredibly supportive. I do know why I do it: I love this city and its creative communities and want to make it a fun place to live. I’m also 27 and won’t have the time or energy to do this forever. Life is going to catch up with me eventually, and I want to feel like I spent my time well. If I have a kid and get bummed about not having extra time on my hands I don’t want it to be just because I can’t go out and party anymore.
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