Hey, remember when you were nine and it was your birthday and you ripped apart the wrapping on the biggest present with feverishly trembling fingers, only to discover that it was just a shitty Casio keyboard from your parents? You would eventually absent-mindedly toywith it for an hour or two over the next weekend, but it would invariably end up buried under Turtles action figures and tackily designed skipping ropes at the bottom of your toy pile.
Three years later, when your mom cleaned out the closet, she would sigh, shake her head, and promptly deposit the forgotten present in the Goodwill pile. Well, that neglected keyboard is now most probably in the capable hands of Edmonton’s All Purpose Voltage Heroes. Armed with just a drum kit and a variety of ghetto second-hand keyboards ‘“ look, ma, no guitars – APVH have already put out two full-length LP’s chock full of spooky, queasy, synth-infected punk songs with no attention spans. This summer, the march goes on for our heroes as Connor Mayer, Kevin Cherney and brothers Dan and Zack Poole will be releasing a brand spanking new EP, Already Haunted, to be distributed through Maplemusic. Pras Rajagopalan contacted vocalist Dan Poole and keyboardist Kevin Cherney through email to further investigate this strange collective.
What is the one Albertan Product that you are the most proud of?
Most punk teenagers kick out the jams by strapping on the their guitars and thrashing their way to power chord heaven. What made you guys tinker with keyboards instead?
Even at a second hand shop, crappy guitars are still more money than crappy keyboards. I would go into one and come out with three or four really dinky keyboards for like, twenty bucks. Keyboards are also the only instruments you can play if you don’t know how to play any instruments. Thirdly, guitars are for British buzz bands and death metal groups with really destructive sounding names.
What can you tell us about the new EP?
It took the same amount of time to record these five songs as it did to record our last full length, so everyone should expect that big hit making studio sound. Also, if you divide the number of songs by the retail cost of the EP, each individual song is more expensive then our last album.
If the MP3s on your website are any indication, most of your songs have pretty unusual strong structure – there doesn’t seem to be a distinctive verse/chorus/bridge pattern. So what’s the songwriting process like?
When we started writing music we had no idea what we we’re doing, so we were making up the process as we went along. For the first little while we’d just get into a room, tickle each other a little, and jam on a song until we we’re happy. Now we’ve hired an expensive team of songwriters to create the songs, which leaves us with more time to get into a room and tickle each other.
I’ve noticed on your website there’s an empty “other projects” section. What are the APVH’s other projects?
Zack and me are composing an 8-bit video game soundtrack, I have a rap side project, Connor was in a sweet rock band called “The Social Wire”, and Kevin sends out his toenail clippings to a very exclusive mailing list.
What are your plans for the near future?
We plan to spend the next four and a half years and tour the country about six more times, lose a member of the group in a bitter fight which will later be described on our website as “amicable”, get a three sentence long write up in the “Next Big Thing” section of an unpopular but very glossy music magazine, have a mildly successful string of European shows, and release three or four more albums to slight critical praise. All the while slowly gaining popularity, but never enough to consider ourselves a success. We also have big plans to become one of those bands that people who work at independent record stores will consider “totally underrated” and then sell our limited, tour only seven inches over E-bay for thirty three dollars not including postage.
By Pras Rajagopalan