Pavilion: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Post-punk goes to drama class.
File next to: Wire, Stone Roses, Chameleons UK
Playing: Manifesto x Wavelength, this Friday (May 20) at the Garrison. Get tickets here!

Pavilion have been together less than 18 months but have already been through a name change — abandoning their original moniker of Mercury Girls — and developed a substantial buzz in the Toronto scene for their vaguely goth-y, washed-out post-punk guitar rock sound. Denizens of the DIY hardcore/punk scene centred around spaces like Faith/Void and S.H.I.B.G.B. and events like Not Dead Yet, singer/guitarist Grace Lisa Scott and bassist Julie MacKinnon founded the band and wrote some songs before recruiting drummer/recording engineer Jonah Falco (of Fucked Up and Career Suicide fame) and guitarist Mike Grdosic. Wavelength’s Jonny Dovercourt corresponded with Grace in advance of their appearance this Friday.

Who are the members of Pavilion and how did you all meet?

I met Julie five years ago through her partner, who is a friend of mine. When they started seeing each other, he invited her to come play beer pong with us at his house before an Omegas show at Duffy’s Tavern. Beer pong kind of ended everyone, and I remember later at Duffy’s seeing Julie fall up the stairs and then go mosh. I thought, “This girl’s cool, we should be friends.” Then I puked outside and had to go home. We did become friends later, though.

I met Mike at his 20th birthday party. He was on MDMA and had glowsticks tucked behind both his ears. He asked me if I wanted to see his room and I thought that maybe he insinuating something. It turned out he just really wanted to show me the furniture in his room.

Jonah and I started hanging out around when S.H.I.B.G.B’s opened. We met at a show, although neither of us remembers what show. I think we maybe started talking about records actually; how predictable.

I have no idea how or when the rest of them all met each other.

Describe your first practice. Who was wearing what, what were you sipping on between songs, and where did you have to go after? Or any other details that might stand out in your memory.

Our first practice that was more than just Julie and I writing alone was with Jonah at the Fucked Up practice space on a really cold December day in 2014. We went in with some songs and recorded almost half of the demo right there. The space is this tiny, carpeted box half full of gear and the only real “atmosphere” is a string of Christmas lights strung along two walls. I remember while we were recording vocals, we just had the Christmas lights on and were wearing sunglasses to avoid making awkward eye contact with each other. And also because it was funny. There is a photo somewhere of Julie and I looking very serious in black sweaters wearing our sunglasses in a dark room.

It seems that your sound is rooted in the post-punk/new wave sound of the late ’70s/early ’80s. What do you think explains the endless allure of this time period in music? Who are some lesser-known acts from this era you think people should get to know better?

I don’t really know what New Wave is, to be honest; it always sounded to me like a catch-all for the commodification and sanding-down of punk music. Like “Heart of Glass” or some shit, that’s New Wave, right? What’s stuck with me about “post-punk,” which is a pretty broad genre in and of itself, is its melancholy and anger. Punk’s ideology and production values with an added challenge of melody. I also really like the unapologetic interest in fragility and beauty of some “post-punk” bands like The Feelies or Clan of Xymox or Cocteau Twins. I like drama. I also gravitate towards the anarcho/gothier stuff like Zounds, Indian Dream, United State, Xmal Deutschland, Skeletal Family…

So far you only have a few tracks out online — any plans for a “full-length” release in the near future?

We have enough material to make it happen and it’s something we’ve talked about doing; it’s definitely on the table.

And what’s this I hear about you guys going out on tour?

We have a small batch of Western dates centring around playing Garbage Daze in Calgary on June 3, then we’re playing in Edmonton and Vancouver.

What should people expect from your live set at our Manifesto x Wavelength collab this Friday?

My guitar being louder than Mike’s for no reason, blouses, frowns, more red light.

— Interview by Jonny Dovercourt