BESTiE is a high-energy summer pop band whose melodic guitars, bumpin’ rhythms, and larkish vocals shine like sunlight in a rainy world. Their music is as hot as the Sriracha hot sauce they’re always singing about and earned them a spot in the Peak Performance Project’s top three, where they were awarded a $50,000 prize to further their jam journey. In an attempt to keep things amusing, we sat down with singer and self-proclaimed dreamer Tristan Orchard in the crowded crevices of local sausage and beer parlor Bestie. The conversation was as steamy as the currywurst as we discussed the seasons, the future, the booze, and rap god Kanye West.
LotusLand: Hey there, polar bear. Your first task: introduce yourself.
Tristan Orchard: Hello, my name is Tristan Orchard and I’m the singer in the band BESTiE.
LL: You just placed 3rd in the Peak Performance Project, which came with a $50,000 prize on a very large cheque. How did you get that thing home?
TO: I didn’t even leave with the cheque, one of the other band members got it to their house. I barely got out of there.
LL: What are some of the things you are planning on shelling out your fat stacks on? A couple chains? Really expensive friendship bracelets? Champagne on airplanes?
TO: Those are all really good ideas… We’re in the process of recording our album right now and it’s a really pricey process to record at good studios. We’re hugely grateful to be recording with Howard Redekopp, who’s worked with Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother, and the New Pornographers. With the support from this, we’re able to record our album, which is going to be coming out early next year. We’re not in any rush to spend that money, though. Although it seems like a lot, it’s just nice to be able to do the things we want to as a band, things like tour. We’ve been constantly in debt just doing this band, it’s been a push of our savings accounts to be able to get the first few songs that came out earlier this year to a level where we were really happy with them. We want to make the music as good as we can, we want to make as many music videos as we can, and we want to go on tour.
LL: What studio are you recording at?
TO: We recorded the bed tracks at Monarch Studios, which is the one that Tom Dobrzanski from the Zolas runs; it’s a really beautiful spot on Commercial Drive.
LL: What was your favourite part of the Peak Performance project?
TO: The whole thing was an amazing experience… Everyone says the bootcamp, though. It’s the first time that you get to hang out with the other twenty acts that are in it. I work in the music industry, I love bands, I love the people, I love the artists and the creativity that was up at a place like that… pursuing your dreams and getting instruction on how to pursue your dreams to the fullest, in ways you didn’t even know existed.
LL: Would you say your dreams were pursued?
TO: My dreams are constantly being pursued. I’m inventing new dreams every night when I go to bed. Life is good.
LL: Sweet. Do you have any favourite acts from the Peak Performance Project that you got to work with? Or exist alongside?
TO: There were so many. Before the whole Peak Performance Project thing came about, I watched Rykka open for my friend’s band and I was blown away, she’s so amazing. The first time I heard Hannah Epperson play, her music made my hair stand on end, it’s so beautiful. It gives you that feeling–when you see a persons who’s such an amazing artist. Dougal Mclean is an amazing person and an amazing artist as well. Good For Grapes, their live show is amazing and energetic, they’re so young they’re such talented musicians. The moment I saw Willhorse at bootcamp… they have this giant, badass tour van. It’s one of my dreams to have a tour van like that. I’m sure they have some kind of Nintendo in there. They’ve got the dream life going on in that bus. Luca Fogale… just like Hannah’s music, as soon as you hear his voice it just gives you these feelings inside of “this is so beautiful.” I have so much love for all the acts, everyone there was doing something individual and amazing.
LL: Pursue that Nintendo. Now we have a challenge: you have however much time you need to verbally write a haiku about Sriracha sauce.
Sriracha so spicy
It tastes nice everywhere put
‘Cept for your privates.
LL: I feel spiritually enlightened.
TO: I’m sorry.
LL: There’s no going back. Real emotional shift here; you were a part of putting on SafeFest. In that vein, as a performer, how do you think liquor licensing and age restricting concerts is affecting the music scene in vancouver?
TO: I think it’s affecting the all ages scene hugely. It’s stupid and it’s not allowing young people into the beautiful world of live music and artistic creation. It doesn’t get them out of the house, away from video games, tumblr, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C… I think we don’t need to baby kids, a more tolerant and open society is a better society. When you go to a hockey game people are belligerently drunk all around you and it’s all-ages there. I think music doesn’t need to be demonized. It can be completely beautiful in ways that even something like ice hockey can’t–even though I play ice hockey.
I think it’s hurting the local music scene, it’s hurting the new generation of people coming up. As a youth myself, I didn’t even realize that some music existed until I got to see my friend’s bands playing. The more avenues we can have for live bands to play, the more healthy of a local music scene we’ll have and the better new bands we’ll see. The new generation of bands are the most interesting, these are people that are coming into the world with a whole different set of influences than the older generation and what they create is completely new and unique. They’re what drives new music in general and we need to support them as much as possible. You look at places like Seattle, where they have really great venues that you can have all-ages in the middle of the event and then roped off areas where people have booze. The two can coexist perfectly fine. We need to shake our heads a bit and take a look, not be so politically correct.
LL: Thanks. Looking outside, it’s currently freezing cold, it’s not yet pouring rain although it’s only a matter of time. How do you stay summer-y when it’s so gross outside?
TO: Oh my god, you dream.
LL: Again with the dreams, man.
TO: Yeah, I’m a pisces, I dream. Staying summer-y… I think that’s why we make the kind of music we do, it’s just tongue in-cheek escapism. We make music videos with green screens and try to get outside as much as possible even though its winter. You have to get on your bike, get really warm thick jackets, and try to travel as much as possible. I think it’s essential for every Vancouverite to get out to somewhere that’s remotely warm once between December and March to live a more sane life. People get so angry on Facebook because they are living life deprived of sun vibes. Get one of those sun lights for sure, give your friends hugs all the time… maybe listen to some BESTiE. Summer is a frame of mind, get there.
LL: Your tunes are heavy into sunburn-rock and upbeat beach ball party pop but your lyrics are all very Morrissey morose. What makes you guys gravitate towards mixing these two worlds? Does sweet and sour really have all the power?
TO: You can’t have happiness without sadness, so you gotta have a balance of the both. I would say on the surface we are happy, but there are some songs that are not like that at all. You gotta have a mixture between the two. Surf the lows to ride the highs.
LL: Do you surf?
TO: I’ve been twice.
LL: This has got to be the most vital question here: what is one way that Kanye West has changed your life?
TO: [Laughter] I really hated him when he did that whole Taylor Swift thing, I wasn’t a fan. But then he comes back with his next album and it’s like the redemption of the douchebag. That’s beautiful to me. We’re all flawed, we all make mistakes, and we’re all not perfect, but you can always come back from your lows. You can be a complete douchebag and also a talented genius. Not saying that I am, but…
LL: If you had the opportunity to collaborate with one artist and producer who would you collaborate with? How do you think they would challenge you musically?
TO: Maybe Mike Will Made It. Shout out to Miley Cyrus: sick album, sick beats. Actually, every track is a banger. Fuck that, I just want out hang out, smoke, and make music with Mike Will. I heard he’s crazy and I can fuck with that. There’s a lot of people but that’s the one that came to mind.
LL: If you worked with Miley Cyrus do you think you would wear a unitard in the process?
TO: I would wear whatever she wants me to wear.
LL: Final challenge: before choosing the name BESTiE, what were some of the worst band names you tried?
TO: A second runner up was “Animal Fries.”
LL: Are we talking animal shaped fries? Fries made of animals?
TO: No, it’s from In-’N-Out Burger in California–it’s the best burger place. If you pay an extra two bucks you get animal fries and they just dump mayo and thousand islands on it and it’s badass. Other band names… we had Hot Sauce, the Big Five (after the big five animals that people want to see in Africa), the Pink Rainbows, Riel Talk (after Louis Riel), Bermuda Triangle, Hot Dog, Pizza Party, Purple Rein, and Bunk Beds (because sleepovers on bunk beds are the best).
LL: Bunk bed sleepovers just sound uncomfortable.
TO: No, they’re great. Unless the person on top wets the bed.
LL: Alright alright, quickly moving on. What’s going on next for you guys?
TO: We have our album No More Bad Days. December is coming up, I got really depressed, so we’re going to take that and we’re going to make a music video out of it in the next month. We just got a grant to do a music video for the song that we did with Rykka, so we’re planning for that and it will probably take place in January. Our album release is in February. Also, fingers crossed, we really want to go to Austin, Texas, because Austin rules and we want to go to SxSW. We’re going to do a full tour with the album and we’re going to go to Canadian Music Week. Basically we’ve got three videos in the works that we’re excited to release, a single leading up to the album, and then the album release. We’re hoping to release the album as a free download because no one pays for music. Fuck it, we’re rich. We can put it out for free.