beekeeper – interview

“We’re all such nerds!” Devon Lougheed exclaims, interrupting Luke Cyca. Cyca, by now used to his cousin’s interjections, pauses only for a moment before continuing to describe how logician Kurt Gödel and comedian Andy Kaufman relate to the band Cyca and Lougheed play in, beekeeper.

“The jokes play on different levels,” Cyca explains, “that infinite recursion… It’s in everything we do.”

“I like puzzling;” Lougheed offers helpfully, “Luke likes un-puzzling.”

Guitarist-vocalist Lougheed and drummer-vocalist Cyca quiet for a moment while bassist (and, you guessed it, vocalist) Brandi Sidoryk takes her moment to unravel her inspiration. Somewhat fittingly, her inspiration comes from her peers, and for a moment beekeeper looks like an Escher painting, all of their staircases leading right into one another.

First assembled two years ago as a collaboration between freshly established Vancouver residents Cyca and Lougheed, beekeeper’s existence lately has been a whirlwind of small towns and studio time. The band is in pre-production for both beekeeper’s second album and a new record with Sidney York (Sidoryk’s project, which Lougheed and Cyca also play in), are getting ready to play Sled Island in Calgary this summer and launching their new 7” single.

The single, “Take Me Back (to the Place)” launches May 5, with a release party at the Media Club the same night. While only two tracks long, the single is a dizzy flight through genre and style; alighting briefly on indie pop and ‘90’s alternative with touches of math rock and, particularly in the second track (“Bad Advice”), something unclassifiable and full of rage.

If beekeeper kept the insects that pervade its mystique, you could say that single’s eponymous track is a bumblebee and the second is a killer.

“Beekeeper at its most successful [tries] to coming absurd extremes,” Lougheed remarks, “And that’s where we have the most fun.”

Cyca calls it a sort of “Trojan horse,” a sweetly accessible package that hides a complex whole, dripping with stinging irony and intricately woven musical and lyrical jokes. “It’s really engaging and it’s fun to play… and in a way it’s sort of a trick.”

“A lot of my classical music friends who don’t normally listen to this genre of music really appreciate it,” Sidoryk, a trained opera singer, chimes in, “There’s a lot of really complex things going on that they don’t get from other pop songs.”

“You shouldn’t be able to have a three-minute song that lots of people like that’s in eight different styles that changes, that never repeats a part,” Lougheed agrees, “We try to do that.”

The reactions, beekeeper tells me, have been good so far. BE KEPT, beekeeper’s first album, was well received in the local press and audiences. The new single, Lougheed comments, is “a good bridge from the old record to the new record,” giving audiences “a hint as to where we’re going.”

According to Lougheed, it’s partly the inspiration he draws from the southern Ontario independent rock scene of the early 2000s (Lougheed hails from Brantford, home of The Vermicious Knid) that sets beekeeper apart.

“It’s sort of a different vibe here, so beekeeper can come and be a little strange,” he observes, before launching into his best pulp movie announcer voice: “Where did they come from? It came from Ontario!

On her part, Sidoryk contends that beekeeper has also been cross-pollinated by the west coast indie scene: “There’s a bit more playfulness about the west coast sound.”

And playful is certainly the name of the game. A conversation with the trio buzzes with jokes and bursts of laugher, a smattering of voice acting and a general sense of mischief.

Especially, Lougheed implies, at the live show. “What remains steady,” he declares, “is sort of a musically satisfying performance… Everything else is up for grabs!”

“There is somebody in the group,” he continues, his voice taking on a devious edge, “[who] is really unpredictable, really ADD-driven and does crazy things on a whim. Not going to say who!”

To find that out, you’ll have to be at the Media Club on May 5.

And what happens after the release, after a summer of festivals and western Canadian capers?

Lougheed shrugs: “Then we have to make the greatest record ever made.”