Bosveld, a.k.a. Facetown Sonic, a.k.a. Velodrones and That Other Guy, a.k.a. Jeremy Mulder & Théan Slabbert are on the open road of adventure since yesterday! They left Ottawa in the afternoon on a three-week bicycle odyssey across southern Ontario to play shows in Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton & Peterborough before the end of the month. Thanks to support from Kunstadt Sports & Moonsaddle, they’ll be able to clock in more than 1,000 km on this music tour. They’ll be back home in time to play Raw Sugar on Aug. 15 and Arboretum on Aug. 20. Observing the ups and downs of this map will help us track of their progress as we follow their tour page and their Instagram.
I first heard Velodrones play at the SPAO Guerilla Live fundraiser in December. I was struck by the sounds coming from his sampler, first thinking they were effects then finding out they were side-effects. Théan searches the soundscape for odd blips, rough edges around otherwise smooth harmonies, and incorporates these sounds into his music. Paired with Jeremy on the alto sax, they play songs that quiet rooms and encourage listeners to close their eyes, to delve deeper. Crackling static, ambient wind, Théan’s rich voice and his finger-picking… This is future folk and it is trippy, to say the least. What we heard as bits & bites on their Catalysts Mixtape is becoming a full course meal for their debut full-length. They’re going out to promote what they’ve done, what Théan classifies as the work of which he’s proudest.
The first night they spent at ours in Oxford Mills, and I was able to ask them 12 questions before they played us some of their new tracks. Thank you so much guys, Karine & I are very grateful! And we are stoked to hear the rest of the upcoming Veldbrand.
First of all, how was the first day?
Jeremy: It was tiring but exhilarating. It’s a bit of a daunting trip, but that’s just because it’s the first day.
Théan: Day one of the tour? Awesome. It was a beautiful day, the rain was not as bad as I thought it would be. It cools you. Saw a deer! Lots of farm country and that reminded me of my childhood. Side roads are the best!
How many kilometres do you hope to cover per day?
J: We’ll say an average of 80.
Other than seeing Canada, becoming physically fit, and not buying gasoline what benefits does a band’s bike tour offer you?
J: Well, we’ve already seen houses we’ve never seen, people we’ve never seen, signs, little towns you never knew existed, bridges you never knew were there. Hopefully that continues. I love connecting with the places we pass. I’ve lived in Ottawa all my life so I feel I’ve explored its entirety but this is an opportunity to “get in there.” Staying at people’s houses, in a way you wouldn’t otherwise! We’re staying with you guys, and people from Warm Showers. That gives us the opportunity to practice our set too.
What is the Warm Showers community?
J: It’s like Couchsurfing but tailored to cyclists. So far, we’ve found it be a tremendous resource — lots of friendly, positive responses, and it seems well moderated, with user reviews and such. Around southern Ontario it’s great, but in the east here, like Kingston to Ottawa, there’s not much activity.
Théan, was your moniker Velodrones inspired by cycling?
T: I’m gonna have to say, “uhh yes!”
Jeremy, are you a Master of Music?
J: Yeah, I am, if you can call it that. I have a Master’s Degree, I don’t know if that makes me anything. It means I spent a lot of money to have a piece a paper that says I’m a musician. And I can kind of play the saxophone.
Théan, you have a piece on your YouTube channel called “Improvisation with Jeremy Mulder on Saxophone //théan” published on Nov. 25, 2012. Is this the first track you two recorded?
T: Yeah, he just came to my house and we didn’t know each other. And I kinda just hit record.
J: No! We knew each other then. I’d recorded a couple tracks with you before it was called Bosveld. He’d stopped me in the hall at Ottawa U and said, “do you play bari sax? I need a saxophone!” I played on two pieces of his and we started to play more and more.
And now you’ve finished tracking your first LP together! How much of the album will you be playing on this tour?
T: All of it.
J: And Andre 3000 covers. Not even Outkast, just Andre 3000.
How long before we can get it on wax?
T: We can’t tell you that. Late fall, early winter? That’s what we said last year. Pop Drone is making it. It’s gonna be fun times!
You’ve played at the Hamilton Audio/Visual Node (HAVN) before in October 2013 and they released your Catalysts Mixtape. Could you explain your relationship with the installation?
J: Well I went to high school with Connor Bennett, one of the founding members, we were really good friends. And through him I met Kearon Roy Taylor.
T: Who’s doing the art for the new album!
J: Also Connor and another founder Aaron Hutchinson are in a band called Eschaton, and we played a couple shows with them as we toured with Claude Munson. They released our Mixtape! Eschaton has made a whole bunch of tapes so they knew what they were doing. HAVN is a cool place. They put on shows, I think monthly, and they’re right at James & Barton Streets in Hamilton.
T: Barton Street, the most dangerous street in Hamilton.
J: There’s a massage parlour next door.
T: Open 24 hours a day.
And how many days until you get to your first gig in Oshawa?
J: We’ll be there on the 23rd, the day of our show!
T: We’ll be there on the 22nd… to practice.
We wish you Godspeed! In closing, what are your favourite Ottawa bands?
J: I love Claude Munson, ever since we played with him it just kind of got in my head… And anything Pascal Delaquis touches is gold — Claude Munson, Hilotrons, Marabou, and many more. We’re really lucky to have him play with us.
T: Pith and the Parenchymas! And I definitely lose my mind for Hilotrons. I go to every one of their shows.
Poster by Isaac Vallentin, Pop Drone