“ABSOLUTELY FREE” An artist profile
RETURN TO VOLUME 1 | ISSUE #5 | COVER: VD SPECIAL
COMMANDER CLARK MEETS ABSOLUTELY FREE
On Thursday, January 19th, I felt ill, so I called in sick for work that evening. But I heard that there was a pay-what-you-can show at Princess Café, and I knew that despite my body, I must attend! I knew it was gonna be good, because Marc Lecompte, who used to produce K/W ultrazine CTRPLLR, runs the place. He always welcomes me every time I come by, and this time didn’t fall short. Especially as two of my favourite math-rock bands, Sudbury’s Varge and Athens, Georgia’s We Versus the Shark were played on the stereo that night! I ordered some vegetable peanut soup and it was delicious. Plus my good friend James Toenders, of the band Land Mammal, was my barista!!! Anyways, this show featured Maintenance Request Form (who I missed, sorry folks), local odd-rock composers Joeb and Toronto’s Absolutely Free.
Joeb is a strange band, featuring Princess Café barista Ryan Breen on guitar and Mike Mersey, the drummer from old K/W freak-out rock band The Sourkeys. I don’t like Joeb’s music that much, but I can respect and appreciate it for what it is…plus the drumming is off the chain, and Mr. Breen uses a loop pedal pretty well.
Absolutely Free is a new band formed from the breakup of DD/MM/YYYY…it’s all the original members, minus one, those members being: Matt King, again alternating between drums, keyboards and guitars while singing; Jordan Holmes, who I mistakenly called “Gord” in the interview, plays keyboards and guitar; Moshe Rozenberg, the math-rock drumming champion, playing drums and keyboards; and Mike Claxton, who plays bass and keyboards. Their sound is very similar to DD/MM/YYYY, obviously, but much more refined…not as much noise, and extremely well put together. In a true world full of Justice and Virtue, this band would be scoring the music to live-action giant robot movies. Their keyboard skills along with their insane rhythms makes for a really interesting watch. They are not a party-rock band, they are not The Next Big Thing – they are themselves, and the beautiful intricacies of the music speak it.
Outside in the freezing cold weather, I talked influential video games with Mike “Gord” Claxton and Jordan Holmes. P.S…MIKE! I screwed up your name because I thought it was Gordojojo from the old DD/MM/YYYY MySpace page. Sorry brother! Here is ABSOLUTELY FREE:
VR: Why the name Absolutely Free?
MIKE CLAXTON: Uhhh…
JORDAN HOLMES: ‘Cause that’s how we feel!
VR: Is it because you feel free without Tomas Del Baso’s reigning iron claws in your band?
JH: Scratch that from the record.
VR: Alright, maybe…
JH: Also, it’s a Zappa reference too, so…
MC: Way to give away the beans, man!
JH: Hey man, I think it should be out there. It’s not original, we’re not original…
KEVIN BOYLE: Is it from an album or lyrics?
MC: It’s an album.
VR: OK, now I noticed in your band, you have a lot of videogame sounding influence. What would you say are the most influential games on DD/MM/YYYY’s music, aka Absolutely Free, minus the iron grip of Tomas Del Baso?
VR: Which one?
JH: All of them. But [MegaMan] III is my personal favourite. II and III.
MC: And Friday the 13th for old Nintendo.
MC: Maybe even Jaws on Nintendo.
VR: JAWS ON NINTENDO??
MC: Not the main theme, but when you’re playing it, it’s a good game.
VR: I couldn’t understand that game when I was younger.
JH: It’s so hard man! It’s a bit ridiculous
MC: It kinda sucks.
VR: And if you f— up the shark-skewering part, it’s OVER for you. Hey, if Absolutely Free could score a video game, ’cause I think your music is sweet for theatrical soundtracks, I dunno, that’s what I thought when I was listening, if you could score a video game, what kind of video game would it be?
JH: It’d be an RPG, for sure.
MC: One that takes place in space.
JH: Yeah, in space! Hahahahahah, a movie called RPG IN SPACE. It’s 3D. [laughter] HD!!! [everyone laughters]
VR: I have a show called Space Time Gang on YouTube, it’s about enemies called SmartSlaves. And they’re technologically advanced humans, who substitute cell phones for brains. You should check it out. Any final words to the readers of Velvet Rope magazine?
JH: Velvet Rope?
JH: Absolutely Free, coming to a town near you.
VR: FOR FREE?
JH: …no. [everyone laughs loudly]
MC: The short answer is no.
VR: Was the reason the show was free tonight is because you’re called Absolutely Free?
JH: It was pay-what-you-can!
VR: It’s true, I did pay too!
JH: So it wasn’t free, was it?
VR: I don’t give a s—, I’ll give you my money anytime! [everyone laughs and we high-five.]
- COMMANDER CLARK