Give me a party or give me death

You Say Party! We Say Die! bring their not-so-traditionally remixed tunes to The Grad Club

You Say Party! We Say Die! tour Canada with revamped songs and their typical dancy, energetic concert etiquette.
You Say Party! We Say Die! tour Canada with revamped songs and their typical dancy, energetic concert etiquette.

Devon Clifford, drummer for the B.C.-based dance-punk outfit You Say Party! We Say Die! isn’t a fan of the remix. Lucky for him, the songs on the band’s latest release Remik’s Cube—an entirely re-done version of their last album Lose All Time—aren’t quite what they claim to be.

“They’re not just a house beat with vocals overtop. The people remixing them have created their own songs out of it rather than just following a traditional dance-mix formula,” he said.

Clifford said he finds the conventional notion of a remix unnecessary. But these new takes brought something new out of the music.

“They weren’t just dance-floor remixes. They were pretty much reinterpretations of the songs,” he said.

“Every remix was done by a different person or group of people.” It’s also a bonus for the band that so many of the artists are Canadian.

By breaking the remix mold, he said, the artists created renditions that were interesting as opposed to mind-numbing. He said Montag’s version of “Opportunity” was especially potent.

“He basically changed the key of the song,” Clifford said. “[He] just gave the song a completely different feel and took it in a different direction.” Other artists who took part include Stop Die Resuscitate, Octopus Project and Great Lenin’s Ghost.

Clifford said the project was orchestrated by the band’s label.

“I think it was at first the guys who run Paper Bag Records had been collecting various remixes of various songs of ours. They’d been giving people tracks to remix and they started giving a lot of them back and they turned out pretty good.” The band is touring to promote the offering, released earlier this year by Paper Bag Digital, along with Winter Gloves and will make a stop-off at the Grad Club tomorrow evening.

“They’re super fun to tour with,” Clifford said. “I really like their songs a lot. They’re all super nice guys.”

He paused to qualify.

“Actually, they’re not nice. They’re total badasses,” he said, adding something about French biker gangs and interlopers before moving on.

Clifford said pinpointing the band’s own influences is tricky.

“It’s funny ’cause it is a really common question, but I never actually think about what influenced our music.” At least when it comes to location, Clifford said the sleepy suburb of Abbotsford, B.C. deserves far more credit than Vancouver, though most of the band’s members now call the big city home.

Keyboardist Krista Loewen and bass player Stephen O’Shea were two of the band’s founding members in Abbotsford and soon recruited O’Shea’s boss, Becky Ninkovic, after hearing her singing at the pizza shop where the two of them worked.

“In Abbotsford, there’s nothing to do but make music or go to church or sell drugs,” he said, adding that all three activities can also be performed in combination.

“You just end up making music because you’re bored and that’s really how the band started.” Vancouver now serves as home base and is, for the most part, a stimulating setting, Clifford said.

“There’ s a lot of snobby people, a lot of people hating on Toronto out there, a lot of people hating on things they’ve never experienced out there but there’s little pockets of awesome out there that you can sort of surf through.”

The band born of boredom is writing its next release, and Clifford is looking to incorporate some more experimental elements into the music.

He has been listening a lot lately to ancient cave-man chanting, recorded on old laser discs. “I’ve actually been thinking of incorporating a lot of the sounds of smell into our next album,” he said, presumably with a straight face.

“I would definitely first make it into an interpretive dance and then write a musical score to the interpretive the dance so it’s kind of a three-step process.” The players have been testing out new material on their tour stops. So far, so good, Clifford said. Not that he ever doubted it.

“I have this magic eight ball thing at home and asked it if the new songs would go over well, and it said ‘Most certainly,’ so I wasn’t ever really worried,” he said.

He takes a similar attitude toward the future. “I’m just going to keep my magic eight ball shaken and hope it keeps telling me things like that.”

You Say Party! We Say Die! will be playing at The Grad Club this Saturday at 8 p.m. They will continue their cross-Canada tour at Wrong Bar in Toronto on Sunday.

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