Dead Soft, Goon, Daisybones, Elephants

Hailing from a small inlet island in the Pacific Northwest, Dead Soft is a four-piece band pairing
playful, melody-driven rock ‘n roll of with high energy power-pop anthems. Or, as the band
describes it: “Dead Soft is grunge-punk for the people.” The forthcoming EP, New Emotion ,
features five catchy, earnest fuzzed-out rock songs that act as an empowering reminder that
you are in control of your life, even when life feels out of control.
Dead Soft was founded in 2011 by partners Nathaniel Epp (vocalist/songwriter) and Keeley
Rochon (bassist/vocalist) as “a fun living room rock project.” At the time Epp and Rochon were
living in Victoria, BC, but had been best friends and playing music since they were teenagers in
the small coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert.
Epp grew up obsessed with luminaries of the American underground like Elliott Smith, the
Ramones, and the Replacements. Artists who write simple, beautiful pop tunes that highlight
dread and saccharine in equal parts. Epp and Rochon also developed a “super soft spot” for
90s Canadian indie-pop bands like Limblifter, Inbreds, Eric's Trip, and Sloan. “Basically all of the
music videos that were in constant rotation when we were kids,” says Epp.
Like most small town or suburban kids who want to play music, the pair eventually moved to the
nearest big city: Vancouver. There, Dead Soft joined the inspiring scene that produced pivotal
Canadian acts like Mac Demarco, Japandroids, and White Lung.
In Vancouver, Dead Soft became a three-piece and, after a string of singles, released their
self-titled debut in 2014 on Kingfisher Bluez and JEFF the Brotherhood’s Infinity Cat
Recordings. The band spent the next four years on the road, including support tours with Bully
and The Dirty Nil. A sophomore follow up would have come sooner, but the recording process,
and life, became mired in difficulties.
“For a two-month tour in 2015, Nat and I gave up our apartment and put all our things in storage
not knowing what we'd do when we got back. Definitely not an uncommon move for musicians,
but it began to feel unsustainable and borderline irrational to keep up the pace we were trying to
maintain in the city we lived in,” laments Rochon.
“We were dealing with a lot of uncertainties,” continues Rochon, “arriving at an age where you
start to wonder what the rest of your life and career is going to look like and what it means to
pursue art in a world that seems harder and harder to get by in. I feel like a lot people in our
generation are feeling this anxiety, having to adjust their expectations and feeling like they might
have to go with plan B or C.”
After such personal and creative challenges, it only makes sense that the EP, set to be released
by indie label Arts & Crafts, would be focused on the themes of loss/renewal and new
beginnings. The title is taken from the song “Here Comes the Rain Again” by the Eurythmics.
“We chose this as the name for the EP due to the mysterious duality of the meaning,” says Epp.
“‘New emotion’ in and of itself sounds bright and new, but the lyric it stems from - Here comes
the rain again / Falling on my head like a memory / Falling on my head like a new emotion -
evokes a sense of sadness and longing.”
That duality is at the core New Emotion and is accurately reflected by Epp as “a personal
spring” in the emphatic lead single “Kill Me”. Beginning with cathartic scream-at-the-sky,
let-it-all-out vocals, the hard-charging rock verse transitions into a huge, anthemic chorus that is
at once commanding and resigned.
And if you want you can kill me in your dreams
Kill me in your dreams, erase the memory
If it will bring you some peace, just kill me in your dreams
Kill me in your dreams
According to Epp, the song is “about the ending of a personal relationship, trying to destroy an
unhealthy state of mind and adopt a new one. It's about kicking someone out of your heart,
clearing out the psychic space they took up, and offering them an invitation to do the same.”
The theme of new beginnings align closely with changes in the band. Specifically, the recent
additions of Alex Smith (drums) and Kyle Schick (guitarist) have allowed for a bigger sound,
more hooky guitar leads, Beach Boys-like harmonies, and more strength and purpose. The new
line-up initiated a wellspring of creativity.
“We were super excited after we formed the new line up and really wanted to record something
together. We took a handful of really fresh songs and recorded them as quickly as possible, did
a lot of the tracking by ourselves in our living room and then got Jordan Koop (The Courtneys,
White Poppy) to mix it,” says Epp proudly. “An incredible contrast to our process on the LP,
which took nearly a year to complete and was mired in heavy emotion.”
That fresh start extended beyond their creative endeavours, facing down the realities of living as
an artist in one of North America’s most expensive cities, Epp and Rochon left Vancouver for
the familiar environment of a small coastal town, Gabriola Island, where they now run a
landscaping company in between writing music and touring.
“The experience [in Vancouver] was a rewarding one - we got to play in bands, be a part of one
of Canada's best music scenes, and eventually found each other,” says Epp fondly, “but it was
also a struggle.”
“We were touring as much as possible while living in a city that is doing everything in its power
to displace low-income renters,” adds Rochon, “as the rent prices climbed higher and rentals
became more scarce, it began to seem more unrealistic to continue on the path we were going
The lyrics to “Proof”, an optimistic alt-rock track that would fit well within Dinosaur Jr’s oeuvre,
could as easily have been about a failed relationship as leaving a city behind.
I used to have something to prove to you
now I just need to get the hell away from you
There's something that you do to me
but everything you do you've already done before
It's not fun anymore
Between the struggles of toxic relationships and navigating your way through life as you find
yourself at the end of your 20s, there’s a realization and resolve that can only come when
you’ve faced it head on.
“Music and the process of working on our records was simultaneously helpful and a source of
stress in a weird way. It is a lot of work and can create quite a bit of strain on your life, both
mentally and financially, to take something like music so seriously and to put so much of
yourself into it, when in reality, the only payoff might be self-expression.”
Thinking on the experience of moving back a small town and the themes of the new EP, Epp is
hopeful. “So far the change of scenery has been inspiring and is a constant reminder that life is
a journey and I am at least partially in charge of my destiny. Even if it is a battle. If you don't like
your situation, blow it up!”

The walls of Kenny Becker’s apartment are vivid landscapes of color. The frontman of the LA-based indie rock quartet Goon is also an accomplished painter, and he surrounds himself with the fruits of his labor—a series of landscapes, portraits, and abstract pieces united by the vibrancy of their shared primary color palette.

Many of these lively pieces, however, were made at a time when the artist felt anything but. Becker suffers from a rare medical condition that periodically deadens his sense of smell and hearing, which for years shaded his day-to-day life with a dull pallor. “I basically just felt sick all the time,” says Becker. “When it gets really bad, I can’t even taste.” The paintings, therefore, are, like his music, aspirational—embedded with a sense of longing for something known but not always felt.

In the middle of the room—the centerpiece of an otherwise spartan setup—is Becker’s home studio. A small arsenal of guitars, synthesizers, tape machines and recording equipment surround the desk where he wrote and recorded Goon’s latest EP, Happy Omen, a collection of emotive, cautiously optimistic songs about longing, loneliness, and self-doubt. A standout track, the gorgeous, soaring “She,” was chosen by Grizzly Bear frontman Ed Droste as the first track on his “Favorite Songs of 2017” Spotify playlist.

The slow-burning Omen is a sonic counterpoint to Goon’s first release: 2016’s Dusk of Punk, a grittier, sludgier outing that paired Becker’s distinct DIY aesthetic with his formidable songwriting chops and affinity for earworm melodies. This winning combination earned high marks from Rolling Stone, Spin, Fader, and BBC Radio Six.

The two self-released EPs will be reissued together as a package this year by Partisan, who will also release the bands’ debut full length, due in early 2019. The LP sees Becker stepping out of the bedroom and into the studio with bandmates Drew Eccleston, Caleb Wicker, and Christian Koons, who, together, continue to build on Goon’s reputation as one of LA’s must-see live acts.

In the meantime, Becker is newly optimistic. A recent successful surgery drastically improved his symptoms, and the effects were felt almost instantly. “I knew it worked as soon as I woke up,” says Becker. “I feel like I’ve entered a new chapter of health.”


We're just here for the food.


Elephants is a Boston-based indie rock four-piece. Gravitating toward thick, sustained guitars, fuzz-soaked bass, and peppy tempos, the songs balance punk undertones with a strong pop songwriting sensibility.
The band started in late 2011 when guitarists Ryan Young and Lauren Garant began recording acoustic demos to a four-track tape machine in their living room. The result was a short burst of wistful bedroom-pop, reminiscent of The Softies and The Vaselines. Their songs took on a whole new energy when played in a full-band setting; the guitars crunch and growl while the melodies maintain a bittersweet tone, and influences like The Breeders and Superchunk become more apparent.
Elephants' second album, Strange Waves, was released on January 12th, 2015. Driven by dynamic two-guitar interplay, haunting vocals, and sweet pop hooks, the songs call to mind "the soft crunch of Helium and the lengthy, squelching soloing of Dinosaur Jr." (The Boston Globe). While the album explores a variety of different sonic textures, a common thread of straight-ahead songwriting and lo-fi roots tie it all together.
They have performed extensively in their home state of Massachusetts, but they have also done some touring along the east coast; they have found themselves at home at a variety of venues, DIY spaces, and basements across New England and beyond.

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