Odonis Odonis | Aural Adonis

ODONIS ODONIS is surely Toronto’s modern-day champion of 1980s-era industrial gristle. Mixing intense walls of sound with healthy doses of surf, punk, and earworm melodies, their shoegaze noise-pop has grown up in the city's vibrant DIY scene, alongside bands like METZ, Soupcans, and a slew of other punk/lo-fi acts that emerged from the now defunct Buzz Garage. Comprised of Dean Tzenos, Denholm Whale, and Jarod Gibson, the trio is preparing to release their anticipated second full-length on Buzz Records. Jordan Ardanaz reached Tzenos, frontman and main creative force of Odonis Odonis, over the phone to chat about recording in Vancouver, DIY, and highly conspicuous band names.

So you guys were hanging out in Vancouver for a little while, recording with Colin Stewart. How was that? Colin was a founder of the recently closed Hive Creative Labs, a pretty influential studio for a lot of Canadian bands. Did you have a real West Coast experience and meet your spirit animal?
Yeah, I actually love it there; it's more my speed. It's a little bit more chill than Toronto—every time I go I just feel way more relaxed. And it was good to just get away…to just make a record. Because we can get caught up with stuff, you know, with constant distractions around. Colin was awesome, man, he really helped out, and we were doing super long days for three weeks straight. 

Some of the bands that have come out of the Toronto DIY scene around Odonis Odonis have had some success recently, without softening their attack much. Your band seems to have kept that sense of chaos between releases; do you think that’s our generation’s equivalent of not selling out?
It’s the worst thing to even talk about, because selling out is such a concept that was very "of the nineties", you know? I guess the current generation doesn’t even know the concept of selling out; it doesn't even come to their mind when they're creating music or doing anything. Yeah, for me it’s just constantly been in the back of my head, and we've still really achieved the type of music that we need to make. I haven't been able to fully cross that line. 

Well, I’m sure a lot of us would love to if there were even the chance. But it doesn't seem like there's really any money in it for anyone anyways. 
Well that’s the thing, why not do what you want? Like, I could never get into the music industry for the money. It’s just the dumbest idea, especially now. If anything there should be more experimentation, but surprisingly it’s caused less. I guess because there's less money to go around, not enough people are taking chances and they're trying to make a lot of safe music. 

Do you feel like Odonis Odonis, and the bands in and around the Buzz Records scene, have had some influence on the sound coming out of southern Ontario in the past couple of years?
I’d like to think so. It’s kind of hard to say that 100 per cent or anything, but what happened with Buzz Garage is that Toronto has a lot of pockets of different types of music, and different scenes. And when the Buzz Garage thing happened, it was just fun to go, hang out, and meet other bands, and everybody became tighter, and suddenly all these pockets just became one giant scene. 

Was it a lot of friends getting together, or was it people coming to check out the music first, and then becoming a part of the scene?
Well I guess at first it was mostly friends, but it really became the spot for people to go. Because you know it’s going to be a wicked show, you bring your own beer, and you drink, and you let go, and you have a really good punk show. 

I saw Odonis Odonis at the Garrison at NXNE last year. It was a killer show, and I noticed that you guys do a great job at integrating processed sounds into the live show. Is that something that's key to your aesthetic? 
Oh yeah, man. From inception I wanted the band to have some kind of electronic element, something like old industrial, like Big Black. Stuff that just had that hard edge, like they're playing electronic music but it wasn’t just eighties pop. It was aggressive. And also, there’s versatility with what you can do with electronics that you just can't do with an acoustic kit. It was super hard to find somebody who would play an electronic kit, and then I found Jarod Gibson and we spent a year trying to figure out how to accomplish it for this project. 

That's super f*cking cool. It's exciting to see someone using the drums for different sonic palettes; it has a killer Nitzer Ebb vibe.
I love lo-fi recordings, and sometimes you hear this friggin’ bad ass drum sound, but when you see some of those bands live and it just becomes a regular rock kit, there’s something really lost. It's not that badass punk sound anymore, it’s like a bar band. I don’t want to do that, so it just kept on evolving.

So, Jarod has a project called Michael Jacket...I have to know, what's the story about how he came up with that name?
Ah, I really should know this! But I don’t know if it’s really been built after he made his record. Because now he kind of has this alter-ego of Michael Jacket and usually has a hat on, and he becomes a different person when he wears it [laughs]. So I don’t know what came first, the persona maybe developed after the fact? He won't be Jarod, he will be “Michael Jacket”. 

So my band played at NXNE in Toronto last year, and the night before we saw you guys we were super wasted. Someone stepped on my drummer's leather jacket, and he screamed out, “Watch out for Michael Jacket!” He was trying to say “my jacket,” and it became a big tour joke. So at your show there were a lot of Michael Jacket jokes going around.
[laughs]

When we heard about Jarod's project later it created quite the kerfuffle. Suspicious were raised.
Collective conscious, man.

Yeah, I guess so. I want to grill him about it, but I guess we'll just leave it at that! So, okay then, what are your 2014 predictions for the Blue Jays. Is Delgado coming out of retirement to hit his 500th, or what?
Oh I have no idea man, they're gonna lose? [laughs] I haven't been to a Jays game in four or five years. The only recollection I have of baseball games there is getting drunk in the nosebleeds.

Well yeah, that’s really it, man! Well, thanks for chatting dude. 
Yeah, hopefully when we come out [to Vancouver] for tour in April, we'll hit your DIY scene.

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