You Say Party

The first in a series of Q&A’s with Paper Bag Records artists to celebrate the label’s 10th anniversary. Interview by April Robinson

Spirited new-wavers You Say Party We Say Die — comprising original members Becky Ninkovic (vocals), Stephen O’Shea (bass), Krista Loewen (keys), Derek Adam (guitar) and Devon Clifford (drums) joined the Paper Bag Records roster in 2007 to  release their sophomore  LP, Lose All Time. Then in 2009, during the excitement and fanfare of an extensive tour to promote their follow-up release XXXX, the band was devastated by the sudden loss of their friend and drummer.

Instead of celebrating their well-deserved rise, the remaining four ceased all band activity for several months to grieve, heal and re-evaluate their future. Eventually deciding to carry on in Devon’s memory (with the exception of keyboardist Loewen), the band welcomed new players Al Boyle (drums) and Robert Andow (keys/guitar), and re-introduced themselves as simply, You Say Party. The reborn band released the aptly-titled REMIXXXX to mark their brave return to music — almost one year to the day of signing with Paper Bag Records.


What one word went through your head when you first met PBR founder, Trevor Larocque?


What was the deciding factor in signing your name with PBR?
As far as I can remember, Paper Bag approached us with a deal so we immediately had a band meeting to talk about it… We were all very hesitant to give up any creative control because we had done everything up until that point on our own terms and had punk worries of them being a slimy big time label from The Big Smoke out to steal all our money from us. I don’t even think we had met anyone from Paper Bag prior to signing, at least not as a whole band, so we cautiously picked over the deal with shields up and every suspicion you could possibly imagine. They were completely cool with everything though, and seemed to understand where we were coming from, which was surprising. When we finally signed it felt like a good decision, and it did prove to be. They never pressured us into doing anything we didn’t want to do and helped us immensely over the years.

Describe the PBR culture in one sentence.
Fun for the whole family, book your reservation with us today for memories that will last a lifetime!

Favorite PBR artist?
Hard to choose! At the moment I’m really digging Young Galaxy’s Shapeshifting, so I’m gonna give them the current #1 spot.

Favorite PBR song?
Again, really hard to choose but my current fave would be Beat And The Pulse by Austra.

Favorite PBR album?
controller.controller‘s History. That EP is like a time machine to my early 20s.

What’s the craziest/most fun thing PBR has pitched you?
Playing PBR10! It’s still hard to believe that it’s happening… We’re really excited and have been counting down the days- Toronto has always been such an amazing city to play and we’re really happy to be returning.

What’s the sweetest/most endearing/warm and fuzzy thing PBR has done for you?
They would feed us and let us mooch internet in their office for hours on end during those early years when were all broke-ass, and never blinked as we walked out of the office with obscene stacks of promo copies. (I’m not gonna lie, I sold some of them to Zulu for money at one point… Times were tough).

What’s your career highlight since signing with PBR?
Too many to think of. Hanging out with Trevor in Athens was a lot of fun, though. As soon as we checked into our hotel he dragged a few of us to this amazing restaurant that he couldn’t shut up about, and soon found out why… I still dream of that meal. Later that night we played to a huge crowd of screaming Athenians, which was surprising because I didn’t know we even had fans there. It was probably one of my favourite shows of all-time. The next day I remember walking up to the Parthenon with Trevor and looking out at this massive, ancient city thinking, “How the hell did we get here?” That was an amazing few days. That or Beijing. Beijing was nuts.

If this were a PBR high school yearbook, what would you write?
OMG, like I totally can’t believe we’ve spent all this time 2GETHER! BFF’S 4 LYFE! SMOOCH! I am gonna miss U GUYS SO MUCH NEXT YEAR 🙁 But that’s ok cuz we are the ORIGINAL BOMB SQUAD! Who wnts 2 get bombed? Hahaha! LOLOLOL! Lake days this summa! Mad yucky blanket gropes (D is so gross)! BLACKOUT PARTY TIMES with my chunder squad! PARTYROCK IS IN MY PANTS TONIGHT! LOLZ, ‘membr??? TTYL Beeyatches! PS: TREVOR IS SOOOO CUTE!

You Say Party will play Saturday, September 29th at Paper Bag Record’s 3-night PBR10 Anniversary Concert Series at Toronto’s The Great Hall. Look for more Q&A’s from PBR artists to hit in the coming weeks.

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