Saturday, June 26, 2010

An eight-nation army couldn't hold them back.
Pack a.d. is cooler than the White Stripes.

photo by Justine Warrington
interview by Kenyon Hopkin

Vancouver duo Pack a.d. is the most bad-ass blues-rock-punk chick duo you will hear this side of the Canadian border. But it would be wise not to compare guitarist/vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller to the White Stripes or Black Keys just cause they are two people playing bluesy rock. They definitely have more edge and grit. There's also some shades of L7 in the Pack's 2010 release, We Kill Computers (Mint records). Songs like "Deer" and "Crazy" are focused, raw power. Beat-keeper Miller speaks her mind on Vancouver, mix tapes and smashing computer monitors.

Advance Copy: How's western Canada doing? Is there anything awful going on there right now that you think we need to know about? Or is it only the USA that's effin up? Canada seems like a better place to live, given the difference in health care.
Maya: Alberta does still like their rodeos and gambling. B.C. likes their lattes and loafing. Saskatchewan likes their Tim Horton's and Roughriders. Manitoba still likes their beer and uneven roads. We all still kinda win when it comes to things like Health Care it's true. But the U.S has hotel coupons at rest areas so that's a plus, although it doesn't really beat the health care I guess.

AC: How has the security at the U.S/Canada border been these days? Is it easy to walk/drive across?
Maya: You could try walking across but I wouldn't recommend it. I'd film you doing it though and youtube it. Sometimes, they smile at the border and they've never heard of our band.

AC: You're pretty close to Seattle. Do you go there often to hang out? Is there any sort of music scene in Vancouver?
Maya: If I had time to hang out, I might choose Seattle because Seattle is like hanging out in Vancouver pretty much. Especially with the rain and the coffee. There's a huge music scene in Vancouver. All types going on and it's just the right size city in the sense that everyone knows everyone, and they usually have beards.

AC: I read you are influenced by the Martian Chronicles? Only the book or have you seen the movie too, starring Rock Hudson? How does it influence you?
Maya: I've only read the book, had no idea there was a movie. Damn, I have to get in on that. I read the line [from the book] "I am the last Martian, I am going to kill you," and it changed me. I think it has influenced how I brush my teeth. It just seems more intense now.

AC: You had a cassette mix tape contest. Aside from that need for a tape on tour, are you, in general, down with cassettes as a way to hear music? Cassettes rule!
Maya: I agree that cassettes rule. A lot of people don't agree but I don't like those people. I also don't like people that spit on the street when they're talking. And also, small yappy dogs.

AC: You have a video where you are smashing a computer and monitor. Although the computer looks about 10 years old, does this represent your dislike for social networking sites? If you had a new computer that you could destroy any way you want, how would you do it?
Maya: Unfortunately, no one was willing to give us a new computer to kill. And yes, the title and the smashing is all about despising social networking. I'm talking the kind where people have a billion friends and actually consider them friends instead of basically friend hording acquaintances. If I could kill a new computer, I would definitely throw it out a window, SCTV style, or put it through some kind of random machinery and crush it like at the end of theTerminator.

AC: You probably get compared to the White Stripes and Black Keys too much, just cause they are also a blues-rock-garage guitar and drums duo. Are you tired of that comparison?
Maya: Words cannot describe how tired we both are of that. It's just sooo lazy.

AC: What were the locations that you filmed the video for "Deer"? Where is that couch now?
Maya: We filmed that all around Vancouver--Stanley Park, Leeside skate park, Playland [and others]. That couch was re-donated to the Value Village we bought it from for $30. That couch, by the way, smelled super bad. Not super bad in a good way either. Our van continued to smell like that couch for a week after. Now, it's all back to smelling like a taxi cab which is much better.

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