The B-Lines Keep It Short and Sweet
Checking in with Raincity's favourite punk insurrectionists
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Raincity’s favourite punk insurrectionists, my chat with Ryan Dick of the B-Lines covers all the basics. After reading this, all you need to do is get out there and see them play!
Scott Wood: B-Lines is the band’s name. It is also the name of a bus route here in Vancouver (a long route connecting east Vancouver to the remote University of British Columbia campus). Did you guys name yourselves after the bus?
Ryan Dyck: Yes!
Scott Wood: Why?
Ryan Dyck: We wanted something Vancouver-related when we named the band and "Skytrains" sounded too much like a prog band name.I put a lot of energy into each song and I can't sustain that for very long. So it's nice that the songs are short.
Scott Wood: Can you tell me your weirdest bus riding experience?
Ryan Dyck: The bus is hardly ever strange, it's usually just an oppressive banality that I try to avoid if I can. Everybody is equal on the bus, equally shitty.
Scott Wood: I saw you guys interviewed in BC Transit's newsletter The Buzzer. What's the second weirdest place the B-Lines have infiltrated?
Ryan Dyck: One time, we had a show reviewed in Vancouver Weekly. That was kind of strange. Most of the time, we are ignored though.
Scott Wood: How did the B-Lines come together?
Ryan Dyck: We were all in bands that had just broken up and we all admired what the others had been doing, so we started a new band together!
Scott Wood: What keeps you together?
Ryan Dyck: Not knowing any better.
Scott Wood: When I google "B Lines Band" I get a mix of your band stuff and websites selling a "B Line band exercise kit" which is basically a set of resistance cables. What’s your current fitness regime?
Ryan Dyck: 100 smiles in the mirror every morning to prepare myself for another day of pretending to care about anything.
Scott Wood: One thing I notice about you guys, is your dedication to releasing on vinyl. Can you talk about this in the age of the Internet?
Ryan Dyck: We're all record dorks, so it makes sense that our music would be on vinyl. You can listen to all of our stuff online as well. I'm not anti-Mp3 or anything, records are just more fun. Plus, who is going to buy our Mp3s?
Scott Wood: The easiest thing to notice about your songs and sets is that they are typically short. Why?
Ryan Dyck: Why stretch a song out when we've said everything we want to say in the first minute of the song?
Scott Wood: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being so succinct?
Ryan Dyck: I put a lot of energy into each song and I can't sustain that for very long. So it's nice that the songs are short. The downside is that people think they're getting some sort of "value" with longer songs and records when they're just getting more crap. So we have less crap to sell.
Scott Wood: Is it easier to write a short song? Is it a challenge to fit it all in?
Ryan Dyck: I'm not going to lie, it's easier.
Scott Wood: Can you talk about a time when you are verbose?We're all record dorks, so it makes sense that our music would be on vinyl. I'm not anti-Mp3 or anything, records are just more fun.
Ryan Dyck: I am a man of few words I suppose? Unless you are talking about the song “Houseplants”... which I guess is about gossiping with plants and how it's good for them. You gotta keep your plants happy!
Scott Wood: Historically punk music was typically about oppression, insurrection and rebellion. Most people want to rebel but still have to get up in the morning and go to their day job. What are some small ways to work insurrection into your everyday?
Ryan Dyck: Punk is just a bunch of middle-aged men interested in a certain historical style of music. I doubt I do anything rebellious on a day-to-day basis.
Scott Wood: Another cool thing about you guys is that many of your songs are about Vancouver life. (Personally I hate it when Canadian bands sing tunes about California.) Why?
Ryan Dyck: I don't know what else to sing about! I don't want to pretend to be I'm anything I'm not.
Scott Wood: Can you talk a bit more about this? (I can’t let you get away with being so succinct every time!)I don't wanna write a song about Ronald Reagan or anything stupid like that. We like old punk rock, obviously, but I guess we think it can be used to say more things than just "fuck the man."
Ryan Dyck: I have a hard time feeling sincere about music I’m playing if it's just some rock cliché. I can't feel good about songs that I can't relate too. I think writing songs about the boring parts of your life can stand on their own longer.
Scott Wood: Can you talk about being pigeonholed as an early punk/hardcore retro/revival act? Balancing the line between wearing your influences on your sleeves and making distinctly B-Lines music?
Ryan Dyck: I guess that's why we write so much about Vancouver and what happens to us. I don't wanna write a song about Ronald Reagan or anything stupid like that. We like old punk rock, obviously, but I guess we think it can be used to say more things than just "fuck the man."
Scott Wood: I read your voice is changing due to all the screaming at shows. Is this true? How do you react?
Ryan Dyck: Yeah. It has changed over the last few years. My voice gets a little hoarse from shows and recording. I now have the smoky voice of a seasoned soul singer. It's fine; it's not like I can't talk or anything.
You might remember last month, I interviewed Adrian Teacher from Apollo Ghosts [Apollo Ghosts interview]. I asked Adrian for a sneaky question to mess with Ryan and B-Lines. (Something weird about them that only an insider/pal would know, that I could ask about to make them blush.) Adrian said, “You could ask Bruce from B-Lines, "What is your wallball nickname?"”
Well I emailed Bruce from the band. After a month-and-a-half and still no answer, Ryan kindly stepped in with this response.
Ryan Dyck: I kinda doubt Bruce will write back. He's a mysterious man.
So if you want the real answer, feel free to harass Bruce at the next B-Lines show! Their next show is September 7th at the Biltmore. See you at the show and we shall get to the bottom of things.
Listen to upcoming episodes of the interview show for a full audio interview with B-Lines!
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