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Tricks of the Trade

An interview with Nikola Tucakov from Capade

By Scott Wood

Capade's Nikola Tucakov
When I sit down to chat with Nikola Tucakov, leader of the Vancouver-based band Capade, Tucakov is brimming in his seat. We are sitting in a Bohemian coffee house in Kitsilano. An old home has been renovated into a quaint storefront. Tucakov’s seat creaks against the wooden floor. His face explodes with a warm Serbian accent. It is his first radio interview, and he is nervous, but he has a new album, a new band and a lot to talk about.

Originally a solo artist, Tucakov assembled a band and recorded a new album as Capade. At first, I thought “Capade” was just an abbreviation of “escapade” however I looked it up and it is actually a slang term more common in the UK.

Tucakov explains the term: “Sort of a humouristic well thought out practical joke. So if you wanna do a prank on your friend, but not harm him in any way, you do kind of a joke—that would be a capade. Say if you came out of the house, and you wanted to go and get your bike, and you can’t find it. And you look up on the tree, and the bike is up on the tree. And you are like, ‘What do I do now?’ This is a ‘capade.’ They just have to climb the tree and get the bike down. But it sorta halts them and usually makes them laugh as well.”

The cover of their CD Wake Me Up also implies that jokes are commonplace at casa Capade. In the artwork, Nikola is asleep in his bed—but the bed is in the middle of an intersection.

I warn him that this means he will get this question a lot. “You’ve got a band with you now… What ‘capades’ have you played on each other?”

“Well I am preparing some…” Nikola laughs as if the cat is out of the bag and his plans are now ruined.

“I did a lot of capades in the past at university. In residence, there were a lot of white pages and yellow pages in the common block. So we got a stack—and I’m talking a lot of white pages. We had a swimmer in our quad, so he would wake up early, early in the morning—at like 4 in the morning. So I get a stack of yellow pages and put it on front of his door. Then when he woke up in the morning, he basically came up against a wall of books. It was early in the morning for him. So he was like, ‘What do I do now?’ The only thing he could do was just push it down. That made such a thud, that I think the whole floor, if not the whole building woke—at 4 in the morning.”

Since practical jokes come so easy to Tucakov, I ask him if he has played any “twin capades.” A twin capade is when twins try to be each other. Now, Tucakov is an identical twin himself. His brother, Ivan Tucakov, heads up the Tambura Rasa project, known for their captivating meringue-world music nights.

At first, Nikola tries to dismiss “twin capades” as something for little girls. But when pressed he has a tale to tell. “Actually there is a story from university. And I’m not gonna say which one just to keep it secretive… and he went in to do a test for me…” At the time, Nikola was having difficulty with an English essay test and was getting frustrated. His brother had passed the same test, so Nikola asked for his brother to stand in for him. But nothing went according to plan.

Nikola Tucakov laughs: “So he went in and failed it.”

Scott Wood, laughing as well: “So that put an end to all the twin capades?”

Nikola Tucakov: “Yeah… let’s put it that way.”

At this point, Tucakov is anxious to talk about the music. Capade’s debut CD Wake Me Up is interesting mix of straight up rock staples. When I describe the CD like this to him, he disagrees with the “straight up rock” label.

“Right now I am really doing alternative rock. But I listen to a lot of different music. I want to focus on a particular genre, Say if you came out of the house, and you wanted to go and get your bike, and you can't find it. And you look up on the tree... alternative. Basically, the reason is that I love playing it. It is very energetic and I’ve always liked it.”

So I ask him to compare himself to other bands out there right now. He needs some time to think. “I’ve heard retro-rock… early David Bowie Brit rock… from the contemporary ones… I wouldn’t say Bedouin Soudclash because they are very reggae. I can’t associate with a contemporary bad right now.”

It is interesting that Tucakov brings up Bedouin Soundclash because although they are very reggae, they also wear their Simon and Garfunkel influences proudly on their sleeves—Capade, especially on songs like “Heatbeat.”

The next step for Tukacov and Capade is a national tour. Many Canadian bands loathe touring our homeland because of the long hours on the road required to hit only 15 major cities.

Nikola is surprised when I tell him this. “I’m actually looking forward to it—for a lot of reasons. First one is that I am gonna get to see Canada. Also, Ontario is a very dense area and I’m looking forward to hitting that. I’ve heard wonderful things about Montreal… I’m looking forward to the playing. I’m actually looking forward to organizing it. I’m looking very, very forward to it.”

Tucakov is smiling like an insane keener. I chuckle and he looks out the coffee shop window. I imagine I see a magnificent horizon reflecting in his eyes. I doubt I am that far off.

Tune in to the interview show with host Scott Wood, every Monday @4:30pm on CJSF 90.1FM for more interviews with your favorite indie artists. You can also listen online at
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