Wavelength Music Series kicked off in Toronto last night with the first show of this year’s festival. This year Wavelength celebrates it’s twelfth anniversary. During the opening night at Parts & Labour, Music Vice writer Natascha Malta caught up with festival co-founder Duncan ‘Doc Pickles’ de Sorderly for an interview.
MV: Can you please introduce yourself?
D: I’m Duncan. I’m known as Doc Pickles at Wavelength, and I’m one of the co-founders of many people who thought we should do this. I’ve been introducing the bands since we started Wavelength. I try to help people out, and encourage people to start bands.
MV: How’d you get your nickname?
D: I was a temp in the 90s. Somebody died over the long weekend and I showed up and no one knew what to do with me, so I inherited his job. His last name was Pickles. I was in a band at the time with Jon, and we all decided to make up names. I became Doc Pickles, and Jon said “I’m Jonny Dovercourt” because he lived on Dovercourt Street. We all needed these pseudonyms because we all had jobs and didn’t want to incriminate ourselves, so we all used superhero names. Patty O’Donnell was Derek Westerholm from Parts Unknown and Creeping Nobodies. He helped start it as well. It’s kind of a sad beginning, actually. He didn’t mean to die, and I didn’t mean to take his name. I wrote a poem about it. It was in one of the first issues of Broken Pencil. I went to Kinkos in the middle of the night, and made zines which I dropped off all over the city- and they reviewed it. They really liked “For Mr. Pickles”. I wrote a poem about it, and sang a song about it. And then from the song, I actually started a band and Jonny joined us and played keyboards in it. He’s one of the other co-founders of Wavelength. We all played together, and we wanted to put on shows where people would see the bands and our band. So we started Wavelength, and we’re still doing it.
MV: How is Wavelength different from other music series?
D: Yeah, who knows? We’ve always done a mixtape of things we really like.
MV: Actual mixtapes, or are you talking about how you put together the shows?
D: Literally when we started, all the bands that palyed at Wavelength originally all shared a practice space. And we wrote and recorded songs for each other on actual mixtapes. We came from that culture. Meanwhile Dave Newfeld built his studio where they recorded You Forgot It In People For Broken Social Scene. They were the first band to get recorded there and they were the first band to play at Wavelength.
MV: Were they?
D: We’re all so closely intertwined with each other, you know? We used to do the series on a Sunday, and it filled in that whole religious overtone for me. I’m starting Crosswires next week after Wavelength-
MV: What’s Crosswires?
D: It’s going to be another Sunday night, PWYC – Hi Mark. How are you sir? I booked him in 2006! See, it’s a small town in a big city. Crosswires is at the Garrison every Sunday. My friends and I are putting on indie bands. But it’s not Wavelength. Wavelength is special, and it’s kind of evolved into something different. It’s like a big coat-rack where everyone hangs their coat, and it takes a different shape.
MV: You guys talk about curating the shows. Is there any particular theme for the festival?
D: The most interesting shows that we book are the anniversary shows. It’s a very democratic, collectivist thing. Usually someone would just champion a night. But for the festival, the theme is like a great mixtape. It’s got it’s ups and downs and love songs and sad songs, and it’s something that if one person sat down to book it would be impossible- because no one person could come up with a line-up like this by accident.
D: Especially bands that have never heard of Wavelength, we want them to come to Toronto and go away thinking- “that was a really good experience”. And, “I’m happy I went”. Simple, because we’ve all been in bands too.
MV: What’s your vice?
D: I have this petulant inner child that wants to be known for the music that I make. I want to be as famous as Lady Gaga! So yeah, I guess that’s my vice.
© Natascha Malta, Music Vice
The Wavelength Concert Series continues tonight in Toronto with Fucked Up headlining at the Steam Whistle Brewery, 255 Bremner Bld. Advance tickets have sold out.
Internet link: Wavelength Toronto
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