East Van band promotes inclusivity
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Whether they’re singing about pineapples or taking a bus ride, the four members of BESTiE—Andrew Janczewski, Tristan Orchard, Daniel Ruiz, and Rob Cameron—want to create music that everyone can enjoy. The Other Press spoke to drummer Ruiz about the band’s roots, their recent performances, and what’s up next for the group.
“That’s essentially what music should be all about,” said Ruiz. “Not just a specific demographic of age; it should be for everybody.”
BESTiE began in early 2012 when the four East Vancouver friends started playing music together and blended their various musical styles to create a unique sound. Their influences come from a variety of genres, including R&B, hip-hop, punk, reggae, African, and Colombian.
“I was born in Colombia and my grandfather was a singer for a Colombia orchestra, so I have a Latin vibe that I try to incorporate into my playing,” said Ruiz. “In the context of being in Canada, I try to make it dance-y and feisty.”
The group has also found a fan base in post-punk music lovers with tracks such as “Kelly Kapowski.”
“A lot of older people who really liked music in the ’70s and the ’80s like us because they say that we have a certain aesthetic that reminds them of that time,” said Ruiz.
The group has made an effort to showcase different cities and cultures in their music videos, such as “Asleep on the Bus,” which includes public transit and various locations in East Vancouver, and their latest video “Sriracha,” which features on-location shots of everyday life in Colombia.
“We went down to Cartagena in Colombia and shot this video very DIY,” said Ruiz. “I want people to see the video because, for me, it’s a really good exemplification of what Colombia is. In Cartagena, there are a lot of people who are just chilling and being themselves, and it portrays that city.”
BESTiE’s recent performances in the Lower Mainland included New Westminster’s Cultural Crawl and Vancouver’s CBC Noon Concert Series, venues that the band enjoyed because they could accommodate a varied audience.
“We really like playing festivals, especially all-ages ones where little children are dancing around. It’s fun,” said Ruiz.
Even though the band’s debut album, No Bad Days, only came out in April, the guys are already gearing up for a sequel.
“A lot of the new songs are shifting away to a new path. Kind of resembling the old stuff but with a few new nuances,” said Ruiz. “For example, I got this electronic pad that I’ve been incorporating into the songs, which is bringing a synth sound or an electronic sound to it but not getting too tangled up with technology.”
Check out BESTiE online at bestie.bandcamp.com, which features links to their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and SoundCloud.