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CRYSTAL SWELLS photo by tiina liimu

when seven inches is considered a good thing

Before the summer of 2008 Crystal Swells began, formed as a cover band to play a shed party in Maple Ridge. “Yeah we’re from Maple Ridge, make sure you put that in bold,” says Nick (guitar/vocals) jokingly, “the defining sound of Maple Ridge! Nobody actually knows us here because we rarely ever play.” Nick shares vocal duties with bassist Joel who pipes up on the matter. “Our relationship with Maple Ridge and Vancouver is like that saying, we’re too much of a boy for crazy town and too crazy for boys town.” The next one to speak is drummer Ross, the ‘muscle’ of the band, “In Maple Ridge we’re freaks, but in Vancouver we have relatively short hair and shave sometimes.” Rounding out the foursome is the soft spoken Tim on guitar.

In the world of loud and distorted punk Crystal Swells adds a grungy garage aspect to the formula. “I just try to write Descendents styled songs and make them psychedelic and surfy,” Nick says. “Don’t give away the secret recipe!” Ross warns and the band laughs. They are all equipped with a great sense of humour and sarcastic dry wit that makes for great banter. “Another term I’d use to describe the band is casual,” Joel tells me. “Last night I saw a metal band play and the singer called out the drummer on stage. That would never happen in our band. We have no delusional dreams of making it.”

The band competed in last year’s CITR funded battle of the bands event Shindig. “We made it all the way to the finals, then placed third and won a big bag of rejected records from 1999,” Joel reminisced. “I think it was pretty hilarious to play in this renowned thing and just shit the bed in the finals,” Nick laughed. “Yeah, we had a guitar amp fuck up and it ruined everything. That was our big chance!” Joel cursed sarcastically.

With plans to hit the road and release a 7-inch the band will stay busy over summer. “We managed to fit two songs per side, so that’s pretty cool, and it’ll be our first vinyl release,” Nick says. “I’ve had two band goals my whole life, go on tour and release something on vinyl. We’ll do both this summer, so after that everything else is just a bonus.”

-Denis Maile


Punx break down the barriers

Punks for youth! Youth Worker, Becca Lazare organized KICK-DOWN fundraiser and awareness raising event for YouthCO. Car 87, The SMIT, S.T.A.B. and Brady's Problem jumped on board to play for this night.

So what is YouthCO? “It is a Vancouver based organization, there is no other organization like that in the city that supports youth fifteen to twenty nine years old with issues surrounding HIV and Hep C positive. They used to have a woman's program, the funding was cut, which is why I am doing this benefit. There is a drop in centre that street youth tend to access more than anybody else. They used to have retreats for the women because dealing with HIV is very different as a female, especially with pregnancies or the stigmas involved. This is the only facility outside the Vancouver downtown eastside that kids can go to that is strictly for youth. A safety factor for them, so they know they can approach people and feel secure, it is very grassroots and peer focused. It's really important because it's making sure the kids will get what they need such as providing meals four days a week. We have a street nurse that will work their medical issues. Providing support so the kids can live a healthier life. We also have an outreach program to let people know about our program. There is an education team that goes out into schools and the interior. We teach people about safe sex and educate them about Hep C and HIV. We are a little less intimidating for the kids who do not want to go to the DTES for Insite, the happy medium between not accessing at all” Lazare explains.

Lazare became involved with YouthCO because of her unique perspective with street youth. Familiarity with the challenges that the kids face to access necessary support, outreach workers or locating readily available information and first hand experience led to the personal realization to work with peer support programming.

The event door, raffle and donation box proceeds go 100% directly to the organization. So far HITZ Boutique, New World Designs, The FALL, Sugarbox and Bonerattle Music, East Van BLVD Skate Shop, Mr. Pet's have contributed prizes. If you want to get involved, donate, support or sponsor please contact

When asked, why did you decide to play this benefit? “I chose to play because I would like to help benefit people suffering from AIDS. My close uncle happened to pass away from AIDS, so I guess this is my way of showing, lets kicks AIDS in the motherfuckin ass!!!” says Robin, from The SMIT.

Car 87, The SMIT,  S.T.A.B. and Brady's Problem play the KICK-DOWN Fundraiser at Pat's Pub Friday June 29th