Nostalgia is a reoccurring theme for Vancouver indie band Derrival, which makes music with 1980s synth-pop influences and ’90s pop culture references.
But with all five group members under the age of 23, it’s a rather recent theme.
“I think when you hit 18, you start to get nostalgic about things,” said 20-year-old singer/guitarist Adam Mah, who performs with the rest of his award-winning band on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer.
People born in the 1990s will reminisce sentimentally about Power Rangers, Pokémon “and the things we used to do,” said Mah. While “most kids today are on their smart phones, playing Angry Birds,” he feels he grew up at a time of tech-lite — the era of “Windows ’95 and dial-up Internet, when technology wasn’t as huge as it is now.”
Mah recalled playing in a forest behind his house near Fort Langley, B.C., when he was a kid in the late 1990s, “making up games with my friends. …”
He would also put in serious time practising the guitar.
Mah recalled making a definite choice when he was about 14 to leave minor hockey and his dreams of playing in the NHL behind to team up with his musician friends Deven Azevedo, on bass, and Daniel Kozlowski, on drums.
When the three were set to record their original music, it occurred to Azevedo that his former kindergarten classmate who still lived down the street had some equipment that could come in handy. “He hadn’t talked to him in 10 years, but Deven went to Glen’s house to see if we could use his stuff,” recalled Mah, with a chuckle.
That’s how lead guitarist Glen Jackson joined up with the former trio six years ago. He also brought his keyboardist pal Shane Stephenson on board.
Soon the five members of Derrival (named as a mash-up of ‘departure’ and ‘arrival,’ and pronounced to rhyme with arrival) “developed a bond like brothers,” said Mah — as well as a shared musical sensibility.
The band’s synth-pop sound borrows from the ’80s records the musicians’ parents listened to. This is combined with guitar-rock, in the vein of French band Phoenix or Scottish group Chvrches.
Derrival’s nostalgic tone has been striking a chord with music fans in B.C.’s lower mainland.
It’s also reaping acclaim, since the band nabbed the second-place prize of $75,000 from the radio-station and business sponsored 2014 Peak Performance Project. (The first-place award of $102,700 went to Good For Grapes.)
The musicians were thrilled to do so well in the B.C. contest, and plan to use the prize money to record a full-length 2016 album. It will follow the band’s latest five-song EP, Departure and Arrival, which was released last week.
The first single, Canvas, comes with an amusingly low-tech video featuring — what else? — Power Rangers, or at least the Derrival version of them.
The Youtube music video purposely looks like it was made in somebody’s backyard, said Mah, who handed the $1,500 budget to his actor friend, Sean Depner, to produce as an amateur side project.
The plot features the five Derrival Rangers combatting a giant Asian business man who’s terrorizing a city inhabited by tiny Godzillas that act like humans. Mah wears a princess-pink suit, emblazoned with a heart.
“The outfits were mom-made. My mom makes costumes for films,” he said, with a chuckle.
Mah admitted the cheesy story line has absolutely nothing to do with the broken-relationship theme of the song, Canvas — unless you equate a monstrous businessman wreaking havoc with an emotional breakup. “But it was an absolute riot to make. It was awesome!”
Derrival performs at 8 p.m. with special guests, Red Deer’s Underside Pattern and St. Groove. There’s a $10 cover charge. For more information, call Fratters at 403-356-0033.